How to start a Biblically-correct home church
Many churches these days who call themselves Christian have taken a major detour away from the Bible.
Some are heavily entrenched in traditions that are in conflict with Biblical teachings.
Like the Pharisees (Matthew 15), they hold their traditions to be more important than God's words,
making it impossible for Christians in these churches to properly worship God
(Jesus commanded that we worship God "in spirit and in truth"—John 4:24).
Even so-called "Bible-based" churches look for preachers who conform to their
denominational (or non-denominational) way of thinking. This often results in their loss of Biblical objectivity.
Such churches will often allow preachers to
guide them only if they have passed required course-work of their church-sponsored Bible colleges.
Ironically, not even Jesus and His apostles would
qualify to serve in these churches (remember: the Pharisees—who were "college graduates" of the modern religious
schools—considered the apostles to be "unschooled and ordinary men").
While good things may
be taught in man-made religious institutions, invariably the doctrinal views of those group are emphasized.
Requiring preachers to serve in these educational institutions means there is a significant probability
they have been "conformed" to the denominational way of thinking required by that flavor of "Christianity."
All this, and more, has some—who truly desire to serve God as He instructed them to do—frustrated,
and feeling there are no churches that truly attempt to honor the Bible over traditional practices or denominationally-slanted teachings.
So, as an alternative to the lack of Biblical choices available in the modern Christian world,
some are electing to return to the original pattern of Biblical Christians.
Almost all churches described in the Bible were apparently "home churches"
Perhaps a surprising revelation to some is the fact that almost all Christian churches of the Bible were
apparently "home churches"—churches where the local
Christians met in a residential home, rather than some other type of structure.
We know that other types of meeting places were described in the Bible (see Acts 2), but home churches predominated.
Many people today still follow the practice of assembling in their homes to worship, although such churches, sadly, are typically
not taken seriously and generally not widely advertised.
Perhaps it's time more Christians got back to the basics of small, close-knit Christians, and to a setting where the Bible can truly be
followed without having to accept the doctrines of a larger church that is not Biblically correct.
For some, especially those who live in cities where Biblically-correct Christian churches do not exist, this may be
the only alternative. That's because regular and habitual worship to God is His clearly spoken will
(Hebrews 10:25; Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2; 11:23-E; 14:all).
With that in mind, here are a few quick Biblical recommendations you should remember if you choose to start a home church (this is by no means comprehensive):
Tip #1: Look to the Bible for how to start your home church
We should never forget that our purpose is to worship and serve God, so it makes sense to worship Him the way
He wants us to, not the way we would prefer.
In spite of what many today believe, God made it clear that it is possible to actually worship Him "in vain" (Matthew 15:9).
This can happen when people develop the popular attitude that "God doesn't care how I worship Him so long as I worship him."
Therefore, we must look to the Bible for all our instructions on how to properly form a congregation.
Tip #2: A least two believers must belong to a church
The Bible says:
"...where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them."
While the primary context here is speaking about church discipline, I believe Jesus is also making a general statement that can be applied to worship.
(Please also realize that many home churches were obviously small, small enough to meet in houses—as already mentioned above.)
So, I believe it takes a minimum of two believers worshiping God "in His name" (i.e., according to His authority and instructions, implying
adult, baptized believers) to make up a Scriptural church.
At least one male is needed to provide church leadership and conduct the
services according to the Holy Spirit's instructions and God's spiritual hierarchy (1 Corinthians 11:3; 14:33-35).
Leadership must be provided from the viewpoint of being a servant, not an overlord (Jesus: "The greatest among you
will be your servant"—Matthew 23:11).
Hopefully, the congregation can grow to the point that qualified men can become elders and oversee the congregation. That should be a goal.
Tip #3: Assemblies must be orderly
God is a God of order, so obviously assemblies must be conducted in an orderly fashion (1 Corinthians 14:33,40). 1 Corinthians 14 gives a lot
of helpful instruction on properly functioning Biblical assemblies.
For example, when one speaker spoke, the others were to be
silent; in this way, proper attention could be given to the message, and proper edification received (1 Corinthians 14:29-31).
Everything was to be done, not only in truth (according to Biblical intructions), but also in spirit (with the right attitude)—John 4:24.
Clearly, if people must worship "in spirit," it's important for order to exist in the assembly so proper focus and attention can be achieved.
