| Re: |
My BIL and sister in Missouri started one after they had lived there trying to find a suitable congregation to settle in with.
What started as 11 is now over 60 and last heard, they borrowed an old school house.
Miccah and Matt,
Good points and i agree to a certain extent -->(as the first church began on a portico with 120, not 10-15).
Following sure of our weakness and more sure of His strength) in prayer, scripture, and worship -(instead of leading)- seems to be the major key.
Where we currently attend, this is the way it happens.
Is there something i'm missing because we are not (currently) part of a house church? Is the form of such an imperative nature that nothing else is valid or useful. I mean, God works and does as He pleases and as long as we go along with His lead, what can end wrong?
i could care less how few or many are with us as long as we have Jesus and His clear message.
| 2010/7/24 0:24|
| Re: |
"I mean, God works and does as He pleases and as long as we go along with His lead, what can end wrong?"
You hit the nail on the head. As long as we follow His lead, what can go wrong?
Romans 8:31 (NKJV)
"What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?"
| 2010/7/24 0:41||Profile|
| Re: |
Dear narrowpath, you're welcome. I'm glad to hear it was edifying to you.
| 2010/7/24 3:27||Profile|
| Re: |
Dear Phanetheus, thanks for the feedback. You made some good points.
"House churches in the NT were as a neccesity and not as a standard. (How do you fit 30+ into a house when the Lord adds to your number...and if He doesn't, something is not right somewhere in the congregation.)
Look at the first church in Acts.
They met on Solomon's porch, and to be perfectly honest, how do you fit 8000 men + families into a house?"
In Acts 2:46 we read, "And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts"
And Acts 5:42 says, "And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ."
From these verses in Acts we do see that the very first Christians met in Solomon's Porch at the Temple. But they also met in homes at the same time. We see that they met in Solomon's Porch to hear apostolic teaching and preaching. But they also met in homes for that.
Another reason for them meeting in Solomon's Porch was for evangelistic outreach. Remember, the Temple was run by the Pharisees and Saducees, not by Christians. So this would have provided them much evangelistic opportunity.
However, one thing they did not do in Solomon's Porch is celebrate the Lord's Supper. That was done in homes. Also, the kind of church meeting described in 1Cor.14:26-36 was not held at the Temple with all that many people present. It was impossible. Why? Because that kind of meeting was to be open, interactive and participatory. You could not have that kind of meeting with 3000 plus believers.
The Temple meetings had their place for good things to be accomplished there, but it was not to be where Christians meet for their regular church meetings. My question to you at this point would be, 'How could you have the kind of meeting described in 1Cor.14:26-33 in a large setting of 3000 people?' Its impossible. That is one of the primary reasons they were broken up into house churches of smaller size. It only makes sense. Lengthy teachings and preachings done by one person had their place in certain large settings, but not in the regular Sunday church meetings. So your premise that the first church only met in Solomon's Porch is incorrect, with all due respect, for we see clearly that they met in homes at the exact same time.
You also wrote:
" Thing is, when house churches are making disciples, they do not stay that small that long and outgrow the house capacity.
(This has been seldom been seen to happen.)
Anything else is lopsided.
If a house church is doing their job, they will not remain a house church"
I agree that a healthy house church will be making more and more disciples. But that does not mean they should therefore get a bigger building with all the expenses that come along with it. The early church had networks of house churches. As they grew in numbers of disciples, they grew in numbers of house churches. And as the article points out, it was in this setting that they turned their world upside down. If they did that back then, we can do it now by God's grace.
You also wrote:
"Is there something i'm missing because we are not (currently) part of a house church? Is the form of such an imperative nature that nothing else is valid or useful. I mean, God works and does as He pleases and as long as we go along with His lead, what can end wrong?
i could care less how few or many are with us as long as we have Jesus and His clear message"
I would say that most Christians are missing the biblical pattern, and the biblical principles of what church meetings should be like.
But that is not to say one cannot be blessed in many ways being part of a healthy traditional church, especially if they encourage home bible studies or cell groups.
