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Why We Attend A Home Church

>27 July 2010
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All of my life I’ve attended a traditional church. Growing up, I went to Catholic mass with my grandparents in California, and a Southern Baptist church here with my dad. Since my husband and I have been married, we’ve visited many different churches. And although we have loved the people we’ve met and formed relationships with, there has always been this sense of something missing.

We longed to fellowship as Jesus and the disciples did. I kept talking to my husband about the idea of starting a Bible study or something in our home so that we could try to achieve this sort of closeness with other believers. I had never heard of a “home church” before, but I found myself wishing we could do something like that.

The more I thought about it, the more it began showing itself around me. I got in touch with a long lost friend, and in our conversations she revealed to me that her and her husband hold “church” in their home. I was very excited to hear that others actually did this! I shared with her my conviction to do something similar. And then suddenly, it was as if the Lord lifted a veil, and more and more people that I came in contact with also home churched. Then one day my husband came home and told me about a man he’d met who is a pastor and holds “church” in his home. He shared with me his desire to visit this church, and I was excited to agree.

Even though these gatherings are an hour from us, we have truly enjoyed, and even look forward to, every meeting. We are a small group of believers, all eager to dig into the Word. What we really love is that our “pastor”, though we don’t really call him that, is on the same road we are in every way.

I love that we meet in a room off of his barn, and it really doesn’t matter what you wear. We sing, we search God’s Word, we pray, we eat a potluck lunch afterward, and have wonderful fellowship. And we appreciate that our tithe money can be used to help somebody instead of paying for a building to worship in, or the electricity bill.

But one of the most important things to me is that the children stay with us, right where they belong, and play quietly while we listen. I don’t have to worry about sending them to be taught under somebody I don’t really know. I don’t have to worry that somebody will sneak them away from a distracted teacher. I don’t have to worry about the influence other non-homeschooled kids will have on them. I won’t have to worry about them being given cookies and soda for a snack, and I don’t have to worry about the pedophile who came back to our old home church, hurting my beautiful daughter.

 

This is why we attend a home church.

When the Lord was on this earth, fellowship happened in the homes of other believers. Jesus taught. The children gathered around. Believers sang, prayed, and ate together. We feel blessed to be able to do the same.

We realize, however, that we may not always have the freedom to worship this way. Actually, the police have come out on a couple of occasions and threatened our pastor with fines if he continued holding “church” on his property. If they had a good reason, like our cars blocking the road or something, that would be one thing, but there is no good reason. We all park our cars on the pastor’s property, within the gates of his land. We are not disrupting anybody or anything. It’s sad that law enforcement would waste it’s time persecuting a group of believers over people actually breaking the law.

Anyways, I realize that not everybody shares the desire to home church, so please don’t feel the need to defend your choice of worship. I just thought I’d share with you what we do, and why. I guess I want to share an alternative to traditional, institutionalized churches for those who are searching for something different.

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36 Comments »

  • LeAnna said:

    Kendra,

    I came across this article and found it interesting. I don’t know who this person is, but a lot of what he says makes sense.

    LeAnna

  • Nancy said:

    Kendra, you are categorizing homeschool and non-homeschooled kids differently?

    “I don’t have to worry about the influence other non-homeschooled kids will have on them.”

    Just because you are blessed to be able to homeschool your children does not mean that my children who attend school while I work are any different. What would you have done had that statement been directed at you and your choice to homeschool your children? I don’t want my kids influenced by homeschooled children? That is absolutely ridiculous and that is what is wrong with our great nation today. Everyone’s ideas or lifestyles are better than others. Just because I CHOOSE to work outside the home, my kids attend public schools, and I worship in a “regular” church, then I am an outsider? I liked your post and your reasons for looking beyond traditional – up and to the point of the statement regarding non-homeschool influence.

    There are many many people and probably some are your readers whose children attend public or private schools.

    Just my opinion.

