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Posts Tagged ‘Evangelism’

From Wikipedia:

House church (or “home church”) is an informal term for an independent assembly of Christians intentionally gathering in a home or on other grounds not normally used for worship services, as opposed to a church building, due to specific beliefs. They may meet in homes because they prefer to meet informally, because they believe it is an effective way of creating “community” and engaging in outreach, or because they believe small family-sized churches were a deliberate apostolic pattern in the first century and intended by Christ.

The U.S. has one of the world’s smallest number of house churches. Why? I believe it’s because of the perceived need continue the tradition to have some sort of corporate worship in official buildings. One could say that since the U.S. is so developed, and since we can afford creating official structures for worship, and that it’s a convenient practice, then there is nothing wrong with meeting in a church building. Correct, there is nothing inherently wrong with meeting in a church building, unless of course it interferes with God’s plan to get out amongst his people and spread the Gospel.

 

There’s a great deal of history behind the meeting of Christians in their homes. Sometimes, those reason for meeting were bad (e.g. hiding from persecution), and sometimes those reasons were good (e.g. building a community). I’d like to examine the positive and negative affects of “house churches”.

 

There is an abundant history of the early church thriving while meeting at each others houses. When the early first Century church began, the Apostles themselves met in an upper room in order to pray together, with both men and women in attendance (Acts 1). There are also many more inferences we can make about the 1st Century church about them meeting in their homes. It was regarded as common practice.

 

Negative vs Positive aspects of having a “house church”.

Having a “house church” takes away the opportunity for visitors to come to a well known public place and be welcomed. There are many programs that churches institute that facilitate the welcoming of visitors and current members. Programs range from door greeters, using name tags, and designating people to meet at least 1 visitor and invite them to lunch.

In contrast, having a “house church” would enhance the opportunities meet new people. This opens the door to allow visitors, who previously have been nervous about stepping into an actual “church”, to feel welcome in a non-threatening environment. Christians can then invite their friends, or their coworkers in order to evangelize. The programs that churches use to help welcome visitors are a symptom of a larger problem. That problem is that the church seems too large to be able to immediately recognize visitors and at the same time provide a welcoming environment for them.

 

A “house church” is not equipped well enough to conduct an adequate worship service. The restroom facilities, seats, and even the general acoustics are just some of the things under concern. This denotes that a feeling of “official corporate worship” is important to some in the congregation.

Sometimes we get so used to the amenities that the church building offers that we forget that the 1st Century church, as well as some of today’s churches, have thrived without such conveniences. When physical contraptions such as microphones, water fountains, or even the number of toilets get in the way of building personal relationships in a close community, then something is wrong with our mindset.

 


Establishing a “house church” ensures division in the congregation. As the number of house churches grow, the number of people still meeting at a building shrinks, and then you’ll have dozens of smaller congregations, instead of one big united congregation.


While unity is something we should strive for, having “house churches” doesn’t necessarily mean division occurs. If a large congregation decides to start meeting in their homes, then one might see where shear numbers might show division. We all know that church splits occur way too frequently! However, all of the “house churches” are united in one purpose: To strive to share the Good News about God. And along the lines of my earlier thoughts, “house churches” provide an excellent evangelism tool for sharing and showing God.

 


The congregation is already used to meeting at a particular building, it’s a tradition and changing that will offend someone. There is no sense in giving up something that is convenient for most people.


There will always be opposition to change. And change for change’s sake isn’t necessarily good. But the biggest hurdle face in the house church movement is having to change the mindset of those resistant to change. People must been convinced that change needs to occur. The argument for house churches is that is provides a better means of evangelism, and is a better tool for building communities. However, if meeting in a church building is absolutely necessary for some, then please allow those that want to meet at the homes to do so.

 

I’m currently trying to spur interest in starting a house church instead of meeting at the build on Wednesday night. So far, I’ve only been to peak the interest of young adults. It would be actually MORE convenient to meet in our homes on that night, than to drive to the building. I also hope to encourage others to start their own house church. The format of the assembly doesn’t have to mirror the corporate version; it doesn’t necessarily have to include singing, preaching, etc. In fact, singing would be discouraged because of the probability that it would make a new comer uncomfortable. “Church” is just a assembling of Christians, so lets try to make a non-threatening environment in which we can invite our friends and co-workers into our home!

 

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