How do we relate to the house church movement?

House churches in one form or another are found in almost every country on earth--from Saudi Arabia to Mongolia to Switzerland to Canada. The one feature they have in common is that they are relatively small groups of people who meet in homes or other semiprivate places. There is no worldwide or national coordination of house churches. The only large-scale umbrella that exists is found when a particular denomination, mission group, or church-planting movement exercises some influence over a relatively large number of churches. For instance, in China there are house church families of up to several million members who declare their allegiance to a single leader, usually an older church planter.

Although most house churches do not relate to a single leader or agency, nonetheless an unofficial cadre of experienced leadership has emerged in almost every country. These leaders do not usually give direct oversight to any churches, but are involved in mentoring, consulting, and modeling for less-experienced leaders. Usually they are persons who have moved on from planting churches to training church planters.

The leadership of our house churches acknowledges and honors the mentoring and advising role that is exercised by a large number of men and women around the world. When possible, we attend national and regional house church conferences where we are exposed the teaching and ministry of leaders from all over the world. We donít agree with all these leaders, and there is some divergence of opinion among them, particularly on practical issues of finances, leadership structure, and church planting guidelines. But we honor them, and we learn from them. Most of the prominent leaders in the house church movement have written books, and we have read most of those books.

On the local and regional level, we fairly regularly communicate with the leaders of house churches and house church networks in Southern California. We have particularly benefited from our contacts with the Vine House Churches of the Rancho Cucamonga/Fontana area, and The River in Simi Valley. See our resources section for the web addresses of these networks.

 
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