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There has been talk at church about transitioning to a house church model (we already meet weekly).

I am a fan of the idea, but I've never heard of a church that left weekly meetings in favor of more organic gathering. Someday...but I'm not sure America is quite the target market for house churches.

My theory (though i have no data to prove it, only my thoughts...)

House churches fail. Sometimes.

Other times, maybe this happens:

I just don't see house churches being filled with people who continue to meet there for 20 years. When we look at the new testament, it seems that lots of Christians were moving around. The disciples, Jesus, Apostle Paul. They all went to a place, did their thing, then went to another place.
Again, just a theory.

What if - ok, I'm dreaming - an organization came into a city. Promised to only be there for 5 years. Did a massive massive outreach campaign to worst parts of city. After 5 years of discipling and training, directed those members to go to churches they lived closest to. A short lifecycle could be very powerful at serving the churches that already exist and training up a new generation of leaders.

I like your idea Adam! But what about an even shorter time frame, like 3 years. It will force even more focused discipling/training-just a thought.

Love this idea. Church with an expiration date to preserve freshness.

Most house churches around the world are house churches not by choice, but because of necessity. It's often illegal for them to meet in public and in a large group.

I think there is a faction of Christianity that romanticizes the house church model, citing Acts 2, but we forget that these early believer met in homes AND in the temple courts.

I have a sneaking suspicion that a great deal of house churches would welcome the opportunity to meet together by the thousands. And there are likewise probably churches of thousands who long for deeper community.

Green grass. Green grass.

always appreciate your thoughts michael

I've been a house church leader for a year now and we've run into two frustrating problems with the model.

#1 - going to church on Sunday morning is part of our culture. Visitors love our house church. We have seen many people's come to faith, but they end up using us as a parachurch bible study. We ignite their passion, then they go join a Sunday gathering.

#2 - we can't get away from thinking of numbers as sucess; therefore with such a small gathering we always feel like failures. The group gets big and we don't want to multiply because it feels good to have a full room. Then the full room dies down because we didn't multiply. It's been rough. We have been talking about hybrid models for a few months now.

@Jeff - Hang in there bro! By the way, check out Reggie McNeal's Missional Renaissance. I liked his thoughts on changing the scorecard for church as we know it today.

@Ben - what about the website for Zolder 50! Is it just me or do church websites today all look the same? I was refreshed by Z's website alone.

--Terrace Crawford

There's a very successful network of house churches in the Denver area where I live. I had one of their leaders as a professor at the local Christian University. When I asked him about this very topic, he felt there was nothing wrong with having large gatherings occasionally to bring the church together. I believe they had these gatherings monthly on the first Sunday of the month. The rented a large auditorium at a school and made it a special event.

I think our culture is such that the majority of people need both a connection but yet a vision of being something larger than themselves.

Scott, do you know what ethnicity is mostly represented in that network? A link maybe?

The Amish have had successful house churches for hundreds of years

as someone who grew up in Lancaster County, Pa, I can attest that they meet in barns.

michael, say it aint so!!!

Went over to Amsterdam a few years ago to visit with the guys at Zolder...GREAT community of faith!

Yes, my mainland Chinese Christian friends would love to gather in facilities. But there is much to learn from the model on both sides.

Big must become small and Small must become big. That's Acts 2 and the Great Commission.

Ben wrote, "When Alan Hirsch wrote The Forgotten Ways, I said "Aha! Finally, a serious book about the viral spread of the Gospel through living rooms." Never mind that you need Christian persecution to accompany it."

Brilliant. That's it exactly, in my opinion.

Scot McKnight says, "people meet Jesus on a quest or in a crisis." I think the western church reaches countless individuals in crisis, but culturally, we're in an existential crisis ("what's my purpose" etc) but not a crisis where the church historically flourishes (persecution, poverty and plague, with apologies for the alliteration...)


the church can't change until our context worsens

I've been reading through Neil Cole's book, "Organic Church," and have found some pretty fresh ideas when it comes to how we think about our faith, house churches, and growth.

I think if we change/broaden/open our definition of church a little bit to include very unorganized, mini-structures, we would find ourselves freed up to allow our faith to manifest itself in ways that are very natural for both those ministering and those being ministered to.

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