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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Worship (corporate) (10/04/07)

TITLE: Since You Did Ask
By RuthAnn Cornelson


If you ask me about corporate worship, and you did, I would say that Christians who want to return to the early church "model" of worshipping in house churches would do well to remember that the reason the early church met in houses was not because that is the more spiritual way, or even that it is better for spiritual development. No, no. It is because if they met in a large group they would be killed or imprisoned. They HAD to go underground which generally means to meet in secret, but in the case of the early church actually meant "under the ground", hence we have the catacombs.

Before going further let’s consider the criterion for a house church versus a large church. I have a large house, almost 4,000 square feet. We hosted the youth group from our large church on Wednesday nights last summer and were able to have 50 to 60 kids attend. Of course, we are talking about teen-agers sitting all over the floor, under the ping pong table, on top of the coffee table, you know. From that experience I would surmise that a house church would unlikely hold more than 50 people and I’m thinking more likely 20–30 and probably even more likely 10-15 in Bible days. A large church then, could be considered anything from maybe 200 to 5,000 plus.

For those of us who feel that gathering together in a house is preferable to meeting in a large facility - LOOK OUT! The way our society is moving, we’re going to get your wish before long. In some areas in North America there are already restrictions on what pastors can teach. Certainly there are many restrictions on where prayers can be said. Our children and grandchildren will grow up hardly knowing traditional Christmas Carols if society has it’s way. We all know that public opinion presents Christians as intolerant and bigoted. House churches are closer than many might think, and not necessarily by choice.

So for myself, since you asked, I love meeting with hundreds of other Christians. I love the swell of hundreds of voices raising the roof and soaring to the heavens. I love the feeling of community, the feeling of "I'm not alone in this. I am part of a huge family of people, all with one focus - JESUS."

I love being able to witness a baptism where 10, 20 or even more are baptized. I love hearing the salvation message preached in a large meeting and knowing that whether anyone raised his hand or not, probably at least one, and easily more, just entered into the Kingdom, became part of my family.

I love the preaching, the exhortation delivered to a large group of Christians, speaking things that apply to all of us, reminding us that we all have the same mission, the same responsibility: to love God with all our hearts and act like we do, to love each other so "they" will know that we are Christians, and to love our neighbor. That's the job of all of us, we’re in this together.

For accountability and Bible study, for intimacy and fellowship, I enjoy a small group. I have that opportunity at my big church. In fact, I have an opportunity to choose from many times and many locations for my group. It is very important in a large church to have a small group - a house church.

Corporate worship of the body of Christ is more than just a recommendation, it’s an instruction. Whether it’s in a small group or a large one, we need to get together. We need each other.

“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Heb 10:25 NIV)

And, ” the Day” is approaching, we all know that. Then we may not have the option of meeting in a large group and there will come a day when we likely will not even have the option of meeting in a small group. The day will almost certainly come when we will have to go underground and adopt the house church model. Hopefully not literally under ground, although digging could be part of youth group activities. Until that day, I'm going to enjoy gathering in corporate worship with fellow believers in my large church.

Thank you for your time, since you did ask.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Schultz 10/12/07
Love the conversational approach to this and the slight tongue-in-cheek, too! Nicely done.