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Home churching

I’m not sure what to think about this one. It’s an AgapePress article about the growing number of Christians, according to church and culture analyst George Barna of Barna Group, who are choosing to worship in home-based churches as opposed to traditional congregations with a pastor.

It could be a sign of fundies tiring with the perceived weakening of certain denominations, representing a further retreat into holy roller land of crazy group think. Barna articulates some concern.

“There are some challenges, of course,” the Christian researcher says. “You’ve got the possibilities of bad teaching and errant theology creeping into the process, but we already have that happening in churches today. So we’re going to have a lot of the same challenges that we’ve always had — it’s just an issue of who’s going to resolve them.”

Barna predicts that the home-church movement will continue to grow. He also predicts this increasingly popular alternative to traditional churches will prompt many Christians to take their faith more seriously and to avoid depending on clergy for spiritual growth.

For religious gays who feel left out of the church, I suppose that home churches offer an alternative way to continue worship in a setting that is comforting and affirming, but for an already fractured fundamentalist movement that plays the “who’s got the upper pious hand” game, it seems like home churches will foment even more disagreement over who is “right.”

Author and former pastor, Rev. Chip Brogden, a home-church leader in North Carolina, considers home churches a necessary part of the Christian community. He believes this style of Christian fellowship is filling some of the gaps left by traditional churches.

Brogden says home churches can be a place for those who have been hurt by the traditional church or for those who do not want to be distracted from Christ by a complex church structure. But he cautions Christians not to differentiate themselves from one another based on what kind of structure they choose for their worship and association with fellow believers.

What are your thoughts?

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding