2
Jul

Why I House Church. Tired of staring at back of a head.

Back of HeadsStaring at the back of someone's head for 90 minutes on a Sunday morning is not my idea of fun. I do not understand how staring at the back on someone's head has anything to do with fellowship.

Hebrews 10:25 NIV "Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another?and all the more as you see the Day approaching." How does sitting in rows, listening to a monalogue help us encourage one another. The only chance we get to interact is before the official meeting or after it. I would contend that the offical "church meeting" doesn't allow us to encourage one another. Yes the preacher is allowed to encourage us. But there is no "one anothering" taking place.

1 Cor 14:26 NIV "What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church." A new testament church meeting should allow everyone to participate. God has placed in everyone of our hearts something to share with others. That is how we encourage each other. That is how the body of Christ edifies itself and grows in love.

Christianity is the only belief in the world that holds to the truth that Christ dwells inside of those who believe in Him. Since He dwells inside of each of us - He can speak thru each of us. We don't just need to listen to prophets and gifted teachers. But Christ can speak to us thru the least among us. Looking back over the years I've spent meeting in house churches - some of the most profound things that have been shared - that have touched my heart - came not from the gifted teachers - but came from those who could barely put 2 words together. But they shared something from their hearts that God had placed there - and it touched my heart - and sticks with me today.

One of the reasons I house church is to be in a place where the body of Christ is free to share and talk with each other. To be in a place where I can hear from Christ thru my brothers and sisters. I want face to face fellowship. It is so much more encouraging than staring at the back of someone's head for 90 minutes.

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30 comments

Comment from: Alicia [Visitor]
Alicia

I agree 100%. It is past time for real fellowship and only knowing people in church from the backs of their heads.

01/31/06 @ 19:29
Comment from: Rev [Visitor]
Rev

I appreciate your thoughts and feelings regarding “cooperate worship” vs “house worship.” While I agree that very meaningful relationship building and fellowship can take place in house churches, I have some concerns regarding cooperate worship being eliminated. I can’t help but be mindful of Ephesians 4:11 as well as other passages that speak of the need and importance for a shepherd/watchman. Any person (christain) can teach a lesson, true, however God has uniquely gifted and called Pastors to teach and equip the saints. We can not overlook the fact that this is God’s order. This also prevents cultic formings and diluted teaching. You have to remember, in the last days there will be false teachers and persons that are not necessarily looking to hear sound doctrine, only teachings that sound good. Humanistic and pluralistic views are quickly creeping into Christiandom and many “believers” are falling quite shy in being true Christ followers (disciples). Lastly, we mustn’t disregard the need and the role of the church (cooperate worship). Some things and concepts are good, but not Godly. I pray that this fad is saturated in prayer and carefully thought through, before fully implemented.

02/11/06 @ 06:49
Comment from: admin [Member]  
Barry

House Churches do not eliminate corporate worship. Many houses churches have relationships with other house churches around them and meet for celebrations once a month or every few weeks.

A large church with a pastor is no guarantee of being safe from false teachings. There are numerous examples of strong leaders of large churches leading their group into error. There is also lots of examples of the Pastors being in sexual sin because they lead secret lives with no accountability to the members of their congregation.

People in house church recognize those among them that lead in certain areas. Plus the ones leading can often rotate.

Too much of leadership in organized churches is more interested in their own job security than in equipping the saints to put themselves out of a job.

Jesus is our shepherd. We are called to listen to Him. He is our only mediator between us and God. When we hear His voice thru a brother or sister we follow. But the focus is on Him.

02/11/06 @ 11:16
Comment from: Brigitte [Visitor]
Brigitte

I love my church, my pastor, and I definitely get enough fellowship inside and outside of church on Sunday. ‘Nuf said.

05/25/06 @ 22:41
Comment from: Rhonda [Visitor]
Rhonda

Worship is our life. Paul says: Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God?this is your spiritual act of worship.

Why do so many Christians still think their worship is on Sunday? Whether we meet in a small group only or on Sunday in a traditional setting, or both, what does it matter? The focus is on the heart, not the method.

Rev mentions that pastors are uniquely gifted to teach and equip the saints and we cannot overlook the order. There is no pecking order in the church. We all are gifted by the Father and no one is above another based on gifts. We are to be servants to one another. There are no regulations on the size of the group of Christians that meet. Sometimes I feel we get caught up in looking for book, chapter and verse for every little thing we do to prove this or that (myself included). We are free in Christ to do good works, to love, to serve and bear fruit. It’s all about our heart. Gone are the rituals, the laws, the sacraments, and the holy of holies. The Jews wanted to “hold” Christ in their teachings and catch him in not obeying their laws. He responded from a higher ground: love. He did good no matter what day of the week it was.

