Tag Archive | House Church Movements

Movements (A Tweetstorm)

So a month or so back I went on a little Tweetstorm about how Christians use the word “movement.” Looking back, I think I probably should have blogged those thoughts. But that’s the beauty of Twitter, right? Regardless, for those who missed it, I thought I would post the tweets in succession so my readers can think through these same ideas. Let me know your thoughts!

House Church Books

It’s a conversation that happens in house church circles and between those with some experience with house churches and the house church-curious.  “What books on house churches would you reccommend?” The conversation then turns to what people have read and what people haven’t, the strengths of one approach over another, etc.

I originally started this post just as a resource to give people a jump start on their understanding of house churches. But as I began writing about the books that have been meaningful to me, I found that the books I was recommending were different than where most people start the conversation. You’ll notice that this is a global list, three of the five authors aren’t Americans and two of the five don’t speak English as their primary language.  What I love about that, is while these books are applicable to our context, they allow us to sit at the feet of others who aren’t trapped by our particular world-view.  They allow us to look at church and Scripture through a different lens than we do here in America. And I think that that is helpful.

So, submitted for your approval and in no particular order, the five best books on house churches are:

Houses that Change the World by Wolfgang Simson

This was the original house church book for me.  A leader I respected in the church we were part of said “If you want to understand what God is doing in our midst, you have to read ‘Houses that Change the World.'” I picked it up. I didn’t like it. I wrestled with every idea in the book. Eventually it pinned me.  It begins with Wolfgang’s 15 Theses (worth the price of the book, btw) that challenge the state of the current church and then moves to a sweeping vision of why and how we do church in homes. What I love about Houses is that it’s written by a German who saw God raise up a multiplying network of house churches in India.  It’s truly a global, apostolic book that challenges “Church As We Know It.” If you check out one book on this list, this is the one I recommend.

Organic Church by Neil Cole

Neil Cole, founder of CMA Resources and Awakening Chapel, has written a book about organic churches that is extremely helpful. He tells the stories of his early days starting Awakening Chapel and the journey the Lord has taken him on multiplying disciples and churches throughout the world. Organic Church is extremely helpful because it places a heavy emphasis on the power of Jesus in the life of believers as the driving force in organic house churches.  Many of the principles are based on church multiplication principles that originated in other countries like India and China, but are fleshed out in an American context.  If you want to know what the multiplication of churches looks like in America, this is a great place to start. (Also, not exactly about house churches, but a great help in understanding context is Ordinary Hero and Church 3.0., also by Neil Cole.)

Viral Jesus by Ross Rodhe

Long-time readers of the blog may recognize Viral Jesus because I reviewed this book several years ago and gave a copy of the book away. This book is an absolutely fantastic invitation into a lifestyle centered around the mission of Jesus, especially how he describes it in Luke 10.  Ross shares multiple stories about planting house churches in a Western context.  All of these stories have Ross or one of his friends following Luke 10 and sharing the Gospel with men and women of peace. Miracles happen, people come to Jesus, and new organic house churches are started as a result.  I highly recommend this book because of its strong emphasis on the church growing through apostolic mission.

The Global House Church Movement by Rad Zdero

This may be the book most unfamiliar to my readers, but it is a gem. Zdero crammed a ton of good theology and practice into a short space, which makes for page after page of profound insights. This book was foundational to me at a time when I was beginning to think about planting my first house church and answers questions with wisdom I haven’t seen anywhere else.  The real asset of this book is its global perspective. It’s not limited by our normal western grievances with “Church As We  Know It,” but really pulls the reader into an understanding of what God has done and is doing around the world.  If you’re looking to plant a Kingdom house church and not just an Americanized-version of house church, this is a great book to pick up.

The Heavenly Man by Brother Yun and Paul Hattaway

Okay, so this one is not technically a house church book, but I included it because it captures the heart of what I believe the house church movement could and should become. It’s the story of Brother Yun, a Chinese leader in the underground house church movement. It’s basically his testimony of following Jesus, preaching the Gospel, starting churches, and enduring persecution. All of this happens in the context of churches that meet in homes and send out others to do the same.  The book is simultaneously filled with miracles and heartbreak. You will be inspired by the stories of believers who have sacrificed much to follow Jesus and challenged to see your church embrace many of the realities described here. While this book was the Christian Book of the Year in 2003, many people read it as an inspiring story and not as a life to imitate. Don’t make the same mistake!

You’ll probably realize that I left some notable titles off. Pagan Christianity, Reimagining Church, and The Rabbit and the Elephant are just a few.  Some of these I haven’t read and others are good books, but much of their content will be found in these books as well.  No matter what our jumping on point is, moving towards a more organic, missional, apostolic form of church that results in Christ-formed followers is the goal.

Lastly, remember, I don’t recommend everything I recommend

Now, what about you? Which books have been helpful in your journey towards an organic, missional, apostolic church?

Note: The links to these books are part of my Amazon Store. While my opinions are mine and offered freely, I do stand to benefit from the purchase of these books through these links.

Food For Thought: Getting Back In The Swing Edition

Every week here at Pursuing Glory I try to bring together the best posts I’ve found that will equip the end-times church to operate in her God-ordained destiny.  These are the best blogs, articles, books and other resources related to our purpose here at this site.  Feel free to visit, comment, and make use of the resources found at each site.

This week marks the return of me to blogging after letting that part of my life slide for a few weeks.  I’ve had a chance to hang out with some of the coolest people who aren’t part of our house church recently.  However that time spent has taken me away from writing, so I’m going to try and get back in the swing of things.  This post represents the best posts from the last few weeks. Enjoy!

Community Elements: Jesus

I think that Jesus is most frequently the part of community that we leave out when we begin to discect a Christian community.  Alan writes about Jesus’ centrality in a way that makes his whole discussions on the elements of a church more palatable than most similar discussions.

Two Vital Needs of Every Disciple

One of the things that gets left out of most discussions about discipleship is the necessity of being able to make other disciples.  Here Ray writes about the paradox of following Jesus and leading others into following Him.

Change the Atmosphere, Change the Culture

One of the shifts that I’ve seen help people move from a static church mindset into a movement mindset is discovering the spirit of multiplication that the apostles walked in.  Here J.D. talks about how that happens with a  group people who currently have no vision for reproducing churches.

Misunderstanding Persecution

One of the common misconceptions in the body of Christ is that house churches in the third world are effective because persecution happening around them fuels evangelism and discipleship.  Actually persecution causes the church to return to her organic roots and when she does that, she spreads quickly and naturally.

A Grove of Aspen Trees

With the house church movement in the United States as new as it is, little has been written about what mature house church networks look like.  This post has an incredible visual that says volumes about how a network of house churches can function interdependently.

Photo Credit: Design Probes – Food for Thought by centralasian.