Home Church Help

Home Church Help

December 17th, 2014

Why Home Church?

Home Church provides a simple and wonderful alternative to attending traditional church. The churches in the New Testament were home churches. Throughout the centuries, many people have met in homes. There are millions of people having church in homes today, but you rarely hear of them because they are not advertised or high profile. There are many reasons to have church in homes. Here are a few of the primary reasons:

1. Home church is Biblical.

2. The essence of Christianity is easily accomplished in simple and uncomplicated settings.

3. Group participation with all people functioning should be the primary dynamic of any church meeting (1 Cor. Chapter 14), This is the backbone of the home church setting.

4. Connecting with others and developing meaningful relationships is easily accomplished in a home church atmosphere.

5. “Being the church” and sharing life together in community with others, instead of just attending a meeting, is the desire and purpose of most people who home church.

The challenge to people who want to participate in home church is to be able to “undo” what they’ve been taught church is really all about. Prayer, worship, reading scripture, outreach, encouraging one another, and sharing life together in real and meaningful ways are all part of the home church experience.

What this site is about and How it is Organized

This web site is provided to help those who are wanting more out of church life and more out of Christianity. It has been authored by people who are experienced in home church and who have been active participants in home church for over 25 years now. The authors of this site are not “home church gurus” who have little or no experience, yet set themselves up as authorities on home church. Everything written is from experience and from years of living in community with other families and deep relationships.

This site consist of two types of “articles”. The first are book chapters. The second are posts. Book chapters are listed on the left side of the screen. Book chapters don’t change and new ones are not added. Posts are listed down the center of the screen (you are reading a post now). New posts are added frequently. Older posts that are not more recent, but still relevant, are archived. You can access the archived posts listed by month by clicking the link toward the top right of the screen.

Sign Up To Receive New Posts in Your Mailbox

Sometimes you may forget to check the site. On the top right of the screen you can sign up to receive new posts in your mailbox!

Home Church Discussion

You can comment on any posts. Also feel free to post your general comments  to the discussion link for this site. We are really interested to know your comments and where you are from. You will be joining conversations with other people who are interested in home church like yourself. Thanks so much for sharing your story and asking questions to the house church community.

Book Offers

We would like to say loud and clear that we are not trying to make money by selling books. As mentioned, the books that are offered here are free on this website. But we do encourage people to order paper copies of the books so they will be passed around to friends and family members. We feel that if people have the information in physical book form, many more people will eventually read the material.

People Come and Go

April 22nd, 2015

In the last article, we talked about how having quality in church life can attract some people and also drive some people away.

People “come and go” from Christian fellowships all of the time. Some attend for only one visit. Some stay for a few months and then never come back. Some stay for the long haul. The question is this: Do you have any individual responsibility regarding a person leaving your group or staying?  Or, if a person leaves or stays is it just a choice they make that is out of your hands and has nothing to do with you?

I sometimes hear people say, “What happened to that family that was coming around?” Or “Where is brother so and so?” Without a doubt, we ultimately cannot choose for other people. There are many reasons why someone may stay or leave a particular group and some of their choices may have nothing to do with you. But if someone chooses to leave or stay, have you ever thought that you maybe a contributor to their choice?

There are very few scriptures in the New Testament that place us under any obligations. However, Romans 13:8 is a very interesting verse: “Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.”

You may feel like you don’t owe anything to anybody. They can come to the church meetings if they want, or they can leave if they want. If they don’t come for a while, you may say, “Hey, what happened to brother so and so?” I would like to gently pose a thought to you: Perhaps if you were more involved in their life you would be more aware of why they left.

Before they left, did you ever have any meaningful conversations with them? Had you ever invited them out to lunch? Have you ever had them over to your home for a meal? Or, are you just attending meetings and then going home to your individual life? What did ever happen to brother so and so?

The scriptures say that you owe it to others to love them. According to Romans 13:8, you are under obligation and you have a debt to pay other people. You “owe” love to others. It is not optional. If you love someone or treat them with unusual kindness, you have done nothing special. You have not gone above and beyond. When you love someone, you have not done some amazing thing. You have only done what you ought to have done.

Luk 17:7-10 “Which of you, having a slave plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come immediately and sit down to eat’?  “But will he not say to him, ‘Prepare something for me to eat, and properly clothe yourself and serve me while I eat and drink; and afterward you may eat and drink’?  “He does not thank the slave because he did the things which were commanded, does he?  “So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.'”

You can frequently observe the cliques that exist in a group before or after a meeting time. Some choose to only visit with those they prefer. Visitors and newer families can often sit by themselves feeling unsure how to plug in. Many times these people quietly leave the fellowship because they were not drawn in or pursued in any way. New people especially should be swarmed with love and attention. You owe them a warm and inviting conversation. You owe it to them to open your heart wide and invite them in.  You owe them love.