I think we are still attached to our buildings and the pastor because we want to be spoon-fed and meet in a place that is non-threatening, that is, not too intimate. We can just sit there and stand up a few times maybe and then leave. Not too much is required. The way most traditional “churches” have it going on is no different than before Christ came. Follow the sacrament rules, or whatever rules just like the temple on a specific day and time.

Just like Barry, I too, am bored out of my gord with traditional church. It’s so funny that he used looking at the back of heads in his writing because I’ve said that same thing to people at the “church” I just left. It took me over 2 years to leave the “institutional church” as many call it. Some thought I was just crying about nothing, but I tell you, we were not created to just do the same ritual over and over and be “satisified.” Can we get away from the Puritan-style of meeting together? We’ve got ourselves so boxed into tradition, that we can’t seem to find our way to make any changes. And if we do make a change, it’s so incrementally small, that it would take a lifetime to make any change worth notice. Some churches have dramatically changed their “worship style", but that’s really not the issue. I want relationships. And our time is so valuable these days, that spending my time on Sunday doing the things that we traditionally do, is such a waste! I want to use it spending time with others on a more intimate level, doing things that create closeness, not a high school atmosphere, pretending to be holy where jealousy, self-importance, immaturity, whining, and popularity abound.

I just want to meet with a small group locally for good fellowship, encouragement, and service, among other reasons. Does anyone know of anyone or people who are meeting in Cincinnati without paying for a building and a pastor/preacher?

06/09/06 @ 08:19
Comment from: ben [Visitor]
ben

Hi yall! Great posts! I see that our Heavenly Father is speaking to those who have an ear to hear what the Spirit is saying to the church. Let’s keep on listening and my prayer is that the Son be revealed even more to us. Brigette, it is not my church or yours! It is His! He died for it and purchased it with His precious blood. So we can’t even call it my church. We need to ask the Lord to reveal to us that word. Did you know that that word eklessia in Acts 19:32-41 tried to kill Paul in Ephesus? Read it. The writer of Acts called that mob a “church??” So we need to do some studying and asking God to show us the real meaning of that word “church.” God bless you all and keep on listening to His Spirit. Maranatha!
ben \o/

07/09/06 @ 10:47
Comment from: Sally [Visitor]
Sally

What’s with the pic? I don’t mean to be rude or judgemental, but it looks like the back of a couple of gay guys? Is there a lot of that in the house church? Just new to this site and am wondering?

08/17/06 @ 15:35
Comment from: admin [Member]  
Barry

Sally,

No there is not alot of gay guys in house churches. That picture was the only one I could find showing the back of 2 heads.

I will try to find a picture that doesn’t look like gay guys…

Barry

08/17/06 @ 21:44
Comment from: Eric [Visitor]
Eric

Alright, the gay pic discussion cracked me up, but on to my response. Barry, I just want to say that I really appreciate your comments and the responses so far. Something deep within me resonates with the home church. When I visit a church, I have a simple test, did anyone say “Hello". It’s amazing how many churches where there was no greeting. That’s not all I am looking for. That’s it right there, part of the problem, “What I am looking for.” I think that I should be seeking where God wants me, not what I want. I feel that churches are a place to be equiped to enable us to share the Gospel with the world. Too much inward focus can lead to apathetic churches. The glamorized self help churches of today seem so far off the mark. The Gospel is confrontational. Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “When Christ bids a man come, he bids him come and die.” That’s a powerful vision of salvation. I like C.S. Lewis’ analogy that the “Church” (The Whole Thing, not “My” church)” is a house with many rooms. Some people can come in and may stay in a room because of how pretty it looks, and others may like the look of those in the room. We are one body right, the body has different functions. I don’t think home churches are the best way, but they are a pure example of an aspect of Christian life, relationship. Christ invested in 12 men. He discipled them. Our realtionships should be discipling in nature. I think that there is value in a mature Christian mentoring others. There is value in accountability. I think newer Christians should be enabled and have opportunities to lead. It’s a cycle. I don’t think roatation for rotation sake is a good thing. If I think about what a mature Christian looks like, I think of someone who’s life reflects peace, honest doubt, contentment, and a capacity to love. If we really set our hearts on high, we can find the strength to endure anything. Dietrich is a great modern example of that. I am new to home churches, but I hope my perspectives will be of benefit. I am hungry for real relationships. I am going to explore home churches as a focus at this time in my life, because I believe God is leading me there now, but it won’t be the end of my journey I’m sure. I have become too cynical and not an answer to my own prayers. I need to reconnect with people in a pwoerful way. My faith is made real to me through my realtionships with others. Thanks for the dialogue.

