For the first few centuries, the ones who called themselves Christians were forced out of the Jewish temples. For a very short time, they met at the temple daily and shared Jesus until the religious leaders finally had them arrested and persecution began.
This persecution left them with only one option. They had to grow from house to house—outside the temple walls. It was 300 years later that Christianity was legalized by Constantine and temples could be built. Thus began man's reintroduction to a hierarchy and gathering people at the temple to support the clergy and their ministry to the people.
In Ephesians, it says that the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers were a gift to the church to "equip the saints" for the work of ministry.
Wait, I thought the saints were there to support their ministry and grow their church. You mean we were meant to do more than be an usher, a greeter or a parking lot attendant? This idea of elevating the priests and working to support their ministry is a temple mindset, not a church (body of Jesus) mindset.
The ministry gifts were foundational to build the church through every single person functioning together and building relationships from house to house and anywhere else they could meet. It was not confined to one building.
So what do we do now that we have seen for ourselves we can be forced out of the temples?
I believe the Lord is using this time in history to redeem His original plan of relationship over religious activity. He is re-establishing the house to house model where denominational division and being able to hide and go unnoticed goes out the window.
So what happens to the churches as we know it? We obviously cannot imagine that "they" would be able to shut the buildings down permanently. Well, until that day happens, we can look at the original house to house model as a "Temple Contingency Plan."
What if every church in the world became "equipping stations" where they trained their members to become ministers in their homes and evangelize their neighborhoods? What if they took an apostolic approach to growing the church rather than having one pastor over flocks of thousands in one building?
Many church leaders may be wary of this concept, because they fear it could lead to a church split.
But wouldn't most house church leaders, being equipped by an organization that shares their resources and offers guidance, want to continue to be supported?
Church splits happen either organically or forcefully. I believe if you equip your people and light a fire of evangelism, the church will grow so big the buildings you build will never contain them.
The church is the body of Christ. We are His temple. The same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells in us. As a body, we are made up of cells that divide healthily as we transfer the DNA of Jesus from one to another. One large cell is considered a deformity.
It is time for us to grow the body of Jesus, not just grow a bigger building.
John Stewart Hill is an author, entrepreneur and founder of FindAHouseChurch.com—a revolutionary new website for Christians and churches alike. Believers who are seeking a deeper, more intimate church experience can find like-minded believers who seek to grow the church house-to-house, as in the book of Acts.
Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
Dr. Mark Rutland's
National Institute of Christian Leadership (NICL)
The NICL is one of the top leadership training programs in the U.S. taught by Dr. Mark Rutland. If you're the type of leader that likes to have total control over every aspect of your ministry and your future success, the NICL is right for you!
FREE NICL MINI-COURSE - Enroll for 3-hours of training from Dr. Rutland's full leadership course. Experience the NICL and decide if this training is right for you and your team.Do you feel stuck? Do you feel like you’re not growing? Do you need help from an expert in leadership? There is no other leadership training like the NICL. Gain the leadership skills and confidence you need to lead your church, business or ministry. Get ready to accomplish all of your God-given dreams. CLICK HERE for NICL training dates and details.
The NICL Online is an option for any leader with time or schedule constraints. It's also for leaders who want to expedite their training to receive advanced standing for Master Level credit hours. Work through Dr. Rutland's full training from the comfort of your home or ministry at your pace. Learn more about NICL Online. Learn more about NICL Online.