    Nancy

  • LeAnna said:

    Wow! I had not realized that the law doesn’t like you to have “church” on your own property! That’s horrible! I thought down the road, our world would come to that at some point, but not right now!
    I really like the idea of “home church” too. I feel the same way that something is missing in these churches. I always feel like there are little groups of people “clicking” together… no real unity. Not to mention, there are the influences of some children, that I would rather my children not be around, that I have noticed that they are drawn to.
    I would like some more information about the reasons behind home churches, if anyone has any. I always thought that we were to fellowship with believers in a church setting with the head (pastor) and elders or deacons. That the pastor was the shepherd to guide his congregation. Hmmm, I guess you could do that in “home church”. I would love to hear more and if it’s looked down on by the law everywhere.

  • Sheena said:

    Nancy, I, too, stopped short at that particular comment. My son is only 2 1/2 and I have considered homeschooling him, but I don’t like the though of “us” and “them” either. I am giving Kendra the benefit of the doubt, and hoping she meant something more along the lines of the language and attitudes and other habits that COULD be picked up from public school, just as well as they could be picked up anywhere else. And although I agree with not wanting my children to pick those up from their friends, I hope that instead of encouraging them not to associate with “them,” I can pray that they will be the ones influencing their friends in a positive way.

  • Leigh said:

    We homechurched for many years when we lived in North Carolina.

    It’s a shame you got some flak about your non-homeschooled kids statement. As parents, each of us chooses what we believe is best for our children. It was always odd to me then, that people (at church) would immediately rush to defend their decision to send their kids to public school when they learned we homeschooled. I always respected their right to educational choice, but if asked, would always tell them that socialization was the primary reason I homeschooled. It always seemed to me that folks who become defensive so easily, do so because they lack confidence in their decisions.

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Nancy,

    I guess I should have been more specific. I am referring to this particular group of kids that she was in class with, and the things she was coming home telling me after service. Obviously, there are tons of wonderful kids who are not home schooled. I do not believe all public school kids are horrible examples, I am only speaking of a particular circumstance we found ourselves in. Don’t be offended by that.

    I stand by what I said, as it is not coming from a judgmental heart, but as a result of personal experience and observation. I am allowed my opinion, just as you are yours. If I were writing a post condemning those who do not homeschool, then you would be justified in being offended. But I am not.

  • Heather said:

    While we attend a public church, and are happy there, I don’t see anything wrong with attending a home church. It doesn’t matter where you attend, but that you are coming together with a group of other believers to worship! :)
    I believe that what is “wrong with our great nation today” is the move away from traditional values. Moms staying home to raise their children (and school them) and dads working to provide for their families. Men and women are trading roles and values and it’s scary.
    Whether that is politically correct or not, it is bibically correct and that’s what really counts.
    Thanks for your post Kendra!

  • Amanda in FL said:

    Kendra,

    I thought this post was right on. I too have been feeling like there is a lot missing from the traditional church setting in our day and age. It seems that church has become a game or something else that has to be trendy and quite frankly I’m disgusted by it. I have heard of home churches since the mid-90′s because of being in homeschool circles. I agree and would love to try out a home church for all of the reasons you mentioned, Kendra. I don’t think my husband is as open to the idea though, so my responsibility as a Christian wife is to honor him in that. Thank you for being willing to post on something that can be seen as controversial. I must say, I’m a little jealous! lol ;)

    Blessings!

  • LeAnna said:

    Leigh,I agree with you 100%. I have seen that as well. I have respected those who choose to send their children to public school, but I choose not to, because of the influences of the kids at school, and for the reason that education seems to generally be lacking. While you can be a good influence to others at school, kids generally pick up more bad than good. That’s just how it works. We have a sin nature. We have to guard our children’s hearts. Do I think that those who send their kids to public school can’t have godly children… absolutely not! But, that is a personal decision that you have made. Each parent must prayefully make their own decisions regarding what’s best for the children. We will all be accountable to God someday for how we raise our children.

