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Buzzword
Jun 11th 2008, 01:41 AM
Guess this would fit under "Evangelism".

Recently, I've recieved emails from a friend from my former college, describing radical experiences with God she and her church has had....by moving out of the church building.

Basically, a few months ago the pastor had a witnessing opportunity go under, because the person was not willing to 1) enter a church building (past issues) and 2) sit there and be "preached" to, without any chance to discuss or ask questions.

Apparently, God moved in the pastor's heart to do something about both.

After discussing it with members of the church staff and through them with the church body, the pastor decided to take a chance:
Set up a month's worth of church, all of it taking place outside of and away from the church building.

Church members all met with their sunday school classes three times a week, each time in a different member's home, to pray and praise God and discuss, with the children taken to a park and supervised by their sunday school teachers and nursery staff.

At first it was limited to church members, but soon God began moving.
Soon people were coming to the group meetings with two, three, four guests each, all of them seeking truth, all with questions and concerns of their own.

At the end of the month, each group turned in tallies of their attendance to the pastor. The numbers were astronomical.
If the group attendance could be treated as "church membership," the size of the church body had more than doubled, as people were able to voice their questions and concerns in a loving, caring environment....something that would have been impossible in a traditional church service.

The Spirit of God was so prevalent that when the pastor called everyone back to the church building on the next Sunday night, he literally had nothing to say. The evening was spent listening to people who had come from outside the church (or Christianity) telling their stories, praising God for bringing to this community.


That was two months ago. Since then, the church has moved almost exclusively to homes, meeting in the church sanctuary once a month for mass prayer, thanksgiving, testimonies, and business meetings.

Apparently, word has gotten out on how God has worked in them, and churches around the country are moving into home-based, discussion-based meetings.


This seems like an amazing new movement...oh, wait. It's not new. :D
Even more amazing: it is a great return to how the first Christians met together.

Athanasius
Jun 11th 2008, 02:00 AM
To get it out of the way: success isn't always a measure of God's blessing on a movement.
But with that said...
If God is moving in home based churches, great!
If God is moving in 'traditional' churches, great!

Anything you do at a 'home church' you can do in a 'traditional church' and vice-versa. Any of the problems that arise in a 'traditional church' can arise in a 'home church'. Seems to me that the problem lies with the people, not with where these people are meeting. If a home church fills that need then great. Otherwise I don't see a problem with either 'church building'.

Now I will say that house churches have a great tendency to fracture and form because someone disagrees with one or two doctrines out of the lot of them.

MidnightsPaleGlow
Jun 11th 2008, 02:03 AM
I was actually thinking about starting a house church in the wake of doctrinal disagreements that I have with a lot of the established churches. For example, I currently belong to a Church of Christ congregation, I agree with their NOSAS, plus the use of vocal music during worship and weekly communion, but strongly disagree with their view on baptism (regenerates). Because of my view of baptism as being symbolic and not a part of salvation, that would in a way make me a Baptist, but I strongly disagree with the Baptists on OSAS. That's what led me to the idea of a house church, I just gotta find some other people, basically, it will affirm all the core doctrines (Virgin Birth, Deity of Christ, Substitutionary Atonement, Bodily Resurrection, Second Coming, Trinity, Salvation by Grace through Faith, Scriptural Inerrancy, etc.) and the secondary doctrines will be as follows: Weekly Lord's Supper, Vocal Music, Baptism by Immersion only (no regenerationism involved in it), Periodic Feet Washing (Maybe, unless somebody has really BAD smelling feet :rofl:), NOSAS, I view it as a perfect middle ground. House churches are apparently becoming more popular these days.

Buzzword
Jun 11th 2008, 04:09 AM
I was actually thinking about starting a house church in the wake of doctrinal disagreements that I have with a lot of the established churches. For example, I currently belong to a Church of Christ congregation, I agree with their NOSAS, plus the use of vocal music during worship and weekly communion, but strongly disagree with their view on baptism (regenerates). Because of my view of baptism as being symbolic and not a part of salvation, that would in a way make me a Baptist, but I strongly disagree with the Baptists on OSAS. That's what led me to the idea of a house church, I just gotta find some other people, basically, it will affirm all the core doctrines (Virgin Birth, Deity of Christ, Substitutionary Atonement, Bodily Resurrection, Second Coming, Trinity, Salvation by Grace through Faith, Scriptural Inerrancy, etc.) and the secondary doctrines will be as follows: Weekly Lord's Supper, Vocal Music, Baptism by Immersion only (no regenerationism involved in it), Periodic Feet Washing (Maybe, unless somebody has really BAD smelling feet :rofl:), NOSAS, I view it as a perfect middle ground. House churches are apparently becoming more popular these days.

