Thinking Out Loud - Ms. Green

Commentaries from a female, conservative Christian worldview. Intermittent observations on human behavior and current events. Occasional bursts of personal tirades,confessions, and discoveries. Frequent discussions about my "Narrow-Minded Faith".

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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Home Churches

A recent article in today's Agape Press news entitled "Home Churches Growing Increasingly Popular as Worship Alternative" raises some questions and concerns. According to the article, there is a growing movement in the country of people leaving the conventional church to meet instead in individuals’ homes.
The reasons given vary, but among them are

1. People want to “be” the church, not just attend church
2. They are seeking greater depth in relationships
3. They are seeking more commitment to spirituality
4. It was more “biblical”

The book of Acts tells us that for the most part, believers met together in homes. The reason for this is that Christianity at the time was just a small mostly Jewish religion. But what the modern day “Home Church” movement misses is that these early Christians didn’t confine themselves to their small groups – they went out and literally evangelized the world, expanding the church by bringing the Gospel to the “...uttermost parts of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Home Churches were a “starting place” not an end.

As for the reasons given for this movement, I wonder what churches these people left. My spiritual family consists of about 400 people, give or take. We have 6 pastors on staff, but we don’t sit around waiting to be “blessed” by them. Yes, they are accessible, they are awesome preachers and teachers, and our spiritual guides when we need them. But we have small groups that meet regularly with common interests outside of the church, we have Bible Studies, we have different evangelistic ministries, and each member of the church is expected to serve in some capacity. Church is not about going and sitting on a pew and daring somebody to bless me. Preachers are called by God to preach the Gospel, not take care of every intricate detail of the running of a church. This was brought up in the 6th Chapter of Acts:

And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.

The reasons given for the Home Churches almost seem self-serving – as in “seeking greater depth in relationships” and “seeking more commitment to spirituality”. Both of these are great goals, but they can be achieved while being an active member of the local body of Christ in the local church.

Here are some things I see as potential dangers in this “movement”
1. With no clear spiritual leader, there is the danger of the dominating personalities “running the show” so to speak, regardless of whether they are grounded in the Word or just giving their “opinions” and personal beliefs.
2. I would be curious to know how often lost friends and family members are invited to these home churches, and if they are, who preaches the message of the Gospel?
3. There is too much room for confusion by allowing members to trade “ideas” and “feelings”

There are many other issues, such as baptism,accountability, children, communion, church discipline, and many others, but I don’t feel led to go into those right now.

God clearly calls some to preach, and there are already too many men who just “decided” they wanted to be preachers instead of being truly “called” of God. And when small groups isolate themselves like this, what does this do to evangelizing? It’s hard enough to get people to go out on visitation from a large church body. What would happen to evangelizing if everyone ended up in a small group Church Home setting? More of the world would die and go to hell while the small groups sat inside together and felt good about their “spiritual growth”.

Our primary objective – our command from God Himself, is to be witnesses to a lost world (Mark 16:15) The Local Church is the instrument for this command to be carried out.

Acts 1:8: But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

Mark 16:15: And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

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At 8:41 PM, Blogger ELAshley said...

You may have implied it within your 3 points, but please allow me to spell it out... Heresy. Small groups are a great fellowship slash devotional slash accountability tool, but without a teacher or exhorter or the word within the group, "damnable heresy" will inevitably creep in... in most groups. The purpose of the larger spirit-led, holy man of God led congregation, is to keep the whole body of Christ unified under one undefiled doctrine of faith, and to better reap a harvest of souls.

Great post.

At 8:55 PM, Blogger Ms.Green said...

Thanks. I just see what you see - another step in the descent of Christendom into the pit. My preacher frequently reminds us the Christ is the head of our church, and he, the pastor/preacher has been called to lead us - and that makes him accountable for every member - so he takes that accountability very seriously and keeps us from straying. After all, sheep do need a shepherd or they'll wander off and get themselves into trouble.


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