  • Jen said:

    Kendra,

    While I see the pros and cons to homeschooling and home-churching vs other forms of schooling and “traditional institutionalized” churches as you refer to them, may I just caution you that when we think our way is “better” than everyone else we risk becoming legalistic. Those “other people” who do church the way you don’t like will be worshiping along side you in heaven. And praise God that the pedophile came back to church. I would hope that the church didn’t put him into the position of teaching the little children’s Sunday school class….as you allude to.

    You might think I’m pro one way or the other but you’d be wrong. God has painfully and slowly ripped legalism away from me. I’ll worship no matter which believers I’m with and even though I homeschool I refuse to look down on those who don’t. I know plenty of loser homeschool families. I was homeschooled and I’ve homeschooled my children so I’m pro homeschooling in every way but the moment we make homeschooling our religion and look down on others I think we’ve lost the point of Jesus loving even the prostitute and tax collector. I used to say that I loved those people but saying with your lips is one thing. Legalism starts in the heart.

    I’m just rambling my thoughts here because I know that you don’t mind an intellectual debate. You know I’ve followed your blog for a long time and adore you. =0) Just…from the bottom of my heart, one sister in Christ to another caution you to tread carefully lest you judge.

    May God bless your home church greatly and keep the law enforcement from dealing unkindly and unfairly. And, may you realize that Christ wants you to reach the officers, the pedophile, and the disobedient public school children for His glory. Not at the expense of your children. You know I’m not saying that. Just keep in mind that God wants to use us to reach those people but if we keep to ourselves it will be very difficult to accomplish. There are ways to still be in the world and yet raise our children in a protective manner. I realize we all draw that line at different points in our lives…so the best we can do is not think that our way is better or closer to God because we make sure that “fellowship happened in the homes of other believers” just like Jesus did.

    for Him,
    Jen
    http://www.realfoodhealthyliving.com
    http://www.thethingswedoblog.com

  • Laura said:

    Wow, I can’t believe the police were coming to your pastor’s house. I can’t see how having “church” in his home is any different from having a dinner party. That’s just silly that they were badgering him!

  • Nancy said:

    Kendra, this is a good healthy discussion of how people feel….I am not defensive, I wanted to understand better your thoughts. I am all about good healthy discussions where people can agree to disagree.

    My children attended public school, I wished I could have homeschooled but I was not in the position to do so. However, I was very involved in my kids education, and I held the school accountable as well as myself for teaching my children. I also addressed issues that came up at home with the teachers and principle at our school. We “nipped it in the bud” before it ever started to get out of hand.

    Please don’t think that I was being defensive, I was taken back by the comment, which in turn triggered my post which in turn triggered your response….like I said…good healthy discussions and different points of view.

  • Holly Crawford said:

    WOW!!! very touchy subject it seems!!! I personally did not get offended from your statement-Kendra…I send my children to public school but I wish I could feel confident enough in myself to homeschool…I admire you :) Even though I do feel like I homeschool to an extent because of all the homework we have to do…I pray that you cont’ to express your opinions that is what makes you beautiful…

    God Bless :)

  • Laura @ BTB said:

    Kendra, I think more and more folks are wondering where traditional church went off the tracks. As we have just moved, we’ve attended several churches, variety of denominations, & found it very difficult to make the connection. I think it is a common trend in all walks of life/work/school/church to aquiesce (sp?) to a certain pattern & some folks are ‘fed-up’. They may stay where they are and be able to change it to what they feel is right, or they may feel it necessary to either start over or find another path. I think people who home-school ( I currently stand in that crowd) often find it in their thinking to be independent/outside of the set pattern/larger coporate style-building tied church and don’t think it unusual to worship at home or in another fellow believers home.
    I don’t know where we’ll end up, but I must say it was encouraging & helpful to read what you wrote.

  • Andrew Odom said:

    Well, I imagine there is not much left for me to say. I think the post was spot on and reiterated something my wife was talking to me about the other day – the policing of our religious assemblies. I fully expect that Christians will one day be persecuted again but like LeAnna said, I had no idea it would come so soon or was already taking place.

