We seek to be small because that is what we see biblically. What we see demonstrated in scripture is small groups of believers meeting in homes seeking to live out the one anothers of scripture. To actually live out the one anothers of scripture requires small numbers. We are hesitant to put an exact number on what size a church should be, but each person in a church should be able to utilize their gifts for the edification of the body, get to intimately know those in their church, and assist in choosing qualified elders and deacons in the church. We have found it challenging to meaningfully interact with more than 4 or 5 families. We seek to split and form another body of believers when we get beyond 4 or 5 families. This is not an exact science but something that is approached with much thought and prayer.
When you start a new house church, how many people do you try to start with?
At least two families is the norm. But, once again, there is much flexibility in how many people we would start a new church with. One example is sending someone to an unreached people group. Sending someone to a foreign country may involve a singe family or a single person. Another scenario may be that one or two families stay in a specific area and the rest of the people in the group go to another location to start a church. Once again, something that we must approach with much thought and prayer.
When do you say that a house church gathering has too many people?
When a church is too big to have a deep closeness with each other where loving and serving come naturally, it is not doing what it was intended to do and it is definitely time to reproduce. There should never be a situation where people are getting lost in the crowd. We don't want a crowd. We want a group of followers of Christ who are intimately connected to each other who are seeking to know Him and make Him known.