A Personal Journey
About 30 years ago now, my wife and I began to sense a need to change in our Christian fellowship, but I resisted it. I was a part of this fellowship when I was a teenager and returned to it at around 21. I had seen people church shop from place to place. I had been through a divorce and saw many other relationships break up. I did not want to be like them.
After serving as an elder for about 15 years I began to worry about the influence of New Age teachings. Some were beginning to think they were equal with Christ! When I attempted to address this I was looked down upon as one of the unenlightened ones. Don't get me wrong, these for the most part were wonderful and loving people. We still love and appreciate them but feel some are seriously deceived.
Our meetings were never closed to only "clergy," but eventually they became more focused on the opinions of the leaders. I always believed and taught that leadership should be a plurality of elders according to 1 Peter 5 and Acts 20:28. But now my voice was not being heard anymore. It was one of the most difficult times of my life. Then we ran into some friends that we had not seen for a while and began to get together. We connected and two other families joined us. They had been in "house church" many years before, but that is the first time I heard the phrase. It was like a light went on inside of me, and I was off to the races!
After searching "American Online" I found others on an email list. Then I began finding books and articles that encouraged me on this path. It was a wonderful time, and we have had many from around the country visit our home and we visited some of their homes as well. While we all did find many things in common, one thing I eventually learned was this: I could not assume we all had the same vision or goal.
What has been important to me for 50 years now was God's plan for the Church, His body as detailed in the book of Ephesians, Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12-14. I had hoped that once the clergy/laity problem was out of the way we could continue to develop in that plan. I agree that titles were a problem for some, but others really wanted to eliminate important functions as well. They wanted a "leaderless" community, and worked very hard to suppress those who were called and gifted to teach or lead.
Some with this thinking would join us from time to time and bring tension with their fear of all things traditional. I can understand these fears as I have had them as well. In the end it is God and His will that matters. From my 72 years on this earth I have come to understand His will mostly from what the Holy Spirit has brought to life to me through the bible. It was a major life changing event when I learned to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and He would add what I needed. For me that includes obeying His calling me to preach and teach His Word from the bible to anyone who will listen.
My hope is that this new generation of people seeing the possibilities of house church, simple church, or whatever it is called, will become more open to they way God designed for His Church/Ekklessia to grow.
11 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12 to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
Hi Dan It's Larry from New Zealand here. I guess we have one thing in common bro and that is our age. I turned 75 last August. Anyway I have just read your post and want to say hi to you from the bottom of the world LOL.
My life has been quite a colorful one, I came to know Jesus when I was 32 years old and in jail doing time for drug dealing only C class though.
I left church attendance when I was about 16 having been raised in a catholic environment. When I got saved in jail it was a wonderful experience and encounter with Jesus, what I didn't realize at the time was that I still had the old legalistic mindset and so filtered all scripture I read through that. It has only been in the last 10 years that God has opened my heart to the gospel of grace. And only in the last few years to look at the church structure and system.
My heart truly weeps for the way things have been twisted as far as the church structure and system operates. The encouraging thing for me is that the lord down here in New Zealand is bringing reformation to both these areas. Like most things that the Lord does it isn't a quick thing but a gradual transition, but that's ok.
At this stage there are small house churches springing up everywhere.
Anyway just wanted to say hi and introduce ourselves to you my brother.
Dan, I praise the Almighty for your life today. We have been friends for many decades, thanks be to God. Oh my, we have seen a lot, no?
If someone wants to teach others - their own character should support their words. I know this is the case with you. That means a lot in this world where there is a continual cry for authenticity.
Frankly, there are folks in the alternative church movement who should not be teaching others or selling books until they repent of their own actions - rather than spend their entire adult lives trying to deny them.
So. Being in a house church will not fix everything. And Satan will not let up. And sinful human nature must be constantly reigned in by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Back to Dan. He is not one to recommend himself but I am aware that he has taken several international mission trips at his own expense. He and Brenda have had a children's ministry for many years, too. Both are excellent musicians, playing multiple instruments each.
Those visiting here from Ohio will be interested in Dan's regular employment in the Governor's Mansion.
Readers, he has a fine internet site with many resources. I just listened to an excellent podcast there about missing priorities. I was blessed and you will be, too. The podcasts could also be used in your meetings now and then. Or as you mow your lawn.
Others of you who have Christian sites of any kind, please post the information in the Discussions Forum. Good.