Nominal Christianity is harbored as it becomes easy to get lost in the crowd. One known ancient home that hosted a church was the Lullingstone Villa in Kent, England (built during the Roman occupation). 9. As already seen, Scripture indicates the early church met in the homes of its wealthier members. It is not surprising then to see women taking leadership roles in house churches. Church discipline takes on genuine significance. Some couples who leave a small church upon having children will return after their children are grown. Second, continue doing things to bring in new singles under 35. Proof 3. Early churches meeting in Roman villas typically consisted of scores of people, perhaps over a hundred, but not hundreds and certainly not thousands. Acts 16:40, 20:20, Romans 16:3-5a, 16:23, 1 Corinthians 16:19, Colossians 4:15, Philemon 1-2b, James 2:3. When one pastor of a church composed of home-school families was asked if his church had a youth pastor, he replied it had not one but twenty youth pastors—each family’s father. Rather than growing a single church bigger and bigger, consider sending off clusters of people to start new small churches. Large crowds are great for special praise concerts, seminars or evangelism, but the weekly church gathering is to be about something more—mutual edification, accountability, encouraging one another, the fellowship of the Holy Meal, strengthening relationships, building consensus, etc. The Revd Peter Anthony, Vicar of St Benet’s, Kentish Town in London has recorded a half-hour talk on why what we’re doing now is not a copying of the house churches of the patristic era.. View it here on You Tube.I strongly recommend this video. Small churches align very much in size with apostolic churches that met in Roman villas. There are no evidences of larger places of meeting before 300.” Again quoting Snyder, “there is no literary evidence nor archaeological indication that any such home was converted into an extant church building. “Space Calculator for Banquet & Meeting Rooms”, BanquetTablesPro.com, accessed October 04, 2016. With all the problems Paul had to deal with among the Corinthians, it would seem that it ought to have taken a lot more people to get into that much trouble! Hence, a successful small church leader is one who is faithful to “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” It does not matter if your church never gets larger as long as one is faithful in God’s household. Having too many people in attendance can serve to defeat the purposes for holding a church meeting in the first place.         The early church continued this practice of home meetings for hundreds of years after the New Testament was completed. It was sporadic and did not necessarily affect all the churches at the same time. J. D. Douglas, ed. Disciple making is more personal and natural. The pastors become inaccessible. Registration: Pastors' Workshop on Growth Strategies of the Ancient Church, New Testament Church Dynamics: Leader's Guide to Church Growth, Église-maison: simple, stratégique, biblique (French book), • Pastoring Strategy >>To Lead Like Jesus, • Covenant, Dispensational & New Covenant Theology Compared. Roman villas featured large areas in which the church could gather, such as the atrium. It is not a cure-all panacea for the many ills in the church today; however it is the start of a conversation that may—with God’s help—lead to much-needed reform.”. Posted Sep 10, 2020. Jim Henry, pastor of First Baptist Church of Orlando estimated, “Our two church plants are going to cost us about $2,450,000 over a three-year period.” In light of these staggering figures, as your small church starts new small churches, be creative in finding places to meet that are cost efficient. 2. According to Yale University archaeologists, “The first Christian congregations worshiped in private houses, meeting at the homes of wealthier members on a rotating basis . Read More Ute E. Eisen, Women Officeholders in Early Christianity: Epigraphical and Literary Studies (Liturgical Press, 2000) Roger Gryson, The Ministry of Women in the Early Church … After suffering several national defeats by the Assyrians in 722 BCE and the Babylonians in 587 BCE, their prophets claimed that Go… Graydon Snyder of Chicago Theological Seminary observed that “the New Testament Church began as a small group house church (Col. 4:15), and it remained so until the middle or end of the third century.         According to W.H. 12:26). The many “one another” exhortations of Scripture can be more realistically lived out. Participatory Worship: Early church meetings were clearly participatory. The others would be relegated to the atrium, a room that was open to the elements from above and where they would be seated on the floor. What does that mean for us? Reformed scholar William Hendriksen said, “since in the first and second centuries church buildings in the sense in which we think of them today were not yet in existence, families would hold services in their own homes.”, According to Anglican priest and evangelist David Watson, “For the first two centuries, the church met in small groups in the homes of its members, apart from special gatherings in public lecture halls or market places, where people could come together in much larger numbers. A raised area was added at the front (for a podium?). 2 Timothy 4:2. The argument that the early church was forced to meet within homes because of persecution will not stand for the following reasons: (1) Persecution of Christians was not as intense and widespread as is commonly assumed. W.H. 5. Don’t rule out the possibility of meeting in someone’s home—under the right circumstances it can still be a viable option (see our, ow many people were involved in an early house church? A helpful resource is Becoming a Level Five Multiplying Church Field Guide by Wilson & Ferguson (Exponential Resources, 2015). Jesus went from 5000 down to 12 in one sermon. How did New Testament churches grow numerically yet still meet in private homes? 2500 N. Tyler St., Little Rock, AR 72207 In Social Aspects of Early Christianity (1977), A. J. Malherbe observed that up until that time “no major work has been devoted to the New Testament house church”. Scripture indicates that the early church met in the private homes of its more affluent members. Building consensus of the whole congregation was important in decision making. . What advantages for growth and reproduction might house churches have over fellowships that have to build church houses? Some of the distinct practices of those early small churches are worth considering: 1. Profit        Smaller settings foster the intimacy, unity, love and accountability that characterized the early church. We desperately need new settings and structures for watching over one another in love.” Members of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, gather in the front yard of a couple from the congregation for Sunday worship. Rather than growing a single church bigger and bigger, consider sending off clusters of people to start new small churches. Don’t rule out the possibility of meeting in someone’s home—under the right circumstances it can still be a viable option (see our book for more about modern house churches). . This would seat between 60 and 80 people. Was Jesus’ ministry a failure? The Holy Meal: The Lord’s Supper was originally celebrated weekly as a full, fellowship meal. It is a design axiom that form follows function. 18:15-17; 1 Cor. So, in 1 Corinthians 16:19, “The churches of Asia send you greetings. For all their scandalous behavior, we are grateful to have Paul’s response to the Corinthians. As always, we invite trouble, as always, we are to! 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