Jim Wilson is the retired director of Community Christian Ministries in Moscow, Idaho. He will be posting regularly, so check back in soon!

Sunday, October 02, 2016

The House Church

House churches still exist. They exist because of:

• Persecution and the consequent necessity to be secretive
• Financial necessity. There is not enough money to rent, build, or buy.
• The size of the church. There may be enough money, but there are not enough people to warrant a dedicated building.
• On principle. It is better to have forty house churches of twenty-five people each than to have one building for one thousand people. Many house churches will reach a city faster than one big church. They can double in size, divide, and multiply. The big church can add to itself, but will not multiply.

House churches are not dependent on a gifted, high-powered pastor, nor on a large professional staff. In fact, they may not have a staff at all. They minister to each other. They are by nature family-oriented.

If a house church does require a pastor who is 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 $20,000, based upon tithing, the pastor would also receive $20,000. If each family’s income was $30,000, 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 constructing buildings. There are many examples of house churches in the Bible (see 1 Corinthians 16:9, Romans 16:3-5, Philemon 1:1-2, Acts 2:46-47, and Acts 8:3).

The 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. Throughout history, the Church has not grown when it desired to be respectable. It has become more liberal and/or dead in direct proportion to its respectability.

In 1971 in Moscow, we opened 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, that church planted a mission church in Moscow. About a year later, we discontinued our home church to support the new church. The church in Pullman divided two more times in the next few years. Later, a Korean church and a Chinese church were started. Two home churches in Moscow merged and met in two different homes. Those eight churches were all in rented or free buildings.

Bigger is not necessarily better, and biggest is definitely not best.

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