I would like to share with you a simple answer to this question from the good folks at House2House.com. House2House is a great site with lots of great resources for simple church folks and it also provides a national directory of simple chruches. You might enjoy reading the quote below directly from their website.
What do we mean by ‘simple church?’
Some call them house churches. Some call them organic churches. Some call them simple churches. We prefer to just call them churches. They are rapidly multiplying, simple communities of believers, meeting in homes, offices, campuses, wherever God is moving. This is the pattern common to many parts of the globe, and is now becoming more and more common in the U.S. as well.
Where two or more are gathered in His name, there is church.
Where “DNA” is present among people, there is church.
“D” stands for Divine Truth (loving God/Jesus)
“N” stands for Nurturing Relationships (loving one another deeply)
“A” stands for Apostolic Mission (being on Jesus’ mission to the world)
Buildings, programs, and professional clergy are not essential elements of a church.
By ‘simple church’, we mean a way of doing and being church that is so simple that any believer would respond by saying, “I could do that!”
By ‘simple church’, we mean the kind of church that is described in the New Testament. Not constrained by structure but by the needs of the extended family, and a desire to extend the Kingdom of God.
By ‘simple church’, we mean a church that listens to God, follows His leading and obeys His commands.
By ‘simple church’, we mean spiritual parents raising spiritual sons and daughters to establish their own families.
House Church is a term sometimes used in the way we use the term Simple Church. It can be confusing in that:
A Simple Church may or may not meet in a house (it can meet anywhere).
Church Planting Movements
Church Planting Movements occur when simple churches multiply rapidly.
This is a Very Old “New” Idea
Churches in the New Testament were most often small gatherings that met in homes.
“Greet Priscilla & Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus. They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful for them. Greet also the church that meets at their house.” Romans 16:3-4
“But when the Jews opposed Paul and became abusive, he shook out his clothes in protest and said to them, ‘Your blood be on your own heads! I am clear of my responsibility. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.’ Then Paul left the synagogue and went next door to the house of Titius Justus, a worshiper of God.” Acts 18:6-7
Does ‘simple’ mean lower quality?
Absolutely not! While no structure or format can guarantee quality, we believe that the small, participatory, family-like environment of a simple church is ideally suited to the goal of helping people become passionate disciples of Jesus Christ.