Recently, National Public Radio featured simple/house church ideas. “All Things Considered” aired House Churches Swap Steeples For Sofas and Say Thay’ve Never Been Closer. You can listen to the feature and read a related article here. I am grateful for their coverage and am not surprised that it appeared on the show since more people are moving to simpler forms of church life. Overall, I thought the story was done well, but like anything squeezed into 3:30, much was left out. Here are a few thoughts I had after listening to the story:
* The reporter states that “everyone just talks about what’s been weighing on them.” While I’m uncertain if those in the community would describe themselves that way, I encourage people to each bring a message that has been “weighing on them” as they have prayed for their church family and studied the word throughout the week. The church, I believe, is at its best when we come together to one another each other and not simply talk about our burdens.
* Simple church does afford a great deal of intimacy, which the article highlights. While this certainly will be attractive to many in our culture, we must not pursue simple church for this reason alone. Because simple church is simple to start, we must always be seeking to help others enjoy Christian community. This necessitates multiplication (which the article did mention). We must enjoy the closeness and intimacy of simple church so much that we continually long for others to experience it as well–even if that means that in the process we miss out on that intimacy to some degree. I know several people who could be enjoying the benefits of a close-knit simple church right now, but are investing in others and patiently waiting on the Lord to bring the intimacy talked about in the article to their infant simple church community. It’s not always an either/or proposition, but sometimes it can be and I pray we are willing to release the “close knit” group, so we may see new close-knit churches birthed.
* While many people do engage in house church out of a reaction to past traditional church experiences, we cannot remain reactionary. We must be about following Jesus, making disciples, and seeing the church multiply simply and organically as a response to the Spirit’s leading in our life–not a reaction to traditional church. Our simple/house churches can thrive as we focus on who we are in Christ and what we are called to do in His Kingdom.