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House churches

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  • House churches

    I initially misread the title of the thread on how to conduct local churches; I assumed it would be about doing house churches. But I do know that there are a good number of people, even in the US, who do house churches. I remember talking to a guy in New York City, where there are very few Protestant churches. I know some people turn to them because they think every single church in their area is too liberal. I also know some people support house churches because that's where the earliest Christians met; I don't have a problem with doing it but I don't see any reason why that particular practice should have to be mandatory for all time (especially given the different political system in the Roman Empire). What are some of the advantages/disadvantages to meeting as such?
    "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

  • #2
    We did a house church about 15 years ago as a "church plant". There was a group of believers who didn't particularly like the available church options in town, and wanted to fellowship together. We met in my living room for about a year and a half, then outgrew that, so we rented a building. Eventually, one of the local churches disbanded (there were some families who were running that church, and it repulsed a lot of people) and we ended up renting that Church building.
    "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

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    • #3
      I have read about many churches that started as a Bible study or house church. For me its a valid method of doing church. For me maybe the important downside to a house church is if someone is looking for a church to join, more likely than not they won't find the house church.
      "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings." Hosea 6:6

      "Theology can be an intellectual entertainment." Metropolitan Anthony Bloom

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      • #4
        We are doing a house church now.


        Securely anchored to the Rock amid every storm of trial, testing or tribulation.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Thoughtful Monk View Post
          I have read about many churches that started as a Bible study or house church. For me its a valid method of doing church. For me maybe the important downside to a house church is if someone is looking for a church to join, more likely than not they won't find the house church.
          There's an old expression in Church Growth --- MOST new members come to the Church on the arm of a friend.
          "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

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          • #6
            Originally posted by mossrose View Post
            We are doing a house church now.
            Are you seeking numeric growth? More people?
            "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

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            • #7
              I'll have to refresh my memory about why house churches fell into disuse... I wouldn't be surprised to find family politics was a factor. In other words, it became more about a family than about all the members of the body.
              Watch your links! http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/fa...corumetiquette

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
                Are you seeking numeric growth? More people?
                There is another couple interested, but they are still thinking about it.


                Securely anchored to the Rock amid every storm of trial, testing or tribulation.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Thoughtful Monk View Post
                  the important downside to a house church is if someone is looking for a church to join, more likely than not they won't find the house church.
                  Two reasons: 1) The searcher is not trying hard enough or just had not thought of house churches. 2) The church is not "advertising." Yellow pages, for one thing. A website. An outreach program.
                  The greater number of laws . . . , the more thieves . . . there will be. ---- Lao-Tzu

                  [T]he truth I’m after and the truth never harmed anyone. What harms us is to persist in self-deceit and ignorance -— Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by KingsGambit View Post
                    I initially misread the title of the thread on how to conduct local churches; I assumed it would be about doing house churches. But I do know that there are a good number of people, even in the US, who do house churches. I remember talking to a guy in New York City, where there are very few Protestant churches. I know some people turn to them because they think every single church in their area is too liberal. I also know some people support house churches because that's where the earliest Christians met; I don't have a problem with doing it but I don't see any reason why that particular practice should have to be mandatory for all time (especially given the different political system in the Roman Empire). What are some of the advantages/disadvantages to meeting as such?
                    Advantages:
                    1) Less investment in real estate.
                    2) More intimate.
                    3) Impossible to just be a 'bench warmer'.

                    Disadvantages:
                    1) Less accountability.
                    2) Lacks the resources for many ministries.
                    3) Political divisions get magnified much more quickly.

                    "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot


                    "Forgiveness is the way of love." Gary Chapman

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Teallaura View Post
                      Advantages:
                      1) Less investment in real estate.
                      2) More intimate.
                      3) Impossible to just be a 'bench warmer'.
                      I wouldn't say it's impossible to be a bench warmer -- when we did a house church, we had a middle-age lady who came just to be around people. Wasn't involved in anything, just enjoyed being there.

                      And, actually, that impressed me to say, in subsequent situations, "some people come to minister, others to be ministered to", so ... I try to let the "bench warmers" know I appreciate them, and IF they ever feel led to get involved in something, I'd love to talk to them. Sometimes, people just need a "safe place" to be loved.