    We don’t currently worship in a group setting as we are completely disenchanted and disenfranchised by our local, small town churches and don’t know of any other opportunities. We do however meet monthly with a wonderful group of artists (I am a photographer) who see their talents as a tool for worship and ministry.

    I just wanted to chime in a bit as men are not so well represented on your comments. haahahaha. LOL. I continue to read your posts and think highly of you and your family.

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    It sounds like you are a wonderful, actively involved parent, Nancy. Something to be very proud of! I do appreciate your opinoin. I’ll say it here, as I did on Facebook, sometimes I need to clarify what I said, as at times what makes sense to me comes across in a different light to those who don’t know my heart. Thank you for helping me to clarify :)

  • janet said:

    Kendra, this topic has really struck a chord with many of your readers. I agree with so many of the responders. My children have attended private Catholic school and have become wonderful young men. One son is attending Catholic high school and the other has chosen to attend public. Now, granted, I live in an area where the public schools are heavily funded and in the top of the nation. My point is, each child is different. Some flourish in a private/parochial setting, and some not. If I had the patience I would have home schooled, for sure, but, I think I would have pulled my hair out! Just doing homework with my oldest drove me crazy! I shall leave it to the professional educators. As far as religion, I agree with the one blogger that said she questioned how it has become a money maker and you end up paying for the electric, a/c, heat etc. Any congregation will eventually become large enough that a building has to be used and paid for. It snowballs and becomes a money machine. That’s when corruption occurs. Not intended, but almost inevitable. The wrong people appear, then your children may not be safe. All I can say is keep talking with your children, stay close, love them and they will follow the right path and hopefully make the right decisions along the way. They will eventually go out into society and be productive human beings. I worry that some people want to shield themselves from the bad, or unpleasant of society. Who wouldn’t? However, it is a learning experience and teaches us to be stronger and want to help those that are not as blessed as we are. We are fortunate to be able to make whatever decisions we want in the USA without major repercussions. That is why you can home school, pray at home, or wherever you want, live on a farm, do what you want and no one is going to bother you (almost, except for your police experience). You can also blog what you want (pretty much). I have gone off-track, but I just want to say you are doing great, speaking your mind, prompting good dialogue and making people question things. Good job!

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Thank you, Andrew! I always enjoy hearing from the men in the group!

  • Shannon said:

    The home church is much more like what was meant to be. I do not attend a church because of bad experiences with the ones I went to as a child, some of them have strayed far from the message intended. Church is a gathering of loving community to worship, not the building we spend a Sunday in. I of course don’t agree with the police coming in, but I do have a mild concept of why they would. Around where I came from was the Burnt River cult… people who seemed nice and even sold jam by the high school… and we all know of other cult groups and their legacies… so they might just be checking in to make sure your private worship isn’t the kind that ends in koolaid or guns… even though they shouldn’t be on his land. That is just my theory, is all. I am not saying its right, that just may be why they came by.

  • BeckyT said:

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the statement about not wanting her children influenced by children who attend public school. Children at public school learn all kinds of things that I don’t want my children learning.

  • Deb W said:

    I am very familar with home-church settings, and have enjoyed both that and traditional church building services for decades over 3 different states.

    I wonder what grounds the officers felt they had for coming to private property and telling you the meetings couldn’t go on there? While I have known neighbors to complain to the police when there were lots of extra cars on a suburban street and parking problems on home-church day, there is the small matter of the United States Constitution. In it we are assured of our ‘free exercise of religion.” Perhaps your leader(s) should go to the police station or sheriff’s office, have a quiet sit-down with them, and offer assurances this isn’t another “David Koresh situation” in the making – which is what I suspect they are afraid of.

  • Mandie said:

    To prevent any misunderstanding, I am deleting the paragraphs I just wrote, and am sending them to you separately. I am a bit exhausted, and am not being tactful. My words are jumbled and I’m not really writing cohesively. Summary: Yay Home church, Yay home school.

