I have been noticing something. I have looked around at a couple of other sites like this one. There seems to be a lot people, but very few established houses to meet at.  Does this mean the house church movement is suffering from a lack of leaders, or is it something else?

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    • Hi there, Robert. The whole concept of ANY sort of leadership is anathema to many in the "out of church movement". They would maintain that "Jesus is their pastor". They were selling T-shirts with this slogan, which of course has a profound element of truth.

      As for the numbers, I fell out years ago with several "leaders" because they were claiming and publishing that the movement had "tens of millions" of practitioners. And the number was "rapidly multiplying" faster than anything else. This was 15 or 20 years ago. 

      I just checked the George Barna website, which previously had a whole section of books devoted to "Organic Church". There was nothing on this subject. George "co-authored" Pagan Christianity and wrote another house-church friendly book called Revolution.

      For those unfamiliar with his name, he is a noted researcher, pollster, and futurist. Referred to by some as the most quoted Christian. Looks like now he is catering again solely to those in the institutional church which is where the future must lie and definitely where the big money is. Some of his books are around one hundred dollars, by the way. Perhaps they have CD's or additional online content. Seems kinda high. From a guy who wrote extensively about pastors not deserving a salary.

      The "Revolution" however never occurred. It was a dud. The built it it - but nobody came. The religious landscape was not altered as we had hoped. 

      Aside from that, I am quite optimistic about low cost, non-traditional, clergy-less, meet-anywhere churches. 

      It's certain that some house churches do not want to be noticed. That said, the most frequent email we receive is: Where is a church near me?

      Above all: The gates of hell shall not prevail against the true church and its bright future! So let us not be weary in well-doing!

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      • Being new to the house church movement, I find myself still trying to wrap my brain around it. Having literally been kicked out of my last church for daring to suggest that the elders were operating outside of the scope of the authority granted to them by Christ, I quickly found myself without a home. That's not completely true as I still have friends and family there, but I am not welcome by church leadership if I follow Christ's commands. I agree with your assessment, David, that the church has a bright future. It may not be in this life, but it certainly is in the life to come.

        As for the church in the here-and-now, I also agree that we should not be weary in well-doing. It is difficult, however, not to be discouraged in what we see happening in the church today. At one time I had an intense interest in the various denominations that have grown from the early church, but the more I learn about them the more I see sinful, schismatic behavior that goes directly against the commands of our Lord that we live in unity with each other. It seems that every church leader wants to claim that they are the spiritual descendants of Peter so that they can claim the authority. But how many of them first want to confess that Jesus is "the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matt 16:16)? They want the power. They want the glory. Yet I struggle to see their love for God's people when they drive every wedge possible between themselves and their fellow believers.

        As far as the house church movement goes, I have yet to attend even though there is one that meets nearby my home and I have made contact with them. I have read through their extensive writings and find myself in agreement with most of them. One thing holding me back at the moment is that I have tried churches of many kinds in the past and have left each encounter disappointed. So I'm trying not to rush into anything this time around. In some ways I am feeling that it won't be long before the other shoe drops and I find myself disenchanted with the movement. Perhaps this is unfair for me to think like this, but it's where I find myself today nonetheless.

        What I'd like to find in real life is what I've found to some degree with this group here, which is to see Christ at the core of every conversation, and the Bible as the ONLY authority. I find great value in creeds and catechisms as learning aids, but not as rules and authoritative sources in the life of the Christian. Why can't my time spent with my fellow Christians be devoted to how Jesus loves us so much as to give his life for us? Or to discover what Scripture says about God's Kingdom (reign) and the pursuit of righteousness? And what of Jesus' promise that "27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand." (John 10:27-28)? Yet for as much as I have come to despite the modern-day Pharisaical practices found in today's institutional churches, I know from experience that I must do more than complain about the old system. There needs to be something for me to work toward. Something beautiful. Something ancient. Indeed, the Ancient of Days.

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      •   I have seen and been apart of "elder-led" fellowships in the past when I was not wrapped up in the system. For the most part elder-led was a good thing. A singular leader often, gets bent towards personality driven.

