Are there needs for home churches?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Bob Alkire, Jan 4, 2010.

  1. Bob Alkire

    Bob Alkire
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    This causes me to think and talk this subject over with wife and friends.

    Some friends and I were talking over the house church movement. The first I had heard of it was while in school about the Wesleyan awakening in England in the 18th century. The next time I heard about it was the Peninsula Bible Church in Palo Alto, Ca.
    Over the years I must have come across 70 or 80 churches that began off of a home Bible study. The question, why? So many of the ones I've seen, either didn't care for what was going on in churches in their area, got tired of the vertical leadership of the leaders of the church. Tired of the bills of the church(need to get a special offering to catch up), needing to take x% pay cuts to keep working and pastor and staff aren't, this has been going on as long as I've been around. Or the church is out in the country and it would take a bi-vocational pastor and their aren't a great deal of pastor who feel called to move 500 miles work 40 to 60 hours a week on a job and then put 20 to who knows how many more hours into study, evangelism, prayer, visitation, working on the church building, cutting the grass and so on. As J. Vernon McGee use to say, very few pastors are call to smaller churches or to real cold places.
    Many want to teach that all believers are ministers , not just the pastor, the pastor are to build up, teach and equip the entire body of believers to minister with in the church and in the world around us. Many want to lean on and teach Biblical truth and not human wisdom, human expectations or secular or religious tradition.
    The church in Palo Alto, Ca. if I recall correctly began with 4 or 5 business men starting a meeting Sunday nights and still going to their church Sunday morning, I think that was 1948 or 1949. When they got up to a 100 or so, they put out a search for a pastor.
    Some reasons are good, some might not be, but for some reason someone isn't getting what they need.
     
  2. exscentric

    exscentric
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    Your quote assumes that a small group/church cannot be an independant church which is false. In the case of a large church having small groups yes, in the case of a church meeting in the home no. One of the hallmarks of baptists has been the autonomy of the local church.

    I've heard Southern Baptists talk in circles trying to explain that they are not a denomination, that they are independent local churches. If that is really true then a house church is nothing less and needs no pastoral or any other sort of accountability.

    On the other hand as has been said on the board there are groups that are led by less than proper doctrine. This is not good. That is why I do not mind fellowships and conventions to set a standard, though those standards tend to waver with the theological breeze as well.

    Are they needed? With a church on every corner, not really, are they wrong, not really. In some communities there are no churches - great place for a house church. If it grows, get bigger, if it does not grow, continue as is.
     
  3. Bob Alkire

    Bob Alkire
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    That is why I disagree with the quote. It can be anything that God leads it to be, a small study, a fellowship of a group or it can grow into fellowship that need a building or it can be part of a local church.

    That is what I'm talking about. I have seen 70 or 80 churches start as home Bible studies or home churches and at some point they might call a pastor from outside of the fellowship or from with in.

    I don't know if they are needed or not, but I would say they must be. I find more and more people who are tired of playing church. Of the home church folks I've run across over the years needed something that a local church wasn't giving. I've seen them started by everyday labors, truck drivers, physicians and so on. I was out witnessing to teenagers and parents of them. Many of the teenagers and their parents didn't think most of the churches in town would accept them. Sorry to say they were correct, but a few of them got saved. So many of us want to help the poor folks over there but not right here among us.
     
  4. sag38

    sag38
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    The church that I serve started as a house church some thirty years ago.
     
  5. Bob Alkire

    Bob Alkire
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    Great!!! There must have been a need.
     
  6. exscentric

    exscentric
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    "I find more and more people who are tired of playing church. Of the home church folks I've run across over the years needed something that a local church wasn't giving."

    Personal opinion, and did not give it earlier so I would not derail the thread :wavey: I think that this is a lot of why they exist. Pastors (in our area and a general observation, not condemnation of all nor any particular :) seem to be stuck on pablem and contemporary music which often is also pablem. I know many people that do not attend church due to it being a total waste of time.

    Our sermon yesterday was so shallow I'm sure my wife could have come up with it in an hour or under and given more information. Most of the messages I hear (AGAIN IN OUR AREA :) are little more than reading the text and making observations any new Christian could make with a moments thought.

    On the other hand many of the house churches are way off base so it is not the answer, reform in our churches is the answer. I see nothing wrong with starting churches in a home, have done it myself. :smilewinkgrin:
     
  7. Gina B

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    I'm sure there's a need for home churches. There is a lack of good churches within reasonable distance.
    I think everyone should be able to walk to church if need be or be able to catch a ride. It shouldn't have to mean dangerous winter trips or not being able to fellowship if a modern convenience like a car breaks down.

