Fellowship, Or Lack Thereof...
One thing that most of us crave is wholesome church fellowship. But when a person or family leaves a traditional church setting, fellowship is often the first thing to stop, unless you're part of a group from the beginning. I know there are many people who've gone months, dare I say years, without finding others to fellowship with as a church. If you're going to start a home church, be prepared to go it alone for a while. It will require Stand Alone Faith.
Having Little In Common...
When you do find others who are interested in starting a home church, you might meet people with wildly different doctrinal views, unique perspectives, and different levels of spiritual maturity. It's also a possible to meet with others and discover that the only thing in common you share with them is an interest in home church – and little to nothing else.
What denominational churches have going for them is having some basic doctrines, worship styles, songs, etc., in common. But people who meet together independently, may have nothing in common. We come from all over the map (geographically and spiritually) and soon discover how different we really are. That can be intriguing, eye-opening, unsettling and even scary. But if we're willing to stick it out, stay in God's word while being open to other perspectives, and seek to understand and much as we want to be understood, we could form new and lasting bonds with others God has sent our way. Unfortunately, it's way too easy to break fellowship at the first signs of disagreement. That will hurt.
In my novel Parting Ways I write about what happens to a young, ambitious minister who can no longer follow the denominational teachings he grew up with. The only thing he could trust and stand on was the Bible. God leads him to a whole new understanding of church. Which leads me to pose this question:
Did Jesus command his disciples to start churches?
Have you found that in the scriptures? I haven't yet, but here's what I do read:
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matthew 28:19-20)
And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. (Mark 16:15)
And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. (Luke 24:46-47)
I see a repeated pattern of preaching and teaching. Let's see what happened when the word is preached in the book of Acts...
Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. (Acts 2:41)
And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith. (Acts 6:7)
Is it possible that our focus shouldn't be on staring a home church, but rather to seek opportunities to preach and teach the word? In other words, instead of putting a "Church Meeting Tonight - All Welcome" sign in our front yards, perhaps asking a co-worker or neighbor for a no-obligation, one-on-one Bible Study would be better. Paul often encouraged Timothy to preach the word and to take it a step further...
And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. (2 Timothy 2:2)
Paul didn't tell Timothy to build buildings, start denominations or to plant churches. He instructed him to teach faithful men to teach. One-on-one will likely grow to one-on-two, or three. Then a whole family or two or three. Over time, a group - a church - is gathering in a house, because the word was preached.
I hope to do more preaching and teaching in this new year, and be less concerned about starting a home church. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation, not if or how we start a home church. I've come to the realization that church is a natural outgrowth of preaching and teaching. When God's word is preached, churches are the result.
Check out the Free Bible Studies Page for simple Bible Studies you can download and share with anyone!
Related Posts You Might Enjoy:
Home Church, Evangelism, and Winning Souls
Stand Alone Faith