Home Church Help

When the Going Gets Tough

 

Home church will expose you. If you stay in a house church setting for very long, you will get to see what your foundation is all about.

The churches in the New Testament were home churches. They had all sorts of problems. There was sin in the church that had to be dealt with. They also had arguments, divisions, hurt feelings, offenses, disagreements, and disputes. All of these problems are addressed in the New Testament letters.

The point is that you will probably see more problems come to the surface in house churches than in traditional church settings. Why? Because in the traditional church setting you are allowed to attend and you don’t really have to get to know anyone. In traditional church settings, many problems and personal issues that people have go unexposed, unnoticed and undealt with. People can sit on a pew and listen to a message once a week and have all kind of trash going on in their lives and know one knows the difference.

When you are part of New Testament church life, it gets more personal. You will get together with people more often than just the weekly meeting. You get to know each other. You get to really enjoy the gifts and the good things that others have to offer. You also get to see each other’s bad points. That’s why house church settings are places for explosive growth. You get blessed and loved on quite a bit, but everyone gets exposed and confronted on their weak points. It’s how true growth occurs.

Being exposed and confronted is really a wonderful thing. It is God’s love for us. “He disciplines those whom He loves.” To be confronted is not negative, if it’s done properly. Many people’s idea of being exposed, confronted, or reproved on their sin is very negative. This is often because people have confronted others sharply and with rejection in their heart. Or, confrontation has taken place when there has been no firm foundation of love and total acceptance “no matter what.”

A brief aside on confronting others: We should always confront as though we were coming along side the other person, as opposed to a head on collision. Confrontation is always to be done in the heart of wanting to be a help and an aid to the person we are confronting. When you confront someone, try asking a question about their practice to give them the benefit of the doubt. Ask them, “Where were you coming from in doing that?” People must not ever feel attacked. When people feel attacked, they defend, they react and they fight back. Always reassure your love for them many times in the middle of a talk like this. People are extremely delicate and very skittish, even if they don’t show it.

Religion has often been a place for people to hold strong opinions and then to reject others who do not hold to those same opinions. If we want to be followers of Christ and not be religious, love and truth must always go together. If we hold to the truth without love, we are fleshly and we will cause damage. If we love without holding to the truth, it is not really love at all.

As you are in a house church setting, you will get to know one another. People’s junk will eventually come to the surface. When this occurs, something great will happen! Everyone will get to see how real their Christianity really is.

Will you forgive that other brother, even though they have a sin or weakness in their life? Will you speak the truth to them, or will you ignore the sin so as not to cause an offense? Will you pretend their sin or weakness is not there so you don’t have to deal with it? Will you receive reproof if you are confronted concerning sin or error in your own life? Will you receive reproof if accused unjustly? Will you hold an offense? Will you come to the light? Will you blame others? Will you do what ever it takes, no matter what, no matter how long, to work it out and to stay in the light so as to remain being one with your brother or sister?

Traditional churches, of course, have relationship problems just like anywhere else. People get offended, then they leave, and then they “join another church.” Because of the strong marketing efforts traditional churches do with signs, buildings, ads, and programs, the traditional church is able to have a steady influx of new folks all the time to keep the whole show going.

Home church is not that way. Because of the small numbers, if two or three families get offended and leave, you just took a pretty good hit.

In my experience of home church, there have been seasons when I’ve been with multiple families, and seasons when I’ve only met with a few. People come in and out for all sorts of reasons. People move away, people go back to the traditional organizations, or they leave for what is the most common reason…

…If you are being real and honest with one another, the water will sometimes get hot in home church. Those who have a solid foundation of forgiveness, perseverance, love for the truth, and fervent love and devotion to one another, are the only ones who can really make it through relationship trials.

The scripture says in Romans 12:10 to “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love…” If you are not devoted to one another, you will never make it. You will wind up back on a pew somewhere with shallow, more palatable relationships. If you want to really live a life of independence from other people, do your own thing, and just attend a meeting in a home, your motivations will ultimately be exposed in a fully functioning home church setting.

People everywhere are in different places in their faith. People will want to have church in homes and non-traditional settings for many different reasons. Some are rebels. Some only want to share their opinions and be heard. Many can not fit in or be accepted in the traditional setting so they attend a house church as an alternative. Some meet in homes because it’s cozy.

The vast majority of people, whether it’s home church or traditional church, are gathering together for reasons other than a love for Christ.

Many times these folks don’t even see their own motivations and would confidently assert that they are coming together only out of a love for Christ. But time always tells us a great deal . When things get difficult or if there is confrontation involved, people’s foundations all come to the surface. The religious, the game players, and those who don’t have what it takes for body life will eventually leave.

Usually, they will slowly quit coming and you will never see them again. Or, they’ll make up an excuse. They are usually not of the quality to speak to you in person concerning the truth of how they really feel. They don’t have the courage or the faith to announce their departure in a proper way. Nor will they do what it takes to work it out.

It is not necessarily a bad thing that people leave.

“They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us.” 1 John 2:19

As a group, you will see the Lord prune you back and actually “weed out” those who never had the New Testament heart and convictions for gathering in the first place. Then, as you keep your homes open, practice true hospitality and continue to gather together, more will come around as time goes on.

Quality comes out of quantity. As the numbers grow and new folks beginning meeting with you again, some of those will leave as well. Although being a part of a large fellowship of multiple families has its advantages, I am perfectly content to meet with just a few. The quality is usually there. Those few people usually are your core group who really want to be there and who really want to share life together.

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