Beyond Small Groups Resources – Simple Church Life
The Church Comes Home, by Robert Banks and Julia Banks. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson; new edition, 1998 (paperback, 272 pages).
From the CMA Resources website: “The Church Comes Home is a handbook for those interested in home churches. It is both visionary and practical. It describes how home churches can be formed, how they should grow and how networks of home churches can develop. It examines such issues as how to make decisions; how to determine doctrine; how to include children, singles, elders; and how to reach out to the community at large–and offers practical suggestions for their resolution.” Banks earlier book, Paul’s Idea of Community: The Early House Churches in Their Cultural Setting, Revised Edition(Hendrickson, revised edition, 1994) is also an important and helpful book.
Getting Started: A Practical Guide to House Church Planting, by Felicity Dale. Karis Publishing, 2003.
Stetzer notes that while there are many books available on house churches “this one is unique in that provides a clear and reproducible (dare I say ‘simple’) method for planting churches that meet in homes. As Felicity describes it, anyone can do it, which is sort of her point!”
Leading Life-Changing Small Groups, by Bill Donahue. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002 (paperback, 208 pages).
Donahue is director of adult education and training at Willow Creek and has years of experience developing and leading small groups. This is just one of many tools that he has created to help develop vital, life-changing small groups (his Coaching Life-Changing Small Group Leaders: A Practical Guide for Those Who Lead and Shepherd Small Group Leaders may be of interest as well). Some of the topics covered in this book are group formation and values, meeting preparation and participation, leadership requirements and responsibilities, discipleship within the group, the philosophy and structure of small groups, and leadership training.
How to Meet in Homes, by Gene Edwards. Seedsowers Press, 1999.
Reviewers on Amazon either loved or hated the book (with no middle ground), apparently because it takes a rather confrontational approach to the way church is usually practiced in America. The book is more of an argument for doing church in a new way than the “how-to” guide that the title suggests, but it may still be helpful to some
The Church in the House a Return to Simplicity, by Robert Fitts. Preparing the Way Publishers, 2001 (paperback, 120 pages).
This is another classic on the subject of home church. Evangelize the world quickly by planting millions of house churches every-where – this book tells you how. Earlier editions of this book have already gone around the world. We are thrilled to be able to publish this new, revised edition.
House Church Networks: A Church for a New Generation, by Larry Kreider. Ephrata, PA: House to House Publications, 2001 (paperback, 120 pages).
Kreider describes the emerging house church movement without disparaging other types of churches. In fact, while presenting the principles for establishing such networks, Kreider acknowledges the need for three main types (and sizes) of churches: house churches (8/10 to 50/60 members), “community” (or neighborhood) churches (60 to 500/1000 members), and mega-churches (1,000 or more).
House to House: Spiritual Insights for the 21st Century Church, by Larry Kreider. Ephrata, PA: House to House Publications, 1998.
Kreider is one of the leading figures in the house church movement. This book provides much practical advice on how to start and maintain house churches.
Starting a House Church: A New Model For Living Out Your Faith, by Larry Kreider. Gospel Light and Regal Books (April 15 2007), 192 pages.
There’s a new way of doing church and it’s taking North America by storm! Here, a recognized authority on the house church movement and a popular speaker and pastor share their expertise in starting and maintaining a healthy house church. Together they look at current and future trends in the house church movement and provide best practice models for planting and leading house churches. Also, they explore how house churches are not always the same as simple cell-groups or small groups, especially in the areas of leadership and money. Readers will discover all the information they need to begin a house church in their community.
Organic Church: Growing Faith Where Life Happens, by Neil Cole. Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (Sept. 8 2005). 272 pages.
