“By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.  

  And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.  

  And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.  

  And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.  

  Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,  

And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.”

Acts 4:30-35

  “The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.”

1 Corinthians 16:19  

House Church

 “Statistics: U.S. House Church Movement Bigger than 

2nd Largest Denomination"

The little guy is back. For the first time in 1,700 years, simple churches meeting in homes are once again a factor in human events.

In many countries, they're booming so strongly that critics and opponents can no longer brush them aside as a fringe movement. 

And as I documented repeatedly in "Megashift," home churches are producing millions of proactive Christians who now and then perform miracles (though the credit ultimately belongs to God, of course).

But this week, even I was shocked to discover how big our house church community in North America really is. Briefly stated, we're right about halfway between the Catholic Church and the Southern Baptist Convention (which is the second-largest denomination in the U.S.).

OK now, let's inhale. I'm stunned, too. This really is starting to alter the landscape for all of us.

Let me state up front: These are solid numbers. George Barna, the leading U.S. church pollster and perhaps the most widely quoted Christian leader in America, is the author of the figures below. They are based on a full-on, four-month scientific survey of

5,013 adults, including 663 blacks, 631 hispanics, 676 liberals and 1,608 conservatives.

Nobody argues with numbers from The Barna Group. They employ all the professional safeguards to ensure tight results – in this case, a sampling error of +/-1.8 percent. Here are the results stated in five ways:

In a typical week, 9 percent of U.S. adults attend a house church.

In absolute numbers, that 9 percent equals roughly 20 million people.

In a typical month, about 43 million U.S. adults attend a house church.

All told, 70 million U.S. adults have at least experimented with

participation in a house church.

Focusing only on those who attend some kind of church (which I recall is about 43 percent of us), 74 percent of them attend only a traditional church, 19 percent attend both a traditional and a house church, and 5 percent are hard-core house church folks.

The study counted only attendance at house churches, not small groups ("cells") that are part of a traditional church.

Please don't think of the house church as a new fad. For the first 300 years of Christianity, house churches were the norm. In fact, church buildings were quite rare until the fourth century, when the power-hungry Roman Emperor Constantine suddenly outlawed house church meetings, began erecting church buildings with Roman tax money, and issued a decree that all should join his Catholic Church. If you want to stick to a biblical model, the house church is your only choice.

In China, the world's largest church (120 million) is 90 percent based in homes. The cover story in this week's World magazine (June 24) is on how Christian business leaders in China are beginning to change the whole situation in that country. Yes, even while Christians in many provinces are hunted down and tortured, CEOs of corporations in areas with freedom are changing the way government looks at Christianity. That is major.

Bottom line: Worldwide, the original church is back, re-creating the biblical model: "Day after day, they met by common consent in the Temple Courts and broke bread from house to house." 

(Acts 2:46) God is again pouring out His power on plain folks, bringing a megashift – not in our doctrine, but in our entire lifestyle.


Editor's Note: 

The Barna report linked to Jim Rutz's article says, "... of those who attend a house church, 27% attend on a weekly basis, 30% attend one to three times per month, and 43% attend less than once a month." It acknowledges, "The data in this report are based on interviews with 5013 adults from across the nation."

2006 World Net Daily Jim Rutz,


A largely hidden, yet growing phenomenon is changing the face of Christianity in the West and profoundly affecting the way in which Christians are choosing to practice their faith. Disillusioned by the lack of New Testament realities, abusive authority and the spreading apostasy within large segments of institutionalized Christianity, thousands of Christians across America, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom are gathering in homes to study the Scriptures together, pray, share the Lord's Supper and experience the fellowship and simplicity of first century Christianity.

"Yes, we are right now in the midst of the early days of a sovereign, very radical, move of God," says Nate Krupp..... "We are seeing God do incredible things: people are leaving the institutional church by the thousands; they are tired of being an audience, instead of a body; they question increasingly all the money that goes into buildings; they are tired of being controlled and manipulated; they long to use their giftings to serve God and see 'the priesthood of all believers', instead of 'the clergy' and they long to see the Holy Spirit allowed to freely move instead of everything being controlled. God is sovereignly, in these days, raising up a massive, growing movement of people who are desiring to function like the early Christians in the Book of Acts. Believers are turning their backs on all the programs and returning to their first love, Jesus."

Asked whether the house church movement is simply another religious fad that people will soon tire of, Zens had this to say. "No, I don't think it will ever be just a fad for several reasons. One, it's been around a long time. There was a significant home church movement in Australia beginning in 1968. Obviously, for years home meetings have been the norm in China, Latin America and other places in the world. Two, it has New Testament justification and sanction, and so could hardly be a fad. If persecution erupts in America, the house church model could suddenly be very common, as churches that require immense weekly overhead to operate could fold virtually overnight. I think it will take catastrophic events to awaken the church to what is important in the Kingdom. If and when that happens, the shape of believers' lives together will change rapidly. As long as our affluence continues, the informal approach to church will remain. But whether something is minority or majority is hardly the issue. Our concern must be, 'how will we follow Christ in all areas of our lives? Are we going to obey the New Testament or not? One brother in our assembly has said, 'our way of doing church is not popular. It requires hard work and commitment.' The home church movement, of course, is not monolithic," Zens pointed out. "I have no idea where it will go in the next five years. But I know this, no movement will prosper long if it does not center on exalting Jesus Christ and obeying His Word."

Lorin Smith

“Before the final visitation of God's judgments upon the earth, there will be, among the people of the Lord, such a revival of primitive godliness as has not been witnessed since apostolic times. The Spirit and power of God will be poured out upon His children. At that time many will separate themselves from those churches in which the love of this world has supplanted love for God and His Word. Many, both of ministers and people, will gladly accept those great truths which God has caused to be proclaimed at this time, to prepare a people for the Lord's second coming. The enemy of souls desires to hinder this work; and before the time for such a movement shall come, he will endeavor to prevent it, by introducing a counterfeit. In those churches which he can bring under his deceptive power, he will make it appear that God's special blessing is poured out; there will be manifest what is thought to be great religious interest. . . .     

     Wherever men neglect the testimony of the Bible, turning away from those plain, soul-testing truths which require self-denial and renunciation of the world, there we may be sure that God's blessing is not bestowed. . . .     

     A wrong conception of the character, the perpetuity, and the obligation of the divine law, has led to errors in relation to conversion and sanctification, and has resulted in lowering the standard of piety in the church. Here is to be found the secret of the lack of the Spirit and power of God in the revivals of our time. . . .     

     It is only as the law of God is restored to its rightful position that there can be a revival of primitive faith and godliness among His professed people. "Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls." Jeremiah 6:16. 

 FLB 326