There is a major exodus taking place under the church radar. It is the great escape from churchanity that many Christians feel called to. It represents a “coming out from among her” that is resonating with millions of Christians worldwide. It’s not spectacular, sensational or basking in the church limelight. It is subtle, quiet, and unnoticed by a broad spectrum of traditional churchgoers whether it’s the denominational church downtown or the hip hop church in the strip-mall.
In the West, there are other sound and sensible reasons why a growing number of Christians are migrating to the simple house church as the early Christians practiced for the first three hundred years. A growing number of Christians in the West have found themselves spiritually disillusioned, disenfranchised and demoralized by what the “structured” church system has largely become. Many have found it becoming increasingly impersonal, shallow, and inadequate in meeting their spiritual hunger and are looking for a more authentic expression of “Christian community”.
Many are tired of being entertained instead of being fed. Many are sick of the merry go round of sensationalism, hypeology and ear-tickling sermons and long for sound teaching from God’s Word. They are fed up with church hype whether it’s signs & wonders hype, apostolic hype, prophetic hype, prayer hype, fad hype, program hype or worship hype. They have grown weary of performance driven Christianity, fleeting fads, manmade strategies, and a constant smorgasbord of “dog & pony” shows. A growing number have also grown disenchanted with what they perceive to be the structured predictability of “church in a can”. They are tired of being passive spectators in a staged, weekly production with little opportunity of participation beyond passively sitting and listening to a one man show deliver a message in a lecture format without any meaningful interaction with the word beyond an acceptable “amen” or “hallelujah”.
Though many with a vested interest in maintaining the status quo or are locked in the straight-jacket of traditionalism are often quick to dismiss the concept of “house church” as idealistic, unworkable, and even hair-brained there is a quiet migration taking place under the radar of many Christians involving those who are choosing to embrace the house church as a sound biblical alternative. Though some are quick to denounce the house church as a marginally insignificant fringe group of chronic complainers, bitter malcontents and spiritual nut cases and would even go so far as to label then as “anti-church”, when in fact they are not leaving "the church" but leaving "Churchanity." After leaving few look back or regret from what they have discovered afresh in Christ.
Others have drifted to the safe harbor of house church because they have found themselves as wounded warriors discarded by the wayside of a lonely “no man’s land” due to spiritual abuse, church legalism and the inevitable “burn out” of performance driven Christianity. For many, the church has become a toxic environment. Many of these church casualties can no longer force themselves through the front door of the traditional church but long for a vital communion with other believers so they choose the non-threatening, nurturing and welcoming environment of a house church where the emphasis is on authenticity, accountability, personal relatability, intimacy, interaction, participation, relationship building, transparency, a deeper sense of Christian community and accelerated discipleship. The house church is the ideal crucible for this to happen. It was then, and it is now.