March 3, 2006

A Viable Alternative?

Here is an article from Time Magazine: There's No Pulpit Like Home

I am not sure what to think. I agree that church, as it is today, is nothing like the original church of Acts, but aren't God's people supposed to develop and change with the times-adaptation and advancement? Agree with Thom Rainer that small house churches, with untrained leaders and no accountability are in danger of theological drift.

John Wesley's genius was not just his theology, but his adaptation and combination of a small, accountability groups with regular large group meetings. This provide accountability of the members and of the leaders of the groups. This also helps the leaders, who were typically untrained as ministers, receive training on-the-job.

I do, however, like the organic nature of this meeting. The money is more easily distributed to the poor; rather than on maintenance, buildings, and staff. The closeness of the group is also a plus.

But this also destroys the "professional" ministerial role. I use professional here with all of its positive ideals. What I mean is that paying a pastor should allow him/her the opportunity to spend time in the presence of God. Each member should be spending time in the presence of God, thinking God's thoughts, and listening to His voice, but the "professional" minister earns a living bringing the Word of God to the people.

I don't think he/she is the only one who can do this. I just recognize in my own life that all I think about is theology and Bible. Very few people could care less about the in-depth stuff I read and study. But God has called me to care about these things, and to assimilate it all into something useable and understandable. To be quite honest, I don't like doing anything else. I like reading, writing, and preaching, but all on theological and Bible issues.

This issue is both good and bad. I like what it brings to the table, but I also recognize the danger. Vineyard Central, in Cincinnati, is a good place to look. They combine house churches with regular weekly gatherings.

The other question I have concerns the spiritual development and growth of their teenagers and children. I assume from the article that teenagers are not an issue, but what about their children? Where do they receive spiritual training? This model requires that the parents take the spiritual formation of their children seriously.

Here is an article from George Barna.

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