I recently had lunch with a friend, and we shared about our walk with Jesus. He said, “Do you know what I really like about my church?” I was expecting to hear about the great praise and worship or the powerful way his Pastor speaks. He continued, “I love that I can get in and out unnoticed and nobody bothers me.”
My heart broke.
Unfortunately, this is the mindset of many that go to church. They love the atmosphere and the feeling of doing their Christian duty for the week. They don’t have to talk, they don’t have to work, they don’t have to be accountable to anyone, they don’t have to build relationships beyond a wave and a smile.
When did comfort and doctrinal differences become the reason to gather at a particular place?
The followers of Jesus suffered persecution together and created the most amazing bonds of loyalty and friendship in the name of Jesus. The Apostles insisted in their letters that believers not get into arguments over doctrine or what minister they favored. However, we have now created temples built on every wind of doctrine, based around individuals.
Do you think the Apostles and early Christians ever thought, “One day we will be accepted and we can build large buildings where we won’t have to meet house to house anymore?” I challenge you to know in your heart that they had no intention of worshipping in a large temple where one minister would be elevated, people could sneak in and out unnoticed, or where doctrinal differences separated the Church. It was always about the people and true fellowship in Jesus name. They knew that relationship was the only way to grow disciples who were in it for the right reasons.
House church was how the early Believers met. However, it was not simply because of rejection from those that would persecute them. It was part of God’s plan to multiply and spread the Church to every nation, tribe, and tongue. We have replaced the house to house model with the Temple form, but this too was part of God’s plan, so we cannot get stuck in picking one model over another.
For a season, we have been focusing on building large static establishments with great structure, but I believe that in the wake of Covid-19, we are about to see these establishments finding ways to grow beyond their walls, and bring back the house to house model within their congregations. It will be Acts 2.0, where we take the static thousands and turn them into tens of thousands. We move beyond our boxes where we are expected to meet, to also moving into the marketplace where we are hated. We will begin building house church networks and evangelizing our neighborhoods.
If the traditional Church structure merges with the original Church mindset, it will be “The New Way to do it the Old Way” and we will see Church growth like we never imagined.
John Stewart Hill is an author, entrepreneur, and founder of FindAHouseChurch.com – a revolutionary new website for Christians and churches alike. Believers who are seeking a deeper, more intimate church experience can find like-minded believers and churches who seek to grow the body of Christ house-to-house, as in the book of Acts.