Churches have tried all kinds of ways to attract new and younger members – revised vision statements, hipper worship, contemporary music, livelier sermons, bigger and better auditoriums. But there are still so many people who aren’t being reached, who don’t want to come to church. And the truth is that attendance at church on Sundays does not necessarily transform lives; God’s presence in our hearts is what changes us. Leaders and laypeople everywhere are realizing that they need new and more powerful ways to help them spread God’s Word. According to international church starter and pastor Neil Cole, if we want to connect with young people and those who are not coming to church, we must go where people congregate. Cole shows readers how to plant the seeds of the Kingdom of God in the places where life happens and where culture is formed – restaurants, bars, coffeehouses, parks, locker rooms,and neighborhoods.Organic Church offers a hands-on guide for demystifying this new model of church and shows the practical aspects of implementing it.
Reimagine Church: Pursuing The Dream of Organic Christianity, by Frank Viola. David C. Cook Publishing (July 2008), 320 pages.
A revolution is moving through the body of Christ, challenging the spiritual status quo and redefining the very notion of corporate worship. A movement inspired by the divine design for holy fellowship. A fresh concept rooted in ancient history.
Pagan Christianity: Exploring The Roots of Our Christian Practices, by Frank Viola & George Barna. Tyndale Momentum; Rev Upd edition (Feb. 14 2012). 336 pages.
Have you ever wondered why we Christians do what we do for church every Sunday morning? Why do we “dress up” for church? Why does the pastor preach a sermon each week? Why do we have pews, steeples, and choirs? This ground-breaking book, now in affordable softcover, makes an unsettling proposal: most of what Christians do in present-day churches is rooted, not in the New Testament, but in pagan culture and rituals developed long after the death of the apostles. Coauthors Frank Viola and George Barna support their thesis with compelling historical evidence and extensive footnotes that document the origins of modern Christian church practices. In the process, the authors uncover the problems that emerge when the church functions more like a business organization than the living organism it was created to be. As you reconsider Christs revolutionary plan for his church―to be the head of a fully functioning body in which all believers play an active role―you’ll be challenged to decide whether you can ever do church the same way again.
Houses that Change the World, by Wolfgang Simpson. Emmelsbull, Germany: C & P Publishing, 1999 (printed 2001 by OM Publishing; reprint 2003, by Authentic Lifestyle; reprint 2004, by Authentic Media (paperback, 303 pages).
Simpson discusses many aspects of house churches, including their nature and necessity (e.g., to develop a “persecution-proof structure”), how the five-fold ministry (of Ephesians 4) works and is necessary to their success, and their role in history. In making his case for this type of church, he is sometimes critical of traditional churches and their structure, but don’t let that deter you from appreciating the insights in this book.
Dick Scoggins and the Rhode Island house churches are the best known home-based church planting movement in North America. The book describes the indigenous church planting methods of Fellowship of Church Planters, a network of house churches in Rhode Island and southern New England. It is the only resource this reviewer knows of that deals with indigenous house churches from a North American perspective.
Nexus: The World House Church Reader, edited by Rad Zdero. William Carey Library Publishers (January 1, 2007). 528 pages.
Welcome to the Nexus, your point of connection to the world house church movement. Grassroots Christianity is exploding all over the world. Northern India sees 4,000 churches planted in just a decade. China witnesses 160,000 new believers baptized in a single year. Cuba’s petrol crisis catalyzes the birth of almost 10,000 churches. What is happening in all these places? Saturation church planting through simple, inexpensive, participatory, reproducible, and missional communities of ‘house churches’. Over thirty-five leaders, practitioners, and academics from all around the world have contributed their insight and experience in over sixty provocative articles. Let them inform, challenge, and invite you to start your own network of multiplying house churches no matter where you live.
Letters to The House Church Movement: Real Letters. Real People. Real Issues. By Rad Zdero, Xulon Press (March 18 2011), 168 pages.
God is raising up the simple, organic, house church movement. And this book gives you, for the first time, a real-life inside look at the controversies, struggles, victories, and personalities emerging from within this revolution.
This book is a collection of real letters to real people facing real issues. This 10-year collection of over 40 real-life letters will challenge, persuade, and encourage. They address theological issues and practical problems. They were sent to friends, acquaintances, strangers, radicals, and critics. This book will not just satisfy your curiosity about today’s house church movement, but it will propel you to complete the task to which Jesus Christ has called you.