What to Expect
All Church gatherings 1x a month on the 3rd Sunday Evening at 5pm Upstairs @ Main St. Bistro. 10/17, 11/21, 12/19
We will have Worship/Communion/Updates/Word should be around an hour long and then hangout afterwards. **Come a little early and buy a coffee or dinner from the Bistro and bring it up with you, and/or get something following the gathering.**
In-between Weeks; House Church Gatherings
Still Part of the Rhythm this Fall:
Friday Morning Prayer Group 7am @ Main St. Bistro
Bible and Brew every 3rd Sat. Night
Christmas Tree Lighting Party @ Main St. Bistro Dec. 3rd
REDISCOVERING THE HOUSE CHURCH
[excerpts from an article by Jason Johnson]
There is one form of church that has existed since Pentecost. Currently it is said to contain more Christians than any other kind of church worldwide. It is called "house church." As the name implies, it is a church that meets in a home. It was the only form of church found in the New Testament or in the world until the time of the emperor Constantine (with one or two archeological exceptions). Between the years A.D. 313 and 321, Constantine made Christianity the official state religion, gave tax benefits for donated buildings, put clergy on his payroll and claimed Sunday as the official day of worship. A tax-exempt, property-holding organization with paid clergy replaced the simple form of house church. Nevertheless, the house church has continued to exist to this day.
A simple definition of a house church is a group of believers who meet in a home to function as a New Testament church. This usually means a focus on the basics of prayer, fellowship, learning and evangelism among a smaller group of people. All are encouraged to participate, use their spiritual gifts and share life together in community that extends beyond meeting times. Examining the idea of house church challenges common ways of doing church and helps point us back to its biblical functions, because the house church essentially challenges three unnecessary forms in Western churches: buildings, clergy and programs.
A specific church building is one form that hinders essential church functioning. If a traveler came asking for "the church" in a typical second-century Roman town, he was directed toward a gathering of people, not a physical structure. Even the Greek word for church literally means "called-out ones," with an underlying idea of gathering together. So why is the question, "Where is your church?" answered today with directions to a physical address? The form of the building has overtaken the basic nature and function of the church as people.
There are no holy places in biblical Christianity. Only one holy God lives with a holy people. This notion began in the Old Testament. The holy ground around the burning bush was holy only because God was in the middle. The same was true for the tabernacle and the temple — God's presence made them holy. The coming of Jesus brought a full understanding of this concept. He spoke to the woman at the well, and when asked about the proper holy place He said, "... a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth ..."(John 4:23). No exact address needed.
Church began at Pentecost. Instead of filling a "holy place" God filled the people who were seeking Him together in a house. [Acts 2:1]Again, there is nothing magical about the form of church in a house. It emphasizes the biblical idea that church is people and can begin and exist anywhere God's people breathe. It drives the truth of Jesus' words: "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. " (Matthew 18:20). Instead of the emphasis on God's filling a "holy building" should we not ask God to fill a holy people? Paul asked the same question of the Corinthians: "Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?" (1 Corinthians 3:16). The form of a building confines church to meetings under steeple and cross. The form of a house church creates space where it is easier to remember that church is people and that Jesus is among them.
Jesus spoke of more than physical structure when He claimed to be replacing the temple. He also abolished the division and hierarchy of the priesthood. Matthew 27:51 reads, "And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; " Only the high priest could go behind that curtain, so when priests were instituted in the church the temple curtain was hung again. This curtain of "clergy" versus "laity" has separated holy people from God and mired their functioning in the church. Martin Luther coined the phrase "the priesthood of all believers." Unfortunately, he only applied it in the sense that we no longer need to go through a priest but have direct access to God for salvation. He forgot that it means every believer also has gifts and a role of ministry in the body of Christ. While I'm thankful for Luther, he simply replaced the old priestly structure with new priests and the same old structure. The church will never fully function until that curtain comes down once again. This idea will shake some earth and split a few rocks, but rediscovering church is worth suffering a little violence.
"Church is people" and "the priesthood of all believers" are both essential elements within the church, but what should happen when the church gathers together is continually at the center of focus and controversy. There is a worship renewal happening around the world. Not the thousands in the North American "renewal" movement or the tens of thousands buying the latest worship CD. The real renewal is happening with the millions around the world who are learning how to gather in someone's home and circle in prayer. People are leaving the complications of church programs and returning to the basic functions described in the book of Acts: "And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. ... And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart ..." (Acts 2:42, 46). Prayer, learning and fellowship are the biblical, basic functions of the church. Meeting in the temple courts and in homes, having the Lord's Supper and eating together were the basic forms for these functions in the early church.
People ask what house church is like. House church is like an extended family that puts Jesus at the center and reaches out to those who are orphans. What we do is gather in homes to pray, learn and grow in relationship. Sound simple? It is. Delightfully simple.