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 was and is meant to be. Houses are first of all 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, they meet in. The house faith church is a separate entity like the house church but a house of faith has a permanent tie to the church either through a local parish or a diocesan structure. The house is part of a wider 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 in that it is intended not to be a long term entity and also not a short term form of Christian outreach in an area. Some home meetings are formed for a single purpose such as a Bible study, a social meeting place or as 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 intended 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 can be viewed as church plants.This section is concerned with establishing an active Church House or a series of them in an area with a church building. An established Bible study, prayer or other homegroup meetings may be turned into 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 location and weekly meeting time for the House would not be announced generally but participants would be invited by the house leader. A sign-up sheet could be provided for those interested in taking part. Initially, the Leader would enroll three other committed and active members of the church and 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 the actual meeting agenda of each church house, 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 existing Bible study or prayer group may be turned into 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 add also 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 and therefore 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 very special when a host invites a group to his or her family home. Maybe it inspires the aspect of a caring family which is so important in the house of faith. Only a maximum of twelve members is allowed in each house of faith which should preferably meet in a member's home. How to establish a series of diocesan faith houses without church buildings in a diocesan area. The third option in this section on how to establish diocesan or area faith houses is how to establish 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 oversight of the Bishop or Senior Elder. 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 parishes may have two diocesan houses each or just one on a reservation or in a small village. Groups of Houses would be assigned to the care of individual Clergy.

Denomination Church Plant

Parish with No Church Building DiagramA denomination church plant is a good 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. In every area, there will probably be a small group of keen Christians who would like to meet and worship together locally. A house of faith is an ideal solution for this church plant situation. According to research, when a church closes half of its attendees go to another church of the same denomination, a quarter goes to a church of another denomination and the rest leave the church altogether and go nowhere. Thus, when a church closes, only half of its members affiliate with another congregation of the same denomination. Establishing one or a series of houses of faith 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 © 2019

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