Why House Church?

Housing

Housing (Photo credit: james.thompson)

I confess. I still read the newspaper. Not online, on paper. Week before last, one article caught my attention in the Tampa Tribune, “Survey: More People Not Tied to a Religion.”  In it, Michelle Bearden reported on a recent study from the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life (http://www.pewforum.org/Unaffiliated/nones-on-the-rise.aspx). The Pew Forum study found rapid growth in the number of people who report no religious affiliation, though two-thirds of those say they believe in God. I thought many things about that article. It certainly confirmed part of the reason we started The Well: for those who aren’t sure whether want to follow Christ but want a safe place in which work it out. When I told a reporter recently that even those aren’t sure if they want to follow Christ are welcome at The Well, she was quite surprised. Those who follow Christ had to start somewhere and for many, it was at a place of inquiry long before belief. Even long time Christ followers move deeper in their faith, the longer they believe, continuing to seek as a believer as much as they might have before following Christ.

We also started The Well for those who follow Christ but haven’t found a place to live their beliefs, many of whom fall in the category of ‘nones,’ as the Pew Forum calls them. I know we won’t reach all the ‘nones’ but I also know from chatting with people that many looked for a place to belong but didn’t find it in the traditional church. Perhaps partly due to our widespread cultural distrust of institutions or because of hurts received at a particular church or because they simply dropped out for no specific reason at all. But Jesus doesn’t send us out as faithful solitaries. He told us instead “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13:34a) That speaks of community, community that the Apostle Paul continued and clarified with more than 20 ‘one another’ verses. We learn to love in community, to love one another, even to love the most difficult among us. So did Jesus love us. So, whether at house church or cathedral, it is ours to love him and one another.

About Rev Uch

I'm a United Methodist pastor serving Hyde Park United Methodist in Tampa, Florida. My husband and I have been here since July 2016. We are thrilled to be back in this area closer to most of our immediate family. In Tampa on a Sunday? Stop by one of our six weekly services. Find out more at www.hydeparkumc.org/worship.
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3 Responses to Why House Church?

  1. Dottie says:

    I know this comment is long over due, but I need to add this.

    As a young child my family went to Church, however, by the time I became a teenager my family stopped going. After that many thing in my life went down hill. My husband “now” brought me back to Christ about five years ago, and we joined a large Church. I was loving it, although after awhile, something was missing. I needed to know more, and afraid to ask questions. I was embarrass and disconcert that I didn’t know as much as everyone else about the bible and I couldn’t feel the love that Jesus Christ had for me. I have been going to The Well for about a year now. From the fist day I was comfortable, I was at ease, everyone made feel at home, and most of all, I was becoming closer to Jesus. More than I thought I could. I read the Bible more, I ask questions and I’m not embarrass doing so. The Fellowship at The Well is awesome.

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  2. Mike says:

    A Rabbi, a Priest and a Minister Walked Into a Bar…and a genuine discussion about beer and faith broke out. Maybe not the punch line you were looking for, but a number of faith-based groups are adopting a pub theology model for conversation about spirituality and faith. Some meet in pubs, others in coffee shops and restaurants, with the intention of gathering strangers who leave the events as friends. No matter if it is a home church or a pub church or a group of homeless people having a bible study on picnic benches after a community spaghetti dinner, our traditional model of churches is changing. Some might say it is revolving back to an earlier day. As when John Wesley would ride throughout English countrysides and preach under a tree to miners or factory workers. Some historians and sociologists say that between Wesley’s preaching and social missions, he and the Methodists may have prevented a revolution like that in France.

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  3. Amber says:

    I suppose I fall technically into that “none” category, with a tendency to be “solitary.” You eloquently summed up what needs to happen in the global church as a whole, “We learn to love in community, to love one another, even to love the most difficult among us. So did Jesus love us. So, whether at house church or cathedral, it is ours to love him and one another.” If we, the church could get past ourselves (selfishness, fears, greed, etc.) and become truly Christ-like where all are welcome and FULLY accepted our world would be so much better.

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