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Fellowship of the Spirit

In a small town in Tennessee God is transforming lives through the power of the Spirit at work in a house fellowship, that is spilling over into the church and community.

Here are some of the testimonials:

There’s been a marked desire to share this with others, asking questions and looking for ways to get others connected in this kind of fellowship. 

Almost to the person, there is an increased desire for more of God in their daily life.

Many people have prayed, out loud, for another person, for the first time in this house fellowship.  It’s astounding to watch someone who starts tentatively mumbling a stumbling prayer, and then prays with conviction and power only a few months later.

It seems like every few weeks, there is an instance of someone struggling with an issue – a hurt, habit, hang-up, whatever – and someone else in the group is able to minister to them from a similar experience.

One person in his 70s, who has spent his entire life in the church, said recently this group has helped him be disciplined about reading scripture.  It’s actually made him want to engage. This same man was just appointed and commissioned as the Appalachian Trail Chaplain!

My daughter, after our very first House Fellowship said, “Dad, this felt like church!”

One young man, Alex, has grown by leaps and bounds.  He was a classic behind the scenes guy, but has stepped up in leadership and has been working on facilitating during group.

Three women have finally dealt with their anxiety issues, seeing a doctor and getting on the appropriate medication while re-assessing and re-evaluating their way of life and mindset. One of these women was in her 70s and had previously struggled with anxiety her entire life.

Another woman is looking at the idea of starting a series of Bands or similar women’s groups within the church to connect women together in discipleship.

Mark felt compelled to engage in scripture with some consistency. He’d never really read the bible and wasn’t sure where to start or what plan to use.  So, he ended reading the Bible straight through…in a month!

One man finally laid down a long-standing grudge against his brother-in-law.  It’s been a serious problem in his marriage for decades and caused family strife.  But he chose forgiveness.

One couple was given the idea to build a “blessing box” and place it on the church’s property.  They worked with another member of our fellowship, built a box, and installed it – without a single committee meeting. It’s now being regularly used by the neighborhood and has been an organic way of interacting with our neighbors.

An older gentleman in our community routinely visits nursing homes, neighbors, and really anyone who needs it.  Recently, he baked bread and took it to some apartments in our neighborhood offering prayer at every door he knocked on.  No one turned down his prayer, but one guy did turn down the bread.

One woman, after losing her husband of nearly 50 years, has been coming week after week, even though she can’t share in the meal because she does not eat in the evening due to a medical condition.

A member of our community, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.  She’s in her 50’s, quite active, and this came as quite a shock.  She shared at House Fellowship how her doctors had a very positive prognosis though, which tempted her not to say anything to anyone outside of her husband.  However, she felt compelled to share the burden with her “spiritual family” (her words) because she knows she doesn’t need to suffer alone. The night before the surgery, we were able to gather around her, lay on hands, anoint and pray for her.  She’s had an incredibly smooth recovery and the prognosis is extremely bright!

Stephen is an Inspire Missioner and UMC Pastor in Kingsport, Tennessee.

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