Frequently Asked Questions | FAQs

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House Church FAQ

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What is the difference between a home church and a house church?

The terms are used interchangeably to refer to the same concept. There is no difference.

What is the difference between a home church and a cell church?

Home churches don’t recognize clergy in the same way as most cell churches do. Home churches generally have a less formal leadership structure than cell churches, without a recognized or “titled” pastor. The thinking of most home church folks is that any distinction between members of the Lord’s body is incorrect–even if it’s well-intentioned.

Also, most home churches are autonomous in their decision-making abilities. House church decisions are usually made through a consensus of members. Cell churches, on the other hand, usually have to work through channels of formal authority (i.e. a formal cell leader, or a senior pastor).

What is the difference between a home church and a traditional church?

One of the main themes of the house church concept is that we don’t “go TO church… we ARE the church.” Something that traditional churches have done is made the meeting, the building, the structure itself “the church” when, in fact, the Scriptures say that WE are the church. The main things that house church participants are trying to achieve are:

  1. active participation by all, within a priesthood of believers
  2. the freedom to be able to express whatever the Holy Spirit is trying to convey to the group
  3. allowing Jesus to be King of His church–with no man (Pastor or Leader of any kind) mediating between the Lord and His body.
Do house churches have any form of leadership?

Yes, they do. The most common form of leadership in the house church is servant leadership. This is the example that Jesus gave in the Gospels. If someone wants to be the greatest in the kingdom of God, then he/she should be the servant of all.

A servant leader is someone who is admired for their character, fruit and walk with the Lord. To lead just means to go first. This person is someone who has “gone first” through different things and their counsel is trustworthy and solid.

The main difference with this type of leadership, in comparison with traditional IC leadership, is that this person’s opinion doesn’t carry any more “positional” weight than anyone else’s within the group. No one is forced to submit to anyone else. We all chose to submit to one another based on:

  1. what the Spirit of God is saying through each of us
  2. the character and fruit of the Spirit
  3. just plain old life experience

So, within a group, there could be a number of people offering leadership all that the same time, to different people. We all receive from God in different ways and from different people. This concept of leadership, I believe, most models the concepts Jesus shared throughout the Gospels.

Is home church another movement or denomination?

Possibly for some, but not for most. To make house church another movement or denomination is to form exactly what most of us have been led by the Holy Spirit away from–putting God in a box and calling it “XYZ Church.”

In fact, the term “home church” probably isn’t the best term to use because it gives the impression that anyone meeting anywhere other than a “home” isn’t doing it right. That’s just nonsense.

A better term, in my humble opinion, would be relational church. When we gather together with Jesus as Lord and King over our fellowship, when everyone is fully able to participate, and when true love, upbuilding, and one-anothering is demonstrated toward the brethren… that is the concept we are seeking… not some strict adherence to location, verbiage, or terminology.

Do home churches have pastors?

No, they don’t. Many home church goers believe that the five ministry gifts (apostle, prophet, pastor, teacher and evangelist) are more functions within the body of Christ, than official offices or titles. There is usually “pastoring” going on during the meeting, but it is not necessarily coming from only one person, nor is that person formally recognized as being “in charge.”

Then who is your covering if you don’t have a pastor?

The concept of a human covering is man-made and not found in the Bible. Outside of that, Jesus is our covering.

Who’s in charge of a house church?

Jesus is in charge, and we are also subject one to another, in Christ.

What do the initials IC mean?

It is an abbreviation for “institutional church.” Any church that has formal structure (i.e. a building, legal incorporation, and staff), paid clergy (Pastors, etc.), that is thought to be on a different spiritual level than the “laity” or layperson, and conducts largely non-participatory “church” meetings would be considered an “IC.”

What is a home church meeting like?

A typical home church meeting would consist of a shared meal with lots of great conversation around the table. Some groups transition into a time of singing with the kids participating. Others might have a simple discussion where the children could be included and interact.

Some meetings are more structured and have the members of the group rotate each week bringing a teaching. Others are looser in structure and just open up to whatever is on anyone’s heart to share. Sometimes that can be a poem, a song of the Lord, a need for prayer, a revelation that someone received from the Lord that week, a request for wisdom in a certain area. Sometimes corporate prayer might occur with prophecy and the gifts of the Spirit in operation.

Each group has its own flavor and way of doing things. The key is to be open to what the Holy Spirit wants to do through the group. The ultimate goal of the gathering is to lift up Jesus and to build up the body of Christ. However that occurs is as different as each individual group.

Are Christians in institutional churches still considered part of the Lord’s body, in the eyes of home churched Christians?

Absolutely! Anyone who has experienced the new birth in Christ is a brother or sister. When promoting the house church message becomes criteria for brotherly love… we are in real trouble. House church is a means… not an end. We love anyone who names the name of Christ.

How can I find a house church near me?

The best way to find a house church in your area is to search the house church directories available on the internet. The advent of the electronic age has made access to information virtually instant. You can check the one we’re building at housechurch.me; there may also be others, though we cannot vouch for any of them.

I’m currently in an institutional church and I want to leave and start attending a home church? What’s my first step?

Pray, pray, pray. Leaving a typical church can be a difficult transition. It’s really weird, but many people don’t understand, and even friendships and family relationships can become strained. Some family members may even act like you’re in a cult, because you are choosing to do church in a the home–a concept foreign to them, but everywhere in the New Testament. However, it is rare that a so-called “traditional” church can be reformed and transitioned into a relational fellowship like home church, so the prospect of expecting major change within your IC is probably slim-to-none. Part of it is because of the theological transition from the religious traditions handed down by our society (which go against Scripture, mind you), as well as the transition away from being in charge of so many people (we call that pride), and then there’s the financial pressures. But, yes–if a body of believers is serious enough to return to church in the home, as seen throughout the New Testament, it’s the easiest thing in the world, once you decide to do it. Way easier than continuing forward with the way of man in a traditional Western, American church tradition.

Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to help you say the right thing to the right people. Pray that He will link you up with like-minded believers, who you can fellowship with and grow. Pray that you can keep your heart right as you leave.

For most people, there is a period of anger and resentment when they first leave the IC. This is normal. When you realize that you’ve been mooing in the pens of institutionalized church, or making bricks for someone’s own carnal monument, it can be a very emotional experience. My advice is not to deny the feelings of anger and betrayal. They are very real. Talk them out with your spouse or with someone you can trust. Venting is important.

However, the goal is to get through to the other side into the place of peace and forgiveness. You don’t want to dwell on your hurt, or monopolize house church meetings with talking about how bad the IC is. That gets old really fast. Ask God to help you through this part. Take this time to seek Jesus and develop the kind of relationship you really want with Him. I’m not going to lie and say that this new road you are embarking on is easy… but it is sure is worth it!

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About Us

We believe the Book of Acts and New Testament letters are true Christianity. Early church meetings took place within home based churches throughout Jerusalem and the Roman Empire. And we believe church from home is still God’s blueprint for today: church at home with family and friends who are like-minded in the faith, growing together in Christ, and letting Him work in us.

What We Do
We desire to make disciples of all nations, through the establishment of house churches and house church networks. We encourage Christians to prioritize relationships with other believers, and–for those who do not attend church–to find a house church. We also help people through the process of starting a house church, how to grow a house church, while encouraging biblically-sound principles for believers within the entire home church network.

Scriptures

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” –Matthew 28:18-17 ESV

“These signs will accompany those who have believed in My name: they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not harm them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” –Mark 16:17-18 NASB

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the farthest parts of the earth.” –Acts 1:8 NET

“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 ESV

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