While house churches or small group discussions can be a very edifying experience, I think it's unrealistic to expect that you'll be able to find a group who ALL agree with you on EVERYTHING.

It might be better to look for a group that is okay with differences of opinion, while all can focus on prayer and worship and doing God's will...without letting their differences keep them from working together.

That's what I've had to do while searching for a new church home.

Rebelnote
Jun 11th 2008, 05:37 AM
Home Churches are awesome! My parents started a home church and that was our church for quite a few years, and it was one of the most edifying experiences I've had in a church.
Unfortunately it did cause a rift with all the other churches in the area because we met on Wed. nights, the same night most churches had their Bible studies, so none of the pastors were able to "check us out."
Then the Pastor's Association meeting decided that we were a cult, and would not permit us to partake in any community events sponsored by the PA.
It took me quite a few years to attend a traditional church after that.

daughter
Jun 11th 2008, 08:11 AM
I've been horribly disappointed with a home church that I'd been part of until recently. It started off okay... but seems to be degenerating into a clique. Turns out the "leader" doesn't believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, or that sin is real, and thinks that the Holy Spirit is available to all flesh, regardless of whether they're Christian or not... what finally did it for me was when I saw they had a tarot card deck based on the life of Jesus. They are so desperate to be culturally relevant that they've accepted bit of any old doctrine.

Any church can be full of the Spirit, or it can be full of deception, whether it's around someone's kitchen table, or in a church building. I wish there were more churches that are spirit filled. I wish churches would meet up at the bandstand in the park, or cafes, etc...
But more than anything I wish people would remember Who Church is all about.

sojourner52
Jun 11th 2008, 01:05 PM
I am 55 years old.

I have been a believer since I was a small child and have been to lots of different kinds of churches. even when my parents didnt go to church, I would find a way to go - either walking or going with a friend.

I have also been in home groups made up of believers from different churches and "seekers."

I have been to bible studies both in church and out.

I have been disappointed, hurt, appalled and blessed.

What I have concluded - the church is the body of Christ. period.

with all kinds of people, all levels of understanding, various stages of development, all carrying baggage, not one has yet attained to perfection.

if we go to a church looking for our own satisfaction, we will always be frustrated.

if the church has sound doctrine, that is the most important thing to me.

I look for opportunities to minister, which is what I believe christians ought to be doing.

I teach the children - churches never seem to have enough sunday school teachers! but what a great opportunity to reach them while they are young and get them grounded.

I love and learn to love people who are not like myself. that is a tremendous blessing. there are some beautiful fascinating people in the body of Christ who get overlooked because they dont draw attention to themselves.

I grow along with these people, because I realize I am nobody special. it is not about me. it is about CHRIST.

churches are popping up all over the place. most are started by dissatisfied people. people who want it a certain way. they will have splits in those churches, too!

each of us just have to realize Who is supposed to be in control and let Him lead.

grptinHisHand
Jun 11th 2008, 01:11 PM
"each of us just have to realize Who is supposed to be in control and let Him lead."

And I say Amen! to that.
g

Buzzword
Jun 11th 2008, 02:28 PM
I am 55 years old.

I have been a believer since I was a small child and have been to lots of different kinds of churches. even when my parents didnt go to church, I would find a way to go - either walking or going with a friend.

I have also been in home groups made up of believers from different churches and "seekers."

I have been to bible studies both in church and out.

I have been disappointed, hurt, appalled and blessed.

What I have concluded - the church is the body of Christ. period.

with all kinds of people, all levels of understanding, various stages of development, all carrying baggage, not one has yet attained to perfection.

if we go to a church looking for our own satisfaction, we will always be frustrated.

if the church has sound doctrine, that is the most important thing to me.

I look for opportunities to minister, which is what I believe christians ought to be doing.

I teach the children - churches never seem to have enough sunday school teachers! but what a great opportunity to reach them while they are young and get them grounded.

I love and learn to love people who are not like myself. that is a tremendous blessing. there are some beautiful fascinating people in the body of Christ who get overlooked because they dont draw attention to themselves.

I grow along with these people, because I realize I am nobody special. it is not about me. it is about CHRIST.

churches are popping up all over the place. most are started by dissatisfied people. people who want it a certain way. they will have splits in those churches, too!

each of us just have to realize Who is supposed to be in control and let Him lead.

