My House or Yours

I have been a Christian for about 13 years. Just about every Sunday, I wake up, get in the car, drive to a building, to then sit in a seat, sing, tithe, and listen to a man give a sermon.

The next Sunday, repeat.

Is that church though? Is the typical Sunday morning experience the church that Jesus and His disciples envisioned for Christians?

I believe the model of the church laid out in the book of Acts is the model that God desires for us. I believe God is asking us “My House or yours? Are you wanting My design for the church or man’s design for the church?”

The house church model or organic church model, very closely resembles the Acts church and rivals the standard Sunday morning model in many way:

1. Sunday morning church is a spectator sport where you sit and watch “special” people do “special” things.House church on the other hand, is a participatory sport wherein everyone contributes, making each person important or “special.” Just as Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 12:14 “For the body does not consist of one member but of many.” Also in verse 19-20 “If all were a single member,where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.”

2. Typical church does not encourage relationship or fellowship. You enter a building, sit in a seat, and maybe have a few minutes before service and after service to connect with people. House churches are designed with relationship in mind. They incorporate fellowship into every gathering, not a few minutes here and there.

3. Some people may not like this but within a house church it is impossible to remain nameless or anonymous. My husband and I started chatting with a couple at a breakfast spot one Sunday morning. Turned out we attended the same church at the time, which was a large 7,000 person church. The wife said “Don’t you just love a church that big? You can just slip in and slip out. No one even notices if you are there or not one Sunday.” My heart fell heavy. Church is not anonymity. Church is intimacy and accountability.

4. Sunday morning church services often make you choose. For instance, would you like to attend the “traditional service at 8:00 a.m.,” the “contemporary service at 10:00 a.m.,” or the “young singles service at 6:00 p.m.,” ? I believe that the church should consist of everyone, young and old, new in the faith and the mature in the faith. House churches encourage all walks of life to be engaged in church life together. That includes singles, marrieds, families, widows, and everything in between.

5. The inclusion of all ages and walks of life within a house church coupled with the house church structure also encourages real discipleship. My husband and I are true believers in the call to disciple others just as Jesus did with His twelve. I believe nothing helps further the growth and maturity of believers like discipleship. House churches help foster discipleship thus fostering qualitative and quantitative growth.

6. House churches are by design viral,  quickly expandable, and easy to reproduce. Traditional churches are built from the ground up and then move vertically, structured with a hierarchy and leaders. House churches expand outward and move horizontally, where by every person is both participating and responsible for the outcome. This difference in direction allows for house churches to quickly and effectively multiply and fosters a sense of ownership among church members.

7. The benefit of quick multiplication is a rather obvious one: More people in a church home, faster. However there is also the added benefit of more rapidly and intentionally affecting a neighborhood or community. Since house churches can spread so quickly they can penetrate an entire neighborhood or community for Christ.

8. And what do you have when an entire community is introduced to a house church movement? True evangelism. (This concept gets me charged up). Essentially house churches say, “Don’t bring people to church…we will bring church to the people.” That I believe is God’s heart.

9. Finally, when you combine these ideas: intimacy, participation, accountability, fellowship, community, and evangelism, you are literally living life together as God called us to do so. That is the image that comes to my mind when I think of how church should be…living life together, in the good, the bad, and the ugly. Sharing in our joys, tribulations, and victories. A real family. A true representation of Christ. The blameless and spotless bride.

There is much more to say on the subject of house churches. I could go on and on. I presently attend a traditional Sunday church service, through which I am blessed, encouraged, and admonished. However, I know that the Lord is calling myself and my family to something different. I crave the closeness, community, and vitality that a house church can offer. I long to feel significant, knowing that I, along with every other person, is designed to participate within the body. I am ready for something more than a 2 hour Sunday service. I am ready for God’s House…are you?

Does the house church movement sound appealing or unappealing to you? What do you like about traditional church service? What do you dislike?

The Mediocre Evangelist

The Mediocre Evangelist

This post is from the archives and is one of my favorites.

Evangelism is one of those Christian words we throw around so easily and casually. I personally don’t like the word. “Go evangelize!” It kinda freaks me out. I envision myself standing on a street corner wearing a sandwich board while holding a megaphone shouting, “Sinner!” at the top of my lungs. Not a pretty picture. Not a loving picture. Not a picture I’d ever like to see.

But somewhere between street corner evangelism and Christ’s command to go out and make disciples, we have lost the true meaning of evangelism. We have replaced what should be sharing the Good News with a somewhat sad and pathetic alternative. Instead of actually sharing the Gospel, we do something else and hope that it is enough.

What is it we do instead of actually evangelizing?

Continue reading The Mediocre Evangelist

Sunday–The Most Segregated Day of the Week

I had the privilege of meeting pastor, and now author, Scott Williams, at last year’s Catalyst Conference. I can say, with not a shred of mockery, that he might just be the coolest guy on the Internet.

A week or so ago, I broke open the race can here on Modern Reject and personally shared with you all of my feelings as a “mixed” race Christian. I have long struggled with the lack of diversity within the Church and I am not alone. Scott Williams has just published a compelling and stirring book, “Church Diversity-Sunday The Most Segregated Day of the Week.

I was lucky enough to get my hands on an early copy. In it, Williams strategically explains how and why, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s declaration that Sunday is indeed the most segregated day of the week rings true, even today.

I wanted to share a video with you that emotionally touches on this topic
. (It is only 1:35 long, too. Bonus.) Then, I’d like to open up the conversation.

Here are some questions to consider:

  • How do you feel after watching this video? Hopeful? Angry? Frustrated? Indifferent?
  • Why do you think the American Church has continued to remain segregated?
  • Have you ever struggled with the lack of diversity within the Church? If so, how and why?
  • Have you ever had the blessing of being in a racially, economically, and/or socially diverse church community? If so, how did that experience affect you?
  • How do you think theChurch as a whole can combat and conquer the racial divides so prevalent in our churches?

I am beyond excited to start this dialogue with all of you. This is a conversation that needs to be had by every believer. As Scott Williams explains in one of his compelling videos, the church is “not a white church or a black church. It is God’s church.”

P.S. For everyone that leaves a comment, you will be entered to win a free copy of Church Diversity-Sunday The Most Segregated Day of the Week. I’ll choose a winner at random on Friday. Good luck!

What is Discipleship?

What comes to mind when you think of Jesus Christ’s core ministry? Do you picture Him healing the sick and raising the dead? Do you imagine Him traveling form town to town preaching? Or standing on the Mount and proclaiming what would become the beatitudes?

The ministry of Jesus certainly included all of these things. However, I would argue that His core ministry–the example He left us with to follow–was something even more amazing. Sadly, it’s also something many of us simply disregard and fail to practice…

Continue reading What is Discipleship?

Top 10 Christian Phrases I Never Want to Hear Again

Some of you may remember the phrases I never want to hear again, like “git ‘er done” and “I’m just sayin’.” This time, I’m picking on Christians (since I am one and all).

I’m just gonna say it–Christians say some stupid things. We think we are being spiritual, Godly, helpful, wise, encouraging, but really we are sticking our big stinky feet in our big open mouth.

There are quite a few phrases within the Church that irk me. I’m guessing you feel the same. Here are the Top 10 Christians phrases I never want to hear again…starting with… Continue reading Top 10 Christian Phrases I Never Want to Hear Again

A Dream for the Church

I read this quote from Frank Viola, an author, speaker and church planter, and was left feeling inspired to do the same. Here is his dream for the church, followed by my own:

“I have a dream that Jesus Christ will one day be head of His Church again, not in pious rhetoric, but in reality.

I have a dream that one day the Church of Jesus Christ will rise up to her God-given calling and live out the true meaning of her identity–which is, the very heartthrob of God Almighty–the fiance of the King of all Kings.

I have a dream that groups of Christians everywhere will begin to flesh out the New Testament reality that the Church is a living organism and not an institutional organization.”

Frank Viola

Here are my dreams for the church…then please share yours…

Continue reading A Dream for the Church

If God Had a Tagline…?

My husband is a marketing guy. Some would even say a marketing genius. I’d agree. Since being married, he has opened my eyes to all that is marketing, from the good, to the bad, and the ugly.

Once, a commercial for a new car or a deluxe meal deal would  gloss over me, as I sat dazed in an advertising overload induced stupor, now I actually pay attention.

“Ooh, that’s bad,” I’ll catch myself saying. Or perhaps an ad will flash upon the screen that is so slick, so streamlined, and so sophisticated that I will be legitimately impressed by a group of random advertisers somewhere.

Really, it’s all in the tagline though, isn’t it? That is what we remember. Some of the greatest taglines in history have practically sold a product themselves. Words can mean so much and have so much impact.

What about one of the greatest taglines in history? Can this simple little phrase meant to sell shoes speak into our spiritual lives? You know the one I’m talking about? Continue reading If God Had a Tagline…?

Should Christians Be Rich?

Should Christians Be Rich?

The issue of Christians and money gets a lot of people’s pantaloons all in a bunch. We think of  negative stereotypes: Television evangelists trying to swindle widows, prosperity preachers selling you a shinier, prettier Gospel, rich Christians who spend generously… on themselves, that is.

On the flip side, some people think believers are called to a humble, pious, and decidedly broke life. While others see no harm in rollin’ in dough, including driving a fancy car or owning a shamelessly large house. They say you can, of course, still love Jesus and be wealthy.

Alright, so Christians can be rich. I know a few (I covet their shiny SUVs and their expensive looking handbags). But should Christians be rich? Are you already forming your response? People have visceral reactions regarding the topic of money, including anger, guilt, or shame.  Here’s what I think about Christians and money…

Continue reading Should Christians Be Rich?

Biblical Illiteracy

I would venture to say that more Christians have the lyrics to Beyonce’s Single Ladies memorized than they do Bible verses. Okay, joking aside (and not counting John 3:16), how many verses does the average Christian have on permanent recall?

The Bible is still the best-selling book in the United States. Yet, statistics show that there is an epidemic of Biblical illiteracy among believers. Forget memorizing verses. Most Christians can’t even name the books of the Bible, let alone memorize entire passages.

We say we love God’s Word, but how can you love something you don’t actually know? And why are so many Christians illiterate when it comes to scripture? Continue reading Biblical Illiteracy

Spiritual Glamour

Spiritual Glamour

My husband loves movies, and I mean loooves. We watch a lot of movies. We talk about the cinematography, the direction, the acting, the writing. We theorize about which film will walk away with the Oscar for Best Picture.

We are suckers for summer blockbusters, critically-acclaimed, low-budget, and indie films alike. We rarely, however, take any time to discuss the ins and outs of the best makeup artist, or the dude who holds the boom mic. We know the actors names, sure, they are famous. We know the director, because he is an ar-tist, who has repertoire of distinguished films under his belt. Sadly, however, we pay very little attention to the hundreds, even thousands of people who do the rest necessary to actually make a movie.

Church life is a lot like the movies. Ever notice? Continue reading Spiritual Glamour