Friday, July 22, 2005

More on Home Church

I want to clear up some questions raised by some of the comments, and from some comments made on From the Morning.
First, let me establish my definition of "church:" church happens where 2 or more are gathered in Jesus' name for the purpose of edification and encouragement.
We have been having church in small groups that meet in homes since 1991. While I will admit, there were many things about the institutional church that caused us to leave, and in some cases, with many reservations, the motivation for our meetings is to worship the Lord Jesus and grow in spirit and in truth... not to knock what other ministries are doing. I am not anti-institutional church; neither is our home church. I think that the traditional church, with a pastor, a board of elders, and a building to meet in has its place, and many churches that meet like that are doing great things. It's just not for everyone, and there are many who are more comfortable accepting an invitation to our house on Sunday morning than they would be attending a mainline church service.
That's OK too. We are working hand in hand with many churches and ministries in the community. Since we do not have a building, a paid pastor, and we have very minor overhead, (we pay a secretary and nominal amount monthly for keeping the books, making the calendar, printing, calling, etc.) about 85% of our tithes and offerings go directly into the community and to missions. We are able to support approximately 15 ministries with monthly support, and in most of those cases, our small groups (there are 3 of us in the community that are connected) provide the largest single monthly amounts to these ministries. Please don't take this as boastful, I am merely stating what has been told to us, and it is simply because most church budgets have a lot of overhead to take care of first. Again, not a bad thing, we just saw another opportunity to fill a need that was there.
We have a pastor. We have leadership, and we remain accountable to each other. We also remain connected to the community of churches in our area, supporting the Ministerial alliance, and helping meet needs other churches can't or won't. People have been referred to us for benevolence because another church simply didn't have the funds to meet the need.
So we're not just your garden-variety small bible-study group. We are a functioning, strong, stable and vital part of the ministry to our community. I'd be happy to give more information to anyone who asks, or connect you to someone in your area who might be doing the same thing.
We are the Association of Home Churches, Central Texas.

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