"What does a "living" gathering look like verses a sterile "man-made" gathering look like?" I'm not sure there is a standard "look" to this. It's more of a lifestyle lived in community with others.
The way it looks for me/us currently (the Lord may change this) is this: The Lord, through business and a few other avenues, grew relationships with me and a few other men who share the same desires to make disciples and BE the church. We began just getting together when we could, over coffee, lunch, at each other's office, etc. to discuss what we see God doing in and around us which led us to pray specifically for others. As we began this, He has led us to other "men of peace" so to speak.
Just because of our desire to spend time together, our families now gather at least once a week, sometimes more, to break bread, fellowship, share struggles, victories, a passage that the Lord may be highlighting in our life, etc. This "gathering" has just naturally come together with likeminded believers.
As we leave from this time together, we are all encouraged/spurred on to go and make disciples, share Christ, and serve those in need throughout the following days each week.
As we go, we are in constant communication with one another. The ladies are talking with one another through the week and the men are talking through the week.
The heart of our group is for each individual family within the group to open our homes each week to unbelievers (or believers that need to be discipled). Then as we build relationships with them, at some point, as the Lord leads, we may invite them into the fellowship of the larger group. We don't do this immediately because we don't want to "invite them to us" as we did in institutional church. Only as we see that they are desiring the community that we have within our group do we bring them into the "church." I think we see this in scripture. As we share the gospel and as the Spirit brings to life a new believer, then they are brought into the fellowship. This is just how things look for us… -- Clint