I read this article by Jim Elliff, “Why Do We Meet in Homes?”, and my heart was moved. One of the central components to discipleship is community (Laan). And I often wonder how community can be achieved in a mega-church.
Truly living in community, what we would call today the Home Church, is biblical. Jim explains that “Both the New Testament and the annals of church history inform us that the earliest Christians felt no need to construct special buildings for their gatherings.” And he gives ample scriptural basis.
My wife and I belong to a smallish but growing church (Richwoods Christian Church) that is looking to expand. We love our church body and would not have it any other way at this point in time. However, one of the ministries that make it a community despite its size is the small group or life group ministry. Without this ministry that meets in homes (Acts 2:46, 5:42, 12:12) I don’t think a larger congregation could truly achieve biblical community.
In fact, I would suggest that mega-church sizes without any form of community building and living ministry could be a major cause of the lukewarm apathy in the American church today (Revelation 3:15-17). How easy is it to come to church on Sunday and feel good about our faith, leave an extra offering to support the social mission of the day, and go home to our worldly lives? There is no community to hold us accountable to actually living out our faith and proclaiming Jesus Christ with every breath.
And I’m not “bashing” big churches. The same could be said for television, radio, and internet ministries (like this one!) that don’t incorporate true community. And there are big churches that do have ministries like small groups to see that community is being developed and lived out in its members’ lives.
So, to answer my own question, no I don’t think church size matters, so long as there is some form of community building ministry. I’ve never been a member of a mega-church so I wouldn’t know what it is like, but I know I love my small group and consider them an extension of my family, and I can image that a home church would feel the same way.
If you are not actively engaged in a small group, whether it is a specific small group ministry, home church, or just an informal group of fellow believers, let me encourage you to please get engaged today! The community of believers is the temple of God today, be one of the stones in God’s temple!
“Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,” (Acts 2:46)
“Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16)
“As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:4-5)
Donahue, Bill. “Leading Life-Changing Small Groups”. Willow Creek Association. 1994.
Elliff, Jim and Daryl Wingerd. “Why Do We Meet in Homes?”. Christian Worldview Network. Posted: February 19, 2007
Laan, Ray Vander. “Faith Lessons: in the dust of the rabbi, becoming a disciple”. Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530. 2006
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does church size matter, I love the small group ministry
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The community of believers is the temple of God today, be one of the stones in God’s temple
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