the weblog of Alan Knox

Simple Church = Scary Church

Posted by on Oct 5, 2010 in blog links, community | 31 comments

Simple Church = Scary Church

You know I love sarcasm… so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to link to some really good sarcasm. Bethany from “Covered By His Hand” has written a great post called “Why Home Churches Are Scary.” Bethany and her family came up with a list of reasons that people may be frightened by home churches.

Here is her list:

1 – I cannot sit on the back row and escape before anyone greets me.
2 – People want to talk to me… I mean really talk.
3 – People care about me.
4 – I might have to take an interest in other people.
5 – I might be expected to participate in a discussion (rather than spacing out while a preacher does his monologue).
6 – I can’t skip church on a whim… but will actually have to call and give a reason for my disappearance.
7 – No nursery?! Who’s gonna watch my kids?!
8 – I have to eat lunch with these people… and they want to talk to me!
9 – These people read my blog! (Credit to Paul)
10 – How will they pay the light bill? The offering plates are never passed. (Credit to Paul)
11 – They want us to stay all day. (Credit to Rebecca… who runs and plays with the children all day, much to her pleasure)
12 – They might want to come to my house.
13 – I don’t know who the preacher is. (Credit to Paul)
14 – Where’s the coffee and donuts? (Credit to Rebecca)
15 – What do you mean, there is no Sunday School or children’s church? (Credit to Rebecca)
16 – Where’s the worship leader? (Credit to Paul)
17 – Saying I am “fine” just doesn’t cut it… they really want to talk to me.

So, which of these “scare” you the most? Can you think of others?


Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 10-5-2010

    Actually going to a traditional/institutional church with a paid public speaker and a seated priesthood is much simpler, than meeting in an organic fashion or its close cousins house/simple church. 🙂

  2. 10-5-2010

    19 – they are sooo behind the times. they use barely any technology so it’s so hard to ‘feel the spirit’ there.

    20 – the music is never ‘excellent’ at all. you’ll never walk away with your ears buzzing confused if you are leaving ‘church’ or a concert.

    21 – It’s awkward & embarassing when there’s silence because there’s no script to follow or ‘show’ to present.

    21 ith my ears buzzing with my ears buzzing

  3. 10-5-2010

    oops —- forget all those typos on the end line there 🙂 got a little typing happy

  4. 10-5-2010



  5. 10-5-2010

    It’s funny. Those are a lot of the reasons we’re in a simple church. 🙂

  6. 10-5-2010


    I guess it depends on the purpose… 🙂


    I just thought your ears were still buzzing.

    Aussie John,

    Yeah. Bethany’s list made me smile too.




  7. 10-5-2010


  8. 10-5-2010

    22. the teachers aren’t paid so I’ll have to look everything up in the Bible myself to make sure they are not lying.
    23. wolves are afraid of paid, professional pastors and big buildings but living rooms are easy pickins.

  9. 10-6-2010

    I enjoyed the sarcasm. Some of the scary parts for most people I know is just the face to face 24/7 aspect of simple gatherings.

    I also feel I need to add two more comments to the list. 😉

    24. the neighbours might see us.
    25. we might have to let Jesus lead.

  10. 10-6-2010

    What to do with all my sunday cloths ?

  11. 10-6-2010

    one scary principle of simple church in which this still needs to be develop in most simple churches is

    – they want to live close to me, just next door!

    The 58 one another in the N.T. is just within reach between each other because they live from house to house.

  12. 10-6-2010

    Thanks for the additions. There are alot of scary things about simple/organic/home churches. 🙂


  13. 10-6-2010

    -What if I don’t like the people?
    -What if they don’t like me?
    -Who’s going to keep out the heretics?
    -How do we actually let the Spirit lead our gathering?
    -There seem to be more annoying hippies involved!
    -Vampires can’t go in church buildings, does this apply to living rooms?
    – I can’t just avoid gathering with these people, they want to move times around to accommodate me!

  14. 10-6-2010


    Are you suggesting that someone might not like me? I mean, I can understand people not liking you… 😉


  15. 10-6-2010


    I would say you fall more under my fear of hippies category!


  16. 10-8-2010

    They don’t even have a bank account!

  17. 6-27-2011

    they know who i am and what i’m doing outside of “church.”

  18. 6-27-2011

    Reading this reminded me of this interview with a Modern-Day, Sunday-Morning, Church-Going Christian by Frank Viola.

