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  • Discussion Home Churches

    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.
    Even more amazing: it is a great return to how the first Christians met together.
    Always give God credit first.

    "Dost thou think because thou art virtuous there shall be no more cakes and ale?"
    -Sir Toby, Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare

    James 1:19

  • #2
    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.

    Comment


    • #3
      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 ), NOSAS, I view it as a perfect middle ground. House churches are apparently becoming more popular these days.
      USSA-The United Socialist States of America

      Without Jesus, eternity is a living Hell, literally.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by MidnightsPaleGlow View Post
        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 ), 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.
        Always give God credit first.

        "Dost thou think because thou art virtuous there shall be no more cakes and ale?"
        -Sir Toby, Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare

        James 1:19

        Comment


        • #5
          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.
          Here lies the tremendous mystery - that God should be all-powerful, yet refuse to coerce. He summons us to cooperation. We are honoured in being given the opportunity to participate in his good deeds. Remember how He asked for help in performing his miracles : Fill the waterpots, stretch out your hand, distribute the loaves.
          Elisabeth Elliot

          De reir a cheile a thogtar na caisleain!

          Comment


          • #6
            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.
            Please could everyone pray for Mieke and Charles.

            My testimony http://bibleforums.org/forum/showthr...ight=testimony

            Comment


            • #7
              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.

              Comment


              • #8
                "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
                "Gripped in the Hand of God"

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by sojourner52 View Post
                  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.
                  Always give God credit first.

                  "Dost thou think because thou art virtuous there shall be no more cakes and ale?"
                  -Sir Toby, Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare

                  James 1:19

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    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.p...w&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, 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.
                    ὁ ̓Ιησοῦς κύριος

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      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.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        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.
                        "For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless." Psalms 84:11

                        Patriot of GOD's Kingdom

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          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.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            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.
                            Pastor Chris
                            EvangelismCoach.org

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              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.
                              Slug1--out

                              ~"In the turmoil of any chaos, all it takes is that whisper that is heard like thunder over all the noise and the chaos seems to go away, focus returns and we are comforted in knowing that God has listened to our cry for help."~

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