Existing House Churches Should Be Fragile, Too…
Every church plant is fragile. But truth be told, every house church I’ve ever been a part of was fragile, regardless of whether it was brand new or not. And it was good that it was fragile.
This flies in the face of our Western pragmatism. We feel like we should be able to start something of significance and twenty, thirty, or fifty years later come back and find something that looks very familiar to what we started.
But everything that is truly alive is fragile: From the smallest seedling to the newborn baby to a mature elephant. Massive as they are, an unseen virus or hidden cancer can end the life of each of these living things. There is a fragility baked into life that makes it both alive and risky.
Because the church is a living thing, the same thing is true of her. If she ever grows to the place where she cannot die, we do not have a living breathing bride of Christ, but some kind of zombie bride that’s not fit for Jesus. Again, there’s a risk in life, but it’s worth the cost.
I can’t take you back to the first house church I ever started. It doesn’t exist. It didn’t fall apart because of moral failure or lack of money. It grew into several churches that are alive and growing. The people that made it up are still walking with Christ, but they are starting churches and making disciples in different contexts.
In order for new life to emerge, often things must die. So as a follower of Jesus, I have to embrace the idea that not just the churches we start among the lost, but the house churches we are part of right now are fragile. Eventually, what is living will die and give way to the seed of something new that God will plant and cause to flourish somewhere else.
I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives.
-Jesus, John 12:24