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 A House Church Movement In North America Needed?

With over 30,000 denominations why is there a need for a house church movement? Why house churches? Sadly the answer might shock many believers but in the New Testament and during the times of the Apostles they did not build Church buildings but had there belief that the “people themselves” were the Church. Such a belief was unstoppable by the prevailing persecution that attempted to crush this small apostolic church. We can learn much from current moves of God’s Spirit in countries where there is persecution. Sadly in North America there is a more devious persecution in our midst, that of tolerance and comfort.

The world is accepting of Christianity as long as it does not stand for righteousness or preach the Gospel in a way that condemns or shows other religions as wrong or demonic. The comforts of North American society also has lulled the Church into this apathetic tolerance of the world. But the Scriptures clearly declare (1 John 2:15-17):

15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

There is a great need for a radical house church movement that does not focus on money, possessions, buildings or anything temporal but rather has its goal in being true disciples of Jesus Christ, living in godliness and being full of the love of God to share the Gospel of God’s Son with this lost and dying generation. The focus on these house churches is not on one leader but rather through discipleship a multitude of lay leaders can be mobilized to be effective for the Lord Jesus Christ.

We can learn much from the underground house church movement in China, this is taken from the Principles Book:

“The underground Church in China has flourished and grown under the continual guidance and dynamic leading of the Holy Spirit of God. May God birth a similar movement all over the world apart from any specific denomination or Church. May God raise up the body of Christ to all be active422, unified423 and growing424 in the Good News of our risen Lord. In China there is an urgency to share the Good News with others. The thinking is simply that they have received such a wonderful Gospel and how could they keep silent and not share it with others.

You can almost hear the believers saying: “Hurry Up! Hurry Up! Let’s share this Good News with everyone!” It is not surprising therefore that God birthed in the hearts of these simple chinese rural famers a strategy to share the Gospel to every closed country on their way to Jerusalem, such a movement was called “Back to Jerusalem” and many young Chinese believers went out 100% without provision or money but trusting the Lord to share the Good News with others. We have much to learn from this example of the urgency to share this Good News given to us in God’s Son. The Holy Spirit is reminding us to learn from the Chinese Church and for each one of us to start witnessing.”

footnotes:

422 1 Corinthians 10:31-33
423 1 Corinthians 12:12-14
424 Ephesians 2:19-22

Learn more here: http://gospelfellowships.net/principles-book/


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SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2013/9/18 22:51Profile
KingJimmy
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Joined: 2003/5/8
Posts: 4419
Charlotte, NC

 Re: A House Church Movement In North America Needed?

It is interesting.

I recently moved and changed churches in recent months. The new church I am going to is considered one of the "fastest growing" churches in North America (Elevation Church, with pastor Steven Furtick). I'm not exactly sure our numbers. I think altogether the church has about 8 or 10,000 people. I know we have 5 or 6 satellite campuses throughout the region. Last I heard, I think we have about 800+ "eGroups" as we call them (community groups) that compose the church. In recent weeks, we had a "spontaneous baptism" service at all of the campuses, and water baptized about 3,000 people.

When I think about it, the way we are doing church is rather in keeping with most house church literature I've read. That is, a lot of small/house groups that make it a point to come together for a massive/larger community celebration on a regular basis.

Thoughts?


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Jimmy H

 2013/9/19 12:29Profile
Solomon101
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Joined: 2008/4/1
Posts: 530
America's Heartand

 Re:

Hey KingJimmy-

I am sure you know it, but here it is

Quote:
And day by day, ATTENDING THE TEMPLE together and breaking bread in THEIR HOMES, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
Acts 2:46-47 ESV ; CAPS mine



It's a this AND that approach. We need both. We need large group gatherings of believers to accomplish more than we can in small or house groups. We also need small or house groups to accomplish things that can't be done with lot's of folks at once. The apostles were smart enough to have this figured out.

Trying to label either as the "correct" way and the other as an "inferior" way is simply silly. The apostles obviously used both when available. There had been no church buildings erected at that time. However, if the believers at Corinth had went together and gotten a place to set aside for large group believers meetings is someone honestly suggesting that the apostles would not have worshipped and taught there?

Both sides are ditches to avoid- imho. However, as is often the case, a balance is needed to stay healthy.

Granted, there are times (such as open persecution of believers) that may make larger group gatherings difficult if not impossible. In those cases of course wisdom dictates what you could do. However, it the option is there to meet in temple courts AND house to house it is a thoroughly Biblical way to operate.

You are spot on in your thinking, in my humble opinion.

 2013/9/19 13:22Profile
KingJimmy
Member



Joined: 2003/5/8
Posts: 4419
Charlotte, NC

 Re:

The only critique I would probably offer the model we use at Elevation is that our larger gatherings are definitely the places where we attract and intake people at. The small groups is where we send people to have them discipled. I think ideally, the order would be the other way around: People would be added to the small groups and then filtered into the larger assembly. Under times of persecution where having larger assemblies are harder to do, this would definitely have to be the primary order.

But however the Lord adds sheep to the church, I'm not really picky. :-)


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Jimmy H

 2013/9/19 13:32Profile
Oracio
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Joined: 2007/6/26
Posts: 2039
Whittier CA USA

 Re:

Quote:
The world is accepting of Christianity as long as it does not stand for righteousness or preach the Gospel in a way that condemns or shows other religions as wrong or demonic. The comforts of North American society also has lulled the Church into this apathetic tolerance of the world. But the Scriptures clearly declare (1 John 2:15-17):

15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.




