A Christian Wonders About the House Church

John ArmstrongAmerican Evangelicalism, Missional Church, The Church

reclaimed-church-house-lg After my recent posts on “home church” I got a number of personal responses, both here on the site and through private emails. One daily reader forwarded me the email of a relative (who was sent the post by this reader). I asked permission to slightly edit this reflection and publish it as a follow-up to my earlier mini-series. I personally find this sister’s struggle very common, especially in the evangelical Christian community. Here is her edited letter to my daily reader:

Because I may be moving sooner or later I was telling a mutual friend that it would be disheartening to look for a church because I don’t want to do “church” anymore. We are involved in a church where we live because we are settled and established here. I love my pastor, the music and the people. I honestly don’t hate “church” but I yearn for something different and don’t know what it is. We continue to go on Sunday because it is what we have been doing for years and we don’t have an alternative.

I was just talking to a former pastor who was visiting our church for the first time in five years after leaving. He shared with me his attempt to plant and grow home churches because he believes that the “church,” as we know it, is not biblical. Not that it is evil but it is not what the body of Christ should be. I agreed with and he referred me to some books. My husband and I were thinking, if we do move, this may be the alternative.

That being said, I don’t want disgruntled members of (whatever) “church” to simply fellowship with in a home. My former pastor has had a lot of those kinds of folk. There are people who left “church” offended because they didn’t get their way, which means they are going to want their way in a “home church” or be offended once again. If I left the “church” as we’ve know it then it would be in order to seek what God wants.

Another thing that really is pushing the envelope on this subject is our concern for the kids. We are noticing that our four kids are actually becoming more worldly from the influence of the youth group at our church. We have excellent youth ministers that can effectively reach the kids in the world. But my children are not coming from that frame of reference and the results are precarious. Because it is aimed at the kids in the world the message is milk-like with a high volume of fun. It would have been perfect for me I suppose so I support them in that regard. However, I have been asking the Lord what to do about my/His children in this predicament.

It was strange that I talked to this former pastor for the first time in many years this last Sunday and you send a rare email to me about home churches several days later. Hmmm…I will keep my eyes and ears open to what God might be directing. These happenings can be his nudges or just another interesting topic.

There is more than a few things here to consider. What has happened to “youth ministry” comes to mind immediately. Christian Smith’s massive study suggests our kids have embraced a God of moral therapeutic deism. I believe this is the troubling truth. Also, why do good people find it so hard to find a “good” church? I am not talking about the church shopping mindset. I am speaking about a place were community is real, where love is experienced, and where people matter and things don’t. Can anyone seriously doubt that the church is in desperate need of renewal by the Holy Spirit?