    I'm sad that all the technology of today has made simple things difficult. We have weak churches that are weak, in part, because it's very easy to hop in the car and join a church a few more miles away. That's laziness, and laziness doesn't build an industrious body. A body that isn't industrious breaks down and isn't capable of living the way it's supposed to.

    So yes, there is a need for home churches.

    Unfortunately, a lot of home churches start out of an attitude that "only I can run a church right" instead of a sincere desire to see a community grow and thrive.

    Just because they're happening doesn't mean a need is being filled. Neither does it mean the need isn't there.
     
  8. Bob Alkire

    Bob Alkire
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    I hear that every day. I'm ask when did expository preaching go out the door and when did music take the place of preaching? They say all they are finding is a feel good time rather than preparing the folks to get out into the streets and evangelize the town. This small town has folks from all over the world, and many different backgrounds.

    When I first heard of home Bible study and home churches back in the 60's, I was 100 per cent against it. Then over time of reading about Ray Stedman and PBC in Ca. and getting out their and seeing, I change my mind. I would rather see what I call regular church meeting, but if the need isn't being met and the Holy Spirit leads someone or a group to start a home study or church, I'm all for it, even if I'm not a member of the group or not.
     
  9. Bob Alkire

    Bob Alkire
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    Not saying what you are saying isn't true, I don't know. Of the one's I know of, most started out of a Bible study one or two nights a week, while they were still going to a church. They just grew into a fellowship and became a church. Not much different in when I would go into a town and plant a church and have meeting in Hotels, motels, women's clubs and of such. But I was their to start to a church and most of the bible study deals weren't, they just ended up as a church.

    Most of the ones I've seen do the same as I did when I planted churches and as I do and many brother and sisters do today, try and be a witness to your family, block, neighborhood and town for Christ. All to His glory.
     
    #9 Bob Alkire, Jan 4, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 4, 2010
  10. Jon-Marc

    Jon-Marc
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    One church I was in tried small home study groups instead of the Wednesday night one at the church. I led one of those groups and enjoyed it very much. The pastor or a deacon would stop by during a Bible study to check to make sure we weren't getting into any false teachings.
     
  11. Bob Alkire

    Bob Alkire
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    Sounds great!!!
     
  12. nodak

    nodak
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    Church then--church now might be some of what is happening. I don't know if my life experiences bear on what is happening with home churches, but here is what I have lived through:

    Church then: we were very rural people, hardworking but poor. (This goes back as far as I can trace my people and includes my childhood.) People saved for a Bible for the family (1!) or bought one "on payment" from a travelling Bible seller, or when I was a kid got it with Green Stamps. Not many wanted to pastor remote poor churches, so usually "church" meant a home or school or maybe a tiny church building used for Sunday School, Training Union, Sunbeams, etc run by the local people. A travelling evangelist came through sometimes with preaching being salvation focused. (He also baptized.) The assumption was the Holy Spirit would disciple the saved ones. Also assumed was people would read their Bible and pray and try to obey--daily. It was homemade direct contact with Jesus faith.

    Sometimes if the community grew enough you could get a settled preacher, but the only thing that changed was that salvation preaching was done weekly rather than occasionally. He was the preacher, not a religious expert or authority. Probably made his living doing something else.

    Church now: Pastors are seen as authorities or religious experts. They are to lead and the people to follow. These experts require extensive training to pay for. They compete with each other regarding building size and congregation size. After all, this is their career and they need to get ahead. The people are content for a while to sit back and let the experts take care of their "religion". It is so much easier to tithe and give offerings than it is to live out the faith. The way a preacher gets a raise or promotion is to bring in more people, so they either start preaching "God wants you rich and happy" or "God wants you in charge of the universe politically" to appeal to our baser nature. They have to keep inventing new programs and fads--just when you master evangelism explosion they change to prayer of jabez and when you nail that you have to go purpose driven and when that no longer sells books/tapes/music/specialty Bibles they will come up with something else.

    Now, God being God, He can work through any system we human beings might invent. So folks are still being genuinely saved.

    But just as some folks live a fast food--maybe even supersized fastfood--lifestyle for a while and then move on to a healthy, homegrown/homecooked lifestyle, some folks move on spiritually.

    They get tired of the fad driven church and religious experts. And they go back to homemade direct contact with Jesus faith. They may do it well, or do it poorly, but there is an attraction to it that will always pull some folks that direction.

    It usually doesn't sit well with the "experts", perhaps because it can cut into their pay tremendously. But I personally believe it can, with God's blessing, lead to real revival. This, however, is very different from a postmodern mindset of "I'll decide for myself what the truth is." Rather, it is a mindset of "Oh wow--I am directly responsible to God to seek out His truth."
     