Amen. Saints, there are many newer "evangelical" churches springing up which are connected with the emergent church movement. These newer churches do not stand for righteousness or preach the pure gospel.

I thought it would be appropriate here to give a warning of concern regarding this emergent movement. The falsehood involved with this movement is subtle and not easy to detect sometimes so there is much need for discernment. Things are not always as they appear on the surface level.

Below I will post brother Greg's post from another thread, in which he provides links to a great free book dealing with this subject (I've read almost all of it):

"The labels Emergent Church, Emerging Church, Emergence Christianity, and New Christianity all imply innovative and progressive understandings of Orthodox Christianity. Like nailing jello to a wall, many have attempted to understand and define the Emergent movement only to be frustrated and confused.

At the heart of the Emerging movement is the worldview of postmodernism which teaches that truth is relative and subjective. This ebook by Elliott Nesch, Hath God Said? – Emergent Church Theology, demonstrates how postmodernism is incompatible with a biblical worldview of absolute truth and the authority of the Scriptures on various topics including feminism, homosexuality, hell, mysticism, eschatology, Jesus Christ and the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and more.

In Hath God Said? – Emergent Church Theology, the teachings of the Emergent movement are exposed in light of Scripture. Also by comparing early Church writings with Emergent writings, it becomes evident that the Emerging Church is not preaching the faith once delivered to the saints.

This book is available for FREE as a PDF file here: http://www.holybibleprophecy.org/hath-god-said.pdf

or available in EPUB and MOBI formats here: http://bookstore.booktango.com/AdvancedSearch/Default.aspx?SearchTerm=hath+god+said "


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Oracio

 2013/9/19 13:33Profile
Solomon101
Member



Joined: 2008/4/1
Posts: 530
America's Heartand

 Re:

KingJimmy-

It did work in exactly the opposite way in South Korea. The small group was the evangelistic element of the church there.

Many churches tried that here in America and the cultural differences are so great it never really worked

You can count on your fingers (probably on the fingers of one hand in my opinion) the churches that have grown and reached significantly by small groups in America.

However, the small groups have been MARVELOUS discipleship tools. It is a key to retaining and discipling people after they come to Christ as Savior.

Different culture .... both still very much needed but just done a little differently in each culture.

I have not ever attended a service at your church. However, I have heard good things from acquaintances of mine that have.

Blessings

 2013/9/19 13:38Profile
Oracio
Member



Joined: 2007/6/26
Posts: 2039
Whittier CA USA

 Re:

Thankfully, with the internet today, you can find out if many churches are "emergent" or heretical by going to their websites and listening to their teachings, or googling and seeing what others have discerned or warned about concerning certain churches or pastors.

If you are considering committing yourself to fellowshipping at a certain denominational or "building-oriented" church, you can check to see if they have a website; or if it's a well-known mega church you can check to see if other's have warned about that church or pastor online. Sometimes it only takes a little research online for you to find out that a certain church is tied with the emergent movement or other heresies.


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Oracio

 2013/9/19 13:56Profile
KingJimmy
Member



Joined: 2003/5/8
Posts: 4419
Charlotte, NC

 Re:

I agree there is a cultural dynamic at play. Personally speaking, I think it would be harder to convince somebody in America to come to a smaller house-church type function. Especially shy people who don't like being the new person and just want to "hide." At my former church all 3 small groups I oversaw met in more public places in an attempt to bridge the gap. We met at a Panera Bread, a coffee shop, and a Taco Bell.

Now going to a new church and interjecting myself into the life of their small groups, I have to admit, I felt a little apprehensiveness in myself going to a strange persons home to meet in a small group. Even though I was with my fiance, and there were about a dozen other people there, it felt a little awkward to say the least.

Elevation is a pretty solid church. It's definitely a bit scripted and has a commercial/performance feel to the main services. Our worship services are like having a Hillsong United concert every Sunday. But while there I've just picked up that the pastors and volunteers are simply striving for excellence in everything they do to the best of their ability.

Pastor Steven Furtick never fails to bring a very dynamic and engaging message that hits home to a lot of people. Especially 20 & 30 somethings. He doesn't preach "hard," but the more I've listened to him, the more I've realized he speaks with so much grace that he doesn't really need to. The word still cuts just the same.

I've definitely seen some people whom I've known for years have their lives changed. One guy in particular, who I was in Student Government with in college. He was the president of the college and something of a "man-whore." But in the last year or so he's got plugged in at Elevation, and slowly but surely God's been working on him, and I've seen his life transform. He got baptized a couple weeks ago. Powerful stuff.

Check some of Steven Furticks sermons online. I don't think they'll fail to disappoint. Which is something... I was really prepared to dislike him from before I even visited the church. But I've seen God speaking through him the more I listen. He always leaves you wanting more. And every Sunday, there is always 2 long lines wrapped around the church building with people who just can't wait to get in. Every service is filled. We have a service on Saturday night, 2 on Sunday morning, and 1 on Sunday night. I've never been to a service at any time where there wasn't a line of people waiting to get in.


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Jimmy H

 2013/9/19 14:03Profile





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