How to Start a Fellowship: Step #3 – by Matthew Hall
Establish Your Borders and Gates: Setting the boundaries of your fellowship or as I like to call them “Borders and Gates” is a very big part of the process. Taking the time to establish some expectations and boundaries when it comes to starting your fellowship is THE best thing you could possibly do.
Every fellowship is going to look different and feel different so don’t feel like you have to look, act, and feel like another fellowship or congregation, however, different social situations create different levels of expectations so you have to think through these from the start with your leadership team.
A majority of fellowships should start in homes since the first phase of building a fellowship is building relationships. There is no better way to build relationships than in your home with food, fellowship, coffee, encouragement, and fun. Many scholars would suggest that breaking bread was (2,000 years ago) and still is the most effective way to build relationship and raise up disciples in the faith.
Finally, always remember that your home is your personal space so here are some of the things you need to establish in regards to expectations and boundaries:
- What time do you meet?
- Are you sharing a meal or snacks?
- If you are sharing a meal or snacks, who should bring what?
- What is the max capacity of the house you are meeting in?
- What are the rules and behavioral expectations for the host home or fellowship hall?
- How do you plan to handle disorderly or disruptive conduct?
- It is good to have a team of people that have an action plan for people who need to be removed or escorted away from the gathering. This is an unusual event but is something you should always be prepared for.
- Set a time for everyone to arrive that gives you buffer room between arrival and actual start time. This allows time for life to happen and for people to show up a little past the arrive time but not miss any of the fellowship activities.
- If your group meets in rotating homes, make sure to have some basic ground rules for the fellowship but also leave room for individuality within the borders and gates of each home.
First impressions are everything, so making a good first impression is what will keep people coming back time and time again. Always put respect at the forefront of everything you do so that relationships are not jeopardized and trust is not compromised. Most importantly, DON’T BE AFRAID TO HAVE FUN.
Director – Aviv Fellowships