House Church Talk - Growing Pains

Sean Kelly seank at
Fri Mar 26 22:04:47 EST 2004

I just got added to this list this week and I have been enjoying the
posts so far. So since I have a free moment, I thought I would throw out
two questions we are up against now. They are loosely related so perhaps
there is a single answer that ties them together.

I'm apart of a new house church (less than a year old) that is growing
out of a group of believers that are leaving more traditional churches
(for lack of a better word) in the area. As such, none of us has been in
a house church environment before and so each new situation leaves us
with questions that no one there has any practical experience with to
offer guidance. 

How do you handle those who want to "visit" our meetings?

It seems obvious that in the new testament, upon belief, a new believer
was baptized and then taught to observe all that the Lord commanded
(made a disciple). So naturally they would be invited to join us as an
extension of a relationship that began with one or more of our local
body. But in the 21st Century we also have those who feel they are being
called out of the more traditional church who hear (thanks to
innovations like websites and email) that we gather in a home under the
headship of Christ as a body held together by what ever joint supplies,
according to the proper working of each individual part, causing the
growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. 

So they want to "visit" our fellowship (again for lack of a better
word). On the one hand I don't want to be like Diotrephes and not
receive other brethren, but on the other hand our local body is a lot
like a family to me and I don't want to invite just anyone to the family
reunion. One family I invited had positively unruly worldly children and
I was ashamed because our (collective) children were among other things
hearing words they'd never heard before. Maybe I'm being selfish, but
what we have is to dear to me to want to allow it to be dragged through
or exposed to the worlds gutters for the sake of reaching out to those
who claim to already be saved. However these are the exceptions. 

We have had families join us that one or the other of us has known for a
long time and so our fellowship is growing (60+ when you count children)
to the point where now some of our homes are too small to hold everyone
in the same room, so people are having trouble hearing what is shared
and are starting to wonder what we should do? No one wants to buy/rent a
building but splitting up would seem almost like a divorce. So my second
question is.

What do you do when you get too big? 
Or better what things can you do before you get too big to make it a
positive experience?

I appreciate your thoughts.

Go Carefully,

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