Jewish Journal


July 24, 2007

House church, like the early Christians


The story in today’s LA Times about the movement of people forgoing church buildings and meeting in homes inspired me to pull from the archive an article I wrote last January about the house-church phenomenon. Here’s the link and a sampling:

“You walk into church and people are like, `Hey, how are you? God bless, man.’ Really, inside, you could be completely dead, dying, rotting inside. But you are never going to share that because there is no authenticity about doing life with people in mainstream church,” said Mike Dickran, 25, of Camarillo.

“What is so exciting about doing small-group house church is just the chance to be real.”

At a time when megachurches are blooming, when the yardstick for success seems to be the fullness of pews and the weight of offering plates, a growing number of Christians are casting aside institution for intimacy and gathering weekly in homes, apartments, parks or wherever the Spirit moves them.

“It’s not about where we meet or how big the sound system is or even how many seats we fill,” said Chris Burton, a former college pastor at Calvary Community Church in Westlake Village who left seven years ago to begin a Simi Valley house church that has grown into five separate gatherings, including the one Dickran attends.

“Those things are not indications of success for us - rather, personal commitment to the Lord and life transformation.”

House churchers view themselves as throwback Christians. They express a nostalgia for pre-Nicean Christianity, before the canons and creeds and clergy.

There are—as there always are—people who think this is a dangerous way to encourage spiritual commitment. I can’t say I agree. What do you think?

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