In 1 Chronicles David told God he wanted to build a temple for Him in place of the tent in which He’d dwelt in since the time of Moses. God’s response really stood out to me, “I declare to you that the Lord will build you a house!” David’s intentions were good but God wanted to show him His sovereignty, power and love.
Often with good intentions we can tell God we’re going to build His church but we miss the simple truth that God builds His church, and by His choice and grace we can be included in His work. Here at 93 Bostock Avenue we’re in the fortunate position that we’ve experienced the truth of God building His church, and now it’s time to ‘enlarge the place of our tent’ and get a second house.
We’ve been inspired by a house church movement in America called ‘We Are Church’. It’s led by a pastor called Francis Chan, and I highly recommend looking it up for encouragement and inspiration.
After becoming a massively successful megachurch leader Chan realised things weren’t living up to what he read in the New Testament. In other nations like India and China persecution drives the church underground and into houses, and things often look much more like the potent, growing early church than what we have in the West.
So they’ve adopted a house-church model. When a church fills one house to overflowing they split in two, and when those houses grow they multiply again, and so on. In the West where persecution is minor when churches grow they usually simply get bigger halls. The majority of church members have little or no active ministry and the church becomes much more of a self-contained culture, so the rate of growth slows right down.
At the house thing, just like We Are Church we’ve tried to emulate the conditions of the persecuted church but without the persecution.
We now have 4 living in this 3 bedroom townhouse with more wanting to join us, so we’re in the process of finding a second house. We were undecided about who should live where, so to settle it we flipped a coin to decide for us. It was beautiful how every one of us were so open-handed with our future.
We’ve found that given a compelling vision, the more people are put in a position in which they need to take responsibility for it, the more they do. We are working out how to train people up so that when we split and grow again both the new scene and the old one are well equipped to thrive as self sustained house churches in their own right.
We have our sights set on splitting again in 6-12 months. I’m sure it will be gutting for us all to part with some amazing friends but it feels right. The future is unknown, but it’s exciting.