House Faith Church
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7. House Faith Church

Long Term Entity

Victorian HouseWe must distinguish between three concepts of the church to fully understand what the house faith church is. First of all, houses or households are not independent house churches in that the house of faith will be part of the local church's structure and will strengthen the local congregation. House churches usually have only a loose connection with one another and no buildings, but for the homes in which they meet. The house faith church is a separate entity like the house church, but a house of faith has a permanent tie to the church through a local parish or a diocesan structure. The house is part of a broader episcopal structure and under the authority of the church. Other denominations might order their household faith in a similar manner.

Christian Outreach Area

Church PeopleThe house faith church is not a home meeting because it is intended not to be a long-term entity and not a short-term form of Christian outreach in an area. A church forms some home meetings for a single purpose, such as a Bible study, a social meeting place, or a prayer group, but these tend to end up with a fixed membership over several years. Home meetings are also sometimes employed over the short term as a form of evangelism in an area. The house of faith is to be an arm of the local church, which trains up local Christians and is mandated to multiply and double its membership every two years. An active church house meets with a group leader and is a church plant. This church plant establishes a series of them in an area with a church building. An established Bible study, prayer, or other homegroup meetings may become a house. The clergy would have the initial responsibility of selecting a leader and a host for each House. They would actively support the leader or a group of leaders, seek to mentor them and provide them with suitable teaching materials for the house as in Resources. The church could announce the location and weekly meeting time for the house, but the house leader would invite participants.

Sign Up Sheet

The leader could provide a sign-up sheet for those interested in taking part. Initially, the leader would enroll three other committed and active members of the church. They would invite four to eight others who might be less active, occasional attendees, or non-attendees. There could be some flexibility with numbers to a maximum of twelve. One house might be for teenagers only, or single and single-again individuals. Another might be for a mixed group of different ages, including children. Teaching materials would have to be suitable for the makeup of each house. For each church house's actual meeting agenda refer to "Running the House of Faith."

House Faith Meeting

Christian HousesHouse of faith meeting may evolve from a home church group such as a Bible study or prayer meeting. An current Bible study or prayer group may become a house of faith meeting. They will continue in their present teaching and devotional function but with added dimensions from the house of faith. We could also add groups established for mums and tots, teenagers, adult singles groups, or to study a Christian book. Each would covenant to multiply at the end of a two-year term. If you create a gathering, you have a home meeting. If you create an environment, you have a house of faith. If you add to a home meeting the ability to function without a church building, you produce a house of faith. A house of faith is not dependent on the church but within it.

Adult Singles Group

VillageA house of faith may be useful when people in a local community can no longer afford to pay for a church building. Therefore, it would continue the faith with the added feature of expanding every second year. A house of faith could meet outside a home in a church hall or a private room in a restaurant, but there is something special when a host invites a group to their family home. Maybe it inspires the aspect of a caring family, which is vital in the house of faith. Only a maximum of twelve members is allowed in each house of faith, preferably meet in a member's home. It is possible to establish a series of diocesan faith houses without church buildings in a diocesan area. The third option in this section on establishing diocesan or area faith houses is establishing a network of diocesan faith houses across a Diocese or ministry area with or without church buildings. The diagram of model three shows three churches in a local area connected to and under the Bishop or Senior Elder's oversight. One parish has three Houses of Faith connected to the church. The other parish has four Houses tied to it. Another area is an offshoot of the parish church with five Houses. Christ Cathedral has seven Houses. The hypothetical Bishop has pastoral oversight through the clergy of the Diocese to all the parishes and households. Some two-point churches may have two diocesan houses each or just one on a reservation or in a small village. Individual clergy could care for groups of Houses.

Denomination Church Plant

Parish with No Church Building DiagramA denomination church plant is an excellent way to develop a spiritual presence in a housing area without a church building program. Sometimes a new housing estate is built without a church building. There will probably be a small group of keen Christians who would like to meet and worship together locally in every area. A house of faith is an ideal solution for this church plant situation. When a church closes, half of its attendees go to another church of the same denomination. A quarter go to another denominational church. The rest leave the church altogether and go nowhere. Thus, only half of its members affiliate with another congregation of the same denomination when a church closes. Establishing one or a series of faith houses can provide a developing spiritual presence in that area with an umbilical cord type of link to the same denomination church elsewhere.

"House Faith Church"
by Ron Meacock © 2021

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