Skip to comments.A major announcement about house churches (The fastest growing Movement in Christianity)
Posted on 06/27/2006 9:56:30 AM PDT by SirLinksalot
A major announcement about house churches
-------------------------------------------------------- Posted: June 27, 2006 1:00 a.m. Eastern
© 2006 WorldNetDaily.com
The little guy is back. For the first time in 1,700 years, simple churches meeting in homes are once again a factor in human events.
In many countries, they're booming so strongly that critics and opponents can no longer brush them aside as a fringe movement. And as I documented repeatedly in "Megashift," home churches are producing millions of proactive Christians who now and then perform miracles (though the credit ultimately belongs to God, of course).
But this week, even I was shocked to discover how big our house church community in North America really is. Briefly stated, we're right about halfway between the Catholic Church and the Southern Baptist Convention (which is the second-largest denomination in the U.S.).
OK now, let's inhale. I'm stunned, too. This really is starting to alter the landscape for all of us.
Let me state up front: These are solid numbers. George Barna, the leading U.S. church pollster and perhaps the most widely quoted Christian leader in America, is the author of the figures below. They are based on a full-on, four-month scientific survey of 5,013 adults, including 663 blacks, 631 hispanics, 676 liberals and 1,608 conservatives.
Nobody argues with numbers from The Barna Group. They employ all the professional safeguards to ensure tight results in this case, a sampling error of +/-1.8 percent. Here are the results stated in five ways:
In a typical week, 9 percent of U.S. adults attend a house church.
In absolute numbers, that 9 percent equals roughly 20 million people.
In a typical month, about 43 million U.S. adults attend a house church.
All told, 70 million U.S. adults have at least experimented with participation in a house church.
Focusing only on those who attend some kind of church (which I recall is about 43 percent of us), 74 percent of them attend only a traditional church, 19 percent attend both a traditional and a house church, and 5 percent are hard-core house church folks. The study counted only attendance at house churches, not small groups ("cells") that are part of a traditional church.
George Barna is the author of the new best seller, "Revolution," which talks a lot about the kind of person who is leaving the fold of the institutional church and joining things like house churches. Revolutionaries are highly dedicated to Christ and know the Bible better than most. Barna predicts that within 20 years, Revolutionaries will comprise 65-70 percent of U.S. Christianity, leaving in the traditional setting only 30-35 percent (primarily the white-haired crowd).
Please don't think of the house church as a new fad. For the first 300 years of Christianity, house churches were the norm. In fact, church buildings were quite rare until the fourth century, when the power-hungry Roman Emperor Constantine suddenly outlawed house church meetings, began erecting church buildings with Roman tax money, and issued a decree that all should join his Catholic Church. If you want to stick to a biblical model, the house church is your only choice.
In China, the world's largest church (120 million) is 90 percent based in homes. The cover story in this week's World magazine (June 24) is on how Christian business leaders in China are beginning to change the whole situation in that country. Yes, even while Christians in many provinces are hunted down and tortured, CEOs of corporations in areas with freedom are changing the way government looks at Christianity. That is major.
Bottom line: Worldwide, the original church is back, re-creating the biblical model: "Day after day, they met by common consent in the Temple Courts and broke bread from house to house." (Acts 2:46) God is again pouring out His power on plain folks, bringing a megashift not in our doctrine, but in our entire lifestyle.
House churches in North America are no longer seen as being in conflict with the traditional church. In fact, much to our amazement, noted leaders like Rick Warren have recently come out strongly in favor of house churches. Saddleback Church is even sending out their own members as "missionaries" to start house church networks! And just last week, John Arnott of Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship asked me, as a house church spokesman, to speak at his big annual conference. Unheard of.
Of course, many Christians will prefer to stay in their traditional roles, and that's OK. But now there is a strong alternative for ambitious souls who are crying out to do more, to have more, to be more.
James Rutz is chairman of Megashift Ministries and founder-chairman of Open Church Ministries. He is the author of "MEGASHIFT: Igniting Spiritual Power," and, most recently, "The Meaning of Life." If you'd rather order by phone, call WND's toll-free customer service line at 1-800-4WND-COM (1-800-496-3266).
Slight correction: there is also "backlash" from churches who are abandoning "Traditional" religion to fall into the fad of the week contemporary movement. Traditionalists are being forced from churches in large numbers now, because they refuse to follow the slick marketing of megachurch psychobabble.
I switched to a non-denominational church a few years back because the Pastor teaches from the Bible and uses it as the standard instead of letting the decline of society serve as an "interpretation aid".
"Focusing only on those who attend some kind of church (which I recall is about 43 percent of us), 74 percent of them attend only a traditional church, 19 percent attend both a traditional and a house church, and 5 percent are hard-core house church folks."
Define "house church." If it is truly akin to the first-century Christians, whose "house church" ceremonies were quite elaborate and included the Lord's Supper, fasting beforehand, scripture, and a homily/sermon, led by an ordained pastor/presbyter, I'm impressed.
If they are simply referring to Christian faith-sharing groups, I'm not at all. People have been meeting to discuss their faith and pray together since this country was born, and the fact that 9% of Americans now like to think of this form of gathering as "house churches" is completely meaningless. Given that 4 our of 5 "house church" attendees also attend weekly church services, this seems to be what they are talking about.
Any further information about how "house church" is defined would be greatly appreciated.
I like a writer who can make his point with subtlety.
>> House Churches are tapping into an "organized religion" backlash that has left many people feeling abandoned by "traditional" religion. <<
Apparently not. 4 out of 5 House Church attendees also attend a regular-Church weekly service. It seems like what is really happening is a little extra strengthening on a smaller scale. Anyone know if "House Church" is anything more than simply Cursillo-, Renew-, Crysallis-, Emmaus-, or Alpha-style meetings?
These numbers make no sense.
If 70 million adults in the US have participated in "house church" religion, the term would be widespread and widely understood.
I wish all people seeking to know Jesus better and lead others to Him well. But hyping the popularity of this idea is not that helpful.
... I meant 19 percent, but given that only half of Americans belong to a church, 9 percent is probably closer to an accurate portion of Americans overall.
These stats strike me as sort of meaningless. They seemto be the equivalent of counting as Catholics any person who has ever attended Mass.
Interesting that all the reasons that have been given are negative. Let me give one that is positive:
Many people are being called to lead and cannot do so in their own church, so they begin a new one.
I see this all the time in my area and it is quite a positive thing.
And for those who think these house churches are just faith groups, many Christians attend two churches.
The article specifically states that it is not including small groups (cells within a church). So while I see your point, I would say that the author would differ in opinion.
This article is an inappropriate PR hype.
"Join the future or get left behind with the gray haired curmudgeons. Be there or be square."
The abandonment of some churches of Traditionalism isn't necessarily an abandonment of doctrine. Many communities are now void of Traditional churches entirely within a given denomination. Those who want to maintain Traditional worship are forced to drive long distances, or begin holding services in their own homes. This is becoming more common than you might think. You can thank the "Purpose Driven Church" for this phonomenon in my area.