Principles of Simple Church
Payne identifies four types of people who are typically involved in house churches. I think looking at these categories of people can be very informative and provoke some excellent conversations about our own simple/house churches.
Some call them house churches. Some call them organic churches. Some call them simple churches. We prefer to just call them churches. They are rapidly multiplying, simple communities of believers, meeting in homes, offices, campuses, wherever God is moving. This is the pattern common to many parts of the globe, and is now becoming more and more common in the U.S. as well.
Where are two or more are gathered in His name, there is church.
Where "DNA" is present among people, there is church.
"D" stands for Divine Truth (loving God/Jesus)
"N" stands for Nurturing Relationships (loving one another deeply)
"A" stands for Apostolic Mission (being on Jesus' mission to the world)
Scripture tells us that on the day of Pentecost three thousand people were added to the church. As they began to learn what it meant to be God’s people, some things about their lives changed, while other things remained the same. They continued to eat normal food; but the context of those meals changed:
And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts… (Acts 2:46 )
Every day, or at least regularly, the believers met together in their homes to share their food with other people. Family meals were very normal. The meal itself had not changed. But, the family was now completely different.
Of course, this relationship change had be described earlier by Jesus. His disciples were simply following his lead:
“You want to know what I’ve learned this weekend?” the man said as he drove me to a Midwest airport early one morning. We’d just spent an incredible weekend together with a house church he’d helped foster and another group of believers who joined us when they heard I was in town. The latter were deeply conflicted about their current involvement with a congregation that sounded abusive. “I’ve been selling the wrong thing!” he continued.
“What’s that?” I asked oblivious to what we were talking about.
“I’ve been selling house church,” he said shaking his head with a sigh, “instead of Jesus.” Obviously he wasn’t talking about ‘selling’ anything, but I love his discovery. Almost everywhere I go people are preoccupied with finding the right way to do church. It seems our hunger for church outstrips our hunger for Jesus.
It all began in a boat on a lake with a few fishing poles. It was there, surrounded by the lazy water, my dad and I would have a key conversation that would change the trajectory of my life. My dad was giving me a simple update on his life and shared that his church was hiring a discipleship pastor.
After I pushed past my internal dialog about how hiring a pastor for discipleship betrayed that the church didn’t see everything they did as discipleship, I heard my father say he was excited to learn how to make disciples—finally.
I was thankful for my father’s surge of energy toward Jesus’ commission but also a bit troubled. My dad didn’t seem to realize he raised me in a home where daily life was engaged as intentional ministry. He owned several small businesses and believed his business was meant to be a blessing to people and the city we lived in. As a result, we joined our parents in countless acts of kindness, generosity, and hospitality.
It was not uncommon for one of us four boys to give up our room for a season to make room for a young man getting a fresh start, a broken husband whose marriage was on the rocks, or a runaway teen who needed some stability. My dad would love and mentor these men during the day at one of his businesses while my mom would nurture and care for them like one of her own.
It is hard to believe that our website has been in existence for four years. During that time we have posted almost two hundred different articles. More importantly, through the website, we have been able to get to know many of you personally and we have been able to help one another in our walk with God and in the ministry that He has called us to. We are particularly amazed and blessed by the number of people across the Russian-speaking world that have contacted us and let us know that the principles discussed on this website are close to their heart and are a reality in their ministry.
There is no real way to measure the influence and impact of this website, but as we hear stories of changed lives, new disciples, and new churches, we realize that God has had a plan to use this website as at least a small instrument in the building of His kingdom.
About the Site
All across the world, people are gathering in small groups to serve and worship God, be family, and encourage and affect each others lives. These gatherings are called by many names including simple church, organic church, and house church. Whatever you call it, the people involved value incarnational ministry to the lost, living radically for Jesus and each other, and are willing to get rid of anything that gets in the way of being fully devoted followers of Christ.Detailed...