Church was different when I was a kid. Everything seemed to happen within the church building.
Back then, it wasn’t unusual to be at the church serving and fellowshipping a few nights per week. There seemed to be an expectation placed on my parents to attend all church functions. I remember my Dad especially not being too excited about carting three boys out to church every other day.
But what would people think? What would the pastor say?
All of sudden, the early 90’s came around and culture changed on us. Someone started asking the question, “Why are we doing all of this and why does it all have to happen at the church?” The answers to these questions consistently seemed to echo Fiddler On The Roof, “Tradition!“
Soon enough, people just started staying home.
Little by little, through the nineties and the new millennium, we have seen churches of every denomination and fellowship cancel their evening services, cancel prayer meetings, cancel weekly Bible studies, etc. Everyone seemed be all churched-out of church!
Nevertheless, you can’t cancel the Holy Spirit!
Low and behold, the hunger for the God’s Word and desire for fellowship remained in the Believer. Yet, no longer in the institutionalised setting of the church building. Bible studies, prayer meetings and service events were still happening, but now in people’s homes and neighbourhoods.
Theologians were stunned at this movement back to this early church practice. Perhaps your pastor or an elder has asked the question: “Why would people choose to meet in homes, when the church building is here and empty all week long?“
Well, the answers came quickly. Studies started surfacing within top-Christian publications like Christianity Today and Outreach Magazine. These studies showed that this shift back to home-based church wasn’t just driven by personal preference or comfort. It was also driven by the Believer’s desire to use their gifts on home-turf.
That’s right; moving spiritual gifts from the pews and into their own communities!
Through this shift, the church building has become a place we drive to in order to be fed on Sunday mornings. However, foyer chit-chat is not an accurate depiction of authentic relationships. Alternately, when meeting in a home, there is a warmth and openness; furthermore, a sense of reality to people’s lives, struggles and how they live out their faith.
There’s a lot of buzz words for this movement that has been growing in popularity over the past 20 years. Some call it small groups, life groups, community groups, etc. The name doesn’t really matter; nor does the name have any greater or worse effect.
Regardless of what you choose to call your home-based fellowship or service; it’s beneficial for you, your family, your church and for the Kingdom as a whole. If you’ve never been in one, perhaps it’s time you gave it a try.
How has home-based ministry positively impacted your church or community?