Agreed.
Too many people are trying to apply capitalism to finding a church home.
Trying to "get the best deal" and find the church that they can GET the most out of....instead of the one where they can GIVE the most.

Jollyrogers
Jun 11th 2008, 03:08 PM
Home Churches, Isn't that where it really started. From the time of Acts until shortly after Constatine's Edict of toleration that is how the church existed. I think that historically and biblically it is allowable. It has also existed all thru history in areas that are under heavy persecution. SOme modern day examples are China & North Korea today. Some may have unsound doctrine in them but so do some of the mainstream churches and so did some of the ones in the 1st century. We should test everything with the word weather it is a small church or a mega church.

On another note, I personally believe that eventually the real church will be run underground and back into the houses. J. Vernon McGee made that prediction years ago and with what I see going on in the world I agree with him. Look at the case in Canada, http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=66704


Government to pastor: Renounce your faith!

A Canadian human rights tribunal ordered a Christian pastor to renounce his faith and never again express moral opposition to homosexuality, according to a new report.
In a decision dated May 30 in the penalty phase of the quasi-judicial proceedings run by the Alberta Human Rights Tribunal, (http://www.albertahumanrights.ab.ca/about/contact.asp) evangelical pastor Stephen Boisson was banned from expressing his biblical perspective of homosexuality and ordered to pay $5,000 for "damages for pain and suffering" as well as apologize to the activist who complained of being hurt.


The world does not want to hear the message of the bible. As long as a pastor is willing to give the "Politically correct message" noone has a problem but when someone teaches what the bible says the people/goverment steps in to silence them. Eventually those who hold to the inerrant word of God (It says what it means and means what it says) will be pushed out of the mainstream churches by those wanting to please the public and not "Offend" anyone. Considering all this I have no problem with the house church as long as it teaches sound doctrine. ;)

crawfish
Jun 11th 2008, 05:15 PM
My church uses the concept of small groups in this same way. Essentially, we have the weekend service, but members meet in small groups in people's homes during the week (which day doesn't matter). The church offers materials (usually on DVD), but regards it as ok if the group wants to engage in other discussions.

This is becoming prevalent in some very large evangelical churches where people have some difficulties "plugging in". It provides a good mix of resources vs. personal connection. We are just now starting and participation is very good. The church even offers to match charitable expenses (up to $1000) if the group decides to donate time and/or money to some worthy cause.

I like the idea of home churches, except you lose some of the ability to reach the general population, and some connection with people outside your immediate area.

FollowTheBanner
Jun 11th 2008, 10:13 PM
I can see the value in both home and traditional churches. To me, it's right as long there are saints are gathering in the presence of the Lord. I think Crawfish's church has the best of both worlds.

DeadtoSin
Jun 11th 2008, 11:23 PM
I love my 'traditional church', but sometimes I wish I could have an experience that was more involved for everyone. I think that home churches are wonderful ideas, and there is certainly nothing wrong with such a thing. I may bring up the idea of splitting our church up into groups of 10 or so and meeting twice a month aside from sunday/wednesday for a 'home church' meeting.

pastor_chris
Jun 12th 2008, 11:38 AM
For the original post, is the simple fact of shaking up the status quo enough to cause such a difference and launch a church into a new life cycle?

Is it a wave that will run out of steam until the next shake up?

I admire the pastor's courage to shake things up, get people out of their comfort zone, and as a result the people responded -- more invitations, more guests, and implied more spiritual growth.

House churches have their challenges, as do churches that meet in traditional buildings. Each has their strengths.

Daughter pointed out how it can go wrong, some of you can probably point out how well its working.

The point is, Who is being exlated.

Chris.

Slug1
Jun 12th 2008, 11:47 AM
Our church does something similar. One day a week our pastor will hold church at a persons house. Each week he asks who wants to be next and he's been doing it for about 2 months now. Tonight we go over to one of our friends to attend for the first time on one of these nights. Should prove to be rewarding as there has been only positive results from this ministry.

We hold our regularly scheduled services at the church but this one day a week in the home is in addition to the normal services and is a nice way to reach out as other friends and even neighbors can be invited.

