Church In Your House
If you read my blog regularly you know that much of the time I think and write about church. I guess you could say the church is a passion of mine. I came across something that smacked me upside the head as I read it the other day.
The Apostle Paul wrote the epistle we call Philemon to more than one person. He wrote it to Philemon, who he described as “our beloved brother and fellow worker.” Another recipient was “Apphia our sister.” The last individual he mentions was “Archippus our fellow soldier.” The final addressees he mentions was the “church in your house.”
There it is, what delivered the blow to my mind when I read it. The “church in your house.” Of course, back then there were not huge church buildings built in each city for the church or churches to meet in. In fact, there were not small church building built in each city. The church met in houses. Obviously, this church met in Philemon’s house. A group of believers met in a home provided by Philemon. Apphia may have been his wife and Archippus may have been another leader in this particular group. Regardless, the church met in his house as it met in other’s houses in other cities and locations.
Today, this happens, but it isn’t the standard, is it? Most churches build buildings. A few will buy a building. Most will have Sunday school, or if they are more modern, Bible Study Groups. One local church in my area just bought a bowling alley and meet there. Another meets in a former furniture store. Some of these churches then meet in homes for bible study and cell groups or life groups or whatever you want to call them. In other words, the church meets in houses.
As I’ve thought about this, I believe this should be the standard. The church should be meeting in homes and houses. It should be meeting in ways that everyone in the church should be involved in each other’s lives. I don’t mean churches have to do away with their Sunday schools or bible study groups that meet on Sunday mornings. However, what differences and changes will happen when the church meets in someone’s house or houses?
I want to be honest. I’ve failed at this most of my life. I’ve been content to go to church on Sunday and Wednesday most of my adult church life. As I’ve grown and as I continue to pursue Christ, this pattern has caused me to grow more and more frustrated. Why? Because I don’t believe that I’m being the church that Christ wants me to be. Yes, I said that right. The church Christ wants me to be. I am the church. If you follow Christ, so are you.
If I was searching for a new church today, I would compose a list of questions to ask the pastor and people of that church. One of them would be, “Does the church meet in homes and houses regularly and intentionally?” How that questions was answered might affect whether I would consider joining that particular fellowship.
I heard someone mention today how people asked him about his church. He began describing the church where he is a member. They said that they weren’t interested in that church. No, they were interested in a church that cared about their community like he did. This person was not interested in going to an established church. What I heard was that perhaps they were interested in a church in someone’s house. Maybe his. Maybe mine. Who knows?
How about you? Is there a church in your house.