" /> What Does House Church Look Like? - Pray for Indonesia

What Does House Church Look Like?

house church

In the most persecuted countries of the world, the Church is flourishing. But these churches look very different from the typical church in America. They are smaller groups of believers that meet together in homes. We call this type of church a house church.

Many Christians in these areas cannot even get building permits to have a public gathering place for church. Their governments and communities make it very difficult for them to do this. So they gather together in homes to fellowship, worship, and study scripture together. Sometimes in extremely persecuted countries like Iran or China they are called underground churches. If they are caught worshipping God and reading the Bible together, they could be imprisoned or killed. So they have to be very secure when the gather together.

Practical and Reproducible

This is why house churches are practical and reproducible in many countries around the world. Meeting in smaller groups doesn’t attract a lot of attention. They can meet in different homes on different days in case secret police are tracking them. Believers also don’t have to pay for a building to have church. In many developing countries, Christians do not have the funds to pay for all the expenses to have a building, equipment, etc. House churches make it easy for them to gather and worship together.

It is also easy to reproduce a house church! Say someone in a house church starts sharing the gospel with their coworkers. Then their coworkers place their faith in Jesus. Instead of inviting their coworkers to their house church, they start a new church with the group of new believers. The person discipling them, leads the church and trains the new believers to share their faith with their families, friends, and neighbors. If more people come to faith, they can join that church or the person who led them to faith can start a new group with them. This is how house churches reproduce quickly and the gospel spreads rapidly. A house church that reproduces to the 4th generation is called a church planting movement.

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Acts 2 Church

House churches may sound similar to small groups or Bible studies in your church. In fact they are very similar! But house churches keep all the functions of a church described in the New Testament. They study scripture, worship and pray together. There is teaching, communion, baptism, giving and sharing the gospel with others. House churches actually look like the New Testament church described in Acts 2:42-47.

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles.  All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”

From this passage we can see what church looked like in the early days. And church should look like this today too!

The Acts 2 church included:
  • apostles’ teaching (now the apostles’ teaching is the Bible)
  • fellowship
  • breaking of bread (communion)
  • prayer
  • signs performed
  • believers together
  • everything in common
  • sold property and possessions to give to those in need
  • met together everyday
  • ate together in their homes
  • praising God (worship)
  • favor with all people
  • growing numbers of those being saved (evangelism)

These are the core tenants of what church should look like. No where in the Bible does it say you have to rent or buy a building to have church. Meeting together with believers is what matters and you can do that anywhere! Is it okay to have a designated building for church? Of course! Just remember that “church” is the people, not the place.

Does your church look like the church in Acts 2? What is missing? What is being added? God has placed each of us in our families, jobs, and neighborhoods for a reason. He wants to use us to share the gospel with those who don’t know Him yet. Maybe God will use you to start a house church with your family, friends, coworkers, or neighbors!