Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Large church/small church

There is a good, honest look at some of the advantages—and disadvantages—of house churches over at the House Church Blog. Here is a snippet:

I have seen the benefits of moving away from more traditional structures and into church forms that are simpler:

* Small, so that community and family can be experienced
*Participatory, so that every person’s gift is valued and developed
*Non-positional in leadership status, so that submission is mutual and leadership is situational and gift-based
*Non-programmatic, so that mission, discipleship, and leadership training is relationally-oriented
*Simple, so that it supports a 24/7, Jesus-following way of life

Yet, I have also noted the many downsides of working with simple/house churches:

*Community/family life in small groups is challenging.
*Despite good intentions, the consumer attitude of “what’s in it for me” can still be the prevailing attitude.
*We can talk a lot about a 24/7, Jesus-following lifestyle, but the reality is often that the only real change is that we gather in a small, participatory gathering rather than a large, stage-oriented one.
*Participatory gatherings, that seek to have the Holy Spirit lead, often fall short of such an ideal.
*Simple/house churches can become a place for Christians who are done with traditional church, for whatever reason, but who are not really ready to move forward into something truly, substantively different in terms of lifestyle.

He goes on, and a bit later opines “Our communities/gatherings must consist of people who are living or learning to live dynamic, purposeful, intimate, prophetic, missional Christian lifestyles rather than just being house-sized containers for passive Christians to gather in.”

And, “I am concerned that we fall into the “downsides of working with simple/house churches” (mentioned above) precisely because we sink into the habit, once again, of just “doing church” rather than living out the type of ministry and lifestyle that Jesus modeled.”

Good food for thought...

No comments: