I am facing a house church dilemma. Maybe some of you can help me.
I have visited some house churches that were …. well… not normal. They were kind of weird. Have you?
I don’t really know how to describe it, and I don’t want to sound harsh or condescending, but I felt quite uncomfortable at these meetings.
They seemed a bit… cultish.
My House Church Experience
I would have felt very uncomfortable inviting any of my non-Christian friends to such a meeting. Also, a few of the people were somewhat socially inept. I got the distinct feeling that the primary reason some of them were in a house church was because they would not be able to function properly with people in more traditional churches.
Has anyone else ever felt this way, or is it just me?
Am I being too judgmental? Am I the one that has the problem? Is this just my critical spirit getting in the way?
Are House Churches just Small “Regular” Churches?
Frankly, it seems that most house church groups were not even doing much of anything different from a traditional church, except on a much smaller scale. Five or ten people gather on Sunday mornings at about 10:00 am, sit in chairs, sing a few songs, spend some in prayer, and then have a Bible discussion, which more often than not, is dominated by one person.
This is really not that different from what takes place in any other church. It was just smaller.
Oh, and there was no paid pastor.
But really, is that what the house church movement is all about? I hope not.
There has got to be more to organic church, missional church, and house church than being a mini-church. I have some ideas on what church can look like, but I haven’t had the courage yet to try it. I think I’m going to give it a shot…
2013 Update: This post was originally written in 2011 on a different website. Since that time, I have embarked on my church “experiment” and have found more love, encouragement, fellowship, and relational warmth than almost any previous “church” experience. To keep updated on some of what I am thinking, doing, and experiencing in my “church” journey with Jesus, subscribe to my email newsletter, in which I send out personal updates and free eBooks.
Also, one book my wife and I read this past year which sounded eerily familiar to what we have personally experienced, was the fictional “novel” by Wayne Jacobsen and Dave Coleman, So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore. Wayne is coming out with a book soon called Finding Church, which I hope will be encouraging and helpful as well.