In Great Britain, a nation where traditional churches have seen their Sunday-morning attendance plummet, a nondenominational house-church movement is alive and thriving.
The movement is made up of some 650 congregations, which are loosely affiliated in more than 20 associations known as “circles.” Between 1980 and 1985, the movement nearly quadrupled in size, reaching a membership of 75,000. An estimated 94,000 people currently attend house-church meetings.
In the movement’s early years, meetings were held in members’ homes. But soon they had to rent facilities or construct buildings to accommodate their growing numbers. According to the 1987/88 UK Christian Handbook, only 2 percent of Great Britain’s house churches still meet in homes.
Restoring The Church
Adherents vary in style and organization, but in general they share charismatic convictions and a similar vision of the end times. According to John Noble, leader of a circle called Team Spirit, most house churches assert that believers must “be active and working with the Holy Spirit to bring back the King.”
House-church members believe God is in the process of restoring the church to its New Testament origins in preparation for the second coming of Christ. Says Bryn Jones, head of a house-church circle often referred to as the Bradford Churches: “God wants to restore into the church all that has been lost in former generations as well as take the church on to the maturity that was envisaged by the Christ and the early apostles.”
Part of that restoration process, the leaders contend, is the re-emergence of the ministries of apostolic teams. “Apostles have always been there,” Jones says, “they were just ...1
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