Changes Needed – A House Church – Part Five

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

Let’s continue our look at the practical changes that come about when we begin to think of churches meeting in homes instead of “church” buildings or rented facilities…

8> Missions will be redefined. At the heart of both traditional and contemporary missions is the congregational understanding of church. From this static centre we reach out to others in proximity of the church building, trying to get them to come to church – and we call it evangelism. If we reach out abroad or across significant social and ethnolinguistic barriers, we call it missions. If the house church, however, is the centre of our evangelistic understanding, the static church can stop identifying and sending mobile specialist – missionaries – and instead send itself by simply acting apostolically as a whole. The church, in the best sense of the word, again becomes the mission, the sender, as well as the sent ones.

By sending forth multipliable units of itself, the church with its spiritual DNA, changes everything it touches and deposits its spiritual message into every culture and language. This type of missions spreads much like an infection, where the virus introduces its own genetic code into every host cell that it touches, transforming the cells into its own image. Or to consider another example, ‘mission’ regains the dynamics of yeast, which reproduces itself. Instead of bringing more people to the church, we bring the church to more people.

9> There will be more authenticity. The congregational type of church is geared toward a stage performance. The emphasis is on conducting the meeting, delivering the message, performing the functions, and celebrating the rites. But with so many spectators involved, it is not a structure for discipleship at all. This type of church lends itself to acting – going through the motions without emotions and performing the outward form without content, while the spectators remain empty and void behind a smoke screen of nods, hallelujahs, and amens. By returning the church to normal life – away from artificially conducted meetings – authenticity and authority would be restored locally, right in the neighbourhoods. This leads to less acting and more significant action.

10> Church will become part of a larger network. When computers are linked to other computers, we differentiate between a Local Area Network (LAN), and a Wider Area Network (WAN). The LAN could be a part of the WAN, which is exactly the way house churches develop.

A local network of independent house churches (LAN) interlinks with a wider network of house churches (WAN) in the district, city, or the regional area; they exchange ministries and work together in a strategic partnership towards a goal of saturation church planting.

More next time…

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