The answers to most questions about the practical matters of simple
churches vary from church to church, but below you will find
suggestions as well as links to further reading and exploration on
the topics people most frequently ask about.
What about children?
Groups will vary, but the key is to try to include the kids in as
much as possible. For example, it may be the kids who "drive" the
worship by choosing songs, taking part in testimony or sharing, and
helping when you are praying with someone.
When it comes to studying the Word, some groups provide activities
so that the kids can just play quietly alongside what is going on
with the adults. Others will have a specific activity planned for
the kids, and others will let them play elsewhere under the
supervision of an older kid. The possibilities are endless.
Remember that kids are not just a part of the church of the future,
but they are the church of right now too. They are allowed to be
kids. They have the same Holy Spirit in them as the adults -- not
somehow a lesser junior version.
” from the SimpleChurch Journal
What about finances?
Here is a helpful email we received from a leader of a network of
house churches in Killeen TX:
My name is Jim Mellon and we have a network in central TX called
the Association of Home Churches. We have incorporated and the only
way to open a bank account under a church name is to get a tax I.D.
#. Because of a long-term vision the Lord has given us, we decided
to incorporate. Eighty to ninetyauthority percent of all of our
giving goes to benevolence and missions both local and foreign. We
give to local missions such as the food care center, mission soup
kitchen, Hope Pregnancy Center and others. One of our goals as a
church is to model economically how a housechurch network
If you do not want to get a tax I.D. #, you could encourage your
church members to give directly to whoever the Lord leads. The
other alternative would be to partner with another non-profits that
would be willing to keep your records separate.
“The Big Bang (For Your Bucks) Theory” by Jim and Cathy Mellon
should the Church Pay: What about Pastors?
” by Neil Cole
What about doctrine and heresy?
The following excerpt from the newsletter of Maurice Smith and the
Parousia Network in Spokane deals very clearly with why most house
churches don't have "Statements of Faith" detailing doctrinal
“I recently received several e-mails asking about our "doctrinal
statement" in The Parousia Network. This made me stop and think
some more about doctrine and house church. Dr. Haddon Robinson once
told me that doctrinal statements tend to be "conflict documents,"
that is, they tend to get written as the result of a conflict and a
need to distinguish what one group believes as opposed to the other
group. I call them "shibboleth" documents (see Judges 12:1-6), "We
all say ‘shibboleth’ but they all say ‘sibboleth’". People in
search of doctrinal statements are often in search of a
"shibboleth" (or a "sibboleth"). If you want to know what I believe
theologically, get a copy of Wayne Grudem’s "Systematic Theology"
and read it. When you’re done, if you have any left-over questions,
let me know and we’ll talk about them.
Theology ("doctrine" or "dogma") is like the foundation of a house.
A good foundation doesn’t guarantee that what you build on it will
be good or will last; but a bad foundation almost guarantees future
problems with whatever you build upon it. Good theology doesn’t
guarantee a successful house church any more than a good foundation
guarantees a successful house. But bad theology jeopardizes
everything you and your house church seek to build on that
foundation. The success of your (or any) house church will be
determined by what you & I build on the good foundation we lay.
And most of what is built will be "non-theological" in any
Do you love one another, even when you sharply disagree with one
another? Do you bear one another’s burdens non-judgmentally? Do you
pray with and for one another? Do you equip and build one another
up through mutual ministry and the proper exercise of all the gifts
God has bestowed upon you? Do you meet one another’s needs
radically and financially? Do you feed the hungry, befriend the
stranger, visit the prisoner, prefer one another in honor and
practice the more than 30 "one another’s" in Scripture? These are
the building blocks of organic house church which we build upon the
proper foundation of right doctrine. Without them we are little
more than a bible study club, or a prophecy club, or a tongues
club, or a healing club, etc. But with them, we are the living
stones which God Himself is using to build a spiritual house that
the New Testament calls "the ekklesia of God".
Threat of Heresy in the Organic Church Movement
” by Neil
How big should our church be before it multiplies?
Most “experts” suggest that fifteen to twenty adults is the maximum
number for a house church. Although we have had them get to forty
or more, a group this large loses the sense of intimacy and makes
it nearly impossible for everyone to participate. Again you have to
seek the Lord for the answers for your particular situation, but in
general, when the numbers get so large that some people stop
participating, it is time to multiply. (excerpted from “The Rabbit
and The Elephant”)
” by Roger Thoman
How do we multiply our church?
The first church we started grew to more than fifty before we split
it down the middle into two groups. For a year after that, people
told us that the split felt like a divorce. Because of this, we no
longer multiply by dividing a church into two. From the start we
encourage those who find a person of peace to seek to start new
churches/groups within that person’s sphere of influence. If, in
spite of this, your numbers are reaching a maximum point, rather
than include a new family who wants to join in the existing church,
try to start a new church around them. Draw on one of the families
from the existing church to help. Then it becomes an exciting
church plant that the original group takes ownership of and will
support. And by doing things this way, you typically have the
advantage of moving into a new neighborhood, with a new set of
people getting involved. (excerpted from “The Rabbit and The
What about ceremonial events - weddings, baptisms and
We usually encourage couples to have a civil wedding in front of a
Justice of the Peace on a Friday to deal with the legal issues, and
then have anything that they and their house church want for the
real wedding that weekend. We have seen all sorts of fabulous
weddings from simple, in gardens, to full regalia in borrowed
church buildings. We encourage them that the marriage before God
within the church in the home is the time to consider themselves
married, but that the legal part needs to be done for a variety of
reasons, not least out of respect for the State and because the
piece of paper does help to bind a couple together.
Be creative! We have heard of baptisms in jacuzzis, bathtubs,
swimming pools, and lakes.
in the Church over Baptism
” by Neil Cole
by Roger Thoman
The way that people in different house churches handle the Lord's
Supper varies widely.
” by Steve Atkerson and Eric Svendson
here to return to "Getting Started."