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Does each house church have outreach programs?
Programs are not the main way that we do outreach. We encourage all house church members to be very involved in the lives of people around them. They should be developing relationships with people in their family, work environment, neighborhood, etc. As we are involved with people around us, we see needs arise (physical and spiritual). Our giving (time and money) can be directed toward these needs as they arise. The benefit to reaching out this way is that a relationship is formed where the person being helped can see the love of God in a tangible way. They don't just feel they are part of a program.
Are programs good or bad?
Programs have the right motivation, namely, to help people. However, they usually devolve into rote actions and very little relationship building. Programs are usually centralized (we attract people to us) rather than decentralized (we go to them). Many people in a church get involved in programs to the neglect of getting involved in their community with ongoing relationships. With programs, you can get involved with the messiness of people's lives for a set period of time, and then go home. Jesus calls us to make disciples, which involved ongoing relationship building and getting messy. Wolfgang Simpson says, "A church program is what you do when you don't know how to listen to the Holy Spirit." (More Quotes)
How does the house church decide what programs to engage in?
There may be a point where there is a specific need that the whole church would like to address together. Certainly, there is joy in serving together and helping those in need. However, we try to be very careful not to let a program take the place of ongoing relationship building in our own social network.
"We want to measure the church's sending capacity more than its seating capacity." (Church 3.0 - Neil Cole)
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