As we read about the beginning church in Acts and the Epistles, we often see how they met “in the temple and from house to house.” Paul and Timothy wrote to Philemon and “the church that meets in your home” (Philemon 1:2). Paul and Timothy ask the church in Colossae to greet “Nympha and the church in her house” (Colossians 4:15). There are several other occasions where a group of Christ followers were in someone’s home for prayer, fellowship, to break bread (taking communion), hear teachings, have baptisms, worship, etc. Sounds a lot like a church.
It’s important to understand that as the Gospel was spreading to new regions, there were not large amounts of converts or large gatherings of Christ-followers yet. They were meeting where they could including public places (temple courts, warehouses, burial grounds) and in believer’s homes. Christianity was not a recognized “legal” religion until 313 A.D. Christianity experienced plenty of persecution in those beginning centuries and house churches were the safest place to meet..sometimes at night and in secret. Homes are still a vital place for the gathering church around the world, especially where persecution still exists.
Modern day Life Groups at Hope Chapel do many things the church has done since the beginning. Life Groups meet in homes for prayer, fellowship, Bible teachings, share a meal, help one another, etc. Yet Life Groups are not House Churches as the New Testament church describes. It is not the place where elders and deacons are elected and serve. Life Groups are not necessarily the neighborhood hub for Christians to gather as though there is no other alternative. They are not a substitute for gathering at the large congregational services. New Testament believers gathered in both large groups and small groups. Life Groups are not new church plants…although it would be great to see Life Groups inviting their community to their groups and as God blesses, new churches would need to be formed. However, Life Groups are the church as the church are the people, not a building nor a home.
Life Groups (small groups) are vital to the growth and health of all believers. Life Groups still need host homes and host leaders. Host homes don’t need to be large. Host homes don’t need to be fancy. Host homes don’t need to be homes. Groups could meet at workplaces, coffee shops, or a room at the church building. Host leaders don’t need Bible degrees nor develop weekly teaching plans for 30-40 minutes. Just need space to hold a few folks and a leader to guide the group to stay on task. We provide resources, training, and recommended structure.
Life Groups start back up in September. We could use a few more host homes and host leaders. If you’re interested or curious or have questions about being a Life Group host home or a host leader, let’s talk.
~Blurb from the Blumer