          But still, at some point someone needs to open the door in an area and say," hey, let's use my living room, or I know a great spot in town!"

          Personally, people love comfort and really don't think the religious landscape is going to change unless the environment forces them to change. Traditionally, this has often happened when people start getting killed for their faith.

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        • So how DOES one find a house church to visit if they were looking. 

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          • Unfortunately, there are not as many online resources as there were 20 years ago. And not everyone wants to be online. As an example, I know of a growing group in eastern Ohio, but they have no desire to be on a platform like this.  What you may need to do is take the first step and just be willing to start meeting with people while asking the Lord to connect you with his "hidden ones." Also put up notices on any house church board you may find, that you are looking for like-minded people in Christ to meet with. Some communities even have small Christian newspapers you could advertise in. In my area, those papers are often found in the entryway of grocery stores and fast food places.

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            • Good to see you, Jana. Welcome to this site! 

              Try this link to our map: https://housechurch.org/page/persons-search

              All others, please allow me to make two quick points: Be certain that your profile is edited, if necessary, to show that you are open to the idea of fellowship with others.

              Also, give out no more information than you are comfortable with, regarding your name and address.

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              • Is the reason for few established house churches a lack of leaders or something else? What a question. There are definitely different reasons for a lack of house churches, but I want to point out one that is, in my opinion, so obvious that it usually goes unnoticed.

                Ease and comfort.

                Amos 6:1 starts, "Woe to those who are at ease in Zion..."

                I can summarize by saying that around 90% or more of employees wouldn't show up at work if they didn't have to put in any hours to be paid (ie. they were paid whether or not they came to work) and that in the same way, christians usually won't work or labor or fellowship the way the Bible shows or follow God's leading because they don't have to in order to be 'saved'But I'll continue:

                Sir Isaac Newton was an English mathematician and was considered to also be a believer by the Protestants of his day. His First Law of Motion states that "a body at rest will remain at rest unless an outside force acts on it, and a body in motion at a constant velocity will remain in motion in a straight line unless acted upon by an outside force."

                I think in Newton's first law of motion, he unintentionally captures and encapsulates so many relevant truths about life and godliness or about the natural order and the churches.

                A person who lives in relative ease and comfort (ie. a body at rest) about 99% of the time will not step outside his bounds of ease. But a person who lives more of an active lifestyle (ie. a body in motion) is more inclined to step outside his comfort zone and act because he's already 'in the motion' of acting. This is why Jesus didn't tell His apostles to pray for Him to send ministers and pastors into the harvest field but told them to ask Him to send laborers. Anyone can be a laborer (you don't need to be a minister and don't need a title or position): a laborer is valuable to God [ahead of 'a minister'] because a laborer is someone who labors until the needed task is completed. This was why Jesus chose the twelve men He chose for service; they weren't ministers or unique (in fact, they were rather rough-hewn and unpolished sinners); but God knew and Jesus saw that these men were laborers who would see whatever mission they were given through to the end. Sure enough, as a laborer, Paul could later tell the Galatians, "My little children for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you" (Gal. 4:19). 

                In spite of Jesus's command to the apostles to go first to the Jews and then the Gentiles, the apostles would not do it. They remained 'at rest' in the comfort zone of being among the Jews until acted on by an outside force (ie. persecution, starting with Stephen); then they were 'forced' to take the gospel to the Gentiles. The Church then remained 'in motion' until acted on by another outside force (ie. the formal acceptance of christianity by the state into an institution and 'church buildings' which caused the churches to cease 'motion' (ie. Life) and to return back to 'rest' (ie. death)).

