“For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.”
What is a House Church?
A House Church is any small gathering of people where the aim is to seek God together. A House Church can either be the group of people that you have already been meeting with OR a group that you will gather from among your friends, neighbors, family, etc. It is a place that invites and welcomes newcomers, with eyes to see those who aren’t connected with spiritual community.
A House Church can either be the group of people that you have already been meeting with or a group that you will gather from among your friends, neighbors, family, etc. It is a place that invites and welcomes newcomers, with eyes to see those who aren’t connected with spiritual community.
Some House Churches will meet in homes. Some will meet on Zoom. Some will meet in public spaces.
The structure of the House Church gathering is based around the “Four W’s”: Welcome, Worship, Word and Witness. Different House Church members, including children if present, may lead any or all of the sections. Some House Churches often vary the order of the sections (i.e. worship after word).
Welcome: This is about getting to know one another and connecting with one another. It usually includes chat about the past week (reflection), an “ice-breaker” question to get people talking and it may include prayer or ministry to one another. It may also include a meal, snacks, coffee, etc. It often functions as the meeting before the meeting.
Worship: When we worship, we turn our focus to God, celebrating what He has done and is doing. Some prefer to have their worship time before the word segment and end their meeting with prayer. Whatever works best for your House Church is what you should do. The worship time releases presence, prayer and power in the midst of the group in a way that builds up each other’s faith and spiritually bonds everyone together. The worship time in a House Church can include singing, praying, viewing art, reading poetry, dance, etc.
Word: We want to connect Scripture to everyday life and help one another put it into practice. Reflection on what was learned last week is important. In most House Churches, the subject is the teaching of the Sunday sermon. There are multiple ways to engage with the Word. One is to use questions specifically addressing what the preacher said on the weekends. Another way is to use the Bible study guide that goes deeper into the Scripture preached on. Both of these resources are/will be available on the Salem Alliance Church website.
Witness: We want to focus on those outside the House Church. As you close the gathering each week, you can share vision for multiplication. This is vital to keep the group looking outward through mission, ministry and multiplication. Serving opportunities, planning fun outings and reaching out to those who don’t know Jesus as a group promotes a balanced discipleship pattern.
- Some of you will meet on Sundays to watch Livestream together and respond to the sermon (using the sermon questions or the Bible study guide).
- Some will meet during the week to process the sermon or to discuss the Bible Study.
- Some of you will meet over Zoom rather than in person.
- Some of you may meet on the church campus. Due to social distancing guidelines, we will have a limited number of rooms available at the church for more vulnerable groups that will not be able to meet unless they meet on campus.
- Some of you might do a hybrid of these options.
- Some of you will find new ways to engage in Welcome, Worship, Word and Witness together.
We can’t currently meet all together like we used to, so we encourage all of our small group gatherings to see themselves as the mobile Church continuing to meet. The name change to House Church helps us remember the essentials of what church is and that it does not have to be limited to a location or a size. The name brings a broader vision to what we do when we gather.
For some of you who have traditionally spent most of your small group time together studying the Word, we will be encouraging you to think about ways to make more space for Welcome, for Worship and for Witness. It’s a way to determine together that Christ’s church is alive and well in spite of the challenges that we currently face. This name change helps us to focus in on the WHO, WHAT and WHY of church, even though our WHERE has been disrupted.
Don't worry, we've thought about that too.
Please click on this link to see our plan for kids and teens this fall.
A House Church movement equips and mobilizes disciples to make disciples who can then go and make more disciples. We call this multiplication.
Not all House Churches will be in a position to think multiplication right away, but all House Churches can find ways to actively engage in kingdom advancement. We would love to coach your House Church about what disciple-making can look like for your unique House Church.
The honest answer? We don’t know. Our sense is that House Churches are our best way forward for the time being. Let’s all keep praying that we would be diligent followers of Spirit as He continues to lead us through times of uncertainty.
We want to honor and respect the fact that other churches in our city have made decisions to attempt limited openings. Due to our sheer size, it has not been doable or practical for us to open.
We are choosing to obey these guidelines because of what the Scriptures teach us for moments like this: "Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God." Romans 13:1
We also believe choosing not to gather is an act of selflessness and love not just to the vulnerable at Salem Alliance, but also to our city. We would be heartbroken to know that a gathering at Salem Alliance caused the unnecessary death of a congregant or caused anyone in our city to lose a loved one.