House Church

Listed below are a few resources that provided some background for my research as well as others that have subsequently appeared. This page is a work in progress and will be updated periodically.

Revolution, George Barna

This book discusses in part the house-church movement in the United States. However, Barna’s primary focus in the book is on what he terms revolutionaries, who he describes as those Christians who are dedicated to living out lives of radical obedience to a certain version of Jesus and the early church’s practices and theology.  Barna’s description of that kind of theology and practice is standard United States evangelical fare, but what distinguishes this book from others is Barna’s insistence that these revolutionaries are now, and will increasingly be, living their Christian lives outside of traditional churches.

House churches are listed as just one of several ways from which Barna envisions his new revolutionaries will gain spiritual nourishment. They fit under his “macro-model”  label, along with traditional congregations, family faith experiences, and cyberchurches. These macro-models are intended to address many facets of a believer’s life.

However, Barna seems most interested in his micro-models, which are ministries and affinity groups that are aimed at a one particular facet of Christian experience, like a stadium worship experience, a marketplace fellowship, an internet affinity group, or parachurch ministry.  Barna sees United States Christians as increasingly forming a pastiche of spiritual options that will provide them nourishment instead of simply relying on a local church as many had in the past.

Thus, in Barna’s future, house churches would play an important role as more and more people consider that option over staying in a more traditional congregation. Unfortunately, Barna provides almost no data in the book to support his assertions regarding Christians deserting local churches, and he likewise does not provide any quantitative data about the house church movement in the United States. I do not doubt that Barna is on to something here, but it would have been helpful if he would have made transparent his data collection and analysis processes.

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