Friday, September 17, 2010

House Churches Growing in Popularity in the U.S.

A recent USA Today article reported figures from the Barna Group and Pew Research Polls that both indicated more Americans are attending small house churches.

Some possible reasons:
-They may still be members of larger churches looking for smaller, less formal groups to meet with on other days.

-They've left “organized church” completely for what they consider to be a more intimate and more genuine form of worship.          

-Many Americans feel that similar persecution of Christians (as well as a surge in anti-Semitism) to that which is taking place in other countries is starting in America, and that it's time to get used to worshiping in smaller, less obvious places.

What are some differences between mega, small and house churches?
The majority of churches in America are small (50 to 300 members), with a minority of “megachurches” over 1,000 members.
From my experience, members of small churches tend to stay put in their church, as they are satisfied with the fellowship, care and attention from the small staff, giving and receiving care and love from each other and discovering ministry opportunities.

A drawback to this which I’ve seen often is that small congregations are more unlikely to be receptive to changing methods and styles to draw in new people and younger, more technically savvy and “attraction-thirsty” generations. Not that it’s the best thing to do, but it’s an outreach tool to draw people in, and then let God work on everyone’s hearts to blend together in worshipping the Lord.

Megachurches also offer many ministry opportunities, or at the opposite end, anonymity to those who want to worship quietly and just do a weekly observance.

One drawback to megachurches is that, without attending some of their smaller group functions or Sunday school, you won’t get to know other members of the congregation. But if you get involved, you’ll find many smaller church “families” within the family.

House churches generally concentrate more on delving into and discussing God’s word together rather than just listening to the person in the pulpit.

House churches are different from home Bible Study groups in that a house church may contain all the aspects of a church worship service, but in a home setting rather than a formal building.

As with any church, there is a danger of being pulled into the house church leader’s own agenda (if he/she has anything in mind other than biblical) if you are not reading the Bible for yourself. “Test the spirits,” says 1 John 4:1 – there are many impostors who want to draw people in.

In the early days of Christianity, most original believers in Jesus attended small house churches. However, in Acts 2, “all were gathered together in one place,” and about two thousand people accepted the Lord as their Savior.

I guess you could call that a megachurch!

Photo: Center Church on the Green, New Haven Connecticut. Photo is in public domain as Historic American Building, Library of Congress.

(Extra source for house church growth info: Florida Baptist Witness, 8/26/10, p. 19.)


Toyin O. September 17, 2010 at 11:51 AM  

That's interesting. I think I will start my own House Church.

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