Some people are passionate about the debate between megachurches or house churches. This can be good, but passionate people tend to be enthusiastic to the point that they can exaggerate their position—even when research and data do not back up their claims.
For example, some assert that people are leaving megachurches in droves and are headed toward house churches en masse.
Statistically, there is no real evidence of that.
I recently was asked about house church critiques of the megachurch, recorded what I said, and my team turned it into this brief (and narrowly-focused) article.
So, let me share some thoughts on how that conversation might be made better—from a friendly outsider’s perspective.
House Churches Matter
I’m a house church encourager, want more of them, and want to make space for this newly engaged expression of church and mission.
But, is the house church movement the new trend?
Well, no, it’s not.
In fact, the biggest movement in U.S. evangelical Christianity, as far as a statistical trend, is toward contemporary, non-denominational large churches. Though many may not like it, that’s the biggest trend (not to house churches, not to liturgical churches, etc.). You may hate large contemporary churches, but you can’t make up a whole new set of facts because you don’t like them.
In the United States, about every 10 years the number of megachurches doubles. It’s not just growing—it’s been doubling. Multisite interest is making that even more possible and even more rapid.
Good or bad, it is true. I want many more house churches, and will advocate for them, but want us to be factual in our debate.
While we should avoid unsubstantiated opinions, there are perfectly healthy and helpful ways in which you can advocate different approaches to church and mission.
So, other than saying that megachurches are dying and house churches are booming, is there a better way?
House churches matter, and how we encourage people toward them matters as well.
1. Be Passionate
People who are passionate about the way they do church are great for the kingdom. I want house church proponents to think their way is the best way because then they’ll go out and work like crazy to plant house churches that reach lost people with the gospel.
I’m for passion—even if it criticizes (fairly) those with different views. (There are many REAL and important criticisms of the megachurch approach. I’m just trying to frame how house churches might promote the approach without misusing facts.)
So, house church—and, I will add, small churches, though this is not my main focus here—critique the large church. Just do it graciously, speaking of them as a partner in the gospel. Show a better way. Show it with life change, conversions, kingdom work and more.