Troublesome Topic: A List of Summary Points about House Churches

Based on my study of the New Testament house churches, here is a list that summarizes what I believe about house churches and presents it at one glance.

The Essential Things:

Scripturally based content – when someone shares, others should evaluate it to make sure it fits with Scripture.

Fellowship – this means getting to know each other’s goals, victories, and struggles. If all you talk about it sports or the weather, you have not had fellowship.

Remembering Christ’s sacrifice for us – sometimes through communion and always through keeping the proper focus.

Prayer – A house church is small enough that everyone can pray, and everyone can be prayed for. There is something encouraging about being prayed for by fellow believers.

Giving to the needy – This is a big part of a house church, but it must be done carefully and wisely.

The Optional Things:

Where to meet

When to meet

How many meetings per week

Singing – whether to have music during a worship time and how to make that happen

Where to put the money – either in a bank account or handled in cash

A meal – eating together is not quite obligatory, but I do see great value in it and recommend that all house churches eat together regularly.

When to divide into two house churches – as the group grows such a division is necessary and important but I will not tell you how to do it; you will know when it is time.

What to stay away from:

Registration with the government

Buying or building a “church” building

Membership process and membership status

Choosing whatever leadership structure you like

Turning an institutionalized “church” into a group of house churches while retaining the ties to a denomination

Someone teaching or preaching every week – rather than someone feeling they are expected to teach or preach, allow the Spirit to place a burden on someone and then that person should share. This will probably not happen every week and it will probably not be the same person each time. If it is the same person sharing a burden week after week, I would begin to question it. The pattern in Scripture is that the Holy Spirit gave His messages to his prophets or Apostles sporadically, not weekly. For small house church meetings, I recommend that each person share what they have been learning from Scripture and life during that week– many small sermons will come from this sharing.