The question about house churches being inward and not reaching out came up in some recent comments that I wanted to bring to the forefront.
My friend, Mark, commented:
When reading Dan Kimball's post and the comments, he makes a very valid point about the necessity of house churches reaching the lost. How has your experiences been in this regard? Dan seems to have a pretty jaded view of house churches as being inward and non growing. Is this a pretty valid perspective?
Here is the response that I offered Mark... and I would love to hear comments from others as well:
Hi Mark... Good to hear from you.
In regards to house churches reaching the lost... I continue to learn myself... but I would like to say that churches do not reach the lost. Followers of Jesus reach the lost. Whether we gather in churches or in buildings, the gatherings themselves are not the focal point for outreach (in my opinion). I doubt if few unbelievers were reached, in the New Testament, while the believers were sharing meals house to house. However, MANY unbelievers were reached when the believers took the love and power of the Gospel out into the world.
So, yes, our house churches can easily become inward... if we are merely transplanting Christians from church buildings to house buildings. For me, the challenge is not to do church differently, but to learn, as Christians, what it means to BE the church all day, every day, taking Kingdom life, love, and power wherever we go. House churches, hopefully, are just a simple way to facilitate community life for those going-Kingdom-minded Christians.
Is that happening for us? Yes and no. No, not as much as I would love to see. Yes, it is happening to some extent and growing. I always start with myself... Am I reaching out the way that I want and feel called to be? That is the first question. Let me consider it... I currently go to a small restaurant that locals hang out at in which I am well known and through which God gives me opportunities to minister to the lost. I have recently been invited to join an "investment group" (long story--believe me, I am not some major "investor") through which I am building relationships and sharing my spiritual story. I am also, currently, praying about the next Person of Peace that God will show me to start a new church alongside. In fact, I realized today that one of those guys in that investment group could well be a person of peace.
So... that's my input on the subject of reaching out. Like I said, we are still learning... and I love to hear others tell their stories of living kingdom in the marketplace. This is really the heart of BEING the church, much more so than how or where we gather.