Monday, September 21, 2015

House churches 'more satisfying'

A 2007 article by house church sympathizer George Barna carried the curious headline, "House churches are more satisfying to attenders than are conventional churches."

It's a bold claim, but one backed up by a survey of 2,008 respondents, some of which I'll share below. For more see the link from the Barna Group.

In my prior, short brushes with house churches, the main complaint I received from my institutional church brothers and sisters was how such churches are perceived to be glorified home bible studies -- that without educational programs, staged worship, and stricter discipline, house churchers would burn out or become bored with the weekly routine. This now-famous survey, however, paints a more realistic picture of what I've observed.

The typical house church gathering lasts for about two hours. [...]
93% have spoken prayer during their meetings

90% read from the Bible

89% spend time serving people outside of their group

87% devote time to sharing personal needs or experiences

85% spend time eating and talking before or after the meeting

83% discuss the teaching provided

76% have a formal teaching time

70% incorporate music or singing

58% have a prophecy or special word delivered

52% take an offering from participants that is given to ministries

51% share communion [...] 
Most house churches are family-oriented. Two out of every three house churches (64%) have children involved. Those churches are divided evenly between those who have the adults and children together throughout the meeting (41%) and those who keep them separated (38%). The remaining churches divide their time between having everyone together and having time when the children and adults are separated.

Another Barna Group survey a year earlier shared an estimate that 70 million American adults had attended a house church meeting and roughly 20 million participated in a house church from week-to-week. One wonders how much these numbers have shifted in a decade.

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