  • Rachelle said:

    Loved the post. I have only heard of home church in the Amish communities. Very interesting.

  • Lacey S. said:

    Kendra,
    I read your blog daily and I have to chuckle b/c we are so much the same. Yet we have never even met. My husband and I have ditched the traditional “church” and have also started to “homechurch.” We do meet in a building that we pay a small fee to rent, but the Wednesday night services are held in the pastor’s home. I love that my children are not pulled away from me all the time as well. Another thing I love is that I am not constantly run ragged working the nursery, doing children’s church, filling in for a sick Sunday school teacher, etc…It just busies us to the point of a crash and burn!

    I homeschool my children as well, and I am glad that you stuck to your statement, I agree that many times parents who attack you for homeschooling are doing so b/c they are not confident in their choice to send there children to public school. Really we should approach everything in Prayer, but too many times we just “go with the flow” Never taking into account what God would have us to do.

    I am always encouraged by your blog it helps me to realize I am NOT crazy! There are other believer’s that are still of like mind. Thank you for your witness and willingness to “take the road less traveled!”

  • Sharon said:

    Hi there. My husband and I had church in our home and it was the most enjoyable time. We were homeschooling but led my husband to go ahead and enroll them in a christian school. I volunteer there three days a week. It was getting to the point that I could no longer do it. My husband works overseas at the moment and has been for a year and half now. I am not here to defend my position because I think homeschooling is the best if you can do it. But I knew I couldn’t do high school it was getting to be too much for me. In all of this we also moved to Maine from Texas. And all of this I did on my own because again my dh is overseas. My husband made a sacrifice to help us get out of debt. So I had to find a church and tried to look for a home church and couldn’t find one. I think unless you know someone elses life and what they are going through you can’t judge someone. I am not mad.:) My husband is still working overseas and will be until he can find a job. I haven’t joined a church yet cause dh and I are trying to figure out what the Lord wants us to do. I hope you understand my heart and what I am trying to say. I appreciate what you write.:) Thanks.
    Sharon :)

  • Shelly said:

    Although not true of every home church, some people home church because they want to be free from the state. This will help all to understand why the police show up at home church groups.

    http://hushmoney.org/501c3-facts.htm

    Kendra, if you need to pull this off your blog, I fully understand. Any readers from NW Ohio? We are looking for a small group of believers to worship with. We teach our children the best we can. Blessings to all.

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Shelly,

    You are absolutely right on! Thank you for sharing that link!!

  • Stacey said:

    Am I the only one who read the part about a pedophile hurting Kendra’s daughter???? I’m saddened & outraged that that happened to your family. Church, whether “traditional” or “home” should be a safe place!

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Oh Stacey, thank you, but I do need to clarify. He did not hurt her, but I was worried that he could. If she ever went missing for one moment, I would immediately fear the worst and wonder where he was as well. How are you supposed to worship like that??

  • zebov said:

    I’m very troubled with the police giving you any grief at all. If the issue continues, you should contact the officers’ supervisors and file a formal complaint. If they are bothering you about having a home church, this is a clear-as-day violation of the first amendment.

    Hopefully it doesn’t get to that, but if the harassment continues it would be beneficial for the pastor to get an attorney’s opinion. You should be able to find someone to at least talk with you pro bono.

  • Babychaser said:

    Hi Kendra,

    Wow… I’ll bet you didn’t expect quite the response you got from this post! I echo you’re thoughts all the way! (and I too often say things that I meant to be taken one way but are taken another!)

    First off, I love that you get to be part of a home church. My family has been seriously considering it!! As of now we are staying in our present church, but would love to someday have what you have found.

    I understand and echo your desire to keep your children with you. Even in the church we are in now we have chosen to keep them with us (something that caused quite a stir when we started it more than a year and a half ago.) Our reasons were similar to yours… not because of any particular people, but because we have chosen to be the ones responsible for our children and for what they learn. They sit with us in both church and Sunday School (our new Sunday school class doesn’t seem to mind and have been very encouraging). Maybe one day when they get older they will go to their own Sunday School class, but in the mean time, we are the ones watching behavior and dealing with discipline and training as needed.

