The contemporary House christian mysticism the desire of modern 21st believers to return to the simplicity and authenticity of 1st century Christianity. To do this we must understand that our historic roots are in our primitive apostolic heritage as revealed in the New Testament, particularly in the book of Acts.
Some have referred to the modern House church as a “new wine skin.” However, the earliest church model (or wineskin) was not the institutional church model that we see predominately in use today. Nor was it the model handed down to us 1,500 years ago by the Roman Catholic Church.
Indeed, the very first “wineskin” or model was the House church that was predominant during the first three centuries of the church. There are many reasons why believers are returning to the New Testament model of the House church. A few of them are:
- In a House church, you can both discover and create your own organic recipe for experiencing church life.
- In a House church setting, believers enjoy the nurturing and support of a small group within an extended family, in which they can establish meaningful relationships and friendships.
- In a House church, believers interact like “family” as they enjoy spontaneity in worshiping, sharing, praying, teaching, learning, and growing in an atmosphere in which “every-member functioning”and participation is encouraged as they experience the life of Christ together.
Simple churches come in a variety of flavors, sizes, and cross all denominational lines. There are Baptist, Charismatic, Methodist, Lutheran, Mennonite, Pentecostal, Non-denominational, and you name it.
No two Simple churches are exactly alike. Like snowflakes, each is uniquely different; yet there are common characteristics they all seem to share. If there is one thing always in the forefront of my mind, it is:
- Jesus is always present as the central person in all House church gatherings. This awareness is fundamental to experiencing Christ in the midst.
Through the House church, people all over the world are experiencing Christ within an organic setting. As a student of the house church, like many of you I am learning how to discover and experience the headship of Christ in an organic setting.
The church In Cornelius’ house
” There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway. (Acts 10:1-2)
“And he shewed us how he had seen an angel in his house, which stood and said unto him, Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon, whose surname is Peter; Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved.” (Acts 11:13)
The first Gentile converts to Christ belonged to the “house” or household of Cornelius, a Roman centurion who lived during the first century. His conversion is recorded in the book of Acts. Cornelius’ house in the Greek is called an Oikas. I have found that the very best way to begin a House church is by using the model of the Oikas as found in the book of Acts.
A very important distinction is, a House church is not a House church simply because believers decide to meet in a home; it is a House church because it is centered on the concept of sharing Christ organically (naturally) by means of an Oikas.
An “Oikas” is a network of relationships consisting of immediate family, extended family, and close friends (Acts 10:24; 16:31).
“And the morrow after they entered into Caesarea. And Cornelius waited for them, and had called together his kinsmen and near friends. ” (Acts 10:24) emphasis mine.
This is what is meant by the church in Cornelius’ house. So when we read in the bible about the church in “so and so’s” house, we are not only talking about the structural building (or house) he lived in but the network of relationships joined to make up a local “faith community” of believers in Jesus Christ.