Thursday, April 19, 2007

My Final Word on the House Church

I have several friends who house church and I know would love to see me leave the man-made, "non-New Testament" institution called the local church. They figure, as I do, that my personality would better fit into the more intimate, freestyle setting of a house church. They're right--it would. I love authenticity, tend to rebel against tradition, and am a sucker for letting down one's hair and getting real.

But I'm still stuck behind the four walls, putting up with nonsense like membership, offering plates, annual business meetings, heirarchy, nylon stockings, the telling clock on the back wall, dirty politics, endless pleas for giving more of my time, the programs and agendas...on and on it goes. And let's not forget those dear individuals Christ has placed in the Body to constantly test and try our character. Honestly sometimes House Church looks real good. But there's just one problem. I'm in love.

No, not with one of the elders--I'm in love with the Body of Christ. I can't get enough of it. For some reason, every single time I come away from a church meeting I feel pumped, charged, and ready to go face my world again. Just from being with them. Granted, it's not the ideal setting condusive to the "koinonia" house churchers celebrate. There's a lot I'd like to change. But somehow just being present and looking out of the corner of my eye at people so different from me sincerely worshipping the same God is enough to keep me coming back. It energizes me. I'm just not ready to trade that in for the luxury of sitting in a cozy living room surrounded by like-minded people, feeling smug because we do church right. I left a "group think" long ago. I'll never go back.

I guess I see my relationship with the local church as being kind of like a healthy marriage. There will always be the little things (and big things) that drive me crazy. But the fact of the matter is, I'm in it for love. For better or for worse. In sickness and in health. The organized church of today is sick in a lot of ways. I happen to believe that I have something to offer. If Jesus could go to the synagogue (talk about man-made tradition!) day after day because He knew He had something to offer, I figure I should follow His example. Funny--He never house churched. He must have decided, as I have, "if you can't fight 'em, join 'em."
Don't badger me with quibbles about the greek meaning of "ekklesia." I'm too busy getting myself ready for Sunday morning. There are lots of needy people there, and someone just may need a word of encouragement.


Minda said...

This is great info to know.

johnpaul said...

The Dog House Church

At least people who still attend traditional churches have options when they (eventually) get kicked out. They can either go to another traditional church, or they can suck it up and go to a house church.

However, people who attend house churches have no such options. If you get kicked out of your own house, the only remaining option is the dog house.

As a husband, I have to say that I have been there, and can attest that the closeness and love is much more intense and unconditional (did I say close) than either of the above choices. However, one problem that persists even in this venue is the perverbial wagging of the tongue.