Reason #4 We Started a House Church
[This is part of an ongoing, irregularly published series on the reasons we started a house church. Reasons #1-3 will be listed at the bottom of the post.]
Christianity has a dirty little secret: The people within the church often live with significant parts of their life hidden and unchanged.
Much of this is due to people within the church only knowing each other as participants in events. Our modern church experience, for the most part is busy, full of events to be a part of and then left. There is very little lingering afterwards to build relationships where we know each other and are able to help each other with our weaknesses.
Which is exactly part of the reason we started a house church. The Christianity described in the New Testament is a relationship with Christ and a relationship with the people who follow Him, not an event people came to. This is why most of the New Testament descriptions of the church are about how Christians should relate to one another, not how a meeting should work. I’m not against meeting together but the emphasis is not on the meeting.
In fact, when we started our first house church, we decided that we would have meetings, but they would support relationships. We would focus on Jesus and the people who were meeting together, not just singing the right amount of songs or having a certain type of teaching happen. This frees up time both inside and outside the meeting to love one another well, to hear the stories that inform so much of each others’ lives, and to be with one another in everyday situations where we can truly see how each other live.
Here’s a brief, made up example: We allow our children to participate in our house churches. This presents a tremendous challenge as a house church if kids are too loud or distracting in the meeting. But suppose a parent disciplined their child too harshly during a meeting or didn’t correct a child who was being too unruly. This would rarely be addressed, let alone seen, in a large event but would be open for everyone to see within a house church. If a brother or sister takes up the issue with the parent in question, other issues might come up, including how the Gospel applies to parenting, the parent’s past issues with their own parent’s discipline, or even issues in the parents’ marriage.
House churches have the time and space to love one another and walk through these issues together. They don’t have a specific agenda which needs to be followed. They exist for moments like these, where the issues of the life come to the surface. Will the issue be resolved within one meeting? No. But it will come to light there. It may get some resolution there. It will be walked out with the believers who are there over the days and weeks to come.
Relationships are some of the keys to both recognizing issues in peoples’ lives and helping them resolve those issues. House churches can’t stop people from hiding their lives, but they do allow us to live close enough to each other to recognize where Jesus is touching issues and to be part of the process of bring healing to them.
Which is why we started a house church….