Those of you who have read my books carefully . . . as well as this blog . . . know that I’m not an advocate of “house church.”
Asking me if I endorse a house church is like asking me if I endorse plants. To which my response is, “what kind of plant are you talking about? I like crape myrtle trees, but I don’t like cactuses or poison ivy.”
House churches are like plants. There are extremely different varieties.
As I’ve often said, a house church is simply a group of Christians who hold their meetings in a home.
That can range from a scaled-down version of the institutional church (very common), to a glorified bible study (even more common), to a once-a-week songfest accompanied by a potluck, to a grade-A, certified cult.
There’s nothing magical about meeting in a home. And a physical house isn’t God’s passion, nor is it mine. Never has been.
In my earlier books, Pagan Christianity (2008), Reimagining Church (2008), and Finding Organic Church (2009), I point out that there’s a monumental difference between a house church and an organic expression of the church.
Some “house churches” (so-called) are organic. Many others are not. George Barna and I make this exact point in Pagan Christianity (p. 240).
Despite the fact that what I’ve written above has been repeated on this blog, in my books, and on my podcast, some folks continue to benightedly engage in straw-man argumentation by falsely stating that I believe house churches are “the only way to do church.” [Cough, #Fail.]
To add to the confusion, over the last several years, the phrase “organic church” has been hijacked to mean 1,001 different things.
So the term “organic” is pretty much meaningless now. For that reason, I hardly ever use it anymore.
And so I don’t advocate “organic church” in the way that it is so often employed today.
What I advocate is Christ-centered, face-to-face community. And that’s what I describe in my earlier books from 2008 and 2009. This means a community that is taking care of one another 24/7 . . . not just twice a week for a meeting. A community that has a shared life together, like an extended family. A community that has been equipped to have open-participatory gatherings where each member shares the riches of Jesus Christ (I’m not talking about anything that resembles a “Bible study,” by the way). A community that makes decisions together under the headship of Christ, rather than under a human head. And a community who’s goal in life is to pursue Jesus Christ and His Eternal Purpose together. Such a community has been birthed from the apostolic declaration of the explosive gospel of the kingdom. That kind of community, friends, has always been rare on this earth.
In my newest book — which has been rightly called my “signature work” — INSURGENCE: Reclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom, I articulate God’s passion for the ekklesia perhaps more clearly than I ever have. Including the message that produces such ekklesias — the titanic gospel of the kingdom.
For more, check out the following:
My conference message Epic Jesus.
The podcast episode Why I Don’t Advocate House Church.
Article – Stop Looking for an Organic Church!