January 11, 2007
by: jovial_cynic
While a lot of western churches focus on the changes that need to be in made in America (particularly in government leadership, in the education system, etc., etc.), not a lot is being said about the lack of growth and the need for change within the churches themselves. Church-goers are content to point out faults with everything around them, yet their own houses remain in disarray. Consider the divorce rate in the "Bible Belt" of America, which is higher than in the rest of America. In light of this, how is the church any different than the non-believing community?

Carman Niesley, over at New Day Dawning posted some data from the Barna Research Group.

The Barna Research Group conducted national surveys in August and September of 2006 revealing that the levels of satisfaction of people involved in house churches was significantly higher than those attending conventional church congregations. In the report, Barna goes on to say: "Americans are emotionally open to belonging to a house church, and surprisingly few have any real objections to others joining such a community of faith. ...But the main deterrent to house church growth is that most people are spiritually complacent; they are not looking to upgrade their spiritual experience. Compared to conventional church attenders, house church adherents are much more likely to say that they have experienced faith-driven transformation, to prioritize their relationship with God, and to desire a more fulfilling community of faith.

"Those who attend a conventional church are generally content to show up and accept whatever their church has on the agenda; they place the responsibility for their spiritual growth on the shoulders of the church. ...We found that most conventional church goers have no desire to help improve their congregation's ministry, nor do they feel a need to increase their personal spiritual responsibility."

What better way to clean house? In a larger church setting, the notion of fellowship and community make little sense; how much can a person truly care about the needs of a fellow attendee who is sitting thirteen rows down? Not much connection is possible when the extent of conversation is "hi - nice to see you, God bless you" during the five-minute intermission between the worship service and the sermon.

In a home church setting, where fellowship often includes eating together, sharing stories together, and studying scripture together, growth is inevitable. And this is the picture of Jesus and his disciples, isn't it? Jesus' relationship with his disciples happened in an intimate setting, where they hung out and ate together. Development didn't happen on a weekly basis where the disciples sat and listened to Jesus talk behind a podium. It happened through close contact and the development of real relationships.
np category: religion


The Conservative Manifesto said:
Off-topic and not that I'm trying to dictate the direction of your posts, but I'm wondering your thoughts on Bush's proposed "troop surge."
January 11, 2007

jovial_cynic said:
I wasn't going to post on it... but since you asked, I'll write a post.
January 11, 2007

Luke said:
Yep. Great post. I read that on Carmen's site as well and was tempted to post a response on my blog. It's a perfect example of our small group. I honestly cannot see a need in our group that isn't met more completely and intimately in our small group than they would be in a corporate church.
January 13, 2007

jovial_cynic said:
Thanks Luke.

I brought up the same points at my church last Sunday, and mentioned the vanity of becoming a "big" church and got a lot of nods and some amens. haha... Hopefully it sticks, though. Our church currently meets in a hotel conference room, but I think we're already too big to know one another. But we'll see what happens. Maybe a good middle ground is initiating some good get-to-know-one-another functions. :: shrug ::

January 13, 2007

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