When I spoke at the 2011 House Church Conference in Florida, I met many wonderful people committed to living out their faith in a house church. But, when it comes to the discussion between House Church and Legacy Church people, I still pray for a more positive dialogue. The name calling along with the “spiritual” pretense that there is only one way to be a “New Testament” church is hackneyed and counterproductive. Books capitalizing on anger, hurts, and bitterness have made publishing houses and individual authors lots of money, but as brothers and sisters in Christ, we need to move toward a more positive vision for church.
Tim Chester is a house church guy who shares some of my concerns. In one of his older posts, he shares reasons why he has not read a lot of books on house church,
When I was first interested in household church I did read a range of material and I found most of it narrow, petty, reductionistic and reactionary. Either it defined itself in terms of what it was against. Or it was obsessed with debates over the minutiae of what may or may not have happened in New Testament churches. It all seemed a world away from the missiological engagement in which I was interested. (I can’t say whether any of this is true of Pagan Christianity having not read the book!) Most of the groups involved seemed insular – more concerned with creating the perfect church than reaching the lost. Obviously I want to be biblical, but I believe there were a variety of church practices and models in the New Testament so that we can be flexible. We can adapt to our context (1 Corinthians 9).
Chester’s observations are insightful and his advice is important for young church planters Leaders, we must learn to be flexible in our methods of communal worship. That means instead of focusing energy on creating the most “biblical” worship environment, we should focus more on the mission of reaching the lost with the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Let each church follow its own collective conscience on ‘how’, ‘when’, and ‘where’ to worship and invest more energy encouraging our congregations to live out the ‘who’, ‘what’, and ‘why’ of the Gospel.