Today, churches own over $230 billion worth of real estate. Overhead including building mortgages and maintenance, and staff salaries eat up 50-80% of the approximately 60 billion tithed to churches annually.* While we don’t believe that buildings and staff salaries are wrong, we’d like to keep our overhead expenses small so we can use that money to fund missionaries and help people in our communities. What if we can carry grocery store gift cards to help those struggling as led by the Spirit? What if we can help people pay medical bills or repair something in their homes or their cars? From experience we know taking care of physical needs also lets us introduce them to the One who heals their spiritual needs.
* Viola, Frank. Pagan Christianity?: Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices (pp. 41-42). Tyndale Momentum. Kindle Edition.
A family is how the church is usually described in the Bible (Galatians 6:10; Romans 8:29; Ephesians 2:19; and 1 Timothy 3:15 just to name a few). A family does life together, not just meeting for an hour on a Sunday. They have meals together, talk about life issues together, practice their spiritual gifts, and pray together. We’ve found that small home groups are the greenhouses of Christians. They learn to hear from God, live for Him, and how to respond to life by learning from others in their group. They know they have a group of people at their backs praying for them and believing in them. At home we can eat together, talk about how our weeks went, checking in with each person to know how they are really doing. You can’t hide in a small group the same way you can dart in and out of a large church without being noticed.
Instead of a sermon, everyone can discuss the Scriptures or topics together. A more interactive approach makes the lessons learned stick. People are more comfortable asking questions, learning to hear God’s voice, and practice the gifts of the Spirit in the informal setting of a home versus a formal church setting.
Once a house church gets too large, it can split off. Instead of a big budget needed, house churches have minimal overhead and can be started when necessary by people who were part of the original house church. We envision that all the house churches in a region will get together regularly and work together to bless our communities.
While we have chosen a house church model for our ministry, we do not believe that it is the only right model. There is room in the Body of Christ for all different ways of doing church.