I do believe, however, that the house church movement will become a dominant force in the Christian culture in the coming years. It is the house church movement that has sustained (by the grace of God) the disciples in China. It is the house church movement that sustained the saints of God in the former communist Soviet Union. It is the house church movement that is growing in Europe as people grow tired of the institutional church and are looking elsewhere for true faith. It will be the house churches in the United States that will see growth and souls saved as they remain steadfast in the Word of God.
Why will this be? For several reasons but let me just name a few.
1. Authentic Faith.
House churches offer a place for people to live out their faith with others. There is no hiding here. You can just show up at a traditional church and no one may even know you are there or even care in some cases. Not so with house churches. A "large" house church would be over 10 people so you can't hide. We will know your name. We know your life. We will both disciple and challenge you in your faith. This, I believe, was the model of Jesus and should be ours as well. True discipleship is not learning from a book or sitting in a class. True discipleship is taking the "one another" texts of the New Testament and seeking to obey them (there are 52 in the NT). This leads to authentic faith and not merely a show on the stage of many traditional churches.
2. No Money.
House churches need no money. There are no salaried pastors. No land to buy. No buildings to pay for. While house churches do sometimes take up money for missions or for hurting Christians, house churches have no budgets to meet, no bills to pay. I once read that 75% of money in the traditional churches goes toward salaries and buildings. None of that is found in house churches. If a disciple wants to give money to their church then so be it. The house church would then take the money and give it to help church planters (missionaries) or hurting disciples. This is the NT pattern.
Many people reject going to church because of the emphasis they perceive on money. With the false "health and wealth" churches and the so-called "prosperity" gospel, many are turned off to Christianity because of their false teachers. The house church movement doesn't want your money.
3. Can Move Around Quickly.
The house churches in China are said to move around quickly. They do this to avoid arrest. I have heard the same of the few house churches in North Korea. Because house churches are not locked down to a building, they don't need government approval to meet nor do they have to meet all the time in one place. House churches in China often will meet several times a week at different locations to accommodate the needs of the saints. They don't just meet on the Lord's Day.
Here in the United States, traditional churches are locked down in their buildings. They need people to generate money for their buildings to pay the bills. At times, the gospel can be watered down and pragmatism reigns as traditional pastors need people to keep coming to pay the bills. Further, traditional churches fall under the watchful eye of the government. As freedom falls in the West, traditional churches will suffer the most as people flee them.
The house church movement will thrive at this point with no buildings, no bills, no salaries, no paper trails, no 501C3.
4. Can Preach What They Want To.
Traditional churches will no doubt face sensor from the government. There may come a time where it is illegal to preach against popular sins (being viewed as discrimination). The government will monitor the traditional church (as they do in China). Traditional churches will have to comply or be gone.
House churches will continue to preach the gospel without hinderance. Why? Because what can they take from us but our lives (Philippians 1:21)? Jesus promised us persecution as His followers (Matthew 5:10-12). Jesus said that if we are His disciples, we will face persecution and hatred (John 15:18-20). But He told us to be encouraged for He has overcome the world (John 16:33). In the house churches, we will preach the gospel. We have no 501c3 you can take. We have no buildings you can cast us out of. We have no salaries that require that we go soft on the gospel for the sake of money. We have no need of this world to survive. We have the Word of God and the presence of the Holy Spirit so we will be fine.
For more information on the house church movement, please see:
House Church Central
New Testament Reformation Fellowship
Reimagining Church: Pursuing the Dream of Organic Christianity
This post was written by the Seeking Disciple. For his original post, go to: http://arminiantoday.wordpress.com/2014/10/21/the-house-church-movement-and-the-future-of-the-usa/