  19. 6-27-2011

    I went to a home church once. It was awkward and I would never go back. Here is my list of reasons why:

    1. Everyone was starring at me.
    2. Everyone was scared to talk to me except my friend that I went with.
    3. He spent most of the day apologizing to me about it.
    4. The house smelt like last night’s left over’s.
    5. I was scared to use the bathroom, everyone was staring at me.
    6. Kids were out of control. It was like a day care gone wild.
    7. Some guy played guitar and sang. He put forth a good effort but the sound of cats fighting was more enjoyable. Maybe that was what was going on….
    8. I left without any good byes. Mostly I’m sorry’s.
    9. It was hot in the house and nobody wanted to do anything about it.
    10. Complete chaos. No body really knew what was going to happen next
    11. I felt like I made everyone nervous.
    12. They were more concerned about them selves and what they knew. It was more of a debate rather than a learning or teaching time. Very rambunctious.

    Alan, thank you for letting me share on your blog. P.S. – this was at your “church”
    13. The best was leaving.

  20. 6-27-2011


    Thanks for the comment. Our church doesn’t meet in a house. Are you sure you met with us? When was that?


  21. 1-6-2012

    Simple church = scary church = awe before the living God.

  22. 1-6-2012


    It is awe-inspiring to recognize God at work through each of those people sitting around you… right then and right there.


  23. 3-12-2012

    My wife and I were just talking yesterday after attending traditional church that it’s a good place to hide what’s going on in your life because you can attend and even participate in its other activities, even lead them, and you never have to expose what’s really going on in your life.

  24. 3-14-2012

    They notice if I fall asleep.
    They want to pray for me, so I have to be honest about my weaknesses.
    Someone might be sitting on my lap during worship (at least for a few moments until shifting to another.)

  25. 3-14-2012

    Dan and Sharon,

    Thanks for adding to this discussion!


  26. 4-5-2012

    @ Chris

    it sounds like they were as new to the concept as you. Social dynamics are what they are. People need to be trained in how to interact with newbies. They were probably looking at you, wondering how to speak to you. Go a few more times before writing them off. Once you get to know them you probably will change your mind and begin to see the organised chaos in a slightly different light. It has also been my experience that home churches are sometimes short on teaching. That can be rectified if enough people desire the teaching. I have had the privilege of leading such a group and they definitely felt short changed if there was not some form of teaching – read life enrichment – and it was my observation that teaching actually produced fruit but only when there was freedom to interact while presenting the teaching. The challenge was to keep to the point as discussions sometimes veered all over the place but it was necessary for each person to feel heard.

    The fact that the house smelt like last night’s supper. Aaah Chris, no one and nothing is perfect and in the greater scheme of things that is really irrelevant, don’t you think?

  27. 5-22-2012

    I really hate to say this…but the general tone here is a bit judgmental. I know that there are great benefits to a home-church and I see the flaws in the organized church. But, many of us cannot deny that Jesus is still preached and lives are changed. The structure may not be ideal, but the Word is not quenched.
    Just sayin’…we gotta balance what we say.

  28. 5-24-2012


    New ideas and practices can always be scary, can’t they?


    Most of the ideas that I see in this list are inherent in our culture, not necessarily one type of church organization or another. The difficult is not in changing to “simple church,” but in sharing our lives together.


  29. 9-25-2012

    Regarding #14, she must not be going to the right home-church. 😉

  30. 12-7-2012

    house churches are a misnomer. in the early church, the Christians cannot be visible because they were hunted, persecuted and fed to the Lions, so they had to meet in a private place like in their houses where they can hide and not be seen by the authorities. in China,or in the Muslim world, the Christians meet in their houses because they cannot meet in public as religion is outlawed. but in democratic and free countries, any public place which is accessible and comfortable to the believers can be called a house church. we do not have to intrude to the privacy of a respective believer in their respective houses.

  31. 12-7-2012


    Thank you for the comment. I think the term “house church” is a valid description of groups of Jesus’ followers who normally gather in a home. Although I’m not a house church cheerleader, I’m also not opposed to them and think that there are very positive benefits of gathering in homes and other more intimate settings. Historically, there have been a few times when Christians hid because of persecution, but it was rarely widespread. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a host of a “house church” refer to it as “intruding on our privacy.” Most love inviting their brothers and sisters into the privacy of their homes and lives.



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