Reviewing the benefits of a “house church” we have seen…
1> We will start being the church rather than doing church
2> Church will be holistic, touching all of life
3> Churches will be financially secure
4> Churches will have plenty of good leaders
5> Churches will meet in ready-made buildings
6> We will see a new quality of conversions
7> We will eat and drink together
8> Missions will be redefined
9> There will be more authenticity
10> Church will become part of a larger network
11> The church will have a better chance of reaching Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists. It is no secret that today’s church setup seems to appeal only to the marginalized and lower-caste adherents of other faiths. For many Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists, entering a church building itself is a spiritual, cultural, social, and philosophical problem. As relational family-style house churches develop – similar in style to the extended family culture from which these three religions have come – a more welcoming and less taboo environment is created, helping people raised in other faiths to learn about Jesus Christ in an appropriate fashion. Already today we see that of all possible church structures, house churches have by far the greatest potential to grow among Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist people groups.
12> The church will thrive in socialist and communist cultures. The traditional church has not done particularly well in attracting the attention and excitement of many intellectuals, social entrepreneurs, atheists, socialists, and communists. But let’s consider for a moment what these groups of people value most: the redistribution of wealth, sharing resources, and justice for all. These are all New Testament values, which the congregational church has preached but not always lived.
Communism as an ideology is still a powerful attraction today because it focuses on justice, the rights of the poor, and the redistribution of wealth, if necessary by force. But although Vladimir Lenin’s communism spoke of “power to the people,” that power was ultimately usurped by the elitist few toward the top of the power pyramid.
As Christians, we need to avoid the romantic version of early communism, because although out faith also speaks of power to the people, it provides a God-given delivery and accountability system for that power: the church, where God’s power is facilitated through the humble services of elders and members of the five-fold ministry (Ephesians 4:11).
Communism does not deal with the root problem of corruption and sin so those people who redistribute wealth are as fallen and sinful as those from whom they take it; more corruption and dictatorship is usually the result.
With their emphasis on sharing resources and with the absence of dictator-type leaders, house churches are particularly effective in current or historical socialist or communist societies like Russia, Cuba, China, Vietnam, and Ethiopia. In many ways, communism has been a strategic ally in preparing people for a massive house-church movement. The house church, without much propaganda, can do locally what the government cannot do nationally. The house church provides the right structure for life in a working model, because it has found the solution to the root problem, sin.
13> The excitement level will rise. Far fewer people in traditional congregational churches are mobilized for actual ministry than in small house churches. Even in a traditional church of fewer than one hundred attendees, only 31 percent are involve in ministry corresponding to their spiritual gifts. In a larger church, the figure is only 17 percent. It is a known fact that involved people are excited people, and uninvolved people quickly become bored. With its participatory lifestyle, the house church is immediately able to involve almost everyone. As a result, more people get excited. Excited people excel, and excellent people attract.
So,, when considering planting a church today we should wisely consider a house church model. When trying to breath new life into a dying or dead congregation – breaking into house churches is an excellent alternative. No matter where in the world we are situated – a house church model will work.