09/17/06 @ 11:33
Comment from: jilly [Visitor]
jilly

Hi, This is completely new and interesting to me. I know so many dedicated Christians that are tired of church being “Big Business” with a pastor who is more like a CEO than a shepherd. Where do we go from here? I have so many questions about the mechanics of these home churches. Do you have a recommendation as to where to go to understand how they are run?

09/24/06 @ 07:58
Comment from: ben [Visitor]
ben

Eric. God bless you as you are striving to enter and see truly what our Lord has for them who desire to hear. You hit it on the nose when you said that Jesus invested in those 12. We are to do likewise—invest and pour out our lives to those whom He has lead us to. Nowhere do you see mentioned a place. i.e. church building nor house church? Hmmmmm. Nor do we see a specific day mentioned. Hmmmmm. Nor do we see a specific time mentioned. Nor do we read what was done except to encourage one another unto good works. This is a calling unto Himself and not to a set agenda of religious activities. Unfortunately, we are inundated with a plethora of exactly that! Our Lord will lead you into His truth and rest assured He is already doing that. Your response clearly attests to His truth. May you seek and walk after His and only His voice!

09/27/06 @ 09:13
Comment from: Mike & Trisha Fox [Visitor]
Mike & Trisha Fox

This is very biblical. “to the church in the house of..” was a common greeting and salutation within the Epistles. This definately knocks down the “empires” of successful pastors who by and large, can’t wait to retire to their farm ranch with their Expeditions, Licoln Towncars, etc. Seems that more and more are getting a fresh revalation of an old biblical tenet. Home/House church.
*** Keep us in prayer as we feel for direction in starting one in Dover, Delaware. Thanks!

10/08/06 @ 16:49
Comment from: ben [Visitor]
ben

Mike & Trisha. Great post and I praise our heavenly Father for His mercy for revealing His truth to those who truly desire Him! Please permit me to encourage you and seek Him and His ekklesia wherever she may be found. One needs to take precaution and not start crystalizing around forms and models but rather crystalize around Him! Maranatha!
SEMPER FIDELIS!
ben \o/

10/09/06 @ 11:44
Comment from: Claire [Visitor]
Claire

Barry, you are still around? I thought you were moving to Spokane? Is this Ben from Australia?

10/13/06 @ 21:53
Comment from: ben [Visitor]
ben

Claire. Sorry, but this is Ben from San Antonio. And we have been to Aussieland. Spent some time with Bessie and Kendrick of oikos.org/au last December. They live in Heathmont, Melbourne. Maranatha!
SEMPER FIDELIS!
ben \o/

10/17/06 @ 13:50
Comment from: Walter [Visitor]
Walter

I’ve re-read this post and it sounds kind of confrontational, but that was not my intent. I’m truly seeking answers. So please take it with that in mind.

I’ve begun researching the house church movement. I’m interested in both the form and the function. But perhaps most importantly, I’m interested in whether God is actually people to join/create house churches and why. I’ve seen a lot of justification – as if people are trying to justify to themselves and others why they want to join the house church movement. I’ve heard a lot of complaining of what their former church lacked or where they failed or where the authors felt they were wronged. I’ve heard a few people mention God and the Holy Spirit. But Honestly,
I’ve not seen much on whether God is calling people to a house church.

Is the house church movement simply a reaction against the institionalized church, or is God in it?

In my reading on this issue, I’m seeing a lot of people complain about ‘institutional’ churches, but everything in the institutional curch can be duplicated in the house church. What prevents that?

How do you ensure relationship occurs? How do you ensure good doctrine is taught? How do you ensure diciplining occurs? How do you ensure discipline occurs when/where needed?

Any answers would be appreciated. thanks.

Walter

11/17/06 @ 05:27
Comment from: ben [Visitor]
ben

Walter. I think we miss the whole point in asking whether one meets in a religious building or a “house church.” You notice that both can duplicate its practices in either location. So true! So we need to allow God to let us see what meeting means. Why do we gather and what do we do when we gather. Allow Him to show what this means and dispense with our manmade traditions and doctrines. Dispense of our understanding of how things should be done. I know that is so difficult for us to do and especially if we know a little something but that is what needs to be done. Our understanding of ekklesia, our understanding of Christ, our understanding of so much needs to be re-evaluated in His presence. I see too much what you have noticed. Reactions to an insitutionalized mindest and not a relational life that only Christ can give us. Big difference. Many are simply doing what they were taught upon departure from the instituion. Just a simple change of locale. That won’t cut it! There is just so much that I know the Spirit of the Lord is expressly speaking to those who wish to hear. And it will not fit into this religious mindset or matrix, if you will, of our religion. Try visiting TruthForFree.com for perhaps more to chomp on. From there you have more excellent links that may aid you in your journey and quest. Ultimately, it is only to be found in Christ. Brother, I hope this will help you in some small way. God bless you! Maranatha!

