“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Jesus Christ (Matt 28:16)
“The Church exists for nothing else but to draw men into Christ. If the Church is not Making Disciples, then all the cathedrals, clergy, missions, sermons, even the Bible, are a waste of time.” C.S. Lewis
Many church organizations and homes are in disorder because churches are not making disciples of men. This must change so we get back the original meanings and purposes of both assembly places and homes… and marriage and family. We believe God is calling men to “set their houses (and churches) and order. We believe it is time for another reformation.
Disclaimer: my next words might come as a shock to some people, and many might find them very unsettling. I would just ask that you meditate on it before reacting.
Let’s start with a question: What is the church we go to on Sunday but a man’s home that he has invited others into to hear the word of God and worship?
Christian churches started in people’s homes. Then they became organizations, and now (sadly) many of them have morphed into highly profitable enterprises in which men have been lifted up as celebrity personalities and act as though they are the only ones in the house who have been designated to preach and testify. Consequently, the home has fallen apart.
I do not believe this modern design many churches are following is the will of God. It smacks of business enterprise and entrepreneurial expertise and not submissive, meek, deferential, reverence for Christ as the head of the church. Same with the home. Both are in disorder and in need of straightening.
I believe we need to get back to basics. To start, let’s level set on what our Lord considers CHURCH and ASSEMBLY.
“Church” is we, the body of believers. Each one of us has been designated the house of God. We, each of us, are His holy temples, first and foremost. Together, we form the BODY of Christ, and Jesus Christ is our savior, Lord, high priest, shepherd, counselor, mediator, and teacher. In fact He said He is the only teacher. Matt 23:10
As for guidance of His body, the Lord has invited and commissioned ALL men to be disciples and lead his people, especially in their own homes, for their own wives, children, orphans, and widows. Each one of us has been called into that “royal priesthood.” Matt 28:19; 1 Peter 2:9. The Lord has defined this as “true religion.” James 1:27.
When the Lord said we must assemble together and worship Him, He never specified that there must be a high number of us; in fact He specified the exact opposite. He said, “wherever there are two or more of you gathered in my name, there I will be in your midst.” (Matt 18:20).
This has profound and far-reaching implications that I think have been lost on many people. What the Lord is saying is that you can hold “church” anywhere. I know this probably comes off as a very radical and unsettling idea to people, but it is biblically true and there’s no getting around it. I’d like to provide some examples.
If you invite some friends over to your house and you say “come, let us gather and break bread together and share some fellowship and testify and encourage each other,” you will be holding church.
If you encounter someone at your local gym who is seeking and you and they share the word and your love for the Lord, and you testify about him to each other, and you encourage each other for His glory, you are holding church right there in the gym.
If you and your spouse and/or family draw together in His name to eat and pray and fellowship in the park, you are holding church.
If you GATHER with a coworker and pray and worship, you are holding church at work.
Every single one of these examples is completely legitimate form of church in the estimation of the Lord. There is no requirement for a high volume of people. There is no requirement for temples built with the hands of men where statues and orders and rituals and ministries of all sorts are demanded.
Here is what the Lord requires of you: assemble and gather in his name with whoever you can wherever you can and share the message about Christ and worship him as Lord and Savior and sharpen iron together for his glory.
As it stands, many people, especially men, have a very limited view of church as this thing we can only do at some official organization on Saturday or Sunday with a whole bunch of other people. We go and listen to another disciple preach, and while we hear the word and feed on it, very few of us ever become disciples of our own home churches and families. We end up thinking it’s another man’s job to lead our families. Let that sink in. We hear another man’s testimony and witness and prayers but we never get together with our spouses and families and hear our own. Hence we don’t grow and we never become disciples and leaders.
In our ignorance, many of us live as followers of another man but not as disciples and fishers of men ourselves, as we have ALL been called to be. And that is. I think, why our society and church is so messed up in so many ways. We lack disciples and there are only a handful of churches and disciples in our neighborhoods, when there should be many. We think it’s amazing that thousands come to our church in our neighborhoods, but what the Lord wants is thousands of disciples and churches in our neighborhoods” starting in our own homes.
Notice how many church organization leaders are obsessed with numbers and building their house into the biggest possible mega organization that can be. But that is not what the Lord wants. The Lord wants them to be obsessed with developing disciples and home churches first and foremost. Imagine if they had the same passion for developing disciples as they do for packing the pews. I imagine churches being focused on developing disciples to lead their homes, marriages, families, and communities in a way that is pleasing to the Lord and glorifies Him.
I believe if we truly desire REVIVAL, we MUST redefine church and home and marriage and start proclaiming something that most preachers won’t: YOU ARE THE TEMPLE OF GOD, and CHURCH is anywhere and everywhere you assemble with fellow believers—especially at HOME and especially in marriage ministry. I think what we need more than anything right now is men who help other men establish their homes as churches and themselves as ministers to get their own “houses in order” because many many houses are in disorder. I for one am willing to be a huge part of that movement. Let me know if you’re interested.
By the way, I’m not saying we should do away with organization churches. I’m saying we should re-define them and what they teach. As CS Lewis said. “The Church exists for nothing else but to draw men into Christ. If the Church is not Making Disciples, then all the cathedrals, clergy, missions, sermons, even the Bible, are a waste of time.”
Also, feel free to share this with anyone who might be interested. I have also started a Facebook page called “Set your house in order.”
Mark Johnston with Rebecca Johnston
Disciple, Author, Editor, Coach