Wednesday, October 31, 2012

HOUSE CHURCH IS NOT THE ANSWER



You probably already know that I walked away from pastoral ministry at a traditional church about six years ago to start a church that meets in homes around Orange County, California where 100 percent of the offerings go to support the poor in our community. You probably also know that I’ve written a book called “This Is My Body:Ekklessia as God Intended” a few years ago about how God’s design for His Church has always been about people as living stones where everyone is a priest of God offering themselves as daily, living sacrifices.

So, it might be a shock to you that I would say, “House Church is not the answer”. But, I’m saying it. It’s not the answer.

Jesus is the answer. The Gospel of the Kingdom is the answer. Surrender to Christ alone as a daily follower of Jesus is what counts, not where you meet on Sunday mornnings.

Does it matter how you gather? Yes, I’d say it does matter. Especially if you have any real hope of stepping into the awesome reality of having Christ as your functional leader and head in the Church.

Does it matter if you submit to a pastoral authority? Yes, I’d say that you shouldn’t do that. Especially if you have any real desire to become a member of the priesthood of all believers and fulfill your calling within the Body of Christ.

Does it matter if everyone in the Church has an equal opportunity to speak, and teach, and share, and use the spiritual gifts God has given them? Absolutely! Without this the Church is not a Body at all, according to Paul the Apostle. What makes us a “Body” is when Christ alone is our actual head and when everyone else is working together to share their spiritual gifts for the building up their brothers and sisters in Christ.

But gathering in a home won’t cut it. Meeting in a circle and singing songs won’t accomplish anything. Having a great meeting about Jesus is not the same thing as having an actual meeting with Jesus.

House church is not the answer. Jesus is. And learning to gather beneath the shadow of His wings, and learning to hear His voice together, and actually encountering the Risen One in the fellowship of other submitted and surrendered believers is what every follower of Christ is made for.

Whatever you do, please don’t settle for house church. Gather together with Jesus as your only focus, and accept no substitutes.

-kg

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Gathering together is not the answer either. Living our lives so intertwined and exhorting each other daily is moving in the right direction. We can all "gather" as time permits and we decide to work it out according to our own schedules. Living intertwined lives where we are daily invested, admonishing, exhorting and applying the cross to our lives in a manner that is not according to our schedule or our convenience is something altogether different. Most of us are individual potatoes as opposed to being mashed potatoes which costs us greatly.

charlestace said...

Anything temporal (and visible) can become an idol, especially if it's a "good" thing.

Michael Spindler said...

Very good balance!

Jonathan said...

Part of me feels lost now in a wilderness without a system to follow. I'm so used to doing church, I'm still looking for an alternate way of doing it to replace the system I'm questioning. But yes, then I realize it is not a system or structure I need to follow but a person. A system would be easier to tell who is in and who is out. If I could only figure out the best way to do church, I could rest in knowing I was doing it correct. But after time, following any system turns into rote religion.
Following a dynamic person like our Lord keeps us on our toes. I don't know what following Jesus will look like for me tomorrow. And I can't claim to know what following Jesus will look like for you.
But yes, Jesus is the answer to the questions I'm asking.

Mick Smith said...

A good word!!!

Kathleen Ward said...

This is a great post, Keith, and a great reminder of what it's all about.

- Kathleen

Martin said...

amen

Harry Smith said...

The key to unleashing the promise of the Kingdom does not lie in our figuring out how to “do church better.” We have great bands, laser light shows, amazing health clubs, incredible worship extravaganzas, engaging sermons, and good coffee— finally! In other words, we do church fabulously well. Obsessing over this issue is an unworthy and unbiblical, even idolatrous, pursuit. Instead, the church must embrace and embody a new narrative driven by Kingdom concerns instead of church issues.
Reggie McNeal

Jose Bosque said...

I wish you would define what you mean "having an actual meeting with Jesus" Most already think they are. I believe without the focus of loving one another (loving the Body of Christ)Without real relationships based on the Love of Christ we are just a small institutional church.
Much Love,
Jose L. Bosque
https://godsleader.com/

Keith Giles said...

Jose: Great comment, but that's another blog:
https://subversive1.blogspot.com/2017/05/so-you-want-to-join-our-house-church.html

Keith Giles said...

Another good resource for what it means to "meet with Jesus" is here:
https://subversive1.blogspot.com/2015/02/is-it-really-all-about-jesus.html

Keith Giles said...

Also:
https://subversive1.blogspot.com/p/help-free-organic-church-coaching.html

Anonymous said...

This sounds good. But as with Frank Viola's statements, when you ask him to pin down the answer to "How?" - there is always another book to read. If the answer is so obvious, how come no one seems to have it?

Vince said...

Very good insight Ptr. Keith thanks!

Keith Giles said...

Dear Anonymous: Everything about "How" is explained in great detail - FOR FREE - right here:

https://subversive1.blogspot.com/p/help-free-organic-church-coaching.html

Anonymous said...

Jesus is the answer. But I agree with some of the other commenters: saying that "Jesus is the answer" is the kind of thing that people in house churches say, because it sounds spiritual and gets brownie points with other Christians, but then they turn around and say what you said, "How you meet together is still really important." In other words, house church IS the answer but I want to sound more spiritual today so I'm going to say that Jesus is the answer.
I hope I'm not coming across as too mean. I just know rhetoric when I see it, when I've lived it.
I like what the first anonymous poster said. I don't give a rip whether you meet "under the headship of Christ" or if you meet with the most institutional church in the world. These meetings take maybe 2 hours of our time a week and it hardly matters.
It's what you're doing as a body the other 166 hours a week that matters. I have friends that are into alcoholism because only the bars are open every night - imagine if our homes were open every night. Sound extreme?
"They met DAILY from house to house...."

George Feneysey said...

Gathering together, and meeting in homes or parks etc, if in and of themselves,they become an outward form of religion that produces death. Sometime we play with words and yet still achieve nothing. Gathering together in whatever environment we do, should be a matter of faith not habit, for whatever is not of faith is sin.

Roger Eads said...

Roger Eads

All good points, especially 'having a meeting about Jesus is not the same as meeting with Jesus'. Churches are comprised of people and people can screw-up anything. It's a miracle our Lord's Church has survived as long as it has. That said, I have come to appreciate the traditions of the conservative Anglican church and other Orthodox denominations for that reason, because the traditions that have been passed down to us serve to keep the Body of Christ on track, regardless of the personalities currently in charge. I've also come to appreciate the ability to meet with Jesus via the Eucharist, which is missing in many other churches today. As important as all this is, there is a place for the ministries of other denominations within Christianity. Together, with Christ as its head, the work of the Church gets done.

Pal said...

Of course, Jesus is the answer. What Christian would deny that? Only one who is not a Christian. And of course a house is not THE answer to finding Christ. And yet the environment in which we meet plays a large part.

Nothing wrong with circling up, praying, singing spiritual hymns, and one anothering one another in a home as the primary gathering center.

The early ecclesia met in homes not to declare house church, simple church, or organic church is the answer. But because it provided an intimate environment for transparency, confession of fault and sin, and building Christ centered relationships.

Wherever the aforementioned can occur is where God wants us. And if it's done without the trappings of top down hierarchy with all gifts operating freely we're at home with God. And a Christ centered home environment has the greatest potential for allowing that to happen. It's when it spills freely from home to home we'll recapture what the early ecclesia experienced.