What follows is not so much a teaching or a sharing of revelation as it is “out loud” musings. As such I pray it will be a vehicle for thought, discussion and growth for us all.
Debbi and I have been ‘pastoring” a home church here for a while now. There is not a strong home church movement here in Vermont, so to a large degree we have been out on our own. Those we had thought would act in a mentoring/accountability role seem to have drifted off on their own projects. This has left us feeling more than a little isolated. I don’t see that as a totally bad thing, since it forced us to seek Him even more, and led us here, but at the same time we recognized that it was not a good thing.
I wonder just how many believers there are in the same of similar boats. I read somewhere a while back that somewhere around 55 percent of believers are outside of traditional churches. From my personal observations that number seems a bit high perhaps, but if you discount those who call themselves believers but do not know the Lord, perhaps it is actually a bit low. I don’t know. What I do know however is how many believers I have encountered that just … for the lack of a better description, do not fit in a traditional church. Some are deeply offended, some all but mortally wounded – usually by the church. Some, like us, just want more. We struggle with questions such as how do we reach them? How do we minister to their needs? What form does such a church take? How do we point them in the direction that leads to healing, freedom, unity and fullness in Christ and His calling for their life?
There is a very real danger in the house church movement posed by the isolation we have both seen and experienced. Yes, they did meet from house to house in the NT, but they also met in groups as a whole and there was intercourse between the various groups, even city to city. You also had accountability to Peter, Paul, John and others who operated in apostolic callings and traveled from church to church or communicated with them on a regular basis.
So what is the answer? I’ve read a lot of stuff out there on the “Emergent Church” and Home Church movement, but a lot of it seems to be intellectual “candy,” nice to look at and even “tasty” to consume but having no real substance. I wonder, is this what Gnosticism looks like in the modern age? I don’t want to knock those who write such posts. I can’t really, as I don’t know them, yet, I just can not embrace much of what they say.
How then do we establish and maintain the communication? What should the structure look like? What is God’s blueprint for networking the church together? Does it include the home churches and traditional churches? If so, how, and if not, then what? I know, lots of questions and a complete dearth of answers. Oh well that’s life when you’re in new country. Don’t know about you, but I imagine I’ll be chewing on this for quite a while.