What's a House Church Like?

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Being a Christian in China effectively involves making a political choice: deciding whether to worship at a government-approved church, or at an unofficial gathering known as a “house church.”

The growing unregistered house church movement started among peasants in rural areas, and grew rapidly in the 1970s and 1980s. More recently it has expanding among students, intellectuals and professionals in urban China.

 

Chinese house churches are vibrant and inspiring. Joy and excitement permeate the service. Limited space and fear of the authorities create a closely-knit, family fellowship. Members are often discouraged to invite visitors. For security reasons, seekers are invited to a separate evangelistic meeting. Such an atmosphere produces an inspiring, authentic worship experience.

Joy and Excitement Permeate the Service

On Sunday mornings in Beijing, worship songs can be heard coming from a high-rise apartment complex. Each week, more than 50 people quietly file up three flights of stairs into a small, two-bedroom apartment. Members are move quietly through the hallways, so as not to bother the neighbors. Once inside, however, the subdued expressions of the worshipers become smiling faces. Every seat in the room is filled with students and young adults. Latecomers sit in hallways and bedrooms, where they have to strain to hear the message. The service includes Chinese worship songs, mixed with an occasional familiar Western hymn or praise chorus. The speaker comes from a rotating roster of local pastors, evangelists, and lay leaders who circuit through a network of a dozen congregations throughout the city.

By contrast, in the house churches of China’s dusty rural villages, worshipers gather in freezing, bare rooms with earthen floors, furnished with little more than a handful of wooden stools and a Bible, if they are fortunate enough to have one, to follow an unofficial prayer leader. Some churches don’t have a complete Bible, others only have one copy of the Word for the entire congregation, and in some instances, believers are told to memorize what pages they can from sections of the Bible and pass the sections on to others in need. Church leaders rarely have formal biblical training and are most likely local farmers who are sorely lacking in resources, although they often lead groups of between 100 to 10,000 people.

Be a Part of the Church in China

We have such an amazing opportunity tin China. You can help spread the joy and advance the Gospel by equipping encouraging church planting, supplying desperately-needed Bibles and resource materials, supporting pastors and helping us offer training to reach hungry hearts and souls for Christ.