House Church – Part One – Evangelistic or Apostolic and Prophetic

The long-term driving force of the Church that Jesus is building is not its evangelistic vision but its solid apostolic and prophetic foundation (Ephesians 2:20). In this way, the apostolic outward focus and the prophetic vision for the past, the present, and the future are literally built in. I believe that without this that we cannot build a strong church that will produce labourers for the harvest. We may see many come to Christ through our evangelistic efforts but few will actually become active and healthy members of the Body of Christ, the Church.

Every church needs to be built upon an apostolic-prophetic foundation. This was the way the Church was designed to function by its founder, Jesus. This is the way the Church in the book of Acts spread to all of the known world spreading the Gospel of the Kingdom as it moved further and further afield from the city of Jerusalem where it began.

Evangelists have never played the main role in propagating the church; the growth of the church has always been the ministry of prophetic and apostolic ally gifted people. The apostolic and prophetic church as a new way of life is good news in itself, and it does not really need evangelism to drive it, especially considering all the unhealthy pressure to perform that come with it.

A good example of the problems of an evangelism-driven church can be found in Argentina, a country that has been experiencing revival since roughly 1982 when it lost the war with Great Britain. Gifted evangelists like Carlos Anaconda, Hector Gimenez, and Omar Cabrera sprang up at that time and had massive evangelistic rallies of almost unheard-of proportions, counting the “decisions for Christ” by the tens of thousands. However, since that time these men have had to honestly ask themselves where all these people are now. Pastors in Argentina have found it difficult to incorporate the many people who made decisions for Christ into existing or newly planted churches.

A September 1996 study done by DAWN Ministries revealed that Argentina then had one of the lowest church-planting rates of all of Latin America. The large number of decisions for Christ had simply not translated into church growth. There must be a missing like. “Evangelism which pulls individuals out of their family context and provides no new context is half-baked and may well do more harm than good,” saying Australian missiologist Alan Tippet.

Back in the 1990’s, Argentinian church planter Alberto Luca saw church planting and multiplication as the prophetic way forward. Together with a growing number of pastors, Luca has been developing a national church-multiplication strategy in an effort to move forward from being evangelism driven to functioning in an apostolic and prophetic way. Good evangelism supports and functions in unity with the fivefold ministry; it is never isolated as a single force or a cure-all for the lost.

This apostolic-prophetic approach also needs the intimacy of a “house” or a “home” to be truly effective.
As Alan Tippet stated (see above): “Evangelism which pulls individuals out of their family context and provides no new context is half-baked and may well do more harm than good.” So, as the gospel “pulls individuals out of their family context” house churches provide the best ‘new context’ in which to discover all that a person’s new found faith involves. So, as in the book of Acts, the church can grow from house to house and thus reach a nation and the world.

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