Why do individuals leave the institutional church to join smaller house churches? What brings them to seek the face-to-face community of a Koinos church? Usually they do so in a desire to experience closer fellowship with other believers. Some have left the large megachurch or the urban downtown church; others have left the average neighborhood church. But one of the main reasons they leave is because they are looking for greater spiritual intimacy with others.
The following seven characteristics of a house church describe some of the spiritual dynamics that make a house church appealing to disenfranchised church members, or to those who have never been in a church. This is not to say that all house churches meet these descriptions. On the contrary, there are many streams of the house-church movement—some charismatic, some focused on home school and home birth, some following a specific teacher, and some simply adrift doctrinally and spiritually. However, when we describe house churches, we are describing what we see as a biblically faithful model of such.
1. House Churches Are Communities of Convictions
When people become a part of a Christian community, they usually affirm their faith through an "interacted identity" with the faith-experience of the house-church community. They learn what the others in the group believe and experience the values and attitudes of others. But most important, they open themselves to life-changing situations that others have experienced. They become "one" with the house-church community—often at a greater level than that which occurs in larger facility-based churches.
Most house churches are not held together by written principles, and most do not have detailed ...