The Time of House Churches is Coming….
Christians in America are living in times where house churches are
returning to church life. I believe they will play a key role of
revival in America. They will not only prepare believers in Jesus
Christ to survive but to flourish in persecution. The
establishment of healthy house churches that function under the
covering of a Scripture balanced Eldership will be essential.
Scripture gives us the pattern for New Testament church life. It
is found in the book of Acts and other books of the New Testament.
The New Testament church was birthed and established during
hostile times. Persecuted believers took root and grew into
courageous martyrs. They dared to share the gospel and do the
works that Jesus Christ did on earth as the church expanded.
The early church not only grew but in boldness. Authorities fanned
the fires of persecution and forced believers to move out of their
area so they grew in other locations spreading the gospel message.
Most of the American church has grown fat and lazy in sharing the
gospel. That is a danger of finding a comfortable house church
where you know everyone and flow together. But without connection
to the city church, it can become a stagnant pool. It cannot be us
four and no more. House churches can become lifelong close-knit
cells of the church and still reproduce and start new house
churches. When you are talking about meeting together with other
believers, to someone that is not involved, and neglect to invite
them you must examine what kind of house church you are involved
The House Church Movement in America has currently grown larger
than the largest Protestant Denomination. In the United States
alone there are said to be over 20,000,000 Believers that meet in
house churches. For the first 300 years of Christianity, house
churches were the norm. In China, the world’s largest church
functions in 90 percent as house churches.
Many mother churches have started home groups over the last 20
years. The difference between house churches and home groups are
committed to a period studying a subject, while house churches
minister to the whole person in a type of loose service. House
churches are a covenant community. A group is a part of Christian
life while a house church can function.
Pastors are often afraid of house churches forming. They
fear they will draw people away from the mother church, and for
good reasons. Good shepherds are held accountable for the
spiritual well-being and health of the flock they oversee before
the Lord. We are warned in Scripture about wolves that come into
the flock to steal sheep.
There have been many house churches that have led
believers into sin rather than health when led by immature or
self-gain leaders who have no covering themselves and are
accountable to no one. That is not Scriptural teaching. Without
balanced Scriptural leadership they can fall into sin and lead
those following them into the pit of hell.
Believers in house churches grow close and learn to
trust one another. They find that working together is fun and
profitable for the Kingdom of God. Our first church had trained
believers to be on alert for lost souls in their path. They were
quick to reach out and nurture new believers in the Word of God
and help them with their needs.
In the book of Acts believers were added daily to the
church. There was one day added 3000. Now they all did not meet in
a building. They were under the leadership and teaching of the
Apostles, and they met from house to house. They ate together
meals and took communion. They experienced miracles among them,
and people were even afraid to join them if they have not given
their lives to Jesus.
Our first church grew out of a Bible Study held in our
home. We had 40-50 people meeting in our living room plus kids. We
were at capacity when we found a building to meet in on Sundays.
But we still maintained our home church during the week. The
church quickly grew, and more house churches were formed under the
eldership. Leaders were trained and nurtured. We were really
connected and knew how to work together to bring in souls to the
Kingdom of God. Families became closer and formed lifelong
friendships. Individual giftings grew alongside of zeal to win
souls. I Cor 14:26.
Before we had eldership covering, we had several
seasoned ministers that came to the Bible Study to take leadership
and form their own church, without themselves having a Scriptural
covering. One such self-proclaimed minister and his wife came for
weeks and it became obvious to us what was their intentions. We
prayed that the Lord would take care of us all who were genuinely
seeking to follow Jesus. The next week when they came the husband
and wife had a huge argument between themselves in the meeting and
abruptly left never to return.
When you are gathering with other believers, especially
spirit-filled gatherings where there is no Scriptural covering
present to call out an error, it can bring confusion to young
believers. A friend recently attended such a meeting in this area.
Something happened during worship that was way out of Scriptural
realms and no one stood and called it out. Everyone in that
meeting was a part of something that could have stumbled a seeking
young believer. When this was shared, I asked, “Why didn’t someone
stand and call for an account of those actions?” The answer was
there was no one who had that kind of leadership yet there had to
be house leaders among them. Obviously not Scriptural leadership
that would address unscriptural situations with needed church
Jesus set His church up to have under-shepherds to care for the
flock. That shepherd knows what a wolf in sheep’s clothing looks
like and should be trained to know how to take care of a wolf.
The first church in the New Testament was a house church. Acts
2:2. Throughout the rest of the New Testament we read that
Believers never constructed a building. They met in houses and in
the temple. Ac 20:20. There they were fed by teaching, fellowship,
taking communion, and prayer. Acts 2:42. For the first 300 years
this was the pattern for Christians.
The Holy Spirit led the new believers of the first church for they
did not have the Bible as we know it now as their pattern to
follow. Believers grew strong and healthy as they participated in
normal church life for that time. They were not spectators as we
see in many churches now. They attend church on Sunday and yet
some have never told anyone about Jesus. There is something about
being a participator and not just a person sitting in church being
spoon-fed week after week. Those believers become fat and lazy in
sharing about our risen Savior. There was no room for that in the
early church. And there will be no room for that in the last
On one of my trips into China I was picked up at the airport by an
on-fire believer. On the way to our destination, he told me, we
are going to stop and drop off some Bibles to believers. He asked
if I minded. I said, “No! I would love to be part of that!” He
said, “You are crazy just like we are crazy for Jesus!”
Jesus and the apostles had a reason for house churches – Believers
grow healthy when they are walking in the footsteps of Jesus and
seeing the signs that follow. They get excited about serving the
Lord and want everyone to get to know Him too.
This is the hour in America for churches to prepare for
persecution. The signs are around us. Using the book of Acts as
our pattern for the New Testament church life we find the path to
establishing within the established mother church growing arms and
fingers of healthy house churches that can survive should they be
cut off from the mother church by persecution.
Scriptures about house churches… Matthew 18:20; Colossians 4:15;
Titus 1:1-16; 1 Timothy 4:13; 2 Timothy 4:2; Philemon 1:2; Acts
2:2, 2:42-46; 5:42; 13:1, 20:20; Romans 12:4-8,16:1-27; I
Corinthians 11:17,22, 14:26,