House Church Formation – Part 4 – Why are House Churches Popular in Every Region of the World Except North America?
Individualism Of People
North Americans tend to be very individualistic, and so we often resist transparent, inter-dependent relationships.
Institutional Church Control
Some institutional churches limit House Churches in autonomy. For example, their rules may require clergy to be present for things like the ministering of sacraments.
Some institutional churches limit House Churches in function. They may only be allowed to host prayer meetings or fellowship meetings or Bible studies, but nothing more.
Some institutional churches limit House Churches’ authority. They must use the institutional church’s curriculum or follow the model of the institutional church, and cannot develop their own strategies for the House Church.
People may be hesitant to join a House Church, because many are not committed to fulfill all five purposes of the church (Worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry and evangelism).
A house church with only worship … The members focus their attention on God, and so often do not develop intimacy with one another
A house church with only fellowship … The members often become resistant to new people joining the group, because they feel it damages the intimacy of the group.
A house church with only discipleship … The members may get caught up in discussion theology and correct interpretation, and never grow the group.
A house church with only ministry … The members may not grow in their relationship with Christ, the teachings may become “spurious”, and the group may become more of a “bless me” club than a house church.
A house church with only evangelism … The members may not be growing in their faith or in transparency with one another, and may get so focused on evangelism that the members burn out.
No Strategy Or Commitment To Multiply
A house church with a strategy and commitment to multiply may multiply three or four times a year. A house church without a strategy to multiply may only multiply once, or not at all. For a house church to stay healthy and vibrant, it needs to multiply at least every six months.
Lack Of Clergy Compensation
Few house churches can provide adequate funding for their leaders, and so they are not an option for professional clergy.
Bad Reputation Of House Churches
The failure rate in house churches is high in North America. Ninety percent close within the first year. With such a high failure rate, many people believe that there must be something terribly wrong with them.
Doctrinal error can be a big problem in house churches. Many house churches are led by people without a solid biblical foundation.
Sadly, spiritual abuse has become a problem in house churches. Often house churches are started by people wanting followers, not people wanting to empower others. They can very quickly degrade into small groups of controlled people.
Started For the Wrong Reasons
There are many wrong reasons for starting a house church, such as:
- A reaction to the failures of the institutional church.
- An offense against an institutional church leader or church.
- A desire to spread a pet doctrine.
- A desire to have a personal group of followers.
There is only one right reason for starting a house church:
- A vision from God for starting a house church.
Started With the Wrong Strategy
There are many misguided strategies in starting a house church, such as:
- The group had no strategy
- The group just moved the institutional church service into a home, and so it looked and felt just like the institutional service.
- The group didn’t take the time to learn the necessary and Biblical House Church foundations, and so experienced … conflict, division, inward focus, doctrinal error, power struggles, etc.
- The group didn’t have relational support with others for such things as … leadership challenges, accountability to stay focused on vision and values, guidance, training, encouragement, wisdom, etc.
What is the right strategy? A clear leading and wisdom from God, along with:
- A clear Biblical understanding of the purpose and function and core values of House Churches.
- Unwavering commitment to the fulfillment of all five purposes of the church.
- Relational accountability with other groups.