I have been mulling over a few thoughts since I attended a house church meeting a couple of weeks ago. I like the idea of house church, but I am not convinced it is the thing for us, at least at this time.
One of the things that isn’t sitting right with me is that I don’t want to develop relationships because I have a house church to invite people to. I want to have people in my home just to have them here, not because I’m having a meeting. I understand that the two concepts don’t necessarily have to be polarized.
The following post from Wayne Jacobsen hits on some of what I’m feeling. As usual, he explains things with much grace and wisdom.
I know few ‘established’ congregations that really help believers experience full maturity. Most times the effort over ‘gathering’ and ‘forming’ suck up the life of believers wanting to grow rather than actually helping them do that. I realize there are exceptions to this, but they are exceptions.
In the end, Jesus told us to proclaim the gospel and make disciples, and he would build his church. We do seem to get that backward. When we take it our ourselves to build the church, discipleship rarely happens and the demands of the institution almost always seem to overrun the relational realities the church needs to flourish.
I’ll give you an example of this. When I taught ‘church planting’ teams for an international missions group, I would break the class up into small groups the first day. I told them they were ‘church planting’ teams. They chose the country and city and then I gave them an hour to sort out the questions they would need to resolve as they were getting started. Their concerns and questions all revolved around finance, building rental, publicity, statements of faith and all the other things that go with a corporate endeavor.
Two days later I broke them into the same teams, told them they were going into the same city, but this time not to plant a church but to demonstrate who Jesus is to the people and help them learn how to follow him. The questions and issues they came up with from that assignment was remarkably different and far more powerful. Now it was about meeting people, getting jobs that would link them to the community, learning how to share their faith naturally not artificially and how to help people connect in a real way with him. Finances, buildings and publicity never came up.
That’s the difference I’m talking about, if that makes sense.