Frequently Asked Questions
Why “Gathering”… why not “Meeting” or “Service”?
The scripture indicates that we are to come together as a community of believers on a regular basis: Hebrews 10: 24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. Though God is a God of order, He does not define exactly what "assembling of ourselves together" looks like. We know the apostles focus was to be dedicated to the ministry of prayer and the word (Acts 6:4). So we want to follow their example.
When you view Acts 2:46-47, you find that the early group of believers were gathering on a daily basis. Then, throughout other passages and from the early church fathers, you find believers gathering on the Sabbath and on the first day of the week. Yet, we receive no New Testament command on frequency or a specific day. We recognize that scripture views the Sabbath as being fulfilled through Christ (Colossians 2:16-17). At the TLC Gathering, we believe that God has called us to serve Him every day but recognize that the logistics for gathering daily is a bit difficult due to the crazy pace of our society. So, we have to chosen to have our longest “Gathering” on Sunday afternoon to allow for a time of food, connecting, prayer, singing, teaching, discussion and doing Kingdom work. Click here for more elaborate details regarding our “Gathering”.
What is this “Gathering” like?
We trust you’ll find it is a breath of fresh air. Click here for more elaborate details regarding our “Gathering”.
What do I wear?
We are informal in our dress, ranging from casual to business casual (no suit, tie or dress necessary, but if you are more comfortable dressing up, feel free to do so). The Bible directs us to dress in humility, so that our outward appearance isn't trying to say, "I'm better than you".
What do I do with my children during the Saturday Gatherings?
TLC Gathering is a very new gathering of believers. In the 1st century, sons and daughters who entered their teen years had many adult responsibilities. We, also, view high school age children as those who are old enough to comprehend, discuss and participate in the Saturday Gathering.
With that said, children are welcome at our gathering, though no childcare is yet available. We do have a place where children are able to watch Christian themed videos such as VeggieTales, Penguins and Christian Cowboy. Of course, while we are eating, this is a good time for the children to eat with us. If you feel led to serve in ministering to children, please contact us here.
Who are the leaders within your organization?
If you've been to some churches, you'll find that the structure is often a lot like what we see in the corporate world. Many times, the church leadership act like CEOs and CFOs of a large corporation, letting their word, alone, be final. Yet, we find Jesus saying in Matthew 20:25-28 “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Though the Bible does teach us about proper spiritual leadership (in the Pastoral Epistles to Timothy and Titus), our leaders and administrators are all volunteers. To learn a little bit more about them, click on this link.
Does TLC Gathering belong to a denomination?
TLC Gathering is not affiliated with any denomination. We welcome those from all denominations. Jesus’ prayer in John 17:20-21 states: 20 "I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.” Unity is very important to our gathering. We will not all share the same theology on every issue, and that’s okay. What is most important is that believers are seeking God with all their heart, soul and mind and that their actions support this great love for Him. With that said, don’t get us wrong, theology is VERY important, but there are many ancillary issues in scripture that are not necessary for us to all have the same belief. Morality is not one of those subjective areas and it is very important that all believers recognize that we are recognizable by our "fruit" (Matthew 7:15-20; John 15:1-8). The leaders of TLC Gathering have had multiple areas in their theology that has changed after continually studying the scriptures, so we are understanding and accepting those who don't see all of scripture in the same manner. Finally, let us say that many areas of controversy don’t have as much to do with the Bible as they do with the culture that we live in. We must understand that God’s word is timeless, and our culture will change and form its views like a batch of silly putty. For issues on morality, God, His kingdom, life after death, etc. we must always recognize that the scripture is the final authority.
Outside of your weekend gathering, what are your studies like?
What our studies are:
We are people (both men and women) who, in the midst of our busy lives, wish to make studying God's Word (the Bible) an important part of our life.
We are a group who have questions and answers and are eager to learn and discuss the spiritual truths and mysteries of scripture.
We are independent of any denomination and desire to be led by the Holy Spirit into all truth.
We are open to discuss various views and perspectives about the Bible.
We welcome multiple, literal and paraphrased versions of the Bible but always need to recognize that when studying scripture we must always keep context and Biblical cross references in mind for thorough and accurate interpretation.