Perhaps the most important thing to you is that you meet with God in the right way, and whoever joins you, “can either join or they cannot join”. Perhaps you have taken a certain hill of truth and you stand on top of your hill waiving your flag and claiming your stake. If this describes your brand of worship, you are already meeting in the wrong way, no matter how right you are about your current format or church experience.

Meeting in the right way is not enough. Attending a Christian meeting where you personally meet with God and get your needs met is not near enough. Notice this amazing passage in 1 Cor 11.

1Co 11:17-22, 28-30, 33-34 “But in giving this instruction, I do not praise you, because you come together not for the better but for the worse.” For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that divisions exist among you; and in part I believe it. For there must also be factions among you, so that those who are approved may become evident among you. Therefore when you meet together, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper, for in your eating each one takes his own supper first; and one is hungry and another is drunk. What! Do you not have houses in which to eat and drink? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? In this I will not praise you….  But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly. For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep…. So then, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. If anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, so that you will not come together for judgment.”

Paul is addressing much more than the fact that some were not getting enough to eat. Paul is addressing the heart attitude of the Corinthians when they gathered together. They were indifferent toward one another. They were not coming together with fervent love filling their hearts for one another. They were gathering together, doing their meeting ritual, but missing the entire point of the meeting. They came together for the worse.

-Terry Stanley

As you meet around the Lord in simple ways, quality is the goal, never quantity. In other words, we want good things to be happening in the meetings and within the relationships in the group. The number of people that are gathering together is not near as important as the quality that is in your midst.

The hallmarks of quality include having a group culture that is prayerful, worshipful, and scripturally sound. We want healthy and encouraging relationships that are both loving and based in truth. We want to encounter the living God when we come together, which requires humility, submission to the Spirit, and fervent, abandoned hearts. We want to have relationships that are devoted to one another and that will work out difficult problems and remain in the light together (Rom. 12:10). These are the things that contribute to quality in a fellowship.

Quantity Can Be an Indicator – A Two Sided Coin

Sometimes the number of people attending your group is a direct reflection of the quality of the group. Think about that for a moment. People may come because it is good. People may leave because it is lacking. But this is a two sided coin. People may also be driven away from your group BECAUSE of the quality. Before we talk about that part, let’s go back and look at the first and more obvious side of the coin.

A lack of quality in your group can cause people to become disinterested. They may feel unmet. The word must be preached. People need to be taught by the more experienced. Jesus should be worshiped. People need to be loved and welcomed.  Although the goal is never to have big numbers, perhaps the reason why your group is so small, or the reason why so many people leave, could be because the quality is just not there. People are drawn to the life of Christ. They are drawn when they feel loved and accepted by others. They are drawn to sincerity and truth. All of these are huge subjects. And all three of these are difficult to maintain in any fellowship of believers (with any depth).

But let’s also consider the other side of this coin. Many times it is actually the quality you have that drives people away. How can this be?  Because of some Christians’ carnality or immaturity, they are actually afraid of intimacy in relationships, vulnerability, or deep experiences of the Spirit. Many people are also terrified of honesty. A room full of people deeply worshiping God can be quite uncomfortable to the fearful or the inexperienced person. Many are also afraid of certain biblical truths and simply cannot accept them. Truth comes with a price. Because of what it would cost them; whether in child raising, a change in lifestyle, or a change in marriage – the truth can be very offensive. Christians tend to plateau in their growth in certain areas and in certain seasons. If the Lord is emphasizing a certain truth to a group and some are unwilling to die and suffer loss in that area of their life, then they will balk. Most of the time they remove themselves, and not on good terms.

“But I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”

People may feel like their primary reason for seeking out a home fellowship is to find a more biblical pattern, or perhaps a desire to break free of the control and oppressive hierarchy of traditional leadership. However at their core, the heart cry of everyone is the same: To encounter Jesus Christ, to connect with others, to share life together, to know others and to be fully known, to belong, to be accepted…to be loved. But again we must remember the flip side to this coin. The flesh wants all of the above, but on its own terms. The flesh wants to feel loved, but it does not want love and truth together. Some varieties of flesh only want truth, but without love. There are difficult statements found in scripture that are very extreme. But all truth is extreme. Everything that is not of the truth is not tolerated. The truth of gravity is completely intolerant.

The Lord added to the number of disciples in Acts 5:14 because there was something going on that was good. There was quality among the saints during that time in Acts chapter 5. If people are regularly leaving your group or if there is never any increase in numbers, it could mean that there are some gaping holes in the quality of the fellowship. But again, it also could mean that the good things you have are driving some away.

