George Barna tracks the religious beliefs and practices of Americans. He said,
The relationship between people’s perception of their religious commitment and their reticence to make faith their top priority points to a significant disconnect.I have been wondering if the same disconnect exists in New Zealand. Yesterday I was talking to Dennis Smith about the slow progress of the house church movement in this country, and wondering about the reason.
It seems as if God is in, but living for God is not. Many Americans are living a dual life – one filled with good feelings about God and faith, corroborated by some simple religious practices, and another in which they believe they are in control of their own destiny and operate apart from Him.
In the 1980s, I published a little booklet called The Bride of Christ. It described an organic/simple model of church based in houses. I sold thousands of copies and had to do a reprint. Hundreds of people wrote an said that the book had spoken to them. They didn't just speak of theological agreement, but said that the book descibed what the Holy Spirit had been saying to them. Many spoke of God doing a new thing in our time.
The standard PR principle is that one letter represents a hundred people with similar opinions. On that basis, I can only assume that the Holy Spirit was speaking to thousands of Christians about doing a new thing here in New Zealand. I assume that he was speaking to thousands of people about house churches and relationship-based churches.
In other countries, the numbers of house churches runs to thousands. Here in New Zealand, there must be less than a hundred house churches. I cannot help wondering about what has happened to all those people who believed that the Holy Spirit was speaking to them about House Churches. What are they doing now? Is starting a house church too hard. Was there some other obstacle? If you know the answer please let me know.