Concerns About the House Church Movement
Author: Nate Krupp
Dear “home church movement” people -
I have been increasingly concerned about some trends I am seeing in the
“house church movement” and am writing this to share my heart. You are free
to pass it on to others and I would welcome your dialogue. - Nate Krupp,
Salem, Oregon, USA
In the 1960’s and ‘70’s GOD began to raise up many home church groups,
some of it in connection with the charismatic renewal. Joanne and I were
part of this in Chicago and beyond from 1966, when GOD showed me His simple
plan for His Church,1 to 1970. There has been a resurgence of this in the
‘90’s and on into this new decade of this new century. We have again been
part of this from 1988 to the present.
The vision that GOD gave most of us in the early days was groups and
networks of groups connected to one another relationally, but not
organizationally. Our emphasis was the Kingdom of GOD, relationships,
returning to GOD’s simple plan for His Church, and the unity of the Body.
We were concerned that any kind of organizational structure would most
probably lead to another denomination in time. And such organizational
structures in time take on a life of their own, even when the life of GOD
has left. Organizational structures usually exert more control as time goes
on, too. And such organizational structures can be just one more
disunifying part of the Body.
We were influenced by Watchman Nee’s writings, along with our diligent
searching of the Scriptures; saw a difference of “the work,” overseen by
apostles, and “the church,” overseen by elders; and did much net-working all
across the nation.
Now (in 2003) we see several attempts to organize the home church
movement - area overseers, state coordinators, etc., etc. I have grave
concern about these organizational attempts. GOD’s work proceeds best when
man keeps his hands off of it. All through Church history we have example
after example of GOD starting something - then man taking it over - and the
glory leaves. Azusa Street is a good example. GOD wants to do a mighty
work in these last days - without the management of man - where He will get
the glory. This does not do away with elders, deacons, apostles, prophets,
evangelists, shepherds, teachers, administrators, etc., but they are
functions, not positions. We need to concentrate on being obedient to GOD,
but hidden, out of the way, in no way touching what GOD is doing. And we
need to be very careful that we are not creating a “house church clergy.”
It is true that GOD has used denominations and organizations in the
past. But I believe that He is after something else in this hour. He wants
us all to lay all of these organizational connections and labels aside and
simply be "believers, the Body, His Church, His people" - relating to one
another as members of His Body - not relating to one another because we are
the part of the same organization. If we are part of the Kingdom of GOD,
why do we need anything (organizational structures) beyond that?
Since every believer has a distinct destiny in GOD, and every group of
believers has a distinct destiny in GOD, any attempt to teach a plan that
will work everywhere should be rejected. There are certain biblical
patterns that can be seen in the Scriptures, and taught, but any program or
plan beyond that should be rejected.
When the various home church groups meet, I am, likewise, concerned that
GOD be allowed to orchestrate and lead the group. Elders are there to
oversee (to make sure things don’t get too far off base), but the Holy
Spirit should lead the gathering. One of the most exciting things I ever
behold is when the Holy Spirit is truly leading a gathering of believers.
With regard to today's "house church movement" - there is no question in
my mind that GOD is saying something to His Church about returning to the
simplicity of the early Church. But have we really seen GOD in our midst?
Will we see GOD produce an Isaac - or are we in the process of just
producing just another Ishmael??
I like to look to Jesus as our pattern. So what did He do? -
1 He kept in intimate, continual fellowship with His Father.
2 He only did what the Father showed Him to do.
3 He was constantly emphasizing the Kingdom of GOD.
4 He ministered to the crowds and to individuals.
5 He mentored 12 men by living and ministering with them.
6 He totally rejected the apostate religion of His day.
7 He never started any organization.
8 He left all of the fruit of His work to the Holy Spirit who was to come.
This letter will probably offend some. It is not my intention to offend
or wound. But I do believe that I am to share my heart on certain trends
that I see. Thus this note of concern and warning. May GOD have His way in
our midst. Your dialogue on any of this is welcomed.
Your brother in Christ,
Salem, Oregon, USA
Nate Krupp can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org