We are not meant to just be “consumers” of a regularly scheduled religious church service, but “participants” in the movement of God’s will being done on earth, His Kingdom come in the lives of the true church played out daily – a body of active, born again believers and disciples of Christ.
“No one can say: ‘Since I’m not called to be a missionary, I do not have to evangelize my friends and neighbors.’ There is no difference, in spiritual terms, between a missionary witnessing in his home town and a missionary witnessing in Katmandu, Nepal. We are all called to go—even if it is only to the next room, or the next block.” – Thomas Hale
“Ministry is not a thing we do, but a lifestyle we live. Missional living flows from a life that is surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and led by the Spirit of God. The Christian life is not defined by ritual or church services. The Christian life is only the Christian life if it is a life that is rooted in the transforming regeneration of the New Birth – from surrender to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, to the in-filling of the Holy Spirit and to obedience to the Word of God, the Bible.
A Christian community is a fellowship where believers have surrendered to Jesus in such a way that, together, they seek to find ways to obey and please the Lord. There is a shared mission, sacrificial lifestyle, and a deep love for one another. This community together seeks to live out a Christ-centered life before a watching world. Together we communicate the Gospel, disciple believers, teach the Scriptures, worship together, serve the poor, and participate in world missions.
Together we are on mission. We desire to reach the lost with the Gospel and bring transformation where ever we are.” – Neo House Church Movement
“A Missional community is a group of people, about the size of an extended family, who are united through Christian community around a common service and witness to a particular neighborhood or network of relationships. The Missional Community doesn’t exist for anything less than making disciples of Jesus among these networks or neighborhoods. The participants of missional communities find their primary identity of “church” within the missional community, rather than a larger worship service or small group. In essence, this group of people becomes a close-knit spiritual family on mission together.” – Wikipedia
“During a struggling economy, churches can face formidable financial challenges forcing them to make cuts in funding to missions and benevolence programs. A traditional church that is required to support the typical church infrastructure including a building or campus can face financial pressures if it faces a significant drop in membership. Limited financial resources can encourage church leaders to rethink the pattern of ministry and look for ways to forward the outreach of the church with unpaid members. House churches are already in a more favorable financial position due to the limited expenditures required to facilitate the functionality of the church.
House churches require less money to start up and operate which frees up funds for other ministries. There are no sanctuaries to buy and maintain, and frequently there are no pastoral salaries to sustain. “The constant pressure to fill the pews and provide the money to keep the building and programs going is draining to the traditional church. To some of us, churches have become like big monsters that eat up everything we can give them and then constantly ask for more and more.” – Wikipedia
There are times that every Christian, as a good steward of his or her time and resources, should examine the effectiveness and responsible use of the buildings, resources, and finances by their religious leaders for accountability, transparency, and adherence to the biblical principals and responsibilities of “feeding the flock” not “feeding off of the flock”.
Politics, secrecy, and isolation between “staff” and “membership” can be a red flag. I see Christ calling His followers to be servants of their brethren, while the religious Pharisees seek to rule as kings over a kingdom. We are told that we can recognize them by their fruit – that where there treasure is, that is where their heart is. If they talk more about tithes and “planting seeds of money” than repentance, love and service, they might be a hireling most interested in growing their money tree. If they are comfortable making merchandise of the people and making the gospel a measured career choice and business decision, they may be interested in filling the pews just to fill their bellies and their pockets.
Also, if you know in your heart that you are being called out into a house church or missional community – it may have nothing to do with any problems in your existing place of worship, but the Lord may be planting a new body of believers for a special purpose. Sometimes He calls teams of people into particular areas of focus and service. It doesn’t always have to be that there way is wrong and your way is right – there are lots of unique and varied parts of the body of Christ.
NOTE: Sometimes a muscle on one side of a joint exists solely to counter balance the muscle on the other side to keep the joint from over extending. The two are not working in opposition, but in unity – even though from there own unique persisting they might not understand why the other muscle always seems to be “pulling against/contrary to them”. Not everyone with a different perspective is your enemy – seek wisdom and understanding.
Christians who meet together in homes have often done so because of a desire to return to early Church style meetings as found in the New Testament. The New Testament shows that the early Christian church exhibited a richness of fellowship and interactive practice that is typically not the case in conventional denominations. They believe that Christians walked closely with each other and shared their lives in Christ together. Others believe that the early church met in houses due to persecution, and home meetings were the most viable option to the early adopters of Christianity.
Several passages in the Bible specifically mention churches meeting in houses. “The churches of Asia greet you, especially Aquila and Priscilla greet you much in the Lord, along with the church that is in their house.” I Cor 16:19. The church meeting in the house of Priscilla and Aquila is again mentioned in Romans 16:3, 5. The church that meets in the house of Nymphas is also cited in the Bible: “Greet the brethren in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in her house.” Col 4:15.
For the first 300 years of early Christianity, people met in homes until Constantine legalized Christianity, and the assembly moved out of houses into larger buildings creating the current style church seen today.