  13. Jon-Marc

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    Didn't the original believers meet in homes since they wouldn't have had what is commonly called a "church" in which to meet? We tend to forget that a building is NOT "the church". We as believers and followers of Christ and His teachings are "the church". We are "temples of the Holy Spirit (or Ghost)", 1 Cor. 6:19, and "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." Matt. 18:20

    If we meet together in His name, then He is there with us. Does that mean that if I'm alone he's not there? Just kidding. After all, The Holy Spirit is IN me, Rom. 8:9, and I am in Christ, Rom. 8:1.
     
  14. Bob Alkire

    Bob Alkire
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    What you say seems to be what I remember. First bible was from Woolworth's 5 & 10 cent store, which cost 50 cents. Next one was from a man working for B.B. Kirkbridge Bible Co., he sold me a Thompson Chain Reference Bible.

    Back grounds were much a like except it was rather hot down here. I loved the traveling evangelist, they would come into town or a near town and put up a tent and folks would come from all around to hear the Word. Again you are correct, little or no human helping other humans by being a disciple. But with all that many did grow and have been used by God to disciple other s over the years.


    Every Baptist pastor I knew of around us was what is called a bi-vocational preacher today. I even was a bi-vocational pastor in four churches. However my parents were presbyterians, so I was brought up in a Presbyterians church and there pastors were full time pastors, got paid.


    Yes, that is the vertical leadership, from the top down, and so many were brought up in the horizontal leader ship church. Where the pastor taught Scripture and doctrine, the banker handled the money and on and on, on with what ever gift and talent the members had.

    I like this, if you don't mind I might like to use it. Very truthful.


    When I learn that I'm responsible to God to seek out His truth, it puts everything in a different light. If I'm not growing or being used by God, it is me. If where I go to fellowship isn't feeding my need, I need to move on or see about what changes can be made their with in His will.
    Enjoyed your reply, much!!
     
  15. nodak

    nodak
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    If you can use anything I said, feel free.

    I've just been in a very thankful mood today.

    Thankful for the rather primitive way I grew up.

    Thankful that the Lord let me spend some time in different areas seeing different ways of doing things.

    Thankful for living in some places where being spoonfed was not even a remote possibility.

    And very humbled realizing that where I lived that had the least to offer me "religiously" were the very places I grew the most in Jesus.

    Sometimes, He truly sends the "hard times" to bless us.
     
  16. Bob Alkire

    Bob Alkire
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    Amen!!! He sure does bless us!!!
     
  17. Johnv

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    Exactly! Why anyone would have a problem with this is beyond me.
     
  18. nodak

    nodak
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    Totally agree!

    In fact, sometimes I wonder what would happen if we ditched the large and medium church model in favor of the small church, and ditched the cost and upkeep of the building. How much more could we do for the cause of Christ with that money?
     
  19. exscentric

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    I spoke in a church that met in a housing club house. That afternoon men started showing up. The host explained that they were going to have a board meeting and that they would like for me to sit in.

    The discussion was about a new building. The host was a contractor so he started playing with figures on a new building cost per month and then compared to the present rental cost that included utilities etc.

    The immediate and unanimout decision was not to build.

    Later that year I was speaking at a conference in NV at a church that was meeting in an SDA church. Little to nothing rent and all utilities paid, all they had to do was carry in their own hymnals.

    They were so unsettled having to do that and spent a million plus on a new church.

    "ditched the cost and upkeep of the building. How much more could we do for the cause of Christ with that money? "

    Might I suggest LOTS! :smilewinkgrin:
     
  20. Bob Alkire

    Bob Alkire
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    Good steward of money is always wise. Just can't show off our larger new plant.

    Now they have a larger new plant to show, and much less money to get the message out and to help those in need. But man, it sure looks nice.

    I spoke at a meeting up in SC this summer, of pastors. After the meeting as all good Baptist we went out to eat. As always the M word came up over and over. With plants closing and folks losing their jobs or being cut back to part time or even laid off, how were we going to meet the budget. Number one was their and their staffs' pay, which I understand.

    Many had just gone through larger building programs and or added staff. Pray and seek His help before, follow the Holy Spirit. I always think of First Baptist Church, Ft. Worth, Texas when the fall or hard times come or split. Beaver Street Baptist in Jacksonville, is another that comes to mind, keep eyes on Him and we will keep our eyes on what He wants us to do. Home church or standard church, horizontal from member to member and vertical to Christ.
     

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