Why I am attracted to the idea of a house church?

If you have known me for any length of time you may already know this but I didn’t grow up going to a church.  It was never part of my life and so it isn’t habitual for me to get up and go to a building which may be one reason that the change is easier for me but as to why I was attracted to it in the first place I had to think about that for a while and I think I have come up with some reasons.           

            When I first became a Christian it wasn’t through a church like many people did, I was at a campus life event and God saved me using just one man, who was also not involved in a church.  I began my discipleship by driving to his home and spending time with his family and learning from his life.

            Even looking back at the “Bricks” that have built my life most of them are from outside of a church context.  Even Dave Diyanni who was my pastor for years taught me the best lessons outside of the pulpit. 

            When I was young in the faith God brought two close friends into my life that helped me to grow, we sharpened one another as brothers are supposed to and I believe we all benefited from it as a result, although we all went to different churches.  I would rather have a handful of true family in the Lord than five hundred people that really aren’t close to me.  The Bible gives us many things that we are to do to and with “one another” and it is very difficult to do that in a group larger than twelve or so.  Sure it is easier to hide out in a small group.  It is easier to go to a mega church and feel like you are doing the “right” thing without developing your relationship with your brothers and sisters or even with God.  But in a small group it is much more difficult to hide or to remain the same. 

            Historically it can be argued that the first century churches were house churches and we didn’t have large building until 400 years after Christ when Constantine made Christianity the official Church of Rome and created a theocracy.  House churches were even made illegal at this time; if you weren’t meeting in the “Christian Temples” you were committing heresy.  Luther brought about the first Reformation by reforming the doctrines of that churches grand children but I am beginning to believe it is time to reform their structure by getting back to a more organic church, the house church, simple church what ever you want to call it

We are the church for anybody but no the church for everybody.

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3 responses to “Why I am attracted to the idea of a house church?”

  1. To start lets make sure we are on the same page when we say “the church”. I assume the following – please correct me where I am wrong:

    Church – any group of believers that meet regularly for corporate worship, preaching, and teaching – not the building they met in, but also not the universal body of Christ. I am aware that this definition may well include your house church – so please point out the differences (possibly in a future blog?). When does a house church become a regular church? Is it at 10 or 20 or 30 people? Is it when the pastor doesn’t live in the building where worship services occur?

    Moving on – You seem to attribute things done by Christians outside of a church building as independent from the church. Maybe that campus event wasn’t part of a particular church, maybe the guy that lead you to the LORD wasn’t involved at a church when that event took place, but would those events or those people in your life have been there had it not been for the church as defined above?

    Also, when you say things like “I would rather have a handful of true family in the Lord than five hundred people that really aren’t close to me”, it seems like you devalue the 500 people getting together. Don’t both have equal functions in the Kingdom? Your personal life may be better served by the two or three, but what of the community? You and I together had many challenging conversations, but we never opened a food pantry and fed the hungry homeless in our own communities – the churches I have been a member of have. I believe the churches you have been a member of have also had many community outreaches that would not have been accomplished by the two or three friends.

    And what about the finding and building of relationship with those two or three ‘true family in the Lord’? Was it not at a church that you and I met? It might well be impossible to become close to 500 but finding the two or three is more likely when you are surrounded by 500 like minded believers every week.

    Lastly and in my mind least important – you say that we didn’t have a building for the 400 years after Christ. Could you site your sources on that?

  2. You start with a mis conception, my idea of a house church is not one in which you will have a building. When you are to large for a house you split into two independent units lead by those who have been trained to do the work of the ministry.

    I don’t believe I can directly attribute things done outside of the traditional church model to the that traditional church model, although they are of course attributed to the universal church which is all believers.

    There is nothing wrong with being a part of something larger, but I wouldn’t say that 500 people meeting together every week is as valuable as those smaller groups that actually take care of one another. Why not a group of house churches that feed those hungry around them every week as part of their fellowship. Why does it have to be a pantry, in fact with the lower overhead you have much more money to do the work of the ministry.

    For the most part Christianity was illegal in the world until Constantine. They occasionally went to the temple but were normally kicked out. The Bible tells us that churches met in homes, but doesn’t tell us of a new temple. The sourse is “Houses that change the world” by Wolfgang Simpson.

  3. Dale,

    Church as referred to in modern days does represent a place where people gather. Actually even in older days, but it was referred to then as the temple. The purpose of the temple was to house the spirit of G-d. It is where sacrafices were offered, incense was burned and a place people came to pray and to be read to from the scriptures.

    Since then, the veil that kept the spirit of G-d separated from man has been ripped and His spirit now dwells in all of us. “Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.” Also, we were to pray for the Holy Ghost – He is supposed to teach us all things, not a priest. True, we should have spiritual fathers, but we are not to depend on them for everything. There are several references to this in Luke, John and Timothy. Sacrafices no longer need to be offered, Jesus finished that on calvary.

    So what is the purpose of a temple if it has no purpose? I mean the physical building? A place to gather? What are parks for? The same thing, right? What are hotel conference rooms for? The same thing right? Why build a building? To create a place everyone comes. To house the “church”? I say be the church. I say go out and preach the gospel, not gather here and preach the gospel. I say we should all stop following along with a concept that G-d has done away with by the new covenant and the giving of his Holy Spirit.

    And just to point out, Jason’s salvation had nothing to do with a church building. It had to do with divine intervention on G-d’s behalf and Jesus’ sacrafice on calvary. G-d will use whatever means necessary to reach people. We see it all the time.

    Meeting people isn’t tough, sharing is. Everyone should stop being so selfish with their lives and start sharing them. It’s not so hard to meet people. But we’re so used to harboring ourselves up in one club or another and not talking to anyone who doesn’t bear our crest of allegiance. It’s silly. I meet people all the time and have a huge pool of people to share my life with. Jesus shared with anyone. Even Samaritans! We are Christians, aren’t we? Christ-like?

    In regard to feeding the hungry, start sharing your life with people and you will find the hungry, the needy and the sick. Feed them, help them and pray for them. You don’t have to build a building, put a sign on it and list in the phone directory to feed hungry people.

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