But the thing that is missing even in these types of smaller groups is the open, interactive participation prescribed in 1Cor14. Church meetings were not intended to have just one person who does all the speaking or sharing.
Now suppose a traditional church only has meetings once or twice a week and in those meetings there are large crowds of people who for the most part do not know each other. And suppose there is no encouragement to meet in smaller groups. This to me is a tragic thing indeed. It creates an individualistic Christianity where everyone fends for themselves and there is no accountability, fellowship, or looking out for each other.
Brethren, this ought not to be. And from what I've seen it seems that this describes the vast majority of evangelical churches in the west.
Another disadvantage of bigger traditional churches is in the cost of buying and maintaining the buildings. There is so much of God's money unwisely spent in this way and so little going toward the real work of God, such as evangelism/missions, feeding and clothing the poor and widows and orphans.
And there is much more that can be said, but I'll get off the soap box for now because its very late here and I'm tired. Blessings.
| 2010/7/24 5:01||Profile|
This world is not my home anymore.
| Re: small house churches|
My personal belief is that any one who chooses to teach or preach the Word of God in love and in deed will not have to worry about growing beyond a house because not many want just that.
My pastors from years ago started in their barn and then moved to a small house they gutted. The Lord told them to NOT set their eyes on numbers but that people would come for the help they needed and when they got they would return to their church.
They were instructed to "Go out into the country and teach a few people My ways." And they obeyed the Lord in that instruction.
And that is why in my first paragraph I stated why I believe that if someone teaches what the Lord wants to teach each and every time, not many want to go along for THAT ride!! (huge grin)
| 2010/7/24 10:54||Profile|
| Re: |
Brothers, I am very sympathetic to the house church movement. But I must say, I personally see examples of both in the New Testament, small gatherings and larger assemblies. And I think if we read the Bible with an open mind and heart, as much as I am a fan of open-participatory meetings, it seems the larger services were "run" (for lack of a better term) by those who were more seasoned in the faith. And I think while those who are younger in the faith should feel free in the Spirit to participate in an assembly, honor should be given to those who are older in the faith, especially those who we recognize as apostles, prophets, and teachers.
| 2010/7/24 11:57||Profile|
| Re: |
the title to the thread is "eight scriptural reasons for house churches". I didn't see eight, in fact I didn't see one. this is not said to argue against house churches. I am always lost when we add any other words to the spiritual body called the church. House church,
Building Church........ where is that?
| 2010/7/24 12:39||Profile|
| Re: The true model.|
In general, I think it seems to be the most pragmatic structure to facilitate an equality and reality for Spiritual meetings to function. However, I have never seen one endure for very long, producing good fruit. [My observation only.]
If we believe that the Holy Spirit has given all gifts and functions, then we must have a vehicle that would allow it, and the small home meeting seems to have the most possibility for real transparency. You can remove the church from religion, but it is much more difficult to remove religion from people. Often, it can be a smaller model of the very thing we think we are fleeing; but a bit more homey.
As has been said, only God can build the house, if it is true. As the age we are in is barreling toward closure, I see isolated home meetings arise out of necessity; the day that is comong when we really value our believing brothers and sisters, to lay our lives down for them.
| 2010/7/24 12:43|
| Re: |
I appreciate all the replies so far brothers, very good feedback.
Brother KingJimmy, you wrote:
"Brothers, I am very sympathetic to the house church movement. But I must say, I personally see examples of both in the New Testament, small gatherings and larger assemblies. And I think if we read the Bible with an open mind and heart, as much as I am a fan of open-participatory meetings, it seems the larger services were "run" (for lack of a better term) by those who were more seasoned in the faith. And I think while those who are younger in the faith should feel free in the Spirit to participate in an assembly, honor should be given to those who are older in the faith, especially those who we recognize as apostles, prophets, and teachers."
I think your assesment there is very well-balanced Scripturally. I agree almost completely. The only thing I would disagree with is in viewing the larger meetings as acceptable in terms of the regular gathering of the saints.
