"Statistic: U.S. House Church Movement Bigger than 2nd Largest
-by Jim Rutz, WorldNetDaily.
The little guy is back. For the first time in 1,700 years, simple
churches meeting in homes are once again a factor in human events.
In many countries, they're booming so strongly that critics and
opponents can no longer brush them aside as a fringe movement.
And as I documented repeatedly in "Megashift," home churches
are producing millions of proactive Christians who now and then
perform miracles (though the credit ultimately belongs to God, of course).
But this week, even I was shocked to discover how big our house
church community in North America really is. Briefly stated, we're
right about halfway between the Catholic Church and the Southern
Baptist Convention (which is the second-largest denomination in the U.S.).
OK now, let's inhale. I'm stunned, too. This really is starting to
alter the landscape for all of us.
Let me state up front: These are solid numbers. George Barna,
the leading U.S. church pollster and perhaps the most widely
quoted Christian leader in America, is the author of the figures
below. They are based on a full-on, four-month scientific survey of
5,013 adults, including 663 blacks, 631 hispanics, 676 liberals
and 1,608 conservatives.
Nobody argues with numbers from The Barna Group. They employ
all the professional safeguards to ensure tight results in this
case, a sampling error of +/-1.8 percent. Here are the results
stated in five ways:
* In a typical week, 9 percent of U.S. adults attend a house church.
* In absolute numbers, that 9 percent equals roughly 20 million people.
* In a typical month, about 43 million U.S. adults attend a house church.
* All told, 70 million U.S. adults have at least experimented with
participation in a house church.
* Focusing only on those who attend some kind of church
(which I recall is about 43 percent of us), 74 percent of them
attend only a traditional church, 19 percent attend both a
traditional and a house church, and 5 percent are hard-core
house church folks.
The study counted only attendance at house churches, not small
groups ("cells") that are part of a traditional church.
Please don't think of the house church as a new fad. For the first
300 years of Christianity, house churches were the norm. In fact,
church buildings were quite rare until the fourth century, when the
power-hungry Roman Emperor Constantine suddenly outlawed
house church meetings, began erecting church buildings with
Roman tax money, and issued a decree that all should join his
Catholic Church. If you want to stick to a biblical model, the house
church is your only choice.
In China, the world's largest church (120 million) is 90 percent
based in homes. The cover story in this week's World magazine
(June 24) is on how Christian business leaders in China are
beginning to change the whole situation in that country. Yes, even
while Christians in many provinces are hunted down and tortured,
CEOs of corporations in areas with freedom are changing the way
government looks at Christianity. That is major.
Bottom line: Worldwide, the original church is back, re-creating
the biblical model: "Day after day, they met by common consent
in the Temple Courts and broke bread from house to house."
(Acts 2:46) God is again pouring out His power on plain folks,
bringing a megashift not in our doctrine, but in our entire lifestyle.
The Barna report linked to Jim Rutz's article says, "... of those
who attend a house church, 27% attend on a weekly basis, 30%
attend one to three times per month, and 43% attend less than
once a month." It acknowledges, "The data in this report are
based on interviews with 5013 adults from across the nation."
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon