An Evaluation Of The House Church Model For North American Church Planting Part 2 -- By: Ken L. Davis
JMAT 11:1 (Spring 2007) p. 91
An Evaluation Of The House Church Model For North American Church Planting Part 2
Director of Church Planting
Baptist Bible Seminary, Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania
Strengths of the House Church Model
The many benefits found in the house church model should commend this approach to church planters in our time. A fair appraisal of the house church model uncovers at least ten strengths which even the skeptics must acknowledge.
The most effective method of evangelism is not growing existing churches, but planting new ones. Because house churches are the most easily replicated form of church, they are an obvious choice for church planting. In addition, house churches are often better at encouraging friendship and lifestyle evangelism than conventional churches. Because of their face-to-face approach, they serve as a neighborhood visual aid to the gospel and an evangelistic front door to the seeker. Cole describes the emerging model of bringing faith to people this way:
The Great Commission says that we are to “go into all the world,” but we’ve turned the whole thing around and made it “come to us and hear our message.” … Instead of bringing people to church so that we can then bring them to Christ, let’s bring Christ to people where they live. We may find that a new church will grow out of such an enterprise, a church that is more centered in life and the workplace, where the Gospel is supposed to make a difference.1
JMAT 11:1 (Spring 2007) p. 92
Cole encourages church planters to go where people already are—whether coffee houses, bars, pubs, or other “third places”—so that they can connect with seekers and eventually whet seekers’ appetites for Jesus.
Two other reasons can be cited why house churches are effective evangelistic tools. Del Birkey has pointed out that simple churches strengthen the concept of corporate solidarity in Christian conversion. In the early church, household (oikos) conversions were common (Acts 10:1–2; 16:13–15; 31–4; 18:18): “The house church as a structure obviously undergirded this socio-cultural phenomenon.”2 Orlando Costas reminds us that conversion is not just an individual but a missional commitment, a socio-ecclesial reality. It does not take place in a vacuum, but rather within particular social ...
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