Even more, they stressed that their church is not meant to be an indictment of other churches. Though they didn't find their place in more traditional settings, they fully recognize that others do. "The Bible and the world around us confirm that God loves diversity," one woman stated. "Diverse worship is not only a byproduct, but also a great strength of the global church."
Intentionality and commitment are important for both house churches and small groups to be gatherings where life change and spiritual growth happen. The difference with this group is that they have chosen their weekly home meetings as their primary faith gathering. In many ways, that commitment ups the ante. They know they can't rely on someone else to feed them, to answer all their questions, or tell them what to do. Rather, they are leading each other. They are committed to the group as the group commits to them. There is shared ownership and responsibility, and that encourages them to continue asking questions, working out their faith, and growing in their relationships.
It makes me wonder how our small-group members could benefit if they had a similar commitment to their small groups. What might they learn on their own if they couldn't depend on a video teaching at each meeting? How might their Bible reading develop if they didn't have a study written by a Bible teacher to guide them? How might group members use their gifts in fresh ways if they had no set meeting schedule to follow? How might relationships deepen when group members commit to sticking together through thick and thin?
While some may balk at the idea of forming house churches, this group is onto something with their intentionality, commitment, and shared ownership. Regardless what you think of house churches, it seems our small groups could benefit from these three values.
—Amy Jackson is managing editor of SmallGroups.com. The members of the house church interviewed in this article have asked to remain anonymous.