Jay Ferris was once asked what the church in Charlotte, N.C. looked like. Jay’s answer was,
‘The church is everyone in this city who knows who are theirs in Him, and all the rest is show business.”
And yet the show goes on. “Institutional, House, Emerging, Simple, Organic”…the attempt to be something and call ourselves something to a dying world is incessant.
In October of 2012 Jay was interviewed by a religious organization via email on the subject of “house churches”. I am not sure the interview was ever published.
Fasten your seat belts :-) Here is the interview in its entirety, discovered and released here for the first time….
“What Does The Church Look Like?”
On Oct 10, 2012, the “Rev” _______ wrote:
> In getting ready to do the report I realized that I needed the following. I noticed your site lovinglikegod.com has some background on you. But it lacks the following information:
> what is your involvement in house churches?
Carleen and I opened our home in 1974, before we had heard anything about “house churches.” I had been reading my KJV Bible, which had no notes or chains of references. It was before I was affiliated with any “church.” I already sensed that a joinable “church” was not what God calls Church. We opened our home without calling it anything, but simply had the expectation that Jesus would keep His promise that where ever two or three gather He would show up in the midst, and make of it what He will. So we were not a Bible study, not a commitment group, not a support group, not a outreach of a “church” group. Just people gathering in a house, and taking the liberty to share the Lord’s supper in that setting, and without any ambition to start a “church.” That was our understanding with the surrounding clergy in the five towns of the Connecticut Shoreline.
> 2) what do you know about house churches and how they operate today?
Today those that are organized the most, tend to act mostly as multi-level marketing scams.
> 3) what do you think about how NT churches operated in bible days- how do they differ from the church today?
I believe that the house churches of today are “church” wannabes. They tend to have a liturgy of one sort of another, trying to do in living rooms what clearly doesn’t work in special buildings. In the beginning, houses where simply where people lived, and as such were comfort zones for the people of a new creation, at a time when they were not very welcome by the old creation, especially the Jewish old creation.
> 4) explain how the offices of the 5 fold ministry operate in house churches today- how did they operate in the NT?
We see them included among the eldership at Antioch, before the affirmation of the apostolic call in /Saul/Paul. Today I think our understanding of these personifications of ministry are much too wooden. Paul, for instance operated at many levels of five-fold gifting. He Taught, Pastored, Prophesied, Evangelized, and Apostled. There is a dimension of fathering in all of these ministries. Fathering or parenting is the most profound connection of all.
> 5) how does the house church operate in connection with finances? how did it operate in NT times?
This is a very touchy subject where house church practice is concerned. I have tried to do this in a number of ways, and the best where I am concerned is that those who come be sensitive and aware of the needs of others that the Lord has connected them to. And beyond that, the needs of those around us. I am very much with Paul’s position when he wrote, “after all, the children don’t lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children.” I don’t think Paul was particularly impressed with the rather heavy-handed way that the Jerusalem leadership handled the matter of giving and ministry finance.
> 6) how does it operate with meetings and such- do they differ from house church to house church or is it the same in your experience?
The church that meets from house to house is best understood as living units of a new creation. Like the old creation the practice is different from house to house, and it works best if we don’t try to tell our neighbors how to raise their children.
> 7) how do you establish a house church and do you have experience establishing house church?
By the leading of the Spirit, you simply open your heart and your home to whomsoever will, and let ‘super nature’ take its course.
> 8) how does it relate to kids and youth in house churches today, during the service?
That’s a very loaded question, because it assumes like I said a few questions back, that what has been going on in special buildings, “services” has been transferred to living rooms. That’s not how it was in the beginning, and that is not how it should be now.
> 9) what advantages do house churches have over regular denominational churches?
They are a place to live and relate rather than getting lectured to, by men who haven’t the first clue as to what spiritual relationships are all about.
House church is bad for religious business, if they are done right.
> what is the difference you felt from going to a house church in your relationship with God, compared to going to a denominational church or church with a building?
In a house, if it’s done as a matter of new creation life, we can have conversation with one another rather than serving as an audience for male ego gratification.
>End of Interview.
“God put everything He had into His Son, including us, and it’s way past time that we did the same thing. This involves knowing who He has given us in His Son, and investing everything we have in them. When we do that, our Heavenly Father will have the church that His Son Prayed and died for.” – Jay Ferris