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Those Incredible House Church Numbers

Who would have guessed that, by some accounts, there are now more house churchers than Southern Baptists, the largest protestant denomination in the USA? House Churchers, therefore, are all around us, likely in every public place, even at every major intersection. If the “one in five adults” figure is accurate and you’re sitting in a restaurant, there are statistically several others present who could join with you for an impromptu church meeting.

These numbers mean that traditional churches have lost members by the millions, tithes and offerings by the billions. If “one in five adults” are participating in house churches, tens of millions of children would also be involved.

These new churches, we are informed, are not “cell churches” attached to a traditional church but real house church participants.

Is this the latter day glory or what? I am very optimistic in my prophetic views of the end times but I must confess that such figures exceed anything I could have ever expected. Oh me of little faith… The amazing findings of George Barna can be tracked in the articles below.

And somewhere, there must be a sizable group of “house church planters” who have been more fantastically successful than anything previously documented in the whole history of the church including the book of Acts. Might these please step forward and identify themselves? God will receive all the glory, of course, we just want to know who you are.

It should be noted that serious disparity does exist in the polling. The Time magazine article first mentioned it. Take, for example, the data reported in the Friday Fax, published by researcher and author Wolfgang Simson. About a year ago (May 13. 2005) it was documented that USA house churches “had probably doubled in the past 18 months, from 2,500 to 5,000.”

Hmmmm… Let’s take that “43 million” number of house churchERS and then double again the number of house churchES to 10,000 to represent another doubling for the year 2006 – this time in only a year, actually much less. That translates, I believe, into about 4,300 adults per house church!

What do YOU think about the implications of the alleged “70 million who regularly attend or have experimented with a house church?” What do you see in your corner of the world to confirm such an unprecedented shift in social behavior?

Me, I’ve gone door to door for 20 something years as a UPS delivery driver in more than a dozen counties in Tennessee and Virginia. I’ve gotten close to a lot of families along the way. Total number of known house churchers encountered? Zero.

Furthermore, I’ve read literally thousands of email messages, public and private, over the past decade from those within or interested in the house church community. Folks alooking for a local house church have outnumbered those who actually found one by a ratio of hundreds to one.

Where are all the house/micro/simple/home/nano/organic/family/nameless church bloggers, btw? If our numbers are greater than the Baptists (and all other denoms) why isn’t it reflected in the blog traffic and the tags? I see hundreds of reformed bloggers, for example, but hardly a few dozen house church bloggers who post regularly if even that many.

Question: Other than the Barna Group what other pollsters have examined this matter and what did they discover?

7 Responses to “Those Incredible House Church Numbers”

  1. Aaron says:

    Wonder if Barna wasn’t using the China phone book instead of one for the United States.

  2. Aaron, I seriously doubt it nor am I questioning the integrity of anyone. It would just be interesting to see what others – particulary what other pollsters – have come up with. Since this is the greatest thing ever to hit the church, I would like to see it independently verified. The fact that my own experiences don’t confirm it, mean little or nothing.

  3. joey kennedy says:

    in the greater Cinn, OH area we have not been able to locate others of like mind for several years. my uncle goes to the ministerial association meetings and has never heard of hc’s in the area, either. apparently hc’s are no threat to the status quo.

  4. Adam says:

    I completely agree – his numbers are wacky. And actually, more than his numbers are wacky (in my opinion). But I do think his thoughts concerning the trends of how church is experienced by people makes a lot of sense.

  5. Jay Winters says:

    Zane – this is a copy of my reply to your reply on my blog. I thought it also was germaine to this discussion so I reposted it here:

    Even the most “revolutionary” of congregation types (even house churches which are basically congregational in format when you get down to brass tax) aren’t going to see the “Revolutionaries” as such right away.

    Instead, right now the “Revolution” is simply people who are disinterested with the status quo. Look to the great political revolutions of the past, and you don’t see a major uprising of thousands of people. Instead what you see is growing dissent amongst the populus as a whole that is then set off like a powder keg when someone i.e. Marx, Castro, etc lights the tiniest of sparks.

    This is where I think Barna’s prediction is intrepid, however. I don’t think that the dissent is great enough to cause the powder keg to explode. I may be wrong, and I’ve been wrong before – but I don’t we have as many people seeking a revolution as we have people seeking relationship.

    Barna’s fundamental error as I see it is that he is imagining a people who want “stuff done.” May the Lord only grant us so many people! It would be fantastic! But theologically and practically, I believe that is putting the cart before the horse. Before we have revolutionaries who go out and do good, they have to be changed from the inside out by Christ’s forgiveness and love and THEN led to the revolution that EVERY Christian experiences – the inworking of the Holy Spirit.

  6. Even the most “revolutionary” of congregation types (even house churches which are basically congregational in format when you get down to brass tax) aren’t going to see the “Revolutionaries” as such right away.

    Hey Jay, you’ve given us much to think upon. I’m in fundamental agreement.

    I might encourage you to examine the url’s above where the alleged 10’s of millions are ALREADY revolutionizing the church and world. One reviewer of “Revolution” puts the number at more than the largest protestant denomination. Another puts it at a whopping 200 million!!! It would appear that things are well beyond the discontentment stage. I wouldn’t have thought that you could get 200 million to agree upon what day of the week it was. 200 million can’t be. No way.

    So, if there are as many Revolutionaries as Barna states or even a tenth as many, then their presence couldn’t be missed n- right now.

  7. “The Church of Jesus Christ plus nothing.” Amen. The self in us must die before we are left with Him alone. Evolution must precede revolution.

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