Church as Family

Eversince Wolfgang Simpson discourteously ruined my notions of what church should be with his book, Houses That Change the World, I have been in a seeming wilderness, wandering about and waiting for God to lead me to the promised land of Christian gathering. Our move to Vermont prompted some old yearnings, that I thought were dead, for going to an official church. I thought this was the way to meet other Christians and I would just have to bite the bullet on everything I don’t like. My seminary books were carefully tucked away upstairs just in case someone came from a local church to our home (Because once some Christians in a church find out that you went to seminary, you are no longer a normal, rank and file Christian. They expect you to lead all kinds of ministries, get involved in the church, give your views special reverence that they don’t deserve, and make awkward references to your knowledge of Greek and Hebrew during a Bible study that generally has no relevance to the topic at hand). OK, rant over.

Of course God has not brought us down the path of traditional church. That would be too predictable for the creator of the universe. No, he has brought me a bit beyond the world of “nebulous house church” that had chracterized our three years in Doylestown, PA. Now he has introduced the idea of “family church.”

In other words, we have been gathering very informally to pray as a family. This often includes any guests who may be visiting for a time. In addition, besides those moments when we sit down to pray as a family, there is a sense of sacredness I have when we are gathered around the dinner table with Christian friends to discuss God, God and culture, Christianity, etc. We go to organized church every now and then, but I have a sense of God’s pleasure in our simple home gatherings.

So once again I find that God is expanding my notion of church. His heart for us right now is to meet and minister as a family. I also believe that he wants us to meet with other people, Christian and non-Christian, in their homes and plant simple family style churches wherever. I think that simple family home churches may be one of the best ways to spread the Gospel in New England.

That’s all I have time for now, how does this sound?

I guess I’m “post-nebulous-house-church” now.

2 thoughts on “Church as Family

  1. Zane Anderson

    I’ll second that part about God being pleased with your simple home gatherings, brother. Many or few, He is there.

    Scholars, for the most part, have overlooked the household grid of earliest Christianity and its implications about structure and leadership. Not to mention size. Your own home may be teeming with people some day not to far away – children and grands all looking to you, their elder.

    Btw, not all house church books and sites are nebulous…but too many are. Peace!

  2. Ed Post author

    Thanks for your comments Zane. I agree that the decentralized leadership of house churches, if they can pull that off, is a big plus. Of course the new problem is that the group has to assume responsibility that the central leader once held.

    I have to admit that I don’t mind house church books and sites being nebulous. It’s one thing to share some principles and stories, it’s another thing to say, "here’s what we did, now you can do the exact same thing." There may be another sense in which being nebulous is bad, such as beginning a meeting without a clear sense of God’s direction or whatever, but for me the nebulous character of house church literature is a safe guard of sorts.

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