Leader’s Guide to Starting Your House Church
We are not here to dictate how to start or run your house church. This leader’s guide is a way to offer you options and ideas. Don’t get me wrong, we would love to have you participate in our House Church ministry, but we do not want to interfere in God’s calling or purpose for your life. Only you and God can decide if we are to partner together.
Why Start A House Church?
There are a lot of reasons to start a house church. We aren’t going to cover them all, but we will share a few ideas. Please understand, we are not negating the local church. They have their place and are needed. When the Bible references the Church, it is not referencing a building. The Church are the followers of Christ.
Reason 1: Relationship: as a small group, you get to know and support each other.
Reason 2: Learning and growing together helps to gain a deeper understanding, thereby, helping to live out our faith with the support of those in our group.
Reason 3: As a small group, you don’t get lost in the crowds. You avoid the “clicks” that so often alienate us in larger churches.
Reason 4: You have more control over when and where you meet. In some cases this might be at midnight for night-shift people, at noon because some people want to go to their local church as well, or maybe at a park or some other location.
Reason 5: We can avoid all of the religious activities, pomp, and religiosity and focus on what is truly important – God – Jesus – Holy Spirit. Each house church member is a contributor to the growth of the others; it’s not just a pastor teaching a sermon then sending you away. Instead, it is passionate believers who want to be close to God and worship in a loving and caring atmosphere.
Reason 6: We intentionally keep our groups small (10 to 20 people). As our groups grow, we continue to train leaders so they can begin a house church. As more and more house churches evolve in an area, once per month we gather together as a large group at a given location and worship together.
Benefits of a House Church
We are not meant to do life alone! When we look at the Bible and how they did church, it wasn’t in a big building with large masses of people; it was in people’s homes. In many cases you will see letter writers like Paul telling the person He wrote to to greet those in their house church.
It is amazing the number of reasons house churches are so beneficial and I won’t go through all of them as I am sure you have great reasons of your own that is driving you to start your church. But do let me share a few that I believe are very important:
- So often learning in a small group encourages growth and participation. You can encourage people to ask questions and engage. These might be questions others in the group might have or perhaps hadn’t thought of.
- Small groups allow us to support one another. Whether it is with our learning, encouragement, or even personal matters, a small group can come together and support the individual in any circumstance.
- A house church can be customized to meet the needs of the group. An example might be first responders who are on night shift and can’t make a Sunday service at a local church. Your church may meet at midnight or 6:00 a.m. so the group can sleep. There are many reasons to customize a service time to meet the needs of your group.
- As the house church leader, you can structure your services in a wide variety of ways. The simplest form would be to meet together, study, see how everyone is doing, then go home. Better yet, have coffee and snacks before your service. Yet another thing you might do is have a pot-luck dinner or BBQ. Maybe snacks and conversation followed by study time, followed by dinner. Again, this depends on how deep you want to go into this and how involved your group wants to be.
- Working in your community is a great way to serve your community and show the love of Christ. You and your members can decide if you want to join in to an existing ministry or service in your area or start your own. A few examples: have a community BBQ for the homeless or low income area. Start a tutor ministry for reading, writing, math… Start a community garden (you can do this as a group to support each other as well). Teach a hobby or skill to youth or adults. You can even hold church services for assisted living homes. When you get your group of like-minded people together, you will be amazed at the things they can come up with.