By Bob Fitts, Sr.
“Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus… Greet also the church that meets at their house (Rom 16:3-5).
“The churches in the province of Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Priscilla greet you warmly in the Lord, and so does the church that meets at their house” (1Cor 16:19).
“Give my greetings to the brothers at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house” (Col 4:15).
“To Philemon, our dear friend… and to the church that meets in your home…” (Philem 1,2).
From the above scriptures it is clear that the early church met in houses. They were not what we might call a “church house.” They were houses that people lived in, and opened up as a meeting place for the church.
The early church did not have church buildings. Such buildings did not appear until the year 232 A.D. The most explosive period of church growth in history, until recently, took place during those early years when there were no church buildings.
However, right now, in China, there is an unusual move of the Spirit of God that is even greater than that early growth. This is happening without the use of church buildings. This revival is a house church movement.
The following excerpt is taken from the Caleb Report in the 1990 Jan./Feb. issue of MINISTRIES MAGAZINE. The report is given by Loren Cunningham, founder and president of YOUTH WITH A MISSION:
“According to the U.S. Center For World Mission, more than 22,000 Chinese are coming to Christ each day. That is the equivalent of seven days of Pentecost every 24 hours. It is happening right now. Most of this explosion of new belief is coming from China’s rural communities, where 80% of the population of China lives.
“Jonathan Chao, founder of the Chinese Church Research Center, told me how the Chinese revival is being spread by young people. They are mostly ages 15 to 19. The teenagers go to villages and share the gospel where it has never been heard before.
“As converts are organized into small groups, the teens call for the `elders’ (believers in their twenties) to come and teach the newly formed home church. At the same time the teenagers go on to reach the next village.
“Chinese pastors and teachers do not have financial barriers to spreading the Christian message. They live with the peasant farmers in each new area, and do not construct buildings. They have very little and need very little.
“By this simple means, the good news is leaping across the fields and mountains of China.”
The explosive church growth that is now going on in China has something in common with the growth in the early Church in the book of Acts. They were both a house church movement. This same kind of growth is seen in other countries today where church buildings are not allowed.
There is a simple principle expressed here: The more obstacles that we allow to hinder the planting of new churches, the more growth we will see.