According to the Barna Group, nine-percent of American adults are involved in some kind of "house church," i.e. a religious group that meets in someone's home.
Nine-percent -- that's up from one-percent just a few years ago!
Now I suspect that most of those people are also part of a large, traditional church; it's not a case of "either/or" in other words, but "both/and." I'd also suspect that many of those "house churches" are really an extension of those larger churches and their ministries. (Think "Bible study group" or even "prayer meeting.")
Still, if Barna is right, we're witnessing an explosion of interest in small groups . . . and if this continues, we may need to rethink our role as pastors.
I mean, here we have something that costs nothing to set up (and if you've looked at the cost of building a new church on the West Coast, then you know that house churches have a major selling point right there!) Then too, house churches are big on authenticity and relationships -- two factors that have "post-modern" written all over them.
But you don't need a $75,000/year professional to run a house church (or even a whole bunch of house churches). So do we wish them well (and stay out of their way) -- or is there something constructive we can do here?
(And while I'm at it -- I've yet to hear a convincing explanation of just how children fit into the house church movement. Any first-hand testimonies out there, people?)
Click on the title of this post for the article in The Seattle Times.