Tip #4: Certain basic ingredients are required in assemblies
The ingredients to Biblical worship appear to be as follows: Lord's Supper (every first day of the week; Acts 20:7, etc);
Singing (1 Corinthians 14:15; Colossians 3:16); Prayer (1 Corinthians 14:15); Bible reading (1 Timothy 4:13); Bible teaching (1 Timothy 4:13);
and, Collection (every first day of the week, presumably when they were assembled—1 Corinthians 16:1-2).
Announcements aren't mentioned in the Bible as being part of any worship assembly.
Of course, collections should be tracked and funds used for the two church-permitted functions: (1) preaching/teaching,
and (2) helping the truly needy among us.
However, people who receive help should truly be in need of daily necessities—as the Bible makes clear
(1 Timothy 5:3-5; 6:8: "But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.").
Tip #5: Have a plan for reaching the lost
Christ provided a summation of the church's purpose in His final words prior to His ascension. He said:
"...go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
So, churches must not only provide for regular worship, but also have a plan for mission work in their communities.
Sharing Christ with our friends, arranging for radio programs to air (can often borrow material from other sources if we don't
have our own), advertising in shoppers for Bible studies, websites, flyers, etc—are all ways and means that can
be used to help spread the gospel to the lost in our local communities.
Incidentally, a website has been designed to reach out to the lost:
www.GetOnTheRightPath.org, which you are
welcome to use as you see fit in bringing people to Christ.
Tip #6: Consider mid-week Bible studies
Consider mid-week Bible studies, even if they're informal at first.
It's a great habit to help build up your spirits, and strengthen the church.
Tip #7: Make a serious effort to connect to like-minded Christians
Attempt to find, and reach out to, other Biblically-correct Christians, even those who might live in another state or region.
The Bible is clear that we are not only to be an active part of a local group of assembling Christians, but we are also part of
a "universal" church of Christians across the world.
So, seek to locate, and encourage, other such Christians. In so doing, you will also be encouraged yourself.
Tip #8: Don't try to pattern your home church after other churches
It's important to remember that we should not seek to pattern our new home church after another modern church or group of
Our goal should be to pattern ourselves after the Biblical church. Men can obviously be wrong, so it's important to build each
new church's foundation directly on the teachings of Christ and His apostles (Ephesians 2:19-20).
Biblical churches were also "autonomous" (independent) in function, though connected universally to other Christians in other
regions as well (the "brotherhood"). Each congregation makes its own decisions; it is not required to submit to another church's decisions,
nor should any other church
force decisions upon it.
Christ is our direct Head. We are directly responsible to Him, not to another church or body of believers.
Tip #9: Try to find other like-minded Christians to help you get started
Not only should we attempt to find other like-minded Christians to encourage (and be encouraged by—see Tip #7 above),
but, if possible, we should also seek help in getting started from other Biblically-correct Christians.
Relying on other faithful brothers and sisters will make your job easier, and help keep you from being discouraged in doing God's will.
You may want assistance from like-minded preachers or teachers in reaching out to the lost or simply to receive spiritual instruction.
The Bible commands that teachers/preachers must be repaid, whatever you can reasonably
afford (see Galatians 6:6; 1 Corinthians 9:6-15). So, if you invite teachers to come and assist in your teaching, try to repay them in some way.
Some will decline to receive anything (they may already be receiving appropriate support elsewhere), but we must
at least let them know our intentions to do God's will in this matter.
Later, their situation could change and they may need the support.
Tip #10: Don't be tempted to ignore what you know is right
The Bible says that: "...everything that does not come from faith is sin." (Romans 14:23)
So, if (for example) you're concerned your children need to attend a larger church to be "socially complete," find a way to do this
without neglecting the commands of God.
Regarding social activities for children: There are ways to do this without
neglecting His commands for regular worship assembling. Today, home-schoolers have created a wide-spread network of optional
activities where your children can interact (if you approve) with other "good" kids in wholesome activities.
Such concerns, however, should never trump our desire to please our Lord in all things.
Additional recommended reading:
John 4:24: Worshiping God in Spirit & Truth
Modern churches filled with 'false worshipers?'
Private worship: Prayer, reading, meditation
How to choose the right church
Challenge to modern churches: Return to the 'Ancient Paths'
Have modern churches become too 'tradition oriented?'
Dilemma: Should you fellowship a dead church?