Encounter is a community of believers in the
Memphis area who operate out of our homes. Let
First of all, “church” is who
we are, not where we “go” or what we “do.” While
many Christians would agree with this in principle,
language often betrays us. So “church” often
conveys ideas that are foreign to God’s
intent and design, such as going to a particular
place / building, or formal meetings, etc. Normally,
when we think of “church” we have
a default mode that kicks in, causing us to think
of these things by association because they essentially
(and unfortunately) define our understanding
The concept of church according to God is in
essence a living organism; a people, not a place.
This is why we say that “people matter
most.” There is plenty of stuff usually
associated with “church” that really
amounts to clutter, but what does matter to God
are people. And he desires more than anything
to be in us and among us – his presence
is one of blessing and power.
We describe ourselves as home-based for several
It emphasizes the home as central to our ministry
activity and orientation.
It allows tremendous latitude in our approach
in order to by-pass many initial perception hang-ups
folks might have due to prior associations, either
with church in general or a particular model.
It communicates the idea that we are based
in, but not limited to, the scope of ministry
It provides a wonderful lead-in as we share
with people the idea that church is about the
people, because that is in fact exactly and completely
what it IS.
We are convinced the home is the simplest
and most original format for being who we are
called to be, freeing us up from external baggage
that hinders genuine community.
Perhaps the term “simple church” best
encompasses the ideas of how Encounter functions
in contemporary terms, but in the purest sense… guess
what? It’s just “church.”
Okay… enough about that. What are we
really all about? What kind of church are we?
Good question – so here it is:
We are relentlessly pursuing this depiction
of God’s original design:
“They were continually devoted to the
apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship,
to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” (Acts
These four characteristics are foundational
priorities for us, the things that must distinguish
the body of Christ:
We are absolutely devoted
to the authority of God’s inspired word (the Bible
or Scripture). It is the record of the “apostles’ teaching” and
God’s revealed will. The Bible is
not merely a text, however; it is “alive
and active” and speaks relevant
wisdom and truth to every conceivable
The “fellowship” is not a category
of activity; it is the operational mode of
the body of Christ -- having life in common.
The original term there for “fellowship” can
also be rendered as “community, sharing,
partnership, participation, communion, and
contribution.” It is uniquely
and directly the work of God in us
us; it is genuine
The “breaking of bread” is the
sharing of the bread and cup of the Lord’s
supper, or communion. We share this
experience every week to remember
Jesus Christ as
well as our pledge to one another
as family with
life in common.
communion with God. It involves both speaking
him and listening
to him, and must be a default habit
of a disciple of Jesus.
These are the things you can expect to experience