There's a lot being written about home church, and a lot of questions/curiosity on the subject. It seems, though, that few are actually willing to jump out there and see what it's really all about. There are plenty of fellowships available, if one would take the time to seek them out. There's also the option of actually starting one in your own home, if you dare. Real live preacher had a post, If We Could Do Church, and I replied to one of the commenters. The question of legitimacy was raised:
"Not to be flippant, but it if a "church" like this is legitimate, then what about a
church of one? Is a church of one still a church? I think you're sliding down a
slippery slope there."
Here was my answer:
My greatest spiritual growth has been made in the last 14 years meeting in groups of as little as 2 and sometimes greater than 100, mostly in homes, but the for the larger groups in the past we have rented a banquet room at a hotel, or met out at the lake.
Legitimate? Only when our meeting/fellowship meet to glorify God and build the faith of those in attendance. Have we done that with only 2 people present? yes. Have we missed it with 50 people present? maybe. Maybe it was just me. The point is, that wherever 2 or more are gathered in Jesus' name, He is there. And when we know His presence, and we honor that with our words, deeds, and worship, we've had church.
We don't have a paid pastor, but rather, a plurality of leadership. Worship is open for anyone to participate and offer a song, psalm, a word of encouragement, a prophecy... even a sermon, if that's been led by the Spirit. In short, we have adopted the "priesthood of the believer," and recognize, even encourage the use of whatever gifts God has given someone. Is it always a perfect service? No. But we're open to allow the Holy Spirit change us, admonish us, and even correct us.
A church of one? Well, that may be pushing it, since the purpose of a church involves "the assembling of yourselves together," and corporate worship is intended for the glory of God, the edification of the body, and the teaching of doctrine. The five-fold ministry is not intended to be present only in the pastor, or leader of the group. It was given to the body of believers for prophecy, evangelism, aposotlic ministry, pastoring and teaching. It requires a body of believers to carry out the "perfecting of the saints, the work of the ministry, and the edifying of the body of Christ." So one person, although said person may be able to have a powerful worship time alone with God, is not a church by himself. We are designed for relationship, and the body of Christ is fashioned to be dependent on interdependent relationships with God and each other.Just as I believe that the instiutional church has legitimacy, so I believe that the smaller fellowships such as home churches, be it 2 or 100, have the same legitimacy...as long as the body is functioning as the body of Christ, and not just meeting for the sake of meeting, or to meet the overhead.
Our Church has a new web page: Association of Home Churches. We just started posting stuff there, so bear with us as we build the site. Stop by and visit! If you have questions or comments regarding home church, I'd like to answer them in an article on the new web site.