This new group of efforts focuses on local leadership, small circles, and cultural organizing. They are taking their strategies from the anti-slavery movement, groups like craigslist, and most surprisingly, a new Christian movement. "We keep saying that the evangelical churches gave Bush the White House," Erin Potts, a leader in strategic thinking for groups as diverse as foundations and big rock bands, said. "If we want to know, we have to study it and see what works. And what works, is culture and small groups. The emerging house church movement has a very dynamic and interesting strategy."
Potts and other organizers note that while overall church attendance has steadily declined since the 1990s, a new form of church has taken off--the house church. Unlike traditional churches, the house church movement doesn't meet in a specific house of worship, but instead, as the name suggests, in people's homes. While traditional churches have hierarchical leadership, the house church meets as a circle of peers, and while churches try to grow the membership of a congregation, house churches purposely splinter into smaller groups as soon as a circle gains more than a handful of members.
The success of the house church movement is staggering. Membership is well into the millions. One study suggests that 70 million Americans regularly attend or have experimented with a house church.
If you had a school, home or prison where people proclaimed the gospel and
celebrated the sacraments, would that be the church? Why or why not?