Thursday, October 7, 2010

"House church as we have known it is preventing house church as God wants it."

Today I want to direct you to someone else's blog.

Specifically, to a blog post by Maurice Smith who is in Spokane, WA. This post is important because it addresses the issue of the "infrastructure" of the house church movement. For some time now, many of us have been hearing something like this from the Lord: "A great harvest is coming. Now is the time to "lay pipe". That is, to develop the "infrastructure" that will allow for a huge number of new believers to be well cared for and discipled. This infrastructure is mainly about leadership. A multitude of healthy spiritual moms and dads who can create healthy spiritual families (ie, churches)."

To do this, requires challenging some of the early values (Maurice calls them "maxims") of the house church movement. Here are some examples: no organization, no leaders, no paid leaders, etc. Why must these things be challenged? Because "house church as we (or, at least some) have known it is preventing house church as God wants it".

Developing this infrastructure is what The Luke Ten Community is all about. Our mission is to "Connect and equip house church leaders and house church planters around the world". We do this through this blog, through our website, through CO2s (churches of two), through MRTs (regional apostolic teams and networks) and through the Apprenticeship process.

Love to hear your comments!



  1. Interesting article...I think that there is a lot of truth in what Maurice is talking about. I do believe there is a backlash in the House Church movement toward leadership, organization and finance that stems from past abuses. It is important that we do not form our orthopraxy from a place of hurt, as this will only lead to dysfunction, yet we should learn from the abuses that we have seen. As far as common doctrine...that is a bit more complicated to me. I think our unity should be around Christ not doctrine. While there are obvious core doctrines that are at the core of our common faith, more times than not doctrine has been a source of separation and division as opposed to source of unity. I am reminded of the basic commands the early church gave the new Gentile believers. Be careful of idols, stay sexually pure and stay away from blood. They understood that keeping rules simple was the best practice. Finding our unity in the person of the Risen Christ has been one of the most liberating things I have found in the house church movement. It allows for great discussion and conversation to take place concerning secondary doctrines. Our MRT has pentecostals, baptists, independents, church of christ,and foundamentalists. It is an hodgepodge, but having unity in the person of Christ has opened our eyes to what each brings to the table. I love that.

  2. Thanks John for including Maurice's awesome article.
    The the financial part alone is greatly needed and especially in light of the urgency of the harvest. Alone in the logic of I Cor 9 - Would we expect a teacher, doctor, farmer or the like to give of of their services and produce for free? How silly to expect those who labor 40 hours a week and more in House Church work to not be worthy of their hire. I think of a counselor who became part of a church and every one expected free counseling because he was a christian. He brought restoration, healing to deep wounds and life change for so many ... then eventually he was too poor and moved away.

    We can't pray for the Lord to send out laborers in the harvest LK 10:2 without our giving sacrificially to support and be those laborers LK 10:7.

    I grieve for those who have been in similar places as Maurice's friend nearing bankruptcy because of the cheapness of the body. We have witnessed this too and watched the fall out. For those of us who have been ministered to it is only right to support those who have labored among us Gal 6:6. Let me go further.

    It may be time to go back to those who have ministered to us in the past and restore a rightful share where we have been amiss in our lack of support. Test the Lord and see if He won't pour out a blessing so big we can't hold it. Faithfulness in little is a prerequisite for God entrusting us with more.
    Jan Cowles

  3. I appreciated this article. I made this comment on his blog:

    "Good stuff. I'm an insider in the "house church movement" for nearly a decade, but I also observe much of what you're addressing as somewhat of a quasi-outsider. Things are different in NYC. Organic/simple churches has only caught on to a very limited degree. Also, most of the influence for organic church planting has been catalyzed by missionaries to the city. These -- and other -- factors really nurtures something other than a reactionary movement (which probably reinforces your point). It's great to hear you stepping out and facing the criticism sure to come from deep within the house church movement.

    When I mentioned to a friend that I was an organic church guy doing a doctor of missiology researching organic church planting, he said, "Wait a minute. Isn't that an oxymoron?" To some, it is. However, this odd combination has increasingly been opening up opportunities to speak into the whole body of Christ -- institutional and organic alike."

    I do think without a doubt that each of his maxims are important for the house church movement to address. For me, his "heresy" isn't heresy and not too far off from where I've been throughout my journey in the house church movement. I guess I just never drank the kool-aid. : )