A House Church?
We have discovered a home to be the most natural, economical–and Biblical–context for the Church to meet. Being neither formal, nor religious, it provides a perfect setting in which to discover and experience the richness of Christian fellowship.
During the 1960’s, a majority of churches in the UK were either spiritually dead or sliding in that direction. Attendance was low; a trend fueled by the defection of large numbers of young people. Among the temptations enticing them were illegal drugs, immorality and occult practices—powerful forces the apostate churches were unable to counter.
Many young people disillusioned and damaged by their experiences were found turning to God for help. However, they were not alone. There were other seekers—not exclusively young people. These were seasoned churchgoers, who were disenchanted with the cold and powerless brand of Christianity. It was among such folk that the Spirit of God began to move. Young and old alike were discovering and experiencing the life-transforming power of God.
Not all church leaders were comfortable with the exuberant passion for Jesus they were witnessing. Some rejected it outright, others tried to suppress it—only proving again that old wine skins are unable to accommodate New Wine!
In many cases, with no alternative, ties with churches were severed and groups began meeting in homes. Most of the homes used were of average size; others were huge and able to accommodate large congregations. By the 1970’s, House Churches were dotted all over the UK—and beyond. Each Fellowship functioned autonomously with no central governing organization. However, strong links were formed between the churches, which included a shared participation in various conferences. Looking back, one can easily understand why someone coined the tag “House Church Movement”!
My personal introduction to this movement took place in August, 1966. My wife Sheila and I had been encouraged to attend a meeting at a venue known as “The House”. Reluctantly, we accepted. We could never have imagined how that visit would impact our lives—as well as countless others we would touch in the years ahead.
Virtually everything about that evening was unfamiliar to us; not least of which was the idea of some sixty folk crammed into an upstairs room, plus the loose spontaneity of the meeting—so in contrast to the well-ordered meetings in our Gospel Hall. But nothing could have prepared us for the powerful sense of the Holy Spirit’s presence in that room. Any discomfort with the meeting place, the style of meeting or its music simply evaporated—this was God! Sheila and I entered that house the products of the safe and secure doctrinal belief system of our Plymouth Brethren background. When we left, all this was shaken to the core!
Speaking for myself, I had no plans to return, but two days later Sheila and I climbed the same stairs—we were back! That night, I was baptized in the Holy Spirit! Shortly afterwards, Sheila shared the same experience. The setting was a dingy old house, but we met God in that place!
During the exciting days that followed, Sheila and I discovered the rich benefits of the “Fellowship House”. So much so, three years later, we became the resident family in a large House Church near the center of Liverpool. Every Sunday, we joined some one hundred and fifty eager folk crowded into the meeting room. During the week, the large kitchen and dining room provided an inviting setting for fellowship and an endless stream of visitors. Accommodation was available for out of town visitors as well as those needing a short stay in a loving environment.
For over forty years my wife and I have enjoyed the privilege of hosting and working in House Churches. Today, together with a group of wonderful people, we share the joys of being members of a House Church in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada—our story continues….
© 2014 McKenzie Road Christian Fellowship