We study a specific book of the Bible at one time and use a facilitator and a question outline.
We are respectful of others views and recognize that we will not always see eye to eye with regards to the various doctrines found in scripture. However, we must not let culture determine what scripture means concerning morality and theology and Jesus Chris is the same yesterday today and forever.
We are a group of imperfect people who desire to learn more about our perfect Creator and His will for us.
What our studies are NOT:
We are NOT exclusive to any specific church and welcome those from all church affiliations who hold the Bible in high regard and are earnestly seeking Jesus Christ.
We are NOT rigid in our discussion and are not afraid to discuss Biblical subjects that may be considered controversial as long as such discussion is done with respect and compassion. However, we will do our best to remain on topics that relate to the current study.
We are NOT a political organization (though the scriptures contain many topics that do relate to politics) as Jesus called us to be a part of His spiritual body. Our mission is to expand His kingdom, not ours.
We are NOT meetings that consist of sermon lectures dominated by only one person as we want each participant (according to their comfort level) to be engaged in the discussion and learn through the questions and answer process.
We are NOT a speed study. What we mean is: although we have a compact time, we will not rush through the chapter we are studying for the sake of quickly covering a book of the Bible. We will move to the next chapter once all questions have been answered and the discussion of the text has been completed.
We are NOT requiring that any attendees have to read the specific text or complete the questions prior to the meeting. It would certainly help to be better prepared, but it is not required.
What does it mean to become a Christian or to be “saved”?
Becoming a believer and being saved through faith in Jesus Christ is not the same experience for every believer but it is through the same door (Jesus Christ - John 10:7-10). It is also not a ritual prayer or magic words that you choose to say. It is a saving faith and a matter of the heart between you and God. It is a movement of God’s Holy Spirit upon your heart, mind and soul delivering a grace that you don’t deserve. That grace was paid in full at the cross by Jesus Christ once and for all (Hebrews 7:27, 9:12, 10:10). In Luke’s Gospel account, we find that one of the thieves crucified with Jesus is saved shortly before his death. With Zacchaeus (also in Luke), Jesus tells the crowd that salvation has come to his household after he gave away half of his possessions (as a result of his heart changing), while the rich young ruler (in the Matthew, Mark and Luke) is called to give away all that he has so he can be part of the Kingdom of God (even though he reported to be blameless in several of the commandments). In simple terms, Jesus must become the most important part of your life; your highest priority. Each decision, thought and action is seen through the “lenses” of Christ. It is a lifelong pursuit of holiness and a response filled with gratitude. But it is NOT our efforts that earn salvation - they simply demonstrate our great love for Christ. Though we do see those in Cornelius and his household being saved before they were baptized (Acts 10), we do recognize that in the New Testament Church Christ has commanded us to be baptized once we profess belief. So, though the act is symbolic and is not doing the saving, you find baptism combined with the New Testament conversions and it is important to obey God's word and be baptized when there is true belief.
True belief is not an acknowledgement of existence (See James 2:18-19). You don’t just say “I believe in God” and all is well. To believe is a verb; it is an action. As already noted, you are not saved through any works on your own, but, if you truly love Jesus, your love for Christ compels you to action (not an obligation, but a response to His great love and grace for you). What we find is that the gift of salvation is achieved through a covenant of love. It is a marriage. This marriage is between the bride of Christ (all true believers) and Jesus. Think of a human marriage. Do you perform actions so that your spouse will love you? No. You act, in love, toward your spouse because of your great love for them. It’s magnified with respect to the matter of Christianity. You follow Christ because of your great love for Him. His sacrifice on your behalf has freed you from the sins of this world to enter into a covenant of love with the creator of the entire universe! Now that you are part of His kingdom, show your love by helping to spread the kingdom everywhere you go!
Do you have any recorded teachings available?
We don't record our gathering meetings or our Bible study events, but we do have a section that categorizes our biblical education videos which links to our Bible Teacher Christ Bender's YouTube channel page (Know the Word-Live the Word). Those videos cover a number of topics and we are adding more each month.