Paul speaks of the congregation
which meets in the house of Priscilla and Aquilla; and in another
epistle he greets the church which meets at Philemon's house.As
the Church grew, many congregations became too large to meet in
someone’s home, and special buildings were erected to house
the worshiping crowd. There were some obvious advantages to a public
building; and soon the house churches disappeared.
Today, however, the house
church is experiencing a revival; and for increasing numbers of
people, it has a special and unique appeal.
In the early house churches,
the congregations were small and the members were on intimate terms
one with another. Scores of experimental congregations of the so-called
underground church have found the simplicity and the closeness of
house worship refreshing and inspiring.
Among several American
communions, it is not new but has developed because many of their
congregations have been small. Often times their smallness came
about because of these groups’ single-minded concern with
worship. They had no need to erect special buildings, because they
did not set out to win people through a round of social and educational
activities that had little or nothing to do with the Gospel. Hence,
those seeking to get acquainted with the community of to find something
to do with their spare time, do not seek a house church, but look
elsewhere to large institutional churches of various denominations.
These house churches are content to seek out those who want to come
to the Lord's Table to break bread together in the Presence of the
By limiting themselves
to the preaching of the Gospel and remaining small, many communions
have discovered some interesting advantages in house chapels.
Most important is that
all who come are seeking to find God. There are few social, business,
or political advantages to attending worship with a small group
meeting in a private home. Consequently, there is a wonderful felling
of fellowship and a common goal and purpose among the worshippers
in a house chapel.