MidnightsPaleGlow
Jun 15th 2008, 03:38 AM
I got one family on board for my idea of a home church, I just gotta find some more people (and a name). Because that family I got on board comes from a Pentecostal/Charismatic background, I see nothing wrong with incorporating a Charismatic element into it, it may not be all about speaking in tongues, but emphasizing other spiritual gifts that each member may possess (ministry, etc.). So it would be a combination of Charismatic and Restorationist philosophy. I don't think we're gonna incorporate the feet washing though, the thought of washing someone else's rancid feet makes me wanna barf :lol: :blush:.

sojourner52
Jun 15th 2008, 07:43 PM
I'd rather wash someone's feet than get involved with "restorationism."

washing someone's feet takes humility.

there are so many self proclaimed "prophets and apostles" today.

is that humility? (or even truth)

MidnightsPaleGlow
Jun 16th 2008, 01:24 AM
I'd rather wash someone's feet than get involved with "restorationism."

By restorationism, I mean meeting exclusively in members houses like the early church did.

Athanasius
Jun 16th 2008, 02:46 AM
I really don't understand why people think "early church = proper".
Not everything they did was the way to do things.

a sojourner
Jun 16th 2008, 03:37 AM
I am not very old. In fact, in the grand scheme of things, I am quite young. But I have been to quite a few churches, and though I have only really been an active part in a few, they have each had significant differences with one another.

I like conversations about how church should really look, because I think that it is a valuable topic. I am not sure why, (perhaps it is just getting late) but I am feeling somewhat vulnerable. So, I thought that I would share a bit about my journey that may be relevant.

When I first received the Holy Spirit, I began hungrily seeking the Lord wherever I thought I might find Him. Unfortunately, I didn't really know where to start. So, beginning the next day, I began attending a different church nearly every night of the week. It looked a little bit like this:

Monday - Episcopalian prayer night
Tuesday - Charismatic church that sprouted from the Toronto stuff
Wednesday - Youth group at a Wheaton Covenant church
Thursday - Song of Solomon teaching night at the local House of Prayer
Friday - Worship night at the House of Prayer
Saturday - I think I took this day off...
Sunday - Church service at the Covenant church.

So I went from a place where the pastor wore a traditional robe, to a place where they kept trying to push me over when I went up for prayer, to a small gathering of young people who really didn't know much beyond the four walls of the room, etc.

After a while, the majority of my time began to be spent at one particular place. It was a small ministry, and we would meet on Friday nights for prayer and worship. I liked it because if felt more interactive than the standard 'preacher stands and preaches, I sit and listen' format. I was probably 20 years the junior of the nearest to me in age. The ministry struggled perpetually with finances, attendance, and leadership. I felt a connection there, but began feeling pressure to join up full time and step into a leadership role. I had a particular gift that they lacked, (music) and they wanted me to use it during our corporate gatherings. This was about three months after I accepted the Lord, and I knew nothing about the Word, nothing about leadership. I didn't even know the words to the songs they wanted me to sing. I declined their invitation.

After this I found a place that I could commit to, and did so for about four years. I learned a lot, and much of how I approach the scriptures and the Lord Himself was formed during this period. I met my wife. Unfortunately, my wife and I could never really find a place to fit in there. There was very little there for a man who worked full time - it was geared more toward those who could live almost as missionaries and commit large amounts of time to ministry activities each day. This made it difficult to form lasting friendships with people.

After this, I (accidently, but still very foolishly) got sucked into a particular group of people's ideas about what church and the Christian life should look like. There was lots of excitement and a few big promises - it looked like it would have all of the things we lacked at the time. This involved a house church type of situation, along with frequent prayer gatherings.

This turned out to be a very big mistake. To make a very long story short, I moved my family across the country, and ended up in a situation where we were being influenced on a daily basis by a woman who (as became clear quickly) was dangerously unstable, and perhaps an honest-to-goodness false prophet.

Once we realized what we had gotten ourselves into, my wife and I quickly packed up and got the heck out of there. Out of the state, actually. In the months that followed, it sometimes didn't feel far enough.

Now I am back in the area that I grew up in, and my family and I are hesitant to begin looking for a new church home. I am tempted to find the most basic, boring, old-fashioned evangelical church I can, just so that my wife and I can let our guard down for a few minutes and worship the Lord.

I used to be a huge advocate of small, energetic house churches. Then I thought that large, multi-faceted missions bases were the way to go. Now, I really just don't care. All that I require in a church, is that they A) love Jesus, B) love neither money nor power nor worldly success, and C) love my family and I.

It is amazing how difficult that has been for us to find, whether in a House, in a Church, or on a 'Mission Base.'