 

by Brittany McCardle www.thegentlehome.com

A sliver of moon low in the sky.
A little house with green floors sitting in an open green field.
Windows alight against an expanse of black sky.
Stars twinkling overhead.
An invitation to come- come experience the Body of Christ.
 
A group of people come together:
Young people, old people, children, babies;
Familiar faces and new ones pour into this house filled with love.
 
Empty tin dishes once filled with piles of warm food for a hungry crowd.
Hearts and stomachs full from feasting together.
These aren’t just the people I worship God with, they are family.
Babies crawling underfoot.
Knowing smiles passed across the room.  Read more »

Many people are concerned with heresy, biblical error, and weirdness in house church. People tend to think that house church can be “cultish”.

First of all, the churches in the new testament met in homes. So it is not the meeting place itself that makes something a cult. So what is it really that makes some people concerned about the idea of “home church”?

Pastors and those in leadership positions in traditional meeting places often warn people about the dangers of home church. In some ways they have a point, and we are going to discuss that here in this article. However, it should certainly be mentioned that it only makes sense to question the “clergy’s” motives in warning us about home church. Read more »

What we do with our actions is always our true message, as opposed to what we say.

I will not use any names in this article, but there are men in the “home church movement” who have built big names for themselves, while their true experience in church life is questionable or limited at best.

I am not saying these guys don’t have good things to say. I actually like these men and appreciate their contributions. Some have done helpful research. The Lord can and will use these brothers. But the concern is that they draw men unto themselves and set a bad example of what we are trying to do in home church – that we would stop following men. Read more »

Anything But Jesus

June 1st, 2011

ism’s and ology’s

Imagine for just a moment that you and a close friend take a walk together down a trail into the forest. While you and your friend are walking down the trail, a brilliant light appears before you both. Suddenly, the Lord Jesus Himself is standing right in front of you. He is clothed in bright, glowing, white light. His glory and power permeates you and your friend. Such an overwhelming experience of love, truth, and heavenly power is filling you both. Then, the Lord begins to speak…

But in the middle of the Lord’s first sentence, you turn to your friend and you say, “Hey Mike. You know I really think that the ”once saved always saved” doctrine is a load of crud. What do you think about it?” Your friend Mike replies, ”You know that I disagree with you. Once we come to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus then nothing can snatch us out of His hand. But what do you think about pre-destination? You know I’ve been doing a lot of study on that subject. How could anyone possibly be a Calvinist?” Read more »

Home Church Hidden Agendas

December 19th, 2014

As you gather together with other people to meet around Jesus Christ, you will discover that not everyone is meeting together for the same reasons. There is a natural tendency to assume that the other people you are meeting with are united with you in heart and are in agreement with you. But this is not always the case.

There are many reasons why it may appeal to someone to gather in homes or in a small group setting. Some of these reasons are more harmless than others. For example, someone may want to meet in a home church setting primarily in order to avoid having to dress up, act ceremonial, or behave formally during the weekly church meeting. Although this type of reason may not be extremely noble, it probably will not cause wide spread damage to others. But again, not all reasons and motives for meeting in a home fellowship are quite as mild as this example.

Potentially damaging motives are when brothers and sisters attend the church meeting with “an agenda” in mind. A person has an agenda when their primary reason for gathering is to change the group in some manner. It usually means they are viewing the group as a ministry project or they see themselves as God’s worker, sent to the group to help them (without the group agreeing to this). A person who has an agenda has a primary motivation to introduce and propagate change according to their particular “cause”. Read more »

Confusion of Public Sin

December 27th, 2014

Heb 3:13 “But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”

One of the primary characteristics of sin is the deception that is coupled with it. When sin is introduced in our lives, deception is often a close counterpart. In the account of the first sin in Genesis 3, Satan used deception in order to achieve the goal of Adam and Eve sinning against God.

Gen 3:4 “The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die!”

1Ti 2:14 “… but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.”

We often allow ourselves to be deceived in order to commit sin. When sin is accomplished, our judgment remains skewed as we continue in our slumber and the fog of deception. The deceit continues as we justify our actions and give reasons that excuse our deeds. Only repentance and humility can wake us up from sin’s deceit.

When Sin Becomes Public

When sin takes place in the body of Christ and many are affected by it, deception is still at work as sin’s companion. Not only are the effects of sin proliferated throughout the church, but deceit and deception are also broadcast corporately as seeds spreading throughout the body. Read more »

The Meeting Maze

December 17th, 2014

Meeting in a small group or home setting provides for a wonderful opportunity for the Lord to accomplish what is truly on His heart. It can also be a slippery slope involving multiple dynamics. Read more »

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