Sunday, November 16, 2008

Leaving for the house-church

Since 1981 I have been most interested in and have studied the topic of “church drop out” or church quitters. A recent book by Julia Duin, Quitting Church, (recommended by Albert Mohler) has provided more interesting insights for me and still leaves the questions, “Why do they drop out or quit?, Where do the drop outs go?, What do they do?, Was there follow-up by the churches as to why they dropped out?, and Was any attempt made to recover these drop outs?” (I do not use the terms “drop out or quitters” irreverently, these folks are brothers ands sisters in the Lord.)

We have heard of the “traditional, seeker friendly, emergent and missional churches”. Well, from these groups and others we have the drop outs or quitters called the “house-church”.

House-churches usually meet on Sunday or Wednesday and for at least two hours. What might happen in a house-church?
93 percent have spoken prayer during their meetings
90 percent read from the Bible
89 percent spend time serving people outside of their group.
87 percent devote time to sharing personal needs or experiences. 8
85 percent spend time eating and talking before or after the meeting. .
83 percent discuss the teaching provided
76 percent have a formal teaching time.
70 percent incorporate music or singing
58 percent have a prophecy or special word delivered.
52 percent take an offering from a participant that is given to ministries.
51 percent share communion.
41 percent watch a video presentation as part of the learning experience
The average size of these groups is twenty people; 64 percent include children and there is an average of seven children under the age of eighteen involved. (p.62)

Some observation:
These are folks that claim to be born-again Christians
Some of these folks are attending regular church as “spiritual compliant”.
These folks are opened to be noticed as ‘quitters’ by not hiding in another formalized congregation.
George Barna hosts a house-church and says, “We are loving it.”
64 percent of the participants are “completely satisfied “with the teaching, leadership, and community of their group, as compared to regular church. (pp. 58-62)

What brought these folks to this decision and this place? Have you ever asked a person who has left your church, why? I have and you really get some interesting responses. If you did ask them about the journey away, did you ask them to return?

As a whole, churches do not seek after the lost sheep. I think it is very painful for those staying to ask those leaving, why? Why bother to ask when someone will soon take their place and yes they could be quitters. Now, how about asking them why they left their former congregation. In many cases these new comers want to reinvest in a new church and they no longer want to be helpless or hopeless. How would you meet the challenge?

3 comments:

Chermone said...

Brother, you say challenge as if it were a competition. You probably don't mean it in the way I'm understanding it, but it does sound that way. There is plenty for us to consider. Things like, the amount of non-christians in a traditional service (that are there by way of 'tradition') and I bring these up in the negative sense, the fact that so many churches have strayed from the Gospel and what it truly is, the lack of truly defined bible-believing churches that don't add to or take away. We all know that evil men will wax greater and greater, taking part in (and taking apart)the local Christ preaching churches. I say encourage teh bible believers in whatever ministry they partake in. Don't seek to bring them back. God may be preparing us for a future not too many think about.

Eutychus said...

Hello Chermone, good to har from you.
The challenge is to dare someone to do something. How about seeking to keep our brothers and sisters?
Blessings to you!!

An Binh said...

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