Roger over at House Church Blog reports on Barna’s Revised Statistics from a conference in Denver.
Basically Barna changes a question which results in a different total number of people involved in house churches. Turns out only 5 million see the house church that they attend as a full-fledged church in its own right, which is less than the 20 million who attend house churches. “Furthermore, at least 6 out of 10 people who are involved in a house church by this definition continue to attend a conventional church and consider the conventional church to be their primary church.” ….”Nevertheless, he still considers the movement a revolution that will continue to change the church landscape over the next few years.” ….”He also reports that there is a high level of satisfaction with spiritual depth and connectedness among those involved in house church (higher than those attending conventional churches).”
Read Roger’s complete post for some additional tidbits, including Barna’s challenge to house churches on the importance of children.
My observations would be along the same lines as what Roger reports. People may be eager to be involved in a house church or simple church, but many continue to attend a ‘conventional’ church, often “because of the kids.” In my view this is something that needs further thought and attention… by observation, it appears many of us don’t seem believe that these conventional churches are an adequate context to nurture our own faith, but do seem to think that they’re more up to the task of helping to nurture our children’s faith.
Interesting gap there. We sometimes attend a conventional church, and sometimes that at the request of our kids on a given Sunday… but it was perhaps a year or more ago that I looked at the structure and asked how, if it wasn’t good enough for me, it could be good enough for my kids? It’s not a simple question, and one must recognized that kids tend do enjoy more structure… but at the same time I’d like to see some models of children’s ministry within house churches, simple churches, emerging/missional churches and the like, hopefully which improve upon the traditional structures we’ve known. Of the few resources there are, many still seem geared toward a Sunday School classroom.
my kids also like traditional sunday school in a church setting, but we prefer house church.
i see the future of church experience being “and” rather than “or” and modular rather than singular. people will have alt. faith communities, house church experiences, online communities, AND will also occasionally turn up at a brick and mortar.
that is exactly the gap we live in. programmatic church gives a solid sunday school experience for our young daughter and as expats (and for her as a third culture kid), it is important. but for us as parents, programmatic church gets in the way and is sometimes decidedly unhelpful.
my concern is that if we only “shop” at the programmatic church for services like sunday school, how will the quality and programme be maintained?
i’m convinced we do need some hybrity that allows for programmes when stages of faith or stages of life require them, without everything being configured in a programmatic way.