A few years ago my good friend Alan Knox wrote an interesting blog post entitled Why I’m Not A House Church Proponent. Alan offers some good thoughts that generated quite a few comments.
Alan and I agree on many things regarding Christ's church. However, we don't see eye-to-eye on this particular point. I most certainly am a house church proponent/cheerleader/advocate.
Today's post is not meant as a rebuttal of what Alan has written. Rather, I'm simply discussing reasons why I believe gathering in homes is the best general pattern for churches to follow. Six factors stand out:
1. House church follows the most common biblical pattern.
Churches in the New Testament generally gathered in homes. There were exceptions to this, but it was the normal practice. The apostles were present with the early church and gave approval to assembling in homes. We must have good reason before departing from what we see approved in scripture.
2. House church is inexpensive.
No mortgage payments. No rent. No electric bill. No insurance. No budget. Etc.
This frees up all sorts of money to give to people in need here and overseas. It also paves the way for much giving in support of international missions work.
3. House church offers a relational atmosphere.
Families live in homes. Homes are generally relaxed settings. The physical structure and layout of homes offers good potential for much conversation and resultant edification. Real life happens in homes. Homes are set up perfectly for eating together as community.
4. House church keeps numbers low.
Homes can only be so big. This sets an automatic limit of the number in any gathering. Smaller numbers are normally more conducive for familial-types of activity.
5. House church can be rotational in nature.
Depending on the families/people involved, it may be that several different homes can be gathering places. This means that no one family has to host all the time. This is beneficial all the way around.
6. House church promotes the priesthood of all believers.
Although I've heard of house churches with traditional pastors, this is not the norm. For the most part, house churches are composed of folks who realize they are all priests. No one stands above anyone else. All are equal before Christ.
There it is. It's not the most comprehensive post (I've left out a good amount of detail because longer posts are not read as much as shorter ones). To summarize, I am a house church proponent because I'm convinced it is the best model of gathering as the body of Christ. If you are interested in reading any posts in my series on the house church, click here.
Let me close with a brief aside. House churches do not form a monolith. There is wide variety within house churches. This post is based on generalities. Exceptions abound.
So, what do you think? Agree, disagree, or somewhere in between? Why?