I am pondering again the whole issue of house churches. Having participated in some of the best “megachurches” or “wannabe-megachurches” in the country, often led by some really great leaders, where the Holy Spirit IS definitely working, my heart still hungers for “something more”. And it could never be what I have seen over the years in Australia amongst people who want to “be the church” and not “go to church”. It can’t just be a refuge for people hurt by ambitious leaders – people who want to do what is mostly comfortable and easy in the name of being “led by the Holy Spirit”. If we are going to do house church, we can still avoid the kind of slackness, sloppiness and apathy that stifles evangelistic zeal and goes nowhere. As one church leader said, “If the Lord is not daily adding to the church those being saved”, how can we boast of being a “New Testament apostolic church”?
So what do I believe would be important for a healthy house church movement? Here are some things.
Features of House Church I’d Like to See
1. Passion to know God’s voice and presence
The greatest achievement anyone can have is to live constantly in awareness of God and hear His voice accurately on all matters relevant to the purpose of God for one’s life and the lives of others.
2. Loving neighbours expressed through a call to daily soulwinning activity
We should all grow towards this. I’m only getting back into it now. We should get to the point where we are telling the gospel DAILY.
I heard Dennis Balcombe mention concerning the Chinese House Church movement, that there needs to be a “foundation of evangelism”. This needs to be a core value of this movement – or it is nothing new in Australia. There are plenty of Christians who won’t make a significant effort to preach the gospel. We don’t need any more such.
“Who is my neighbour?” According to Jesus, he is the one we see that is in trouble, on whom we can show mercy.
3. Training and exhortation re: meditating on the Word of God
Real transformation comes through MEDITATION and REFLECTION on the Word of God for extended periods.
4. Pursuit of purity and holiness and abiding in Christ
5. Helping the poor, the homeless, the stressed
6. Supporting missions locally and abroad
7. Media savvy – internet, TV, radio
8. Weekly prayer meeting in addition to house meeting. “My house a house of prayer”.
9. Tithing or giving to support local ministries. Collections in meetings for specific purposes.
10. Embracing LEADERSHIP. Not shunning human leadership. Multiplying it. Leaders are needed because people DON’T naturally just submit to the Holy Spirit. They need encouragement, training, correction and mentoring.
11. Not critical of other churches or church styles. Since God resists pride, we have to concentrate on humbly bearing fruit, not criticising the lack of it in other places, or excusing our own fruitlessness by claiming that we are somehow better than others for other reasons, like say, faithfulness to the New Testament Order.
12. Excellent but playable music – Scriptural lyrics.
13. Freedom to organise big events or congregational meetings if the Lord so leads – even regularly, but the home
churches are the core.
14. As point 1 should imply, encouragement of the practice of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 14:26. There needs to be accountability and evaluation in this – but not a wholesale shutting down of the operation of the gifts. People don’t need any encouragement to be passive and lazy. It comes naturally. We need to stir one another up in the Holy Spirit instead.
Please tell me what you think. I am pondering this before God in these days.