It has been such a joy to see God move in our nation’s capital! We started with a simple vision to live out Kingdom values amongst the people of D.C. and see transformation. We are just getting started, but already seeing lives transformed and believing that this city will soon follow suit!
The core of what we are doing at Antioch D.C. is house church. This happens in a couple different avenues, lifegroup and Sunday gatherings. While different in format, both gatherings are home-based and contain the same basic components. We have found these components to be crucial as we are seeing God’s Kingdom come in Washington, D.C.
Here are the 4 core components of house church:
1) Connection. Church is all about relationships. We often think it’s a program or event, but the essence of church is people. A major part of gathering as the people of God is to interact with one another, serve one another and see spiritual gifts manifest among one another. We take the first 10–20 minutes to mingle, connect relationally and allow people time to arrive. This portion isn’t just waiting for church to start, it is church! We then ask a simple question for people to interact further and get to know one another- this strengthens the bond of connection between members and provides some intentionality.
Along with relational connection, we share testimonies in all our gatherings. This means that we open the floor for anyone to share about how God is moving in and through their lives. This is one of my favorite parts because it’s incredibly encouraging and reinforces the sense of ownership among all members.
“Let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” Hebrews 10:25
2) Worship. What separates a gathering of believers from any other gathering of friends? It’s our pursuit of God and the habitation of His presence. In the Old Testament, the act of worship was central to the people of God and was even employed to win military battles (2 Chr 20:19). This pattern continues throughout the New Testament (Ephesians 5:29, Acts 16:25). As we worship Jesus as the gathered church, His presence meets with us and we are transformed.
“Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness.” Psalm 29:2
3) Teaching. God’s Word is vital to a healthy church! We need Scripture to be honored, taught, and applied if we are to experience the fullness of life that God has in store. We don’t seek to evaluate God’s Word, but rather allow it to evaluate us. We want to be washed, renewed and shaped by God’s truth found in the Scriptures.
There are a couple of ways that we do this: 1) Biblical teaching and 2) Discovery Bible study. Biblical teaching is when a mature believer teaches from Scripture on a particular passage or topic (1 Tim 5:17). This can be live or a recording. Discovery Bible study is when we break into groups and read portions of Scripture and allow the Word to speak for itself. We ask some simple questions, such as “What does it say and how do I obey?” These times are powerful because people are owning their personal discoveries from Scripture as the Holy Spirit highlights different things to different people.
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” 2 Timothy 3:16
4) Response. The people of God are called to be obedient responders to His Word, not just listeners. It is when we respond that we experience transformation. In both our lifegroups and Sunday gatherings, we don’t leave without asking the question “How can I apply this to my life?” or “How is God asking me to respond?” We make space for the Holy Spirit to seal His work in our hearts and leave changed.
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” James 1:22
We have found these few components to be integral to building Jesus-centered church community. But this is not meant to be fully exhaustive. You may notice that communion is not mentioned above, neither is baptism. (Please know that I value both!) This is not meant to be a full-bodied dissertation on all activities of the church. Rather these are broad categories in which can fit several individual components that comprise church life. My heart is this: We often overcomplicate church. We overcomplicate what it takes to see lives transformed. These simple values and actions lived out with devotion to Jesus and humility to one another will bring transformation to your life, your family and your communities. Let it be!
For coaching and consulting with how to lead house churches, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.