Last time we spoke of the need to see a greater accountability to one another so that others really come to know us – this aiding in our actually living as ‘new creatures in Christ.’ As people come to really know us they will see who we really are and our lifestyle – and then they can speak into our real lives and not our surface existence. Then we can be real with others because we trust them and know that they truly do love us. This may not always be safe and secure – but it is life transforming.
For this to become a reality we need to be part of a smaller group of believers that meet together and are the church. They don’t meet to “do church” but come together as the church. Here in this true expression of the Church that Jesus is building we find life and walk in freedom so we can truly be dead to self and the new creature that we Scripture talks about (2 Corinthians 5:17).
In an apostolic-prophetic house church things are different. Some of the more practical consequences of a house-church setup and some key issues we may need to address are as follows:
1> We will start being the church rather than doing church. Rather than going to church, we will start becoming the church – seven days a week. In a true house-church movement, church will cease to be an organized Sunday morning or evening activity and will start being the corporate, organic, local lifestyle of Christians.
2> Church will be holistic, touching all of life. When church again becomes part of everyday life, all of life will become touched and transformed by God. The gospel of the Kingdom will again be expressed in ‘words, works, and wonders,’ reflecting the triune and holistic God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
3> Church will be financially secure. many traditional church-planting activities and mission movements have a significant limiting factor: money. They need money for outreach activities, a land or building purchase, and pastors’ salaries. Then they need money for church housing, chairs, a sound system, and an overhead projector. Not so with house churches. House churches don’t cost money, they produce money, which can then be used to financially support the fivefold ministry, which, in turn, supports the church spiritually. House churches simply do not need a full-time professional pastor; any person with the qualification of an elder will do.
4> Churches will have plenty of good leaders. After money, the second loudest complaint of the church is that there are never enough leaders. For a typical congregational church, a large number of people are needed to organize and lead the various programs, to preach, to teach, to lead worship, to raise funds, to organize and conduct meetings, and to run Bible studies throughout the week.
In considering the house-church model built on an apostolic-prophetic foundation, we would no longer require professional or semiprofessional leaders to fit the congregational structure. Instead we would have a structure tailor-made for al the people. Such a structure would also solve the global problem of spiritual unemployment.
Spiritual gifts’ research studies like the one done by Natural Church Development indicate that about 70 percent of all Christians are spiritually unemployed with no way to get involved in their church systems – even as the leaders of the very systems are crying out for more leaders. In a house church, everyone participates and has a spiritual task. It is a place where all believers can be trained and equipped and where there is a necessity of training new leaders on a continual basis because house churches are healthy and thus grow and plant new expressions of the Church thus needing a constant flow of new leaders.
More next time…