I believe there is more biblical evidence supporting the smaller, open participatory meetings as the primary gathering of believers, and viewing the larger meetings as "secondary". Yet today this is completely reversed in traditional churches. The larger gatherings are primary, while the smaller gatherings are not important or necessary to the spiritual life of the church. I believe this reversal has had huge ramifications on the Body in general.
I am convinced we need to get back to the New Testament pattern in order to see a better expression of the Body.
BrotherTom, you wrote:
"In general, I think it seems to be the most pragmatic structure to facilitate an equality and reality for Spiritual meetings to function. However, I have never seen one endure for very long, producing good fruit. [My observation only.]"
I agree. Probably most home churches that start do not last that long. I have been part of those types, and there are a few primary reasons for that. However, I do know of some that have lasted 20 plus years and have grown into networks of house churches in the same region. A good example of these are the ones planted by the brother who wrote the article I posted, Steve Atkerson. From what I understand there are about 4-5 which have grown from the first one he planted.
The best example of healthy house churches I can think of are the underground churches in China. From what I've heard and read, they have been experiencing revival for many years through their house churches. I would encourage the brethren to look for articles on the Chinese house church. I think there are some on this site. One of their leaders said they have been living in the book of Acts for years, in terms of many coming to the Lord, intimacy among the brethren, and seeing signs and wonders by the hand of God, etc. I recall there is a good sermon by Denny Kennaston on the Chinese church, in which he retells an interview he did with a few of their leaders.
Yet one interesting thing about the house churches of China is that they have been under heavy persecution by the government, and it seems that that has played a big part in them being so on fire for the Lord. Maybe sometimes thats what's needed. And maybe it will come down to that being needed in the west. And once it does come, we will have no choice but to meet in homes. My argument is, 'why not start now?'
BrotherTom, you also wrote:
"You can remove the church from religion, but it is much more difficult to remove religion from people. Often, it can be a smaller model of the very thing we think we are fleeing; but a bit more homey."
Very true. I have heard of house churches having the same format as a traditional church, with no open participation being allowed. And that is the exact thing I and most in the house church movement argue against.
Bottom line for me here is this: I think one of the strongest, if not thee strongest Scriptural arguments for house churches is based on the issue of open, interactive participatory meetings. These kind of meetings were the norm in the early church. Yet we have almost completely forsaken that biblical prescription.
| 2010/7/24 20:28||Profile|
| Re: |
Reading through these posts, one thought keeps popping into this head:
If house churches were the eventual standard norm, which eventually led further to living in catacombs, mountains, caves, etc...
Why is there no persecution now?
Godliness is sadly lacking.
Recalling Brother Yun's China home-church testimonies, there are big chuches out in the open that government leaves alone...and are not doing much but detracting from the kingdom of God.
How is North America so different, if not worse?
i somehow equate home-churching with hiding, especially saying that this is a good way to prepare for persecution compared to Jesus saying "let your light so shine before men."
i continue to pray for persecution that joy may be fuller realized in all our lives. Still, godliness (to what degree) is key to the advent of this.
Some are prolly saying this one's a lamb just looking for slaughter; but, in truth, it is the quest for more godliness amongst us all.
Changing the format might build smaller communities, but is this the initial 'one accord' mentioned in Acts?
Anathema: in the (Non-Messianic) Judaic comunity did not just mean cursed to eternal damnation; but because of this pronouncement, nobody of the Synagogue or Temple is to have anything what-so-ever to do with them because of this--->no familial, social, or commercial connections at all.
It was when the first church was pronounced 'anathema' that they were forced from meeting on Solomon's porch, did they meet and eat together and truly shared all things in common.
Will meeting in house churches bring a more vibrant faithfulness to God in "let(ting) your light so shine before men?"
Isn't that jumping the gun a bit, and rather than bringing persecution through the presence of Christ manifest through us, one step closer to aversion from it? Is this lifting up Jesus before all men?
I say, let the hogs and dogs come and try to do whatever they think they can. Some might be allowed by God to take our lives, but they shall never have our souls.
There is a time and a place for house-churches, but is that now?
12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.
14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them...
II Tim. 3:12-14
| 2010/7/24 23:25|