11/19/06 @ 20:31
Comment from: Maxine [Visitor]
Maxine

Praise the Lord. I received an email from an email buddy who I have shared what I am experiencing in the traditional church. I truly want to leave and have asked questions about cell groups.

This morning I received an article from him that was published on Agape Press. The article growth of home churches.

I would like to visit a home church. I have searched the internet and found one in my area, Tucker, Georgia, but have a concern because within this home church women are not allowed to speak out.

This is going to be hard for me to do and I am not willing to sit still. Presently I teach Sunday School and have a passion for the Word of God. To sit without paricipating will be a problem for me.

The information stated that women can speak during the Lord’s Supper.

I would love to attend a home church and if anyone knows of one located in the metropolitan Atlanta area, please share that information.

God bless

12/20/06 @ 05:05
Comment from: admin [Member]  
Barry

Maxine,

Here is a list of House Church Directories you could check for others near by you.

HCDL/HCC House Church Directory: http://www.hccentral.com/directory

http://homechurch.com/registry/index.html

http://lifestream.org/LS.Connections.html

http://www.house2house.net/modules.php?name=Forums&file=index&c=4

Many house churches believe in the full participation of woman.

God can give you grace to tolerate differences, but if you feel too stifled in a group that won’t let you speak… you could always just start a group on your own home.

Just open your house and invite some friends to fellowship. Have a meal, pray together, discuss some scripture
have fun.

Let us know how it goes

Barry

12/21/06 @ 19:47
Comment from: prdr2002 [Member]  
prdr2002

I appreciate some of the very excellent comments everyone has posted. I have been involved in small groups for over 25 years and specifically, house churches for over five years in Florida. I am in agreement with Ben. Most of what is done in “traditional churches” is programmatic and organizational. The system is designed to perpetuate itself, not make disciples of Christ and further the Kingdom of God. I will say that being mad is not a good reason to leave an institutional church. One needs to be earnestly seeking and searching the heart of God and listening to what he says. If he tells you to stay where you are, then he has a task for you where are you are. If the Spirit tells you to go, then go, but make sure you know where you are going to and why. I would agree that many leave because they are dissatisfied with the current state of institutional churches, but they don’t know where they are going or running to and can’t explain why. I would like to encourage Maxine to diligently seek God on what He would have you do and also where he would have you go. It is always amazing to me that He comes through usually when we least expect it. As far as a group which does not allow women to speak, my advice is stay away. They have brought the legalism of a certain denomination into a small group setting. Just because it is in a house and not a church building, does not mean it isn’t just as institutionalized as a megachurch. Look for a group of people who want to love and encourage one another to do good works and bear fruit for the Lord. In our groups we believe that there is no distinction between believers. Paul said there is no distinction, no Greek, or Jew, or Scythian, etc. What I have learned over the years is that many of the women are more capable of ministering and speaking the word of God than a lot of the prideful, hard-headed men I have had to deal with. So, Maxine, my encouragement is to keep pursuing God and be open to step through the next door He opens for you. Be prayerful and watchful for His leading and hand and then go for it with all your heart. I know I have spoken a lot, but, the true difference in what the institutional system does and what true home fellowships are about, is the difference between an organizational system and an organic organism. One is a great machine, but does not have the type of breath of life that God breathes into living creations. The other is a living, growing, breathing organism, which at times get sick or is wounded, but God is the source of its life and the reason it exists. By the way, if you want to read some of the seminal writing on house churches, read Wolfgang Simson’s book, “Houses that Changed the World.” It may well answer some of the nagging questions of why you feel the way you do. God Bless.

12/28/06 @ 20:48
Comment from: Deborah [Visitor]
Deborah

Hi, my name’s Deborah and I’ve been involved since I was a small child in homechurches, it’s all I’ve ever known.
My parents have been involved off and on for 30 yrs. in it.
The main thing for us with homechurching is, living in a neighborhood close together so we can share and have daily life together. (otherwise, if there’s no daily life and we only get together during meetings, we might as well go to a church building then)
Our meetings are then simply an extention of our daily lives.
Christ is our center and head of the church. (yes that means no ("preachers") or ("pastors".)
God didn’t create us to be bottle fed forever by a “pastor.” If we all just had a direct and personal relationship with God we’d have NO use for a “preacher” or “pastor.”
Then we grow and change by Him (within.)
Hmmmm, just a thought :)
Deborah

My blog is on blog spot under sister talk.

