New in church formation?

I was reading a work of biblical interpretation from 2002 which referred to the house churches of the early Christian era. Memories of then-chic church planting came back, almost accusingly. Were new house churches such a good idea then? Did they endure? Did it lead to sustained growth, either numerical or spiritual?

I realized that I’m so out of touch with church planting and church growth (not just house churches but all models) that not only did I not know, but don’t know what’s current now. Churches, in any case, seem more fragile now than then whether “old line” or more innovative, of any theological stripe.

Do you know what the trends are? I’m not afraid to ask for ideas and citations.

2 Replies to “New in church formation?”

  1. I started looking on-line for some of the house churches I knew about 2000-2004 (when I was in seminary). Mostly UCC and Disciples. I can’t find any of them.

    I also know there have been some Swedenborgian house churches. But only the one in Silver City, New Mexico seems to have survived and grown into something.

    It makes me wonder if the house church model is fragile?

    A variation on this… The Christian Community (Movement for Religious Renewal) [aka Steinerite Christians] normally network their small house churches (referred to as affiliate congregations) with a central main congregation from which one or more priests are based. For example the main congregation in Chicago serves a set of affiliates in Wisconsin and Minnesota. The priests then serve at the affiliate as often as the affiliate’s economics allow. I imagine they have attrition on these house churches, but I think some grow into more robust creatures that are main congregations.

  2. The Southern diocese Copts have a similar strawberry/runner approach and have grown rapidly. Because their priests can only serve the liturgy once a day (so I’ve been told), the mission churches meet on Saturdays.

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