Friday, August 27, 2010

Strawman Argument: No Growth

Another strawman argument against house churches can be summed up this way, "House churches either do not grow or do not grow enough." This is referring to numerical growth, not spiritual growth.

I'm sure this is true of some house churches. If no one new comes to the house church for an extended period of time, this is most likely a big problem.

However, there are also many, many traditional churches that are not growing. In fact, in this country right now well over 50% of all churches - most of which are traditional - have plateaued or are decreasing in size.

The sad reality is that many Christians do not share their face in Christ regardless of what type of churches they are a part of.

One of the primary goals of traditional churches is to grow numerically. They want to get bigger. They want their sanctuaries to be full. In this country, bigger is almost always better; this thinking has infiltrated many churches as well.

House churches often appear to not be growing when in fact they are. Because they gather in homes, they can only get so big before something has to happen. They obviously are not going to build a new building, so they divide in the good sense. Some of the people begin to gather in another home. In this method, instead of having hundreds of people concentrated in a large, expensive facility, many small churches that don't require special buildings can spread across an entire city.

So the claim that house churches do not grow or do not grow enough is absurd. It does not correspond to the reality of the situation. Traditional churches tend to grow in one place - if they grow at all. House churches grow and divide; therefore, they grow in many places.

Which would be more beneficial to a city? Many Christians in one place or many Christians in many places? The answer seems obvious.


Aussie John said...


In my opinion, house churches ought not grow very much, because they will continually be shedding some of their number to start new house churches.

House churches ought to begin having that idea firmly in mind.

Eric said...


I agree. I suppose the real accusation here is that people are not coming to know the Lord through people who are part of house churches. This simply is not the case. As we know, house churches do grow, and then divide/multiply. This false accusation is so absurd it is amazing.

Norma Hill - aka penandpapermama said...

another thought - large traditional churches usually draw on a large geographical area, which does not encourage people to reach out to those in their neighborhoods and workplaces to develop the relationships that can lead to really sharing Jesus. In fact, very often those same large churches can train people to be satisfied with relatively shallow relationships within time-bounded programmed gatherings.

I'm thinking that if the church is found in many small groups scattered across the entire geographic region, there is a greater opportunity in those small groups, first, for people to learn to have deeper relationships; and, once that happens, when the group reaches the size that they must "divide and multiply," there is likely to be a greater chance that they will be needing to develop NEW relationships, and maybe they will start actually getting to know their neighbors.

And gradually, instead of a few lone "lighthouses" scattered across the area with large areas cast in dark shadow, there will be candles shining in many windows, filling in the shadows with light.

(Your blog's background picture inspired that metaphor :-) )

Eric said...


I think you are right on target.

I like that you mention relationships. They are so important for evangelism. So many churches today teach some sort of 5-step process for sharing your faith in the hopes that this will lead to conversions and numerical growth.

I would rather see real conversions begun in relationships.

And to see many small churches permeating a city or larger area would be wonderful.