What is a Church?

For 1700 years, the definition of a church has not changed; however, the success of house churches abroad and the growing interest in them here in Canada over the last 10 years are causing denominational leaders to consider broadening their definition to include house churches. The Southern Baptists have already taken that step. The Foursquare denomination has hired a full-time house church planting person. The Presbyterian church in the Caribou region in B.C. has converted all their churches to house churches. Murray Moerman of Outreach Canada believes that house churches have their place alongside the existing expressions of Church.

The church began in homes and grew explosively. Today, the first century model of church has an increasing appeal because of its simplicity, potential to evangelize the world and emphasis on committed relationships. The word “church” can be negative for some people. They believe it requires them to dress up, give money, or act in a prescribed way. These negatives are overcome by a personal invitation to an interactive Bible study in a neighbourhood home. Moerman has found that Bible studies held in homes are much better attended than the same courses offered in church buildings. “The beauty of house church is that anyone with a kitchen table can start a house church and reach out to their neighbourhood.” In China, about 25,000 people per day are receiving Christ in house churches. In Seoul, Korea, house churches played a key role in the building of the world’s largest church founded by Dr. Cho.

At a recent Church In The Home Conference in Kitchener, Ontario, house church planter, Robert Fitts, challenged 250 cross-denominational attendees to use the simple church model to reach their cities for God. “World evangelism is too big a task to do it any other way but through starting new churches.” Fitts stressed the importance of viewing all Christians in all types of church settings as the city-wide Body of Christ and to work together to reach the lost.

Although the exact number of house churches and their growth in Canada are difficult to determine, it is believed by Moerman and others that the house church movement is gaining momentum as a growing number of Christians choose a simpler form of living their faith.

House Church Resources

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