(Everyday I am asked) “Do church meetings in a house-church setting not happen on Sundays?” Yes. No. It can. Maybe. Sometimes. Most of the time.
House-church “meetings” happen anywhere and anytime that several brethren agree to see each other. They see themselves as the Church that meets in simple places like someone else’s home, offices, restaurants, coffee shops or even under the mango trees. They can meet for encouragement or to sharing the Word of God and then they all discuss what the Lord is saying together. They can pray together, help meet one another’s needs, eat together, and who knows what else? You can easily access online or read a book about what these kind of small bands of brethren do when they are gathered.
You can also find other kind of believers who call themselves with the same name but what they do when they gather is the same as what the big churches are do except it looks like a – “honey, I shrunk the church.”
Is this a real “House-church”? Are these real “Meetings”? Far from it. When believers bring the big church practices into a home they get stuck and their is little growth. When you do this you will not be able to move on to become what God wanted us to be: Family.
While traditional churches are obsessed with programs, house-churches are stuck with meetings. Only a few of them have ever become family.
A prolific house-church writer once told me that they “dissolved” their house-church group. And I wondered to myself if they have a family then how can you dissolve a family?
There are two kinds of meeting-based house-churches out there. if you want to join one you can but know your choices are either those who do the “honey, I shrunk the church” or those whom that do a simple “glorified” Bible Study. Nothing is wrong with these two styles of “doing church” but don’t expect anything to go right. One of the choices is the same rotten tradition but in a home and the other is just starting fresh everyday because it doesn’t develop relationships.
Christianity is a way of life, so it is for everyday living. A lifestyle that is not programmed and surely not scheduled. It’s how you live everyday not what you do religiously once a week. Church is who you are, not a place where you go. Church happens where He lives – in the hearts of men which is a temple made with divine hands, not with human hands.
So now what? Should I go to church or not? Should I change the way I do church or not? I am not telling you to change. Far from it. Let the Lord do His work in you.
However, this is what you can start doing for yourself everyday;
1. Be responsible for your spiritual life, at all times whether you are in growth or stagnancy. You can’t blame your pastor, church, programs, and leadership for your situation. The moment you do so, the enemy will tell you that the easiest way to solve your problem is to transfer to another church. And you will never be challenged to change your life is you ren and blame others. Be responsible for your own actions because you are the church.
2. Daily meet with other saints as much as you can. Anytime, anyplace, any day. Two-by-two, three-by-three, whatever it takes to see that brother or sister. The easiest way to do this is not by keeping a schedule but use your normal opportunities that are already in place during your normal day. Take a walk together in the mountains or go to the park together. You can also share a meal, eat breakfast, lunch or have a coffee break together. You can also wash clothes together, cook some meals together or even play something together. One by one, family by families. What is my point? Spend lots of tome building relationships! Lots of them.
3. Start serving one another. Church is about serving. What good is it to have a building or a home to gather in but there is no serving one another. When a mother needs milk, go buy her milk. When a widow needs medicines go buy her medicines. That’s how you fulfil the law of Christ by carrying one another’s burden.
It reminds me of the first person the Lord gave me as a disciple his name is Albert. When I met him he already had a habit of reading his Bibles every morning so I told him to visit the widow next-door and read his Bible out loud to her. After he did that for a week I let him cook breakfast not for himself but for the widow. After two weeks that widow was ready to give her life to Christ and get baptized.
He was only 17 years old at the time. Now he’s 30 and has started to become a father to the community that he is responsible for. When people start calling your name when they need advice, looking to you when there is a need in the family and you respond by pulling out your wallet and emptying it, then you know that you have passed from being a son to becoming a father.
(Photo: Albert caring for the widows and elderly. Getting them foods, medicines and paying their bills. It’s Sunday, it’s nice to be out of buildings and be able to do this.)