By Grace Wiebe
Over the past number of years especially, there has been a growing movement of house churches around the world which God seems to be initiating in order to help to not only reach with the Gospel many of the missed segments of society, but also to more effectively disciple/nurture believers and encourage the development of spiritual growth/godly character by providing the loving accountability we all need through the kind of close fellowship that is available in house fellowships.
House churches can be catalysts to help us to mature spiritually and to be what God has called us to be as we live out our part in the Great Commission. They can also solve many of the financial struggles of more traditional models of churches and of seeing the Great Commission financed by freeing up funds which would not normally be available. They can help to raise up, train and multiply many servant leaders (resulting in much less burn-out of leaders).
House churches can also provide a built-in protection system in case of persecution, can provide the sense of family and belonging that we all long for (Generation X especially seems to cry out for this dimension) and address the daily authentic reality of living the Christian life in the world today.
Quality of believers and Quantity of believers can be multiplied and can mushroom because when the groups grow to a certain number (around 10), they multiply by beginning additional groups, which then also multiply.
House churches can be very effective lights in the dark neighbourhoods in which they exist/function, and often become houses of prayer for the nations, with not only a growing passion to reach the lost in their communities but around the world. The very nature of house churches enables them to be an excellent incubator, nursery, Bible school, hands on training site, etc. for new believers all the way to seasoned/mature believers. It is also poised to be an excellent missionary sending support network.
House churches can provide an excellent atmosphere to develop and utilize the spiritual gifts. House churches are more flat in structure and less administrative, thus cutting out a lot of the bureaucracy and politics that are often involved in most more traditional models, so they are freed up to move and act quickly as God leads. The low administration also keeps down the costs which can be then be directed towards the poor and reaching the lost. The 5-fold ministry of pastor, teacher, apostle, prophet and evangelist can also be utilized throughout the networks to bring greater effectiveness to these churches, and to multiply new pastors, teachers, apostles, prophets and evangelists to also train and multiply others with these giftings.
Although house churches also have imperfections because people are still people, the nature of house churches is a model extremely conducive to Christ's command to DISCIPLE THE NATIONS, especially as house churches network with other house churches in their community and throughout their country, and indeed with other house church networks throughout the world.
Many long for the reality of a church experience similar to that of Acts, and I believe that God has heard the cry of many of our hearts and is moving us increasingly into these directions.
SOME BENEFITS OF HOUSE CHURCHES (summary):
Reaching missed segments of society
Discipleship/godly character development
Conducive to more rapid and consistent spiritual growth
Encourage us in our roles in the Great Commission
Free up finances for the Great Commission
Training and multiplication of servant leadership
Help prevent burnout of leaders
Built in form of protection re persecution
Multiplication of churches
Provide sense of family/belonging
Conducive to reaching Gen X
Ideal model to 'disciple the nations'
Biblical Christianity lived out in daily life
Others can 'know us by our love'
Model is by nature reproducing
House churches are much more able to hold/disciple the coming harvest
Multiplication of churches leading to people movements
Able to contain and disciple the growing harvest
Spiritual gifts and five-fold ministry are developed/exercised
Five fold ministry equips next generations of leaders
Every member of the family important
Every member of the house church involved in ministry
House churches are poised to be flexible with what God is doing
House churches are poised to respond to needs
Natural as "Houses of Prayer"
Natural sender of missionaries
Natural 'missionary care/support' function
Low administrative needs
Low costs to function
Conducive to evangelism/discipleship
Conducive to reaching the poor
Conducive to ministering to the hurting
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