Ok, so I need to get this off my chest.
A house church is not a “small group”. It is not a “bible study”. It’s not something additional to a traditional church model service you may attend. It is a church, a body of believers – Ekklesia – “called out ones”.
I’ve had some interesting conversations with people who have no grid for this. When I tell them about what God is doing here in the Philippines sometimes I can see them shut down. They hear the word house church and somehow to them it’s not legitimate.
As Christians, we should know God doesn’t live in temples made by human hands and yet oddly enough we see the building as being some sort of qualifier as to whether there is a church or not. God’s church are His people.
Romans 16:5 says “greet the church that is in their house”. Oh! I guess it was a church – in a house!
We are His church. We, at His Heart are a living community of believers. We actively shine, love and be Jesus all day every day. We meet in houses in communities. We visit one another and care for one another. When a member is sick, another member will visit and pray. When someone needs food, the church in that community comes together to provide food. We often gather in tiny homes no bigger than what would be a small bedroom in the West. Everyone crowds in. Kids, mothers with babies, fathers, grandparents, teenagers, dogs, cats, and sometimes even a mouse scampering around the edges.
The roof can be made of leaky corrugated iron and perhaps the floor is made of dirt but nothing can stop God showing up as hungry hearts unite. Worship begins and His presence falls like rain. Tears flow. Children raise their hands to worship. Hearts and bodies are healed. People grow as they read the scripture together and encourage each other to apply it to their life. We share communion and people are baptized in water as they choose to follow Him.
When we get too big to fit in a house or too big for people to truly flourish and be cared for, we simply multiply in two. Half meet in one house and the other half in a different house. We don’t have to wait to raise money to extend our building so we can handle growth. All we need is a place where the believers can encourage each other. Even a shady tree is enough.