HOUSECHURCHES ARE a VITAL PART OF
DISCIPLING THE NATIONS
-- Grace Wiebe, March ‘99
Over the past number of years especially, there has been a growing movement
of house churches around the world which God seems to be initiating
in order to help to not only reach with the Gospel many of the missed
segments of society, but also to more effectively disciple/nurture believers
and encourage the development of spiritual growth/godly character by
providing the loving accountability we all need through the kind of
close fellowship that is available in house fellowships.
Throughout history God has used, and continues to use, various forms
and models of ‘church’, though He only has one Church. Each model reaches
certain types of people and meets certain needs. ALL of us, as we work
together, are needed to see the desire of God’s heart satisfied…that
all nations be discipled and worship Him wholeheartedly as the King
of Kings and Lord of Lords! And so, while complimenting other forms
of Christian gatherings in Canada, it is our desire to focus on utilizing
the form that we feel we are being called to implement in order to reach
the unreached segments of society in our country as we cross cultural
barriers with the unchanging and powerful Gospel as we seek to live
incarnationally amongst our neighbours.
House churches can be catalysts to help us to mature spiritually and
to be what God has called us to be as we live out our part in the Great
Commission. They can also help to solve many of the financial struggles
of more traditional models of churches and of seeing the Great Commission
financed by freeing up funds which would not normally be available.
House churches can be a vital part of raising up, training and multiplying
many servant leaders (resulting in much less burn-out of leaders).
Another benefit house churches can provide is a built-in protection
system in case of persecution. It can also provide the sense of family
and belonging that we all long for (Generation X especially seems to
cry out for this dimension, as do many internationals, immigrants, refugees,
etc. and other segments of society such as do people in the entertainment/media
industry) and it can be a living example of the daily authentic reality
of living the Christian life in the world today.
Quality of believers and Quantity of believers can be multiplied and
can mushroom because when the groups grow to a certain number (between
10 or 20), they can multiply by beginning additional groups, which can
then also multiply. It is important to see easily reproducible churches
multiplying in order to see growing numbers of godly disciples discipling
others, since Jesus called us to ‘disciple the nations’ (Matt 28), and
it is therefore important to have a strong sense of the Great Commission
integrated into the very DNA of the initial beginnings of the house
church/house church network.
House churches can be very effective lights in the dark neighbourhoods/apartment
buildings (or wherever) in which they exist/function, and can become
houses of prayer for the nations, with not only a growing passion to
reach the lost in their communities but around the world. The very nature
of house churches encourages the possibility of enabling them to be
an excellent incubator, nursery, Bible school, hands on training site,
etc. for new believers all the way to seasoned/mature believers. It
is also poised to be an excellent missionary sending support network.
House churches can provide an excellent atmosphere to develop and utilize
the spiritual gifts and to benefit from the overseeing and equipping
ministry of itinerant five-fold ministry teams. The 5-fold ministry
of pastor, teacher, apostle, prophet and evangelist can also be utilized
throughout the networks to bring greater effectiveness to these churches,
and to multiply new pastors, teachers, apostles, prophets and evangelists
to also train and multiply others with these giftings.
House churches are more flat in structure and less administrative, thus
cutting out a lot of the bureaucracy and politics that often are part
and parcel of the structure of more traditional models, so they are
freed up to be more flexible and to move and act quickly as God leads.
The low administration also keeps down the costs which can be then be
directed towards the poor and reaching the lost.
Although house churches also have imperfections because people are still
people, the nature of house churches is a model which is very conducive
to Christ's command to DISCIPLE THE NATIONS, especially as house churches
network with other house churches in their community and throughout
their country, and indeed with other house church networks throughout
the world to share resources and to support and prayer for each other,
and to partner together on various ministries, etc. as God leads.
Many long for the reality of a church experience similar to that of
Acts, and I believe that God has heard the cry of many of our hearts
and is moving us increasingly into these directions.
SOME BENEFITS OF HOUSE CHURCHES (summary):
Reaching missed segments of society
Discipleship/godly character development
Conducive to more rapid and consistent spiritual growth
Encourage us in our roles in the Great Commission
Free up finances for the Great Commission
Training and multiplication of servant leadership
Help prevent burnout of leaders
Built in form of protection re persecution
Multiplication of churches
Provide sense of family/belonging
Conducive to reaching Gen X, immigrants, refugees, poor, etc., etc.
Conducive to 'discipling the nations'
Biblical Christianity lived out in daily life
Others can 'know us by our love'
Reproduction can happen quite easily
House churches are much more able to hold/disciple the coming harvest
Multiplication of churches leading to people movements
Able to contain and disciple the growing harvest
Spiritual gifts and five-fold ministry are developed/exercised
Five fold ministry equips next generations of leaders
Every member of the family important
Every member of the house church involved in ministry
House churches can be poised to be flexible with what God is doing
House churches can be poised to respond to needs
Natural as "Houses of Prayer"
Natural sender of missionaries
Natural 'missionary care/support' function
Low administrative needs
Low costs to function
Conducive to evangelism/discipleship
Conducive to reaching the poor
Conducive to ministering to the hurting
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FOR LOTS MORE INFORMATION AND RESOURCES ON HOUSE CHURCHES,
PLEASE CLICK ON THE LINKS BELOW.