    As far as the whole homeschool/ non-homeschool discussion, I didn’t even think anything of it when first reading it. I suppose it makes sense that someone could have read it the way they did, but I didn’t see it that way (perhaps because we seem to be on the same wave length on this one). I know a good number of public school kids who turn out great (I hope I was one of them), but it does seem that most (certainly not all) children taught at home are more sheltered and unexposed to what the public school kids (and even private Christian school kids… I taught in one, I know) are exposed to. I am electing to shelter my children to whatever extent I can, especially in the early years. I would rather they learn about the evil in the world through my teaching and not through eye witness (ear witness) opportunities or experience. I learned more than I wish I had earlier than I ever should have… and I was one of the good girls in school. If my children are with me, then I know when they’ve heard a bad word, or seen something they shouldn’t. I can take care of it right away, discuss it, pray over it, and help my children through it… training them in Godliness. There is no way that other parents and Sunday school teachers know what my children need in this area. That’s why God made it my job!

    Anyway, this long comment is intended to be a thumbs up for you!!! Thanks for the encouragement that there are other like minded mommas out there!

  • brandie said:

    What does “legalistic” mean? I see that term often, and I’m not sure what it means or in what context it would apply. BTW, what explanation has law enforcement given for coming on to this person’s property? Just curious.

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Brandie,

    “Legalistic” usually is used to describe one who is very dogmatic about the “law”. I haven’t looked up an official definition though :) As for the police, they haven’t given any reason, as far as I know, other than that he does not have a permit or isn’t zoned for a church or something like that.

  • Deanna said:

    How interesting that you used to go to the Catholic Church with your grandparents. We are Catholic. I’d love to hear why you don’t go anymore. I am a convert and find that this is what I was looking for.

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Deanna,

    I’m afraid that if I go into my reasons for not attending the Catholic Church, I will offend somebody.

  • Rachel R. said:

    Wow, isn’t it so easy to step on tender toes?

    I often wish I were 20 years younger and in your shoes.

    You know my kiddos are homeschool and we live out on a piece of property not unlike your’s and have many of the same adventures. So I don’t have any issues with what you are saying.

    At present, we attend a tiny church with a BIG building. It use to house a small Christian school – at it’s peak, it ran approx 200 kids from K – 8th. Then somebody got their knickers in a knot and other problems arose, and next thing the school is closing. The church itself did alright for a while, then the economic market came crashing mid 90′s and over half of the families moved away, another chunk liked BIG church and so moved to bigger churches in town. Then when we moved here in 2001, the pastor felt God leading him in another direction … and we’ve been without a pastor ever since. And 5 more families left the church. We’re down to running around 50. And we’re pretty close with them all. And the building is eating us alive. Several ministries are run out of our building though – like English classes to our heavily Mexican neighborhood.

    For the first time, we are joining the local “homeschool support group” in our area. My sister LOVES it. But she’s an extrovert and loves the busy go someplace lifestyle. I’m more of a stay at home bump. LOL I totally understand the wanting to keep your kids under your rules and close by. My son especially comes home with the most annoying new things and songs when around other kids – even my sister’s boys next door. Mothering is quite an adventure isn’t it?

    Joel is a real treat. Tim says he’ll either be an evangelist or a politician when he grows up. He Rarely misses an opportunity to stick out his hand and say, “Hi, my name is Joel. What’s your name? ….” I don’t know how many times I’ve had shocked adults comment, “Wow, I’ve never met a little boy like this before. Where do you go to school Joel?” He tells them that his Mommy is his teacher. Either they are super shocked that a homeschooled child can have a discussion like that OR they say, “I should have known.” It’s very funny. But I think it’s mostly just his “I love you, will you be my friend?” God given personality.

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