How do I start a house church?

What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.

I Cor 14:26


And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.

Acts 2:2


Give my greetings to the brothers at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house.

Col 4:15


For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.

Matt 18:20


And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

Acts 2:42


And every day, in the [Jewish] temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.

Acts 5:42


And Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier, and the church in your house

Phil 1:2


The churches of Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Prisca, together with the church in their house, send you hearty greetings in the Lord.

I Cor 16:19


How I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house

Acts 20:20


Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who risked their necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks but all the churches of the Gentiles give thanks as well. Greet also the church in their house.

Rom 16:3-5


For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them...

Rom 12:4-6


For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them...

Rom 12:4-8


DESCRIPTION: Sharing a common way many house churches start…informally, with purpose, over a meal…
TRANSCRIPT: hey everybody john fenn here church without walls international, we are a house church network celebrating the gathering of the saints meeting in homes and rotating homes rotating who leads following the the historical pattern where they went from 120 at the day of pentecost to saturating the roman empire in under 300 years they did this by taking turns sharing responsibility recognizing that christ is in each one of us and so as a result of that any one of us can share can have a revelation can have something the lord’s been teaching us and so we take turns who leads who hosts there’s always a core group of people around which uh you know they will open their homes to have others in and then take turns who leads that those weeks so it’s learn about us at our website sign up for my weekly thoughts as well which is a weekly teaching comes out every friday uh us time on a variety of subjects and it’s in the headers there of my weekly thoughts on my monthly e-newsletter uh where we put news of our zoom online meetings or conferences things of that nature you know today sharing with you about how do i get started you’ve been talking last couple weeks about house church and how the lord had told me that houston should be the way of of doing church and how it’s the place where miracles will be found uh you know and because when times get tough and i’ve shared this that historically economic pressure and persecution are the two driving forces that have caused the church to grow even according to like acts chapter 5 verses 11 through 13 where on the one hand people were afraid and not sure about that group of believers and then on the other hand uh the lord added daily those who should be saved and so you look at these things and there’s great grace upon us but um but the question is how do i start what do i do well you know we have to get away from the idea of church um because in fact early on early on i mean when we first started there was a group that met on friday nights and they didn’t want to call themselves church but they had all the elements of house church acts 2 42 where they were in teaching fellowship food and prayer of acts 2 42 which is which is a simplicity of house church there’s always some food at least some refreshments some water finger foods if nothing else sometimes a whole potluck meal where everybody brings something but the point is this they were meeting on friday nights and and they didn’t want to call themselves a house church some of the some of the people who were leading and hosting uh recognized that they were a church that they’re already being a church but they didn’t want to bring it up to the people to be a church to them it was just friday night fellowship and the whole idea of being a church was so so uh um polarizing that eventually when they did bring it up say you know we’re really a church we’re functioning as a church people started leaving some of the people started leaving because they thought oh a church you know we have to ordain elders and we have to have a pastor and all that stuff and they don’t realize that that’s not the biblical pattern the the standalone pastor didn’t happen for several hundred years um you know after pentecost so they took turns it was a plurality of of couples and and folks who would lead um the house churches but the point is this how do i start how do i start many house churches start with just one family one couple a couple of individuals meeting in their home on a regular basis house church is not like youth group there are some early on i don’t think so much now who are voices in the quote unquote house church movement who advocated a kind of a youth group approach no commitment no expectations nothing expected of you no responsibilities come and go as you please and that really is not a house church a house church is is follows the prime director the prime directive is this teaching them to observe and to do everything that i commanded you make disciples of all nations teaching them to observe and to do whatever what i’ve commanded you observing even in the old king james even in the the the greek even in the aramaic observing means not just uh teaching them but training them that is that there is there is a element there of relationship where they can see how you apply your faith to life to life situations and so house church is is number one it is it has a purpose and that purpose is discipleship the prime directive is make disciples of all nations how do you do this lord you do this by letting them observe the things that he’s commanded us and so that means relationships so what it means is that when you gather together in a house church it’s all about furthering the discipleship process it’s about learning and growing that’s why paul said in first corinthians 14 26 when you come together somebody may have a psalm that is a a song set to a poem set to music a revelation a teaching gifts of the spirit and operation it can be any number of things that that go on spiritually when you come together but it’s all about the discipleship process this is not just a come and go as you please no commitment it is it means that you’re meeting at a set time uh and and a lot of house churches start over a meal on a you know some evening where you invite another friend a couple somebody over and you start talking about getting together on a regular basis and sometimes people will start out once a month or twice a month and uh rarely does somebody actually start out say okay i want to do things weekly and they can go for some time you know twice a month it there’s there’s not a lot said in the new testament about how to do church and if you look at the different personalities of the churches the corinthians were different from the galatians who were dealing with judaizers who were saying go let’s go back to the messianic law or go to law messianic christianity you go to the ephesians or having behavioral issues corinthians who are having a separate set of behavioral issues uh you know each house church is going to be different it has a different personality but it’s all about the discipleship process it’s all about growing in christ we need that fellowship we need that support we need that that networking you know when the lord appeared to me and jane in november 4th of 