That seems like a strange title for today’s meditation, doesn’t it? However, by the time you finish working through this article, I don’t think is will seem so strange. And I hope you will be both encouraged and inspired to make sure there is, indeed, a “church” in your home. Consider the following passage.
Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, To Philemon our dear friend and fellow worker, to Apphia our sister, to Archippus our fellow soldier and to the church that meets in your home. (Philemon 1:1-2)
To find a church meeting in the home of Philemon was not uncommon. Churches met in homes until about A.D. 200; church buildings were not established until the 3rd century. For the early apostolic church, the size of the house would determine the size of the gathering of Christians worshiping their Lord. Inasmuch as people started migrating to church buildings for the corporate worship of God, Scripture gives no indication that God preferred that the “church” would leave the home. Charles Spurgeon put it this way:
Is there a Church in this house? Are parents, children, friends, servants, all members of it or are some still unconverted? Let us pause here and let the question go round—Am I a member of the Church in this house? How would father’s heart leap for joy, and mother’s eyes fill with holy tears if from the eldest to the youngest all were saved!
If there be such a Church in our house, let us order it well, and let all act as in the sight of God. Let us move in the common affairs of life with studied holiness, diligence, kindness, and integrity. More is expected of a church than of an ordinary household; family worship must, in such a case, be more devout and hearty; internal love must be more warm and unbroken, and external conduct must be more sanctified and Christ-like. We need not fear that the small number will put us out of the list of churches, for the Holy Spirit has here enrolled a family-church in the inspired book of remembrance.
Wow! Wouldn’t that be well said of our own homes today, to be remembered as a family church? And that brings me to a wonderful story I would like to share with you.
Our church plant started in a home back in February 2012. Our dear friends, Joe and Carolyn Miller, opened up their home to launch the planting of Cross Community Church. Joe thought a gathering in his living room would be a nice start for our church. When I told him we might overflow out on to the pool deck, he never flinched.
What I have come to understand over the past 15 months is that there was already a church in their home long before we ever showed up to launch The Cross. The Miller home is built not upon shifting sand, but upon the Rock of the Lord Jesus Christ. The church is a place where everyone should feel welcomed . . . and this is the mark of their home.
I remember Joe saying to me, “This is how the church got started back in the days of the apostles and I think this is the way God would like us to start The Cross in Deerfield Beach.” Well, he was right. The launch was electric; the atmosphere was charged with a powerful presence of the Holy Spirit. Launching our church plant in their home church is a time no one who was there will ever forget.
Why? Because church was nothing new in the Miller home. Today they can say along with John, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth” (3 John 1:4). Sons John, Paul, Jimmy, and daughter Jasmine are all walking in the truths of the Gospel. Now, the home church did not save these children; Jesus did! But the Bible makes it clear that God uses means, and one of the means God uses is a home that is dedicated for the sole use of expanding the cause of God’s kingdom.
Carolyn puts the Gospel on display through her incredible gifts of hospitality and service in their home church. She simply cannot do enough for others, regardless of the cost or circumstance. Joe is busily engaged in sharing the good news of the Gospel with everyone who enters, and I am convinced more people hear the Gospel behind the walls of the Miller home than in most churches today. They have taken the model of the 1st century church, marked by the love of Christ, and made it their mark in ministry to everyone who walks through their doors.
So . . . is there a church in your home today? If yes, praise God for the grace He has poured out upon you and your family in your home. If you would have to answer “no,” prayerfully consider how you can begin cultivating church in your home—for God’s glory and the good of all those who enter in.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!