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Does the house church ever have large gatherings?
There are occasions when large gatherings are beneficial. Certainly, in heaven, there will be large gatherings. However, a BIG WARNING is that when big gatherings go well, people are inclined to meet in that manner more often. Even though the big gatherings go well, you begin to negate all of the benefits of the small gatherings, which are most important.
There is a study in Mongolia where the house church movement grew and then decided to meet in a larger gathering. That went well so they decided to meet more often as a large group while still meeting in house churches. The large group continued to grow, the house churches declined, and overall spiritual growth was on the decline. They canceled the large gatherings. House churches began to grow again. They repeated this cycle three times before they realized that regular large gatherings tend to pull people away from a close-knit, Jesus' serving, Holy Spirit-led group of believers.
Do people in the house churches ever try to gather everyone together for worship or fellowship?
We see great benefit to having a large gathering for worship or fellowship OCCASIONALLY.
What is the largest gathering you would want to have in someone's house?
Typically, the optimal church size will be between 20 and 40 people. Here are the factors we look at when deciding how many people can 'fit' in someone's house:
1. How big is the area that we gather? Is there enough room for all of us?
2. Are we ready to begin another congregation? (Are there trained elders?, Are there enough people that want to begin the new gathering?)
3. Are we still able to have everyone share in our gatherings?
4. Are we able to stay connected with each other throughout the week?
5. Can we effectively serve the whole church?
"We want to measure the church's sending capacity more than its seating capacity." (Church 3.0 - Neil Cole)
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