I am a big supporter of the house church movement. I support it, I advocate it, and I live it. So, for me, this book didn't bring much new, it was more a question of hearing someone describing part of what I'm living. But for someone that is not in it, this is an excellent book to read. It gives you the reasons for why we believe we have to return to the house church model of church.
On the other hand, in my opinion, Simson's opinion is too strict for my taste. Specially concerning his view of the "fivefold" ministry and the way he believes house church is the only way to go. God can move in many different ways. I also dislike the way he uses numbers to show that the house church is the right thing to do. The reasons have to be more profound than that. But well, that's the problem with books. If I was talking with him face to face, maybe we would end up realizing we think the same way. Books don't give much room for dialogue.
I recommend this book for anyone frustrated with the institutional church, and that wants to learn more about other ways of being church. This is a great book to give you a general idea of what the house church movement is.
I met Craig yesterday in a Lisboa Matrix meeting, and he is a great guy. I really felt connected with him and what he was doing in Prague, and I pray that God will raise a community of faith through his work.
Get to know more about his (and his wife who I haven't met yet) work in their website, the Springer Family Journey. Please pray for them and/or support them in some other way.
"House churches work for you because you don't have kids, but when you have kids, the traditional churches are better." I hear this all the time when I talk about house churches. I even know some christians that only go to a traditional church because of the kids even though they don't like that church. The reason is that, in their opinion, kids need something like the traditional sunday school. I think this whole subject is filled with myths.
Myth #1: Kids who go to sunday school become good christians
This can be true. Depends on what you believe a "good christian" is. Many studies have pointed to the fact that most of them become unbelievers. The ones that stay, become just like the other people in their church. Which can be great, depending on how those people are. So, if you are an emergent guy in a traditional church so that your kids get proper education, chances are your kids will become traditional themselves.
Myth #2: Kids need sunday school to learn about God
No, kids need parents that teach them about God. This myth comes from a recent trend in which parents are not responsible for their kids education. They relegate this function to school teachers and sunday school teachers. And then they don't understand why they have no relationship with them. Go figure. Sunday school can help, but education starts in our home.
Myth #3: Kids get bored in house churches
This can be true. They can get bored in traditional churches too. Let's be honest, adults can get bored too. It's not the model that makes something more or less boring, it's the life in it. House churches can be interesting for kids. Special programs for them can be created, or not. Several people have different experiences that worked either way.
House churches are kids safe as much as traditional ones are. Maybe if you have a big mega church you can do lot's of great events for kids, but if you are creative enough, you can do the same stuff in a house church. Instead of havind a water park, you take them to one. Instead of having a bible camping, you take them to one. But in the end, I don't think kids in house churches have less opportunities of becoming "good christians". That, is a myth.
Through Eric I found a Time Magazina article called There's No Pulpit Like Home. The article is about the rising popularity of house churches. It's interesting to see a magazine like Time talking about this movement. A sign of the times?