The House Church: Biblical Examples and Types
What is a house church? A house church is a small group of Christians who meet for worship in homes or other non-traditional settings. The group may be part of a larger church, or an entirely independent Christian community. For Christians searching for a deeper level in their service to God, house churches have become a popular option.
Examples of House Churches in the Bible
- Philemon 1:2 – Apphia and Archippus’ house.
“Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, to Philemon our dear friend and fellow worker, also to Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church that meets in your home: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
- Acts 16:40 – Lydia’s house.
“After Paul and Silas came out of the prison, they went to Lydia’s house, where they met with the brothers and sisters and encouraged them.”
- Colossians 4:15 – Nympha’s house.
“Give my greetings to the brothers and sisters at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house.”
- Romans 16:3-5 – Priscilla and Aquila’s house.
“Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my co-workers in Christ Jesus. They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them. Greet also the church that meets at their house.”
- Acts 20:7-8 – The disciples in the upper room.
“On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul began talking to them, intending to leave the next day, and he prolonged his message until midnight. There were many lamps in the upper room where we were gathered together.”
Popular Types of House Churches
- A cell or fellowship group. Cell groups meet together in a member’s home primarily for prayer, study and fellowship. They usually have a leader and may also meet corporately with other cell groups from a larger church.
- A new traditional church. The pastor of a new church plant may conduct meetings in a member’s home until they can afford a permanent facility.
- An organic house church. This type of church meets in various places, not just houses. They are sometimes called organic, simple, or relational. Emphasis is placed on developing a spontaneous, face-to-face community.
Thinking about starting a house church? Make sure you are doing it for the right reasons. Never start any type of ministry out of frustration, bitterness or anger. If you’re patient, God will lead you to the right body of believers.