by Betsy Beers
Is house church better than cathedral, sanctuary, or public school rental church?
No. Everyone’s needs are different, and the big, more institutionalized churches can cater to family and community needs in great varieties of ways. But now, even big church is realizing it needs a little church.
It needs a little relationship.
The church planted by Jesus and the Apostles was relationship based in relationship settings –people’s living rooms and kitchens.
Relationship is gone. The praying together, the face to face, the laughing, the conversation, the eating, the sharing, the impartation and stirring up of gifts, the comfort, warmth and intimacy is going…. going….
When giving ministerial instructions to his disciples, Jesus talked about the activities, duties and responsibilities they would have in houses, not buildings. There was only one church, but in many houses.
“And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house.” Luke 10:5
The original outpouring of the Holy Spirit came into a house where 120 were sitting. It was in the houses where they worshipped, and when Paul made havoc of the church, it was in the houses that he did it. He persecuted the church from house to house.
The Acts church met in houses (and for those who want to be religious about church attendance, then you won’t go on Saturday or Sunday –but daily). When the early church attenders met in the temple, it was to evangelize and display God’s power to the lost, as Peter and John did for the disabled man in Acts 3.
They also assembled outside of their homes for special conferences –like the one Paul called for all the Pastors of the Ephesus. He addressed the group of house church pastors, “I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have showed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house,” Acts 20:20
House to house, that is where the daily and routine growth of the church body occurred.…the house of Cornelius, the house of Mary, the house of Lydia, the house of Jason, house of Philip the Evangelist, house of Aquilla and Pricilla, the house of Cloe, Stephanas, Nymphas, Philemon, John’s “Elect Lady” — even Paul had his own house church in Rome.
Corporate, temple church was not the natural outcome of a thriving house church system. Theater style church was imposed by Roman Emperor Constantine, who built the first institutional church for political power, and that not until the fourth century! It was all house church all the time before that. The church would now struggle, no longer as the oppressed, but as the oppressor. Religion feasted in this new atmosphere.
Today, big churches realize the secret power of house church. Under the guise of cell groups, small groups, life groups, and care groups, churches are back-peddling in an effort to get parishioners back into their houses.
The largest church in the world began in a house, but what’s so dynamic about that? Many churches began in houses. No, the difference is that Dr Yoggi Cho’s church, which started in a house –followed the biblical template. When his house church got big, it did not move to a bigger facility, The church split and the assistant pastor took away half. When that half grew, it split again. This cell division continued as cells do when a healthy body is growing. So began the exponential growth of a church in Korea that is now over one million strong. Pastor’s should be proud when they have a church split.
I love house church because guests can find friendship, conversation, transparency, personal prayer, food, snacks, coffee, and a safe place to bring friends who would never otherwise darken the door of a traditional church. I love no clicks, no loneliness, no isolation, no separation, and no religion. The seats don’t all face one direction.
I wish there were a house church on every street. You’re invited to the one on mine.
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