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FELLOWSHIP GUIDELINES

A Fellowship Model from Yeshayahu Yeshua (Isaiah Salvation)

This is a model based on the following understanding. Yeshua Ha’Mashiach (Jesus the Messiah) is the Shepherd. Men are the heads of their families. Fellowship is a family experience, there is no dividing the group by age everyone participates. All families share responsibilities of preparing questions, contributing to the fellowship meals, and cleaning up following the fellowship.

Assembly

Determine a location and time that works best for the families. Encourage punctuality to minimize disruptions during prayer and worship. People inherently greet one another and engage in various conversations when joining others, so keep this in mind and plan accordingly. Remember, the goal is building strong, mutually supportive individual and family relationships. Therefore, pick a time frame that allows for up to six or seven hours.

Praise and worship

Everyone joins the fellowship in various states of mind, so the purpose of praise and worship is to redirect hearts and minds from self, family and circumstances upwards toward YHVH. This is essential to obtaining the atmosphere conducive to effective prayer and spiritual growth. Make every effort to choose songs that point to, honor, and glorify the Father. Movement from the outer courts of praise, into the inner courts, and eventually into the Holy of Holies in worship is more relevant than the number of songs. Use songs familiar to most and introduce new songs, preferably one at a time.

Prayer

Many are accustomed to holding hands in a prayer circle, but allow the group to adopt a prayer posture that works best for the fellowship. Heads of household take turns praying aloud as they are led, or family representatives and/or single participants are given the opportunity to join in prayer. Again, this is the Yeshayahu Yeshua model, so of course, anyone can join in and offer prayers for the group, their family, friends or anything YHVH lays on their heart. The key is setting up a routine that works for the fellowship so that everyone, including new members or visitors, feel comfortable participating.

Bible Discussion

An important element to discipleship is knowing the Bible and building an understanding through Bible study groups. Encourage all fellowship members to ask YHVH to strip them of theology, doctrine and teachings of man and allow them to read the Bible as He intended for it to be understood. Then obtain a chronological reading plan that enables them to read through the Bible within a year. A group study technique that has proven effective is a group discussion, which is an open discussion of particular Scripture or Biblical texts guided informally through questions related to the Bible. This is most effective when the majority of participants build their biblical literacy by reading through the Bible themselves throughout the year in addition to preparing for the weekly fellowship by reading the associated text. Yeshayahu Yeshua does not use the weekly Torah (YHVH’s Instructions) portions for discussion per se because its members regularly read through the Bible individually themselves, enabling them to read the Torah each year. Another reason for not using the Torah portions is that they do not cover the entire Bible. Nevertheless, choose a topical method that works best for the fellowship. Taking turns reading the particular biblical text aloud keeps everyone, including the children, involved. Encourage representatives from each family to prepare the set of discussion questions and schedule the responsibility out as far as what is best for the fellowship group. Open-ended questions— ones that cannot be answered with a simple yes or no, but require an explanation—are most effective in generating discussion. The fellowship will inevitably experience a time of disagreement about a particular text. This is a healthy growth process, which must be handled respectfully. Until the fellowship develops a routine of uninterrupted sharing, the group could use a beanbag, allowing the holder to speak freely until he/she voices his/her opinion or answer to the discussion question. The beanbag is then passed to the next person to respond.

Aaronic Blessing and Prayer

When the group agrees that the discussion has come to an end, gather together with individual families and play a musical version of the Aaronic Blessing from Bemidbar (Numbers) 6:24-26. Encourage everyone to sing aloud together and meditate on the significance of such a blessing. This creates a transition from worship and learning together to fellowship over a meal. Take the time to either have someone or a few members lead the group in a closing prayer.

Break Bread Together

Eating together after probably an intense discussion is one of the most important bonding aspects of fellowship. It offers a time to laugh, catch up with everyone and just enjoy being together. All families share in the potluck-style meal as they are financially capable. Further discussion on other topics often ensue during or following the meal. Allow the group to naturally return to their own homes, avoid rushing this time.