How to Start
House churches are birthed by the Holy Spirit through the ministry of a house-church planter or an elder/pastor/overseer who is given a vision for a house church by God. Keep in mind that a biblical elder/pastor/overseer may be what the institutional church refers to as a mature layperson. No house church planter needs a formal ministry education.
Once the vision for a house church is given by the Spirit to the founder, he needs to seek the Lord regarding others who might join him. The Lord will bring him in contact with people with a similar vision, confirming his leading. Or he may be led to receptive unbelievers whom he can lead to Christ and then disciple in a house church.
Those who are just beginning a house church adventure should anticipate that it will take time for the members to feel comfortable with each other and learn to relate and flow with the Spirit. It will be trial and error along the way. The concepts of every-member participation, biblical servant leadership, equipping elders, the Holy Spirit's leading and gifts, a common meal, and a casual yet spiritual atmosphere are quite foreign to those who are only familiar with institutional church services. Thus the application of grace and patience is wise as a new house church is birthed. The initial format may be more a home Bible study, with one person leading worship, another sharing a prepared teaching, and then closing with an opportunity for corporate prayer, fellowship and a meal. However, as the biblical format for house churches is studied by the group, the elder/pastor/overseer should encourage the members to strive for God's best. Then, enjoy the ride!
House church meetings can circulate from one member's house to another each week, or one person can open his home each week. Some house churches occasionally move to scenic outdoor spots when the weather is nice. The meeting time and place does not have to be Sunday morning, but anytime that best works for the members. Finally, it is best to start small, with no more than twelve people.
|Read the previous article in this series,
Tongues and Interpretation
This article is an excerpt from the book, The Disciple-Making Minister. The actual book itself may be ordered by visiting our online store. To view our copyright policy, click here. © 2013 by David Servant