Here are the top ten reasons why I love our house church arrangement.
1. It's What the First Christians Did
In the New Testament (NT), we read of Christians meeting in homes and hosting churches in their home.
By contrast, there are no examples of churches owning buildings or property in the NT.
If we want to experience authentic Christianity similar to that of the first century Christians, isn't it logical to think that we need to imitate their actions and setup as closely as possible?
2. Homes Naturally Provide a Family Atmosphere
Homes provide a warm and intimate atmosphere which helps people feel welcome and relaxed, facilitates effective communication and promotes relationship building. People can—and do—truly get to know each other.
3. Small Group Sizes Enable Everyone to Participate
According to 1 Cor. 14:26, the Corinthian Christians regularly brought something to contribute and share when they assembled.
People prepare when they are expected to participate, and when they participate, people grow.
People truly worship when their heart is engaged, and that occurs when they share with the group what they prepared.
Most houses inherently require smaller groups, which naturally facilitates an environment where everyone can participate.
In smaller groups, it is easier and natural to properly value each and every person. This is naturally more challenging in larger congregations. I like the fact that, in the setting of a home, people don't "slip through the cracks" unnoticed.
Each week we rotate which of the men lead our assembly. This provides excellent opportunities for growth and helps prevent burnout.
With scriptural male leadership in place, women and children are regularly allowed and encouraged to prepare for the assigned topic and participate in sharing and discussion—much like a typical Sunday School class.
4. Removal of "Denominational Thinking"
Jesus said in Matt. 16:16-18 that He would build His church. He's still in the process of building it soul-by-soul as individuals come to Him.
According to Eph. 4:4-6 there is one body—one church. The division and denominational developments that have occurred through the centuries is not from GOD, nor are the countless departures from the truth of Scripture which gave rise to these denominations and divisions.
When we began hosting a church in our house, a primary goal was to function as members of that one church Jesus is building—nothing more and nothing less.
We are just "Christians," no additional descriptions, no church bank accounts, no staffs, no church signs, no creeds and no denominational affiliation.
(If the rest of the world perceives a church [by title] as just another denomination, then that's likely what they are, regardless of whether they themselves acknowledge it.)
5. Freedom from Human Religious Tradition
Churches that meet in homes are inherently somewhat unique.
In our experience, the freedom and fresh perspective that this provides is invigorating and joyous.
I have been amazed at the things we have been able to see that we had missed previously. I attribute this largely to a change in environment which essentially forced us to reexamine virtually every aspect of our spiritual life because our perspective had changed. We started to realize where religious traditions had a hold on us and our thinking in places we never saw before.
For the first time in our lives, we had the freedom to completely openly discuss and debate concepts, Scripture and doctrines—and make changes accordingly. No longer do we feel as though we must conform to the rules of a human belief "system" that pervaided all activities.
6. Elimination of Unnecessary Arguments
The arguments over what is and isn't authorized for a church to own, use, build, provide, etc. all go away when you meet in homes.
Finally, we are living like all of our money is "the Lord's money" and we rejoice that frivolous debates over how we spend "the collection" have vanished.
Instead, when we see a need, we take up a collection and we meet that need. That's the NT example.
7. Improved Giving Efficiency
Speaking of giving, meeting in our homes provides substantial improvements in giving efficiency. Since there are no paid church staff and buildings to maintain, every dollar we collect goes to the need for which it was given.
8. Elimination of Predefined "Order of Worship"
In most, if not all congregations I've attended, the order of events is essentially determined before the assembly begins. It's predefined and very little causes it to change mid-assembly.
In my opinion, this structure feels more like a theatrical production than it does real life.
In the smaller group size of a home setting, we are free to adapt based on the circumstances of the situation at hand.
For example, if during our Bible study someone is convicted by what GOD says, they might ask for prayers on their behalf as they strive to improve, overcome a temptation or even confess a sin to the group.
Rather than wait for a predefined "invitation" or "closing prayer," we stop right then and address their need—which shows love and concern for them and provides positive reinforcement for the biblical concept of confession.
We might discuss a specific need that has arisen in an effort to help or encourage one another, or we may pause and take up a collection for a need that has been brought to our attention.
9. Regular Fellowship Time
Our group chooses to frequently eat meals together on Sunday and, at times, at our midweek Bible study. Additionally, we also interact with one another frequently and plan social events.
This is important quality time with one another just sharing life. We strive to truly be a family where each person feels valued, included and accepted within the group.
In my past experience with other churches, fellowship and hospitality were more the exception than the norm, and we've made this a focus area.
10. Increased Evangelistic Opportunities
Because we are striving to authentic first century Christianity, we have been blessed with an increased number of opportunities to share Jesus with others.
We are excited about the work GOD is doing with and through us, and we long to share our experience with others so that they may be similarly blessed.
In 2014, our church celebrated its fourth year together. Reflecting on what GOD had done and our experience during this time period, I wrote a book entitled House Church Reflections. I want people to have access to the message, so I'm giving it away.
Click here to download my House Church Reflections e-book.