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 House Church Movement Growing


[u]House Church Movement Growing[/u]


Americans are increasingly designing their lifestyles in ways that meet their needs more efficiently. This is true even in the spiritual realm, as evidenced by the rapid growth of participation in house churches across the nation.

Whereas most people continue to think of “going to church” as attending a service at one of the many church buildings located throughout their community, a new study from The Barna Group shows that millions of adults are trying out new forms of spiritual community and worship, with many abandoning the traditional forms altogether.

The new study, based on interviews with more than 5,000 randomly selected adults from across the nation, found that 9 percent of adults attend a house church during a typical week. That is remarkable growth in the past decade, shooting up from just 1 percent to near double-digit involvement. In total, one out of five adults attends a house church at least once a month.

Projecting these figures to the national population gives an estimate of more than 70 million adults who have at least experimented with house church participation. In a typical week roughly 20 million adults attend a house church gathering. Over the course of a typical month, that number doubles to about 43 million adults.

While many religious professionals say they are unaware of such activity, it might be because the house church is in its “ramp- up” phase in the U.S. One consequence is that millions of Americans are intermittently engaged in a house church, alternating back and forth between house church and conventional church. (For clarity, the survey distinguished between involvement in a house church and participation in a small group that is associated with a conventional church.)

The Barna survey revealed that of those who attend a house church, 27 percent attend on a weekly basis, 30 percent attend one to three times per month, and 43 percent attend less than once a month.

The study also discovered that church attendance patterns are being reshaped. Among those who attend a church of some type, 74 percent attend only a conventional church while just 5 percent attend only a house church. Another one-fifth (19 percent) attend both a house church and a conventional church. (The other 2 percent attend a small group that was not considered to be a house church.)

The people most likely to attend only a conventional church were women, people 60 or older, residents of the Midwest, and evangelicals. In contrast, the people most likely to attend a house church but not a conventional church were men, home-school families, residents of the West and nonwhites.

The study was directed by George Barna, whose book, titled Revolution, estimates that this trend will continue over the next two decades, substantially reducing the share of adults who call a conventional church their primary spiritual community.

“The house church now appears to have reached ‘critical mass’ in the United States,” said Barna. “Analysts typically find that once a new tool or institution reaches 15 percent market penetration, and has evidenced a consistent or growing level of affirmation for at least six years, that entity shifts from fad to trend status. At that point, it becomes a permanent fixture in our society.

“Today, house churches are moving from the appraisal phase into the acceptance phase. We anticipate house church attendance during any given week to double in the coming decade, and a growing proportion of house church attenders to adopt the house church as their primary faith community. That continued growth and public awareness will firmly establish the house church as a significant means of faith experience and expression among Americans.”

Barna noted that this change is already reorienting the nation’s faith dimension.

“By necessity, the transition from a nation exclusively offering a conventional church experience to one that offers a choice between conventional church and other forms of spiritual experience is changing the rules and roles. New leaders are emerging to represent and guide house churches - people whose names are unfamiliar to the bulk of the country, but whose ministries will become more mainstream and well-known as time goes on. A new body of spiritual resources is being developed and utilized by the expanding house church community. House church adherents make greater use of Christian radio, Christian books and online faith experiences than do people engaged solely in a conventional church.

“In addition, new patterns of faith participation are being implemented. The traditional ways of thinking about and experiencing ‘church’ are rapidly being revolutionized by a form of ‘religious choice’ in which people are taking greater personal responsibility for their spiritual experience and development.”

[url=http://www.religionnewsblog.com/18160/house-church-movement-growing]Religion News Blog[/url]

 2007/9/21 13:00
ccchhhrrriiisss
Member



Joined: 2003/11/23
Posts: 4517


 Re: House Church Movement Growing

Hi JulianSims...

Thanks for the article! Krispy won my esteem for the House Church movement quite a long time ago! Perhaps the next great move of God will not begin in established Church cathedrals -- but inside the homes of believers?

:-)


_________________
Christopher

 2007/9/21 14:28Profile
pastorfrin
Member



Joined: 2006/1/19
Posts: 1406


 Re:

I wonder, if we spent as much time and effort following the example of the early church on:

Acts 2:41-47
Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. [42] And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. [43] And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. [44] And all that believed were together, and had all things common; [45] And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. [46] And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, [47] Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

Acts 4:31-35
And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness. [32] And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. [33] And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. [34] Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, [35] And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.

Lets see, Jesus was crucified, as was Peter, all the disciples but John, who was only boiled in oil, were martyred. Then we have Stephen who was stoned, Paul beheaded and the untold number of early Christians who were martyred in every way you can think of and many ways we wish not to, and all as sheep led to the slaughter.

I wonder, why do we not emphasize following these examples, why only emphasize meeting in our homes?

Maybe if we did, we would discover what being a Christian really is, hey and we might even become a martyr.;-)

In His Love
pastorfrin

 2007/9/21 21:04Profile
intrcssr83
Member



Joined: 2005/10/28
Posts: 246
Logan City, Queensland, Australia

 Re:

While to a degree I can understand why some people would leave larger congregations in favor for smaller, close-knit fellowships based in one's home, the downside I see is that unless these home-churches are connected by way of some network, the independence it creates can easily lead to self-imposed segregation and/or cult-like behaivior i.e., who are the authorities within the group? Who are they accountable to apart from themselves? :-(


_________________
Benjamin Valentine

 2007/9/21 21:47Profile
theopenlife
Member



Joined: 2007/1/30
Posts: 926


 Re:

{totally edited to include verses and be more thorough}

Here are my beliefs regarding the network of authority within house churches. To the best of my knowledge this is the system of inter-church government practiced since Paul's time.

