Chinese churches have mushroomed in the United States over the past two decades, particularly in immigrant-rich areas such as Los Angeles, New York, and the San Francisco Bay area. Whatever the nature of these churches denominational or non-denominational, traditional or charismatic, remote or urban all of them were founded with the dream of creating spiritual and cultural community, while building a bridge of faith between their new and native lands.
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Dr. David C. Yang
New York-based physician Dr. David C. Yang was an elder in one such church, whose Taiwanese founders had grown it from a small group meeting in a high school gymnasium into a congregation of hundreds over the case of 15 years. Yet after working hard to help the church achieve its decades-long goal of constructing its own building, Dr. Yang grew concerned that the huge effort needed to achieve this material goal was not necessarily paying off in better fellowship or more efficient proclamation of the Gospel.
Seeking answers for the feelings of frustration that he was experiencing, Dr. Yang came across a book by Wolfgang Simson, Houses That Change the World: The Return of the Home Churches. Upon reading it, he became deeply impressed by its message of return to simplicity and focus on small, close-knit groups of brethren. He shared the book with his pastor and fellow church ministers, hoping to inspire them to introduce the "Home Church" model as a network of self-sufficient satellites that he believed would complement the organized church.
The concept proved controversial, and few of his coworkers were won over. After a long period of prayer and meditation, Dr. Yang finally decided to start a Home Church network independent of his former congregation.
The first Staten Island Home Church meeting took place in February 2004, bringing together a handful of Christians to worship in Dr. Yang's living room. It has continued to grow and split off new groups ever since with dozens of homes now hosting worship gatherings each week.
Hoping to inspire others to embrace the Home Church model to extend or enhance their worship of God, Dr. Yang shared with The Gospel Herald the philosophical and biblical basis of the Home Church concept. Rather than being a new movement, the Home Church is in fact a way of going "back to the future," inspiring and reviving the modern church using the principles of the early church.
Question #1: Is the Home Church a new concept?
The Home Church was a model commonly adopted by the Early Church.
Yang: As recorded in Christian history, the first church was built in the third century, with construction being completed at Alexandria 325 year after its commission by the Roman emperor Constantine. Prior to Constantine the Great, the Roman Empire had always regarded Christianity as an "illegal religion," and prohibited the church from owning any property. As a result, during the New Testament era and the period that followed, believers gathered in small groups of families (see Rom 16:5; 1 Cor16:19; Phm 1:2) until Constantine "professionalized" the church.
This means that the Home Church is the most original form of the church: The first church in the west was founded at Lydias home in Philippi, in Macedonia. Even today, the modern church planting movement has relied heavily on the Home Church concept; the growth of the Home Church "movement" has merely built upon these examples to create permanent networks of Home Church gatherings.
read more: http://gospelherald.net/article/church/46991/return-of-the-early-church-house-that-change-the-world.htm
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon