By Robert Stitt
“Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart.” – Acts 2:46
From the earliest times of Christendom, people have met in their homes to worship and share in Christian fellowship. A cultural shift from dwelling in towns and countrysides to cities and the establishment of organized religion led to the construction of churches, basilicas, and cathedrals.
Through the years, Christianity has seen churches grow, lose membership, be replaced by circuit riders and tent meetings, regrow and turn into megachurches with memberships unheard of ever before in history. The pendulum is swinging yet again, however. More and more Christians are leaving the traditional church building for the smaller, more intimate community of the home church.
In 2007, Felicity Dale and her husband, Tony, co-authored a book with George Barna titled “Small Is Big!: Unleashing the Big Impact of Intentionally Small Churches”. The book was originally titled “The Rabbit and the Elephant”. The book was based on the couple’s experiences pioneering a “home church” during their days in medical college and again, later, in London’s East End.
Dale believes that the home church may have started as a fad, but has grown well beyond fad status and is now a legitimate trend. Regardless of what status home churches hold, fad or trend, Dale is concerned that people will become interested for the wrong reasons.
“Another hazard we face is that of becoming fashionable, the latest phenomenon in church statistics, the trendy alternative to traditional church. There will always be people who hop onto the bandwagon because they want to be part of the latest thing, not because the Holy Spirit is leading them.”
Dale believes that whatever your church size, building, composition, or worship style, it needs to be a legitimate part of your DNA. Don’t chase a fad or follow a trend only to find out that you have abandoned who you really are as a Christian, a ministry, or a church.
Blogger Seth Godin writes that “A fad gives us momentary joy…we enjoy a fad because our peers are into it as well. A trend, on the other hand, satisfies a different human need. A trend gains power over time, because it’s not merely part of a moment, it’s a tool, a connector that will become more valuable as other people commit to engaging in it.
Dale wonders if the home church movement has gone from “fashionable fad to Holy Spirit-inspired trend”?