For 36 years I was part of a very good church. About 12 years ago I left to start a house church. Many people have asked why on earth would I go from a successful congregational style church to a small insignificant house church?
First of all I believe God instituted the idea of church. This was not man’s idea but God’s. Because He created all of us unique and one of a kind, no two church’s are quite the same. However, it’s important to see the church as Christ’s bride. All churches are a unique expression of His bride that He loves and cherishes above all other institutions. I believe in small churches, mega churches and every size in between.
Personally I just prefer a smaller model that meets in a home and shares Christ’s life on a more intimate level. I am still in regular contact with my old church, many of its members are close friends, and the leadership and I have no problems between us. Of course there are drawbacks to a small church , such as quality of music, synergy of a large group and ministry resources. Being involved in a larger ministerial group is a tremendous help in drawing in other ministries.
Here are a few of the reasons I prefer a smaller church model:
Chairs in a circle > rows of pews
Fellowship with believers > back of someone’s head
Communion > rows of noses
A meal together > Cafeteria
Meet in a home > barn
Intimate conversation > PA system
Sharing needs with a brother > collection plate
Finances helping the poor > Paying for infrastructure
Praying together > being prayed on behalf of
Ministering > watching
Playing the sport > spectator sport
Real life > theatrical performance
Real people > a team of paid professionals.
Participate > spectate
Discipleship > observe a lecture
Come as you are > dress up
Family involvement > age segregation
This comparison may seem cynical but it is just to point out the personal nature of a house church.
Some people have asked if they could come and visit our church but it’s usually those who have had a problem with church leadership. Well, if they have a problem in a large church where they can hide, they’d probably have a real problem with me. I haven’t been known for backing down from challenges. It’s not just me, we sit in a circle and if anyone’s had a rough week, we all know about it. I think they call it body ministry.
We are committed to evangelism and growth but I’d rather send people out or divide if we got too big. And no, we are not a seeker friendly church.
We tend to forget, who’s church is it anyhow? If it’s Christ’s church, should we use the world’s standards to judge it by? And should we use the world’s methods to attract new converts?
Bigger is not better, better is better.