Don’t Start a House Church Out of Anger

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I’m always trying to get people to start house churches. It’s kind of a little crusade of mine. So people are always a little surprised when I caution some folks not to start a house church.

So while I have a huge list of reasons why people should start house churches, I have a small list of reasons they shouldn’t. One of the main reasons I caution people to not start a house church is because they are angry with another believer or group of believers.

It’s a common scenario: Something a pastor or leader or just someone else in your house church did makes you angry. Out of anger, the impulse to start a house church arises. Sometimes it’s out of a desire to prove the offending person wrong. Sometimes we just want to get away from the person in our current church. Sometimes its because we want a church of our own to lead. Regardless, the temptation is there–Starting a house church is easy, I’ll just do that.

Starting a house church is easy. That’s one reason we love them. But when we start house churches out of anger and division, we set ourselves up for disaster down the road. What many don’t realize when they start a house church is that often those who lay the vision for a house church sow the seeds of the future of that house church.  Those with prophetic gifting will often find themselves planting prophetic house churches.  House churches started by people with mercy gifts will often multiply disciples with mercy gifts. But those who start house churches out of anger will often end up with an angry house church.

This shouldn’t surprise us. James tells us:

This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger;  for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.

James 1:19-20

See the problem? Anger fills us with a kind of hubris that causes us to take matters in our own hands to show other people. We will prove ourselves. But this is so outside of how God births his Kingdom. Jesus invites us to serve others, to turn the other cheek when wronged, and to lay aside all forms of anger because it’s truly the seeds of murder in our heart (See Matthew 5:21-24). Anger with a brother actually represents a break in your relationship with God that needs to be dealt with immediately.

This is why I recommend, before someone with anger in their heart plants a house church, that they go and try to be reconciled with their brother or sister. Obviously this is not always possible. Not every conflict can be reconciled, but Paul tells us that as much as it is up to us to live at peace with others (Romans 12:18). That will mean forgiving the brother or sister we believe wronged us. It will mean trying to rebuild he relationship, to whatever degree possible.  Sometimes it may even mean bearing with others’ weaknesses, because not everyone will be perfect, or even our definition of perfect.

History is littered with angry people who started house churches only to be rejected by those who were part of this new house church. The rejection often comes from anger and bitterness, because the writer of Hebrews tells us that bitterness in one person will defile many.  So before you pull the trigger and plant that house church, please, for the sake of the Kingdom, reconcile yourself to whoever you might be running from.

“…the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.”

Photo Credit: Angry Hulk by Clement127

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About traviskolder

Travis Kolder is a follower of Jesus, a husband, a father of five, an organic church planter, and a writer. He lives in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he serves as part of the Cedar Rapids House Church Network.

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