By Larry Kreider
My wife LaVerne and I are a part of an awesome house church that meets every week. We have a blast eating together, praying together, reaching out to “pre-Christians” together, and practically serving one another. The Bible is filled with examples of “one-anothering”: serving one another, being kind to one another, forgiving one another, and the list goes on. We have found so much joy experiencing these “one another” scriptures in our house church.
When we read the scriptures on one-anothering, we usually think of our personal relationships with the people the Lord has placed in our lives. And obviously, the house church is an excellent way to experience one-anothering. However, the Lord’s desire is for us to take this life of service outside of ourselves to the next level of ministry.
Members of One Another
I believe we need to not only maintain healthy relationships within our particular house church or network of house churches but also within the rest of the body of Christ in our city or region. Romans 12:4-5 says we are “members of one another.” “For as we have many members in one body, but all members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.”
Each church and ministry in a region should sincerely love, respect, and honor one other as they work together to exalt Jesus in their communities. When Ford Corporation runs a car through the assembly line in Detroit, the parts have been gathered from companies all over the world. God has brought together a unique mix of denominations and church families and has assembled them in your region. In any one community, especially in America, there are different kinds of churches. I often say there are three main categories of churches—community churches, megachurches, and house churches. Community churches and megachurches are usually more traditional and are likely to meet in a church building rather than a home, as house churches usually do. Community churches are often smaller churches, and megachurches are large. All three kinds of churches working together will have a significant impact in discipling people and changing lives in their region.
How are house churches to relate to all of the sincere believers who are serving in communities and megachurches? We can find ways to practically serve them! For example, last month, a group of community churches who meet in a building every Sunday in our region were trying to raise enough money to give to a group of missionaries and international church leaders. However, they were not able to raise the money that was needed. Our house church made the decision to give a few thousand dollars to meet the need to help these missionaries and international church leaders.
After all, a house church does not have a building mortgage to pay off, a pastor to pay a salary or an electric bill to pay. Our leaders are all bi-vocational and we meet in homes. The mortgage has already been paid! God has blessed our house church financially so we can serve the body of Christ in our region.
Honor One Another
When we study the revivals found in church history, we realize that unity among pastors and church leaders in a region is one of the most important prerequisites to revival. God is bringing people of various backgrounds and affiliations together in unity as they honor one another. God is using these divine connections to accomplish His purposes.
When we are unified as the body of Christ, we truly “honor one another above ourselves” (Romans 12:10b). As churches walk together in unity in their city, the Lord will command a blessing. Jesus knew that the unity of His believers sends a compelling message to unbelievers. Unity breaks down barriers! I believe the Lord is doing an awesome thing in our day. He is restoring the unity He prayed for in John 17:21: “That all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”
Walls that have divided denominations and churches for centuries are coming down. House churches, community churches, and megachurches in communities throughout the world are beginning to honor each other, pray together regularly, and support each other. This kind of church unity is exciting!
I see this kind of unity beginning among the churches in our region of Lancaster County, in south central Pennsylvania. I am excited about a local regional Christian leadership group that has recently emerged and is in place to “empower the church in its many expressions throughout the region.” Hundreds of leaders in our county are committed to working together as a leadership community regardless of their affiliation. They represent church leadership, ministry leadership, and Christians in leadership in the marketplace (in media, commerce, education, and government). This regional group is not an organization to join, but an organized network of leaders devoted to relationships.
Through prayer and fasting, this group has appointed thirty Christian leaders to work together on a council to oversee the Christian leadership community. Council members include Christian leaders from many types of churches, leaders in business, key ministry leaders, and even a County Commissioner. Some are members of community churches, others are members of megachurches, while others are members of a micro church network–but all are members of the body of Christ in our region.
This regional team is committed to cooperating in establishing the kingdom of God in the home, neighborhood, community, and marketplace. When the body of Christ joins in unity like this, we are bound to see results! This effort is an attempt to coordinate rather than control the work of God in our region. Cooperative efforts must always have this perspective.
I believe God calls Christians from community churches, megachurches, and micro church networks to serve together as the regional church in every city in every nation. Together, we can “one another” each other to reach the world!
Learn more about micro churches in the book Micro Church Networks. Check it out here!
Hear more about micro churches in episode 4 of the Larry Kreider Leadership Podcast, “Larry Kreider & Merle Shenk on Micro Churches and House Church Movements.”
About Larry Kreider
Larry has spent the past four decades training leaders to make disciples with the small group concept. Larry serves as the international director of DOVE International, a worldwide network of over 1,000 churches in 26 nations. Larry has written more than 40 books and travels extensively teaching and imparting practical discipleship to leaders globally. Read about Larry or catch up on Larry’s blog.