Monday, August 20, 2012

The House Church

House churches still exist. They are existent because of
1) persecution and the consequent necessity to be secretive;
2) financial necessity. There is not enough money to rent, build, or buy;
3) the size of the church. There may be enough money, but there are not enough people to warrant a separate building used only a few times a week;
4) on principle. It is better to have forty house churches or twenty-five people each, than it is to have a building for one thousand people. The house churches will reach the city faster than the big church. They can double in size, divide, and multiply.

The house churches are not dependent on a gifted, high-powered pastor, nor a big, professional staff. In fact, they may not have a staff at all. They minister to each other. They are by nature family oriented. If they do require a pastor supported by the congregation full time, it need not be a financial burden.

If the church is made up of ten families, each of which has an income of
a) $20,000 – based upon tithing, the pastor would also receive $20,000.
b) $30,000 – based upon tithing, the pastor would receive $30,000.

In other words, a pastor can easily be paid the average salary of his congregation. There are other expenses! Yes, but not the kind that are used in buying or building buildings. Here are a few examples of house churches in the Bible.

I Corinthians 16:9
Romans 16:3-5
Philemon 1:1-2
Acts 2:46-47
Acts 8:3

The confessing Church in Germany had to go “underground” in WWII. Most of the churches in Turkey, China, and other closed lands are house churches. That is where the church is growing. In history, the church did not continue to grow when it desired to be respectable. The church seemed to become more liberal and/ or dead, directly proportional to its respectability. In 1971 in Moscow, we had a church in our home, starting with our family. It grew rapidly. In 1972 I started to substitute preach at a little church that met in a Grange hall near Pullman, Washington. It also grew rapidly. In 1975 this church started a mission church back in Moscow. About a year later, we discontinued the home church in Moscow to support the new church. The church in Pullman divided two more times in the next few years. Later, a Korean church and then later, a Chinese church started. Two home churches in Moscow merged and met in two different homes and now in a school house. These eight churches are all in rented or free buildings. Bigger is not necessarily better, and biggest is definitely not best.

1 comment:

quilnigh said...

Thank you, Jim. Passing this on to a few others. Charlie and Patty