House Churches Or Home Churches

It is clear in the 4 gospels that Jesus preached the word of God anywhere that he had the opportunity; on the mountains (Mt 5:1), on the sea (Mt 13:2), on the plain (Lk 6:17), in the synagogues (Lk 4:15), in homes (Mk 2:1-2) and in the temple (Jn 7:14). He spoke to individuals and multitudes. But where did they have fellowship? As it is also clear that he wasn’t accepted in their synagogues as we read of him being cast out (Lk 4:28-29) and his followers were also put out (Jn 9:22, 34). So while he preached there he didn’t have fellowship with them and those that he did have fellowship with were cast out also. The temple was much the same in that neither Jesus nor his teaching were accepted there by those in charge (Mk 11:27-33; Lk 19:47; Jn 8:59; Jn 10:23-33). In Acts we see the apostles and disciples continuing to preach the word wherever they could… up at the temple (Acts 3:1, 12-), in the synagogues (Acts 18:4-6; 19:8-9), in schools (Acts 19:9), by the river (Acts 16:13)… to name a few of the places. But like Jesus they were often cast out of the temple and the synagogues after a little while and even beaten and stoned – so not a place they had fellowship. They were like their Master.

But we see where they had a fellowship in Acts 1 and 2 when they were gathered together of one accord, praying and speaking to one another – in a home. God chose on the first day of the week, the day of Pentecost, when the disciples were gathered together in one accord in the upper room of a house to pour out his Spirit on them (Acts 2:1-4), giving them power from above to be witnesses for Christ. God in the pouring out of his Spirit was showing what he approved of – a home-based church gathered in one accord. The apostles did gather with some in the temple, but they were soon cast out and imprisoned by those that controlled the temple. So it was in a home that they had fellowship together. Naturally, a home speaks of a place of refuge from the world – a place of peace, love, renewal, and safety. All a picture of the home church.

What Does Apostle Pauls Say in his Letters?

In the letters, we read of churches meeting in different homes. Writing of Priscilla and Aquila, Paul wrote of the church that is in their house (Ro 16:5) – a house-based church. Later when this couple was at Ephesus and Paul was writing to the Corinthians, ‘… the church in their house, send you hearty greetings…’ (1 Cor 16:19). Col 4:15 refers to the ‘Nympha and the church in her house.’ When writing to Philemon 1:2, Paul refers to ‘the church in your house.’  So there are a number of examples in the Bible of home based churches.  In fact, we never read of any other kind in the New Testament.

Some might think that it was just in rich peoples’ homes with very large rooms, but history records that most rich people of that day would have only had a room big enough for 40 to 45 people at the maximum. So the churches of the New Testament time gathered in ‘house churches,’ not in buildings built specifically for religious purposes.  It saves a lot of financial burden on people and allows efforts to be directed towards people instead of buildings.  It also makes for a much more intimate setting, so that people aren’t just a number in a crowd.

The purpose of this is to provide information about a non-denominational network of home-based churches that can be found in nearly every country of the world. We are imperfect people trying hard to fulfil the plan that God has laid out for each one of us.  We do our best to follow the teachings of the Bible at home, work and in the place of worship. The format and structure are Bible based and very similar to what we read about the early church in Acts and I Corinthians (Acts 1:13 and I Cor 16:19.) Each week we meet in homes for fellowship and worship on Sunday mornings and Bible studies on Wednesday nights. From time to time, we also have larger Gospel services where multiple home-based churches meet together. These meetings serve to strengthen the faith of the believers, and also, help to explain our beliefs to those who are being introduced to our faith for the first time.