There’s been a lot of talk at Bethany lately about home churches. The new 10-week season is starting this Sunday, January 13, and is meant to help anyone who wants to follow Jesus, or is interested in exploring Jesus, to journey together in community. You can go online to see where and when home churches are inviting new participants to join, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or simply talk to others who are already in a home church or any of the Group Life staff after a weekend service.
However, with all the ways that home church is helping people take their next steps with Jesus, together, here are three reasons why you shouldn’t join a home church this season:
1. To Disconnect From “Big Church”
The church has always been intended to grow. Period. Jesus clearly sent His disciples to make more disciples who in turn would do the same. But no person can be deeply connected in an infinite number of relationships. Healthy growth as a disciple of Jesus requires close and vulnerable connection with a few others (more on this below). However, home church connections don’t mean we have to disconnect from the larger church community. When we come together, be it as a group of 8 or 800, we come together to celebrate the One who gives us life and worship Him who unites us into one body, one family. So yes, I’ll enjoy the close, honest and vulnerable relationships that home church offers, but I’ll also enjoy the celebration, joy and excitement that gathering and serving together on a weekend brings. The close connections that home church can foster are vital for the life of a disciple, but that doesn’t mean gathering together in “Big Church” isn’t valuable.
2. To Try And Solve All My Problems
Even with the support of other home church participants, the value of the study guide to help direct meaningful conversation, home church leaders and hosts that help us foster a safe environment for each other, a home church won’t solve all my problems. In fact, as I get more connected, close and vulnerable with others in my home church, I’m going to find they have problems, sins and shortcomings just like I do. Our problems are going to be part of the process, but thankfully, we have the promise of God’s Spirit comforting us, freeing us and giving us wisdom as we help carry each other’s burdens and work through the challenges that life brings. My problems may not all go away, but I’ll be facing them with the caring support of others and the presence of Christ himself.
3. Thinking Home Church Is The Answer
There are structures and then there is substance. Following Jesus has both of these, and over the centuries, one has changed and the other hasn’t. The substance of being a disciple of Jesus, of connecting UP with God, of journeying closely WITH other believers and of serving OUT in our community, has never changed. The greatest commandment to love God and love others, and the Great Commission to make disciples is always the substance of the Christian life.
But the structure, well that can adjust and adapt.
That’s why home church isn’t the answer. Home church is not the substance of being a disciple of Jesus, it’s simply a great structure that helps us hold and experience the life Jesus calls us to. So, I won’t be part of a home church because I think it’s the answer to the Christian life, but because I know that with it, I can better experience the fullness of the UP, WITH and OUT life that disciples of Jesus are invited to have.
If you’re hoping home church will disconnect you from big church, solve all your problems or be the ultimate answer to following Jesus, then you’re probably going to be disappointed. Bethany home churches are about helping more people taking more steps with Jesus, together. So, if that’s something you’re interested in knowing more about, you should talk to others you know who are already in a home church, connect with one of our Group Life staff at the Welcome Centre after a weekend service, email email@example.com or just go to our website. Looking forward to taking our next steps with Jesus, together!
Grace & Peace,