Christiana
Jun 16th 2008, 04:56 PM
Now I am back in the area that I grew up in, and my family and I are hesitant to begin looking for a new church home. I am tempted to find the most basic, boring, old-fashioned evangelical church I can, just so that my wife and I can let our guard down for a few minutes and worship the Lord.

I used to be a huge advocate of small, energetic house churches. Then I thought that large, multi-faceted missions bases were the way to go. Now, I really just don't care. All that I require in a church, is that they A) love Jesus, B) love neither money nor power nor worldly success, and C) love my family and I.

It is amazing how difficult that has been for us to find, whether in a House, in a Church, or on a 'Mission Base.'

I really liked your post. Although, we do home church now, it is only my immediate family, (Husband & four children). I have to say, I did much like you did except the moving part. I do love old fashioned Churches more because of all the attending, we did in the past in various churches. I find the older brethren very good examples in these small churches. We conduct our church by singing hymns, prayer, & some reading. We do have our own communion & feet washing. We do help in the mission place nearby. God leads us, not us Him.:)

Love in Christ.

sojourner52
Jun 16th 2008, 05:45 PM
I am tempted to find the most basic, boring, old-fashioned evangelical church I can,

that's where I wound up!

I searched a long time for the "right" church.

Many churches get started because they want to "do it right" and they think no one else does. but then the focus becomes "us" and what we're doing and how we're doing it, not Christ.

we become proud in ourselves, self-sufficient because we think we have knowledge that others lack.

1Corinthians 8:

1Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth. 2And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.
3But if any man love God, the same is known of him.


the church I attend now is dorky. it is full of immature believers. the new pastor has a long way to go - he has never pastored before.

but they are believers. and the church has sound doctrine - that is the most important thing because it is the foundation of a church.

we are all "learning to walk."

this is real life. I am so humbled with what the Lord is doing in the life of each and every believer.

they dont have to impress me with their talent or their knowledge. and I'm glad they arent holding me to some artificial standard.

the Lord is the One Who is doing something amazing with all us broken pots!

why dont we look for opportunities to exhort and to teach, to help bear another's burden?

that is what the church is for - to build each other up - not just to satisfy myself.

we can do that in a small group or in a traditional church. but what is important is our heart - that is what the Lord is looking at.

Blessed Resistence
Jun 19th 2008, 06:23 PM
Home churches are definitely a great way to go if you can get one started. I have a huge family, and we all meet at a different house every Saturday night to talk about God. I keep thinking that one day the goverment will close down all Christian churches, and it would be great if Christians have a house church already started.

sojourner52
Jun 19th 2008, 07:39 PM
maybe we shouldnt get into the habit of forming "cliques" anyway.

if we are part of the body of Christ, we are part of the body of Christ.

we can meet in each others homes to fellowship and study the Word. I have done that since the 70s. at the same time I have always attended a traditional church.

the home groups never last. people move, families change, etc.

a couple of the home groups I attended developed into churches. one became a calvary chapel - the other became an aberrant church that is now the fasting growing church around - full of false teachings.

seek Christ. come under HIS authority. fellowship with the brethren. be under sound teaching.

1of7000
Jun 20th 2008, 01:51 PM
Sunday Church is where the Word should be taught.

Home is where the Word should be lived.

Buzzword
Jun 21st 2008, 06:52 PM
Sunday Church is where the Word should be taught.

Home is where the Word should be lived.

In your opinion.

1of7000
Jun 21st 2008, 07:26 PM
obviously, is there a point to your post?

cnw
Jun 21st 2008, 08:00 PM
ok so why hasn't anyone brought up fellowship with other believers? If we are starting a home church with our family, there is no accountability for doctorine or fellowship that we have with "other" believers. We should be doing daily Bible studies with our family anyway.
I see too many home churches become cults because the reason they start is they want to hold to their set of doctorine.
I agree the general church is a joke and the majority doesn't even preach the Word of God...not to mention sin. It makes it that much harder to find a church.

sojourner52
Jun 21st 2008, 09:43 PM
I agree cnw. we do need accountability.

we also need to be ministering to each other.

at this point the easiest place to find other believers is going to be a traditional church.

so the church isnt everything I think it should be.

is the doctrine sound? do they love the Lord?

more importantly -
do I love the brethren?
is my heart right with the Lord?

or am I just trying to please myself?

I think home groups are a great addition to a traditional church. it doesnt even have to be sponsored by your own church or any church.

but it shouldnt take the place of church, either. IMO