                Like the human body, the Church can only retain Life or relevance as long as it is in motion. The central nervous system makes sure the body remains 'in motion' even while physically at rest because everything God created (observed well in atoms, neutrons, electrons, etc.) maintains life or literally continues to exist only in continual 'movement' or 'in motion' (as Paul stated, "In Him we live and move and have our being/existence" -Acts 17:28) as God Himself is 'alive' in the way of being constantly 'in motion'. (Heb. 4:12.) Therefore, one of the overlooked but foundational reasons there are few house churches is because most christians enjoy a level of comfort and ease that automatically makes them passive, lazy, lethargic, unmotivated, 'spiritually depressed' or 'dead', indifferent, self-centered/self-serving, and apathetic

                The charismatics are waiting for God to bring revival; the fundamentalists are waiting for Jesus to rapture them; everyone [else] is waiting for someone else to take charge and take initiative (this is one reason people value pastors and the clergy)-- similar to 'Genovese Syndrome' aka the 'Bystander Effect'-- but as usual, God is actually and really the one who is waiting for [groups of] people to gather and approach Him 'in the prescribed manner' so He can 'pour out His Spirit' and blessings again. 

                Jesus wanted the apostles to go to the Gentiles long before they actually and finally did. In the same way, there are many good things God wills to be happening right now that will have to wait because of the inactivity of His people. "A body at rest stays at rest." Most of God's works on earth hinge on the obedience of God's people, not on 'God's timing' as is often the commonly-held view. This is true from the NT backward all the way back through the Old Testament (eg. even under the Old Covenant and the Law, the Jews were told to include the Gentiles; but from that time even up into the times of the New Covenant, the Jews refused to do so; therefore, God's work was delayed). 

                There is little faith, courage, vision, and motivation/power among christians right now, so the greater portion of what God wills to do right now will have to wait to begin after tremendous hardships (ie. economic collapse, civil unrest, war with other nations, and natural disasters) and personal hardship (ie. open or sponsored persecution of believers) break on the churches and the world. That's going to be a while coming. When it does happen, then just like was always the case with Israel in the Old Testament and was also the case in the early Church, the churches will then begin to 'tighten up' because hardship and persecution are upon it. Then, as alluded to in Malachi 3:13-18, there will be a major line of demarcation that will manifest as some christians will abandon the faith and run for their lives while others will decide to repent, turn back (return) to God, and do things His way including the pattern and practice of fellowship, house church, and 'church'.

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                • Hey dear brother, you are onto something important. While you take us down a hallway with many doors. That is to say: Many ideas which shape many aspects of life and church life come into view. Good!

                  Laziness is still alive and well, no doubt. The concept of "six days you shall work" is losing momentum in the West, obviously. Today, many will work hard to get out of work. And will cheerfully give their vote to the political candidate who promises the most free stuff.

                  Likewise, in the spiritual realm, there is also to be found the same passion for inactivity. I can recall reading house church discussions as far back back as the mid 90's. Whenever the concept of law and grace would come up - and themes about working out your salvation or exercising oneself unto godliness... almost instantly someone would state that works do not save, which of course is true. However, we are saved for or unto good works.

                  One clever guy back then would always respond as if with great authority: "Hey everyone, JUST BE."  This may sound a little absurd because... it is. In an ironic twist, the main proponent of the easy "JUST BE" plan, had great difficulty holding down a job himself - all while proclaiming to be have won "The National Greek Scholar's Award". In other words, he sought to lord it over others with credentials he did not possess.

                  Just be.... what? Be who? Be where?  It's akin to another favorite slogan of this thankfully bygone era: "Don't go to church - just BE the church." Yes, there could be an element of truth there depending upon what one possibly meant. Literally though, it means: "Don't go to the assembly - just be the assembly." 

                  Nowhere is the Scripture is a single person referred to as the church or a church. Try telling one of your children: "Don't go to school today - just be the school." 

                  OK. Let's focus. Jesus Christ went about DOING good. He walked down the street - they asked: Is this not the carpenter?" In his earthly form, He, the Son of God, did not claim to be exempt from employment. Nor did he ever try to market his ideas and teachings for personal gain on the side. That fact is very interesting and commands our attention.

                  Our Savior - a selfless man of industry, occupation, and action. Praise his holy name!

                  "If anyone will not work, neither should he eat." Where are those modern day preachers, prophets, apostles, bloggers, etc who would touch a verse such as this? They are quite scarce, no?

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