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 in. 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 discipline. 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 church era. 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,