2001 and told me to do this he said remember he said when when i asked why he said it’s against a time to come against the time to come he said be a resource for them for it’s against a time to come that’s an amazing thing and we’re here we are 20 years later plus years later and and we’re seeing this because traditionally historically it’s been economic hardship and persecution that have caused the church to grow the most and it’s in that economic hardship that you need each other that you find each other as a resource to help each other out to walk through life together and and so you look at this and say how do i how do i do this number one just start find somebody else who’s floating who’s not committed who’s who’s de-churched or unchurched you know and and invite them over for a meal and start talking start getting to know one another invest in the relationship when somebody comes to me i’ll get an email from time to time and say the lord has called me to start house churches and uh and when i talk to the more they’re often approaching it like they would in the in the pyramid church in the auditorium church that is i’m going to go out and i’m going to do that it’s like it doesn’t happen like that it happens more casually you know in philippi in excuse me acts chapter 16 when paul was in philippi he just went to where he knew people were praying women in particular were praying there wasn’t a synagogue in the city and so he just met and talked to some of the women there who were meeting to pray and talk to them about jesus it came very naturally that became the house church at philippians at philippi with the with lydia being the main host uh for that and then also the philippian jailer who cleaned up paul and silas’s wounds whose whole family got saved and and paul’s letter to the philippians is his warmest and most transparent letter that he that he wrote of the new testament so you look at that you say how do we start just start meeting you sitting there saying oh you know is there anybody near me and everything and from time to time we can do that and we can help and we encourage people to to get on our zoom meetings and everything else so that you can get to know people and see where people are from all over the world uh in that but there’s but you know what if you and a friend can start gathering and just say this is going to be our church we’re meeting with purpose we’re disciples we want to grow in the lord that’s our prime directive there is is to further the development of christ in us the hope of glory then then you’ve got a good foundation a good start sharing responsibilities somebody hosts one week and somebody hosts the next time you meet and and take turns sharing and it’s open it’s not sermon-oriented you don’t have to come up with the teaching it is as paul said in first corinthians 14 26 you’ve got a psalm a teaching a revelation maybe gifts of the spirit to pray for one another uh you know you can you can get my book return of the first church which is my journey from house church to or excuse me to house church from the auditorium it’s nothing bad against the auditorium i’m just saying that when when economic pressures arise and persecution arise that meeting in the homes is going to be where you have that emotional support and sometimes resource support because folks there are times coming they’re going to be difficult for the us for the world and and you need that to have your you’ve got your back covered so to speak you’ve got people in your life and so the point is invest in the relationships invest in the relationships uh pay the price to move these people in priority i i’m sure this i don’t want to go on too long but um you know the thing is what we talk about is living intentionally towards one another living with purpose towards one another that the people that you fellowship with in your home rise up in level of priority and when push comes to shove they win out in terms of who needs what in terms of filling your schedule as far as you know what’s important who’s important in your life you’ll find those people that nucleus of people that you meet with become very important in your lives and so it becomes a lifestyle of just walking through life together with multiple friends and family and it really is a lifestyle rather than a program it’s not something you you just start up and say we’re going to do this it’s that relationship based faith so anyway i didn’t want to go on too long today i just it’s really on my heart to talk more and more about house church and and folks this is serious you’re going to need each other in the time to come because there’s you know as the lord told me before the pandemic you know that there’s a he said you’ll see an underground economy develop in my body you’ll hear of giving and receiving buying and selling trading and bartering um you know and he talked about how house church was going to become the way of doing church and how it’s going to be very much like acts chapter 5 verses 11 through 13 where on the one hand there was fear that fell on everybody and they weren’t sure you know about this group of these people meeting in homes and on the other hand says the lord added daily those that would be saved and folks it’s meeting in the homes it’s laying hands on one another it’s praying for one another that’s where you’ll find answered prayer that’s where you’ll find a find a vitality a depth to your walk as as you’re in relationship with other people like i’ve said so many times anybody can say they’re a christian but that’s inward that’s of the heart god has has made it such that righteousness is proven within a framework of relationships so you can you can go to church in in the big auditorium and and praise god for it i was in that system for 25 years and you can you can say praise god i’m a christian but the fact of the matter is it’s a question of who do you have in your life that proves you are a christian how is that fruit of the spirit manifested in your life and uh anybody could say they’re christian but he has designed it so that our righteousness is proven within a framework of relationships so anyway we’ll let you go god bless church that walls international house church network and uh sign up for my weekly thoughts in my monthly newsletter there all right god bless bye

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Church Without Walls International - CWOWI

An international house church network founded by John and Barbara Fenn in 2001, which focuses on practicing Christianity based on the model found throughout the New Testament.

John and Barb
CWOWI logo with the roof of a house to represent a church without walls

Who We Are
“Not that we would have dominion over your faith, but rather are helpers of your joy, for by your own faith you stand (II Cor 1:24) We believe the practice of home based churches as depicted in the book of Acts and Paul’s letters is normal Christianity. These churches revolve around friends, neighbors, and co-workers meeting regularly for the purpose of growing in Christ and letting the Lord’s will be done in their midst.”

What We Do
“Our goal is to help build Godly relationships by helping Christians establish new house churches. CWOWI encourages Christians who do not currently attend “church” to build relationships with the believers around them. CWOWI then uses technology to connect those singular house churches to hundreds worldwide. All affiliated house churches are affiliated under a biblically sound statement of faith. CWOWI also serves as a resource for the church through the ministry of John Fenn and network leaders.”

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