[b]The Network of Reverential Authority amongst Home Churches[/b]
by Michael Spotts:.

An apostle or team of apostles, sometimes called "missionaries" or "church planters", are separated by the Spirit and typically ordained by elders. [1 Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 4:11-12] These travel about evangelizing and teaching fundamentals. [Acts 13:2-4 ; Acts 15:35-37] Those who receive the message and profess faith in Christ, and demonstrate apparent first fruits of the Spirit are considered to be added to the church. [Acts 2:40-47]

Prior to, or instead of, the establishment of a dedicated meeting place, this new church body may gather in an individual's home, or meet from house to house, in keeping with hospitality. [Romans 16:3-5; Acts 2:46-47]

Apostles may themselves establish elders from amongst the new church body [Acts 14:23], or may appoint another elder to do so, such as when Paul directed Titus to set elders over the Cretans. [Titus 1:5]

The apostle has special authority over those bodies which he "births", yet this authority comes by way of due reverence, not heavy-handed control. [1 Corinthians 4:14-16] This is seen in the relationship Paul had toward the Corinthians, regarding whom he declared, "you have not many fathers."

As new church bodies develop and begin sending out other apostles, the network of reverential authority grows relative to the maturity and faithfulness of elders, and guided by the supreme authority of the word. In the case of disputes, elders of a church may resort to the counsel and authority of those apostles and sending churches that preceded them. [Acts 15:2-27]

Example:

The elders of Home Church A send out Apostle A. He plants Home Church B, perhaps even in the same city as Home Church A.

When Home Church B is ready, apostle A - perhaps with the elders of Home Church A - ordain elders in Home Church B. Apostle A is then free to go or stay as the Lord leads.

If a dispute, confusion, or trial arises in Home Church B, they may turn to Apostle A and the elders of Home Church A for guidance, discipline, and help.

When Home Church B is ready, the elders may send forth Apostle B to continue the cycle.

Hope that helps.

 2007/9/21 22:45Profile
Onesimus4God
Member



Joined: 2006/1/16
Posts: 264
Chapala, Jalisco, Mexico

 Re: Well....

I can see where there are many concerns. But how many are bassed on the paranoia of pastors of corporate churches? Their income and dynasty is at stake. There is only room for one king in most of these settings, and his name is Pastor Doe.
My kidneys are part of my body. They will never be my knee joint. They have a completely different location and function. Yet both are truly part of the same body.
So who will lead these home churches? Why the Holy Spirit of course. He is well able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or think. You do trust Him to do so, don't you.
I have written articles on the blite of Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist ministries in the local church. I think that with this wonderful surge of home churches, we will see many more of these emerge with respect and honor...but not as kings to rule over the home churches. They will be resources of health and vitality that the Holy Spirit will use. We must remember that Jesus explicitly told his disciples NOT to "lord it over them as the gentiles do". No monarchy please. Well, we all know that did not last very long.
Yet, there are so many who shiver at the thought of something living that they do not control. My brain controls my kidneys and knees, and does so real well. What my knees are doing is none of my kidney's business.
It's the same with Christ's church. It is His church. He alone is the Head, and He does a real good job of keeping "His own" close to Him.
I have not meant to sound sharp here. But every great reformation has come from studying our history and going back to our roots. Jesus did not institute an imperfect church to be perfected by man over 2000 years. It's high time we started following Him and His Holy Spirit and quit fretting over who will be in control He is in control. Get over and get on with it.
BTW, some of the most wonderful church experiences I have ever had have been in home fellowships with just ordinary people gathered with our Extraordinary Savior. Alleluia.

In Him,

"O"


_________________
Lahry Sibley

 2007/9/22 11:40Profile









 Re:

Many questions about authority and other issues can be answered on this site:

http://www.ntrf.org/

Now... back to my regularly scheduled hiatus.

Krispy

 2007/9/25 8:15









 Re:

Quote:
who are the authorities within the group? Who are they accountable to apart from themselves?



A lot of these groups have an authority that our babylonian church systems don't have.... the Holy Spirit, and the stirring of gifts so that the body lives as a body with Christ as the head...

In Christ - Jim

 2007/9/25 8:41









 Re:

Jim... you hit the nail on the head.

Krispy

 2007/9/25 9:10
Rahman
Member



Joined: 2004/3/24
Posts: 1374


 Re: House Church Movement Growing



i think the House Church Movement will grow even larger once the American economy really hit's the wall (we're already in the skid), and the use of the more massive edifices we've become used to are no longer cost affordable ...

i know from my own experience of larger churches currently closing down prayer nights because it's costing to much in utilities to keep the doors open as they once did when they were smaller ... For one thing tithes and offerings are dwindling ...

i often wonder if Osteen will be able to sustain The Compaq Center once the U.S. economy hits crisis, and "the people" whom he said "he depends on" at his opening speech of the place no longer have the capital they once had ... i thought that was a very telling statement when he said that, and shuddered that he didn't say he depended on our Lord for it's sustenance ...

i think we are shortly to see a whole lot of empty Mega & cathedral type churches in America simply because they'll not be able to be afforded by thier congregation, and many will be foreclosed on because of having such massive mortgages ... Aware pastors right now are on a real mission to get those mortgages paid off, and are digging as deep as they can into the pockets of their flock while the "getting" is still good ... :-?

 2007/9/25 10:47Profile





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