In the month of December many church in my denomination take a special offering for international missions called The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. 100% of the contributions goes to mission work on the global mission field. Our family commits to give our largest Christmas gift to this offering each year (since, after all, it seems appropriate to give a gift to Jesus on the holiday around his day of birth).
But, I am guessing that many of you are asking, "What's a Lottie Moon?"
Lottie Moon was a missionary to China in the mid to late 19th century. She was born to wealthy parents, well educated and left a teaching career in America to serve as a missionary in North China in 1873. She shared her finances and food with those in need and eventually died as a result at the age of 73. A friend of mine, Dave Clippard, recently shared a quote from Lottie Moon that I had not come across before. She said,
When the gospel is allowed to grow naturally in China, without forcing processes of development, the "church in the house" is usually its first form of organization. God grant us faith and courage to keep "hands off" and allow this new garden of the Lord's planting to ripen in the rays of the Divine Love, free from human interference!
- Lottie Moon, Pingtu, September 10, 1890
I don't think Lottie Moon is arguing for a House Church model as the end, or goal. I believe she is encouraging the natural development of smaller missional communities experiencing "church in the house" as the natural expression for new local churches. But, I think it is interesting either way... particularly considering how the Chinese church has developed (and the interest in the house church in North America today).
Share your thoughts on the quote in the comments.