                      Disadvantages:
                      1) Less accountability.
                      How so?

                      2) Lacks the resources for many ministries.
                      True, but I think that makes them look for those "biggest bang for the buck" opportunities to minister, and the ministry opportunities become much more personal and "hands on".

                      3) Political divisions get magnified much more quickly.
                      How so?
                      "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

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                      • #12
                        It is true that house churches may not be as easily found by the casual seeker... but is this how people come to Christianity? Isn't the traditional means of conversion being actively evangelized or invited by a Christian rather than somebody opening a phone book out of the blue? To this end, it may be that Christians in house churches can invite some outsiders who might be less likely to attend a large church (out of intimidation, preferring a smaller setting, or for whatever reason). If different methods of church can reach different people, as long as we're staying within orthodoxy, I see this as a net positive.
                        "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by DesertBerean View Post
                          I'll have to refresh my memory about why house churches fell into disuse... I wouldn't be surprised to find family politics was a factor. In other words, it became more about a family than about all the members of the body.
                          As far as I recall, people met in houses because they had no other place to safely meet. Where Christians were even unofficially tolerated, they built special buildings in which to meet; Constantine's building program in many places was dedicated to rebuilding churches that had been destroyed in the last great persecution, not starting from scratch. People again resorted to house churches in the controversies of the 4th/5th centuries prevented them from meeting in area churches under control of this or that religious faction.
                          Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. – St. John Chrysostom

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by One Bad Pig View Post
                            As far as I recall, people met in houses because they had no other place to safely meet. Where Christians were even unofficially tolerated, they built special buildings in which to meet; Constantine's building program in many places was dedicated to rebuilding churches that had been destroyed in the last great persecution, not starting from scratch. People again resorted to house churches in the controversies of the 4th/5th centuries prevented them from meeting in area churches under control of this or that religious faction.
                            House Churches are VERY prevalent in China. China will soon have more Christians than the USA.

                            Source: UK Telegraph

                            Prof Yang, a leading expert on religion in China, believes that number will swell to around 160 million by 2025. That would likely put China ahead even of the United States, which had around 159 million Protestants in 2010 but whose congregations are in decline.

                            By 2030, China's total Christian population, including Catholics, would exceed 247 million, placing it above Mexico, Brazil and the United States as the largest Christian congregation in the world, he predicted.

                            "Mao thought he could eliminate religion. He thought he had accomplished this," Prof Yang said. "It's ironic – they didn't. They actually failed completely."

                            © Copyright Original Source

                            Last edited by Cow Poke; 04-22-2014, 11:07 AM.
                            "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
                              I wouldn't say it's impossible to be a bench warmer -- when we did a house church, we had a middle-age lady who came just to be around people. Wasn't involved in anything, just enjoyed being there.

                              And, actually, that impressed me to say, in subsequent situations, "some people come to minister, others to be ministered to", so ... I try to let the "bench warmers" know I appreciate them, and IF they ever feel led to get involved in something, I'd love to talk to them. Sometimes, people just need a "safe place" to be loved.
                              Okay - extremely difficult. It's still exceptional in small groups to be a passive participant.




                              Originally posted by Cow Poke
                              How so?
                              Smaller groups can develop tunnel vision easier than larger. Mind you, any group can do it, but it's harder to catch and correct in small groups. More so if they tend to isolate themselves (that's not a major concern at present with house churches).



                              Originally posted by CP
                              True, but I think that makes them look for those "biggest bang for the buck" opportunities to minister, and the ministry opportunities become much more personal and "hands on".
                              No quarrel here.

                              Originally posted by Cow Poke
                              How so?
                              It takes a lot longer to spread a controversy in a big group than a small one - and if a small group factions they tend to reinforce the perceived wrong (circle the wagons) more readily.

                              Again, can happen in any group - but big churches usually overcome small controversies (or completely ignore them) whereas small groups will react to them more. It's a human thing, not a church thing.

                              "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot


                              "Forgiveness is the way of love." Gary Chapman

                              My Personal Blog

                              My Novella blog (Current Novella Begins on 7/25/14)

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