For three years now, I’ve been on a journey. A pilgrimage, if you will, into my own heart. Three years ago, we began what is now called Origins, a group of house churches who lean on one another for support and encouragement. For most of the three years, my house has been the meeting place for “house church.”
By now, I’m accustomed to the double-takes and odd looks when I tell people my church meets in my home. I’m confident about what we do and why. I’m able to easily tell another person what a house church is and why it’s a perfect fit for our family. Three years seems to be a milestone of sorts. In a human life, the first three years are crucial to setting beliefs, behaviors, and “bents.” After three, most kids are out of diapers, moving toward school, and asserting more and more independence. Babyhood is definitely over and toddlerhood is quickly nearing its end.
So what about our house church journey? It’s three years old now. Infancy has passed, and I look around and think “Hey. We really ARE doing this!!”
So what has house church meant to me? Here’s my top three:
1) House church has given me confidence in my faith. When we began, there were many scary moments for me as I let go of things that were part of brick-and-mortar church. Would I “stick it out” with God if no one was expecting me to play the piano, teach a class, or show up lookin’ good on Sunday morning? Would I love God as much without the “game” to play that I was so accustomed to winning? Could I separate myself from the things I’d always used as outward proof of my love for God? The answer is: YES!!! Yes. With 100% confidence I can now say that I am God’s daughter. He is my Father. I love Him more than ever.
2) For the first time in my spiritual life, I have experienced unconditional acceptance for who I am as a person, not for how well I play, sing, speak, look, or what I know about the Bible. That is not to say I haven’t HAD this type of acceptance. There are many beloved friends, teachers, pastors, fellow believers who have extended this acceptance to me in the past. I simply could not let myself experience it while still attempting to earn it by playing well, lookin’ good, and being the poster child. There have been moments in my living room when fellow believers have prayed for me, and I for them, we’ve struggled and celebrated, and kept on being there for each other, all without the trappings I was used to. I NEEDED to know, deep down, that not only would I still love God if stripped of my church “position” but that other believers would still love ME. And they do.
3) It’s OK to let God take care of me. In the past three years, people have come along who’ve needed what house church offers… the healing, the acceptance, the rest. But for the group that meets in my home, there hasn’t been an explosion of numbers. No one’s beating down the door to get in. Not that I expected or was shooting for a group that is bursting at its seams. We do not have a goal of building a church building to house our meetings. In all seriousness, I… we have needed the past three years to let God work in us, care for us, and knit us together with Him. I’ve learned that it’s ok to let God teach me and lead me, even if the steps are miniscule. I’ve learned that big crowds, microphones, offering plates and the latest tunes are not necessarily evidence of God’s presence or His blessing, or His work in my life.
I’m so grateful for the simplicity, the straightforwardness, the purity of BEING the church. I in Him and He in me. In us.
Our hands in His, we journey on.