01/07/07 @ 13:17
Comment from: jerry Filopan [Visitor]
jerry Filopan

very interesting I’m going to have to pray about it and see what the Spirit says

01/13/07 @ 15:28
Comment from: Sally [Visitor]
Sally

Hmmm, I see you still have that silly picture on your site. What gives?

01/22/07 @ 18:50
Comment from: Paul [Visitor]
Paul

Where your focus God or the back of someones head?

03/08/07 @ 21:38
Comment from: Kurt Johnson [Visitor]
Kurt Johnson

I just read alot of awesome insight.
I have been a teen small group leader for several years meeting weekly in my home. My wife and I left the church we were affiliated with after a pastor change, and were on our own for past 2 years. We continued on, expecting the teens to fall away. Well, they didnt. The teens that continued to come have become adults. I am seeking the next step or progression for all of us. I found this site as I wondered if a house church could be it? Any insight would be greatly appreciated. Thanx and Prayers, Kurt

03/11/07 @ 08:36
Comment from: ben [Visitor]
ben

Kurt. Just keep walking and listening to His voice. It truly is that simple. “My sheep hear who?” He is the one we all need to see and hear! Lord bless you and yours as you follow Him. Maranatha!

04/30/07 @ 14:45
Comment from: R.C. [Visitor]
R.C.

This all sounds great! But there are many problems with this concept.We as Christ church MUST be knowledgable in the Bible! Bible study is the first order of business! Sadly, a small percentage of the institutional church,study God’s word.( albeit less than 10% could name the 10 commandments). Of course paid clergy love this. It gives them their worth. Unless bible knowledge is present ,there is no church. Second, we tend to want only people we like or are aquainted with in our homes. This will have to be overcome. There is also the danger of becoming a bridge club, who has fun and invites Jesus to come along. Example: Say a few prayers, read some scripture, and then head out to eat or to the ball game. Will post more when I hear comments.

05/21/07 @ 17:25
Comment from: ben [Visitor]  
ben

R.C. Grace and peace to you my brother. Yes, I concur with you that many are not attuned to “what saith the scriptures.” I have only one question and request: Observe very closely and study everywhere the usage “Word of God” is used and tell me if that pertains to a “book” or to a “person?” Maranatha!
SEMPER FIDELIS!

07/17/07 @ 02:03
Comment from: Garry Capita [Visitor]  
Garry Capita

Yes the Kingsom of God is in our hearts not the building, however Jesus did give gifts to the body for the equipping of the saints, I believe home fellowship facilatates a broader demension of Christian life, application and experiential Christianity let us not be mere hearers but effectial doers, faith without works etc.. love is expressed through PRAYER BEAUTIFULLY AND SHARING AND CARING, PARTICIPATING , DISCOVERING GIVING RECIEVING AND whoops as a whole in the day we live the best condusive atmoshere to exercise these things seem apparrently to be home fellowship not that God is not able to work in an surroundings but where is the true Pastor who really cares about the development and faithfull living of the sheep who will in Home fellowship pray for someone and be prayed for who will be given an opportunity to share who will be prayed for who can eat with the brethren, and go out together and share the gospel visit a convalscent home show hospitality wow no comparison in the atmoshere that is condusive to living a Christian as it relates to each other as brethern a lost world and intimacy with the Lord, though I love general assembly and corporate worship it is deficient mal nutrition regarding the best interest of the sheep woe to the sheperd who seeks after his own appetite, hmmm pray for the body love you all in His Service. Garry Much more could be said

06/22/08 @ 17:47
Comment from: Herb Rohmann [Visitor]  
Herb Rohmann

I read with interest the responses presented here. Good dialog! I am totally convinced that we are living in a new season of the New Testament Church, and that is where two or more people gather to follow seven NT principles, namely, Evangelize, Encourage, Establish, Equip, Empower, Evaluate and Enjoy the Lord and one-another under the Headship of Christ.

We moved from southern Indiana to Elizabethton, TN a few months ago. Needless to say, we have NOT found a house church where Christ is the Head and His people gather to function according to I Cor 14:26. We attend a Baptist church that is quite unusual – they are more Bapticostals than “pure Baptists.” However, we enjoy going there but prefer a group that is free of all that…..

Currently I serve in several churches in different parts of the world. I’m leaving for Mexico on 1/25/10 to work among several churches.

Is there anyone out there who can give us further direction? I would love to hear from you, either via email or, our phone number is: (423)543-1738. Bless you,Herb Rohmann

01/17/10 @ 13:16