Home Churches – The First and Last Solution

The most significant decision for the future growth of the early Christian church was not made by the church leaders in Jerusalem.but by a group of church members (which included some prophets and teachers) after a prayer meeting in a home church in up-country Antioch. They felt impressed to send Paul and Barnabas on a missionary journey that spread Christianity through Greece, Italy, and related areas, and ultimately the whole world. There is no evidence that they sought advice, counsel or money from the brethren in Jerusalem. (Acts 12:1-3)

For its first three hundred years, Christians had virtually no church buildings at all. They met in homes. In recent decades there has been some renewed interest in home churches, but people generally seem quite happy to leave the real business of the church to professionals, preferring to be docile observers for an hour or so a week (as do I!). Presumably, people would feel obliged to participate more actively in a home church environment.

But circumstances might change in the future. There seems, in general, to be increasing hostility to Christianity around the world, opening up the possibility of persecution in one form or another. Currently, in China, there are numerous home churches catering for Christians who can’t accept the prescriptions laid down for approved Christian organizations. Members and leaders of home churches frequently suffer persecution — prison sentences, re-education through labor, or heavy fines. Despite those problems, there are in excess of 100 million home church members while there are only 23.5 million members of approved Christian groups in China. (See Wikipedia article “Chinese house church”)

Some nations might get the bright idea down the track to ban schools and churches that teach creationism, especially young-earth creationism. There was a strong demand in Britain in 2011 that creationism and intelligent design ideas should not be taught as scientific theories in any publicly funded schools. In the US scientist Bill Nye claimed in 2013 that children were being damaged by such outrageous notions. He said it even put the future of the US economy at stake. Should any government action be taken anywhere to control what is taught in schools and churches dissenting adherents would probably find it necessary to set up home churches and run schools without government funding.

That is just one possible scenario that could foster home churches. There could be numerous others in which governments find a reason to intrude in religious affairs. Jesus predicted there would be persecution of Christians before His Second Coming. There has been plenty of that already, and doubtless, there is more to come, so get ready for home churches if the need arises.

But, you say, you can’t have Joe (or Mary) from down the street coming in to conduct important ceremonies like a Mass or a Communion Service. I am trespassing on a religious minefield here and will offer what admittedly is a minority opinion. Arguably the Communion Services are not the Christian version of the sacrifices offered by Jewish priests, which did foreshadow Christ’s death on the Cross. But when Jesus inaugurated the Lord’s Supper He urged its continued celebration “in remembrance of me”. ( Luke 22:19; see also 1 Corinthians 11:24,25). It can be seen as a memorial.

There are numerous references to priests in the New Testament but most of them refer to either Jewish priests or Jesus as high priest or priest. Check a Concordance and you may find that there are only three additional references to a priest, and in each case, they appear to relate to lay people. (Revelation 1:6; 5:9; 10; 20:6) Therefore if Joe or Mary are Christians there is no problem with them conducting services in a home church. They are both members of a royal priesthood. (1 Peter 2:9) They would still, of course, have to be chosen by the membership, or by an acceptable superior authority.

In these times there are a number of interesting options open to home churches. They could occasionally (or often) use recorded TV or DVD sermons or Internet offerings instead of a local preacher. They could link up with the denomination of their choice, send them money, and share a priest or pastor with a couple of other home churches. Or they might find a clergyman not so keen on full-time ministry but happy enough to help one home church while pursuing another part-time career.

The important thing is to get homeliness into the home church, avoid the cost of expensive church buildings, and use the money saved to help the poor and needy. They might find not just the poor and needy joining their church but lots of others impressed by a church group doing what they ought to be doing. If you still have your Concordance handy just check how often Jesus spoke about the needs of the poor.

How Online Giving Benefits Your Church

It is high time to stop relying on the offering plate or basket to bring in the donations for your church! Online tithing has a number of benefits, and if your church has not yet implemented an online giving system, then this is something which would be smart to demand from your church software going forward. Here is why:

#1 Implementing an online giving system for your church makes it easy for people to give!

It is obvious that the general public has gotten used to online transactions, so why make it difficult for people to give? Instead of worrying about writing a check to bring to church, an online donation is processed instantly. Don’t make people jump through the hoops when they want to donate! An additional benefit of utilizing online tithing lies in shortening the time needed to count and deposit funds manually.

#2 When an online tithing system makes it easier for people to give, they tend to give more generously!

Did you know that online, donors are more generous than offline?

#3 Online tithing is convenient, simple, and secure (when the right church software is used to implement the system).

It’s convenient because your donors are going to be able to choose how much, how often, and where do they want to contribute. They can choose between paying with credit cards, debit cards, and electronic checks. Online tithing for churches is more secure as it cannot be lost or stolen. A good online giving church software can also automate some management and accounting processes.

#4 Online giving for churches is timely: a donor can set up a recurring contribution that is scheduled for the day that he specifies.

This way, he can give even when he is out-of-town or ill, and not able to give in person. The donation will always be sent on time because even in a case when the donor forgets about it, his contribution is going to come out of his account.

#5 Implementing an online giving system for your church can engage a broader audience.

The possibility of online tithing will increase the participation: even people who are not the members of your church can now donate. More than ninety percent of Americans are online – in order to reach them, your church will have to look for online solutions, and implementing an online giving system is a step that must not be missed.

Online Church Event Management Software

Churches and such similar religious institutions have a lot of work to do when organizing an event; especially fundraising events. The list is extensive; looking for a venue to fit in the attendees, preparing an invitation list, manning the registration desk and the donation collection counter (if it’s a fundraising event), and so on. Heavy manpower is required, time and money are needed to see that these tasks are successfully performed. The online church event management software can help you manage all these functions and more in a timely manner without burning a big hole in your fund collection.

Save Cost on Booking a Location

No need to search for a suitable venue if you plan to take your church event online. It means organizing a webinar where you can discuss church funding issues, volunteering at the forthcoming events, and plans for hosting some more events in the coming year. Today, many churches are using the fundraising solution that allows a person to receive funds online using a variety of payment options – credit cards, PayPal, etc. You can collect donations at a quick pace when you start using the online software instead of managing the contributions in person.

Instant Registration

Integrated registration solution will let you create soft copy registration forms quite conveniently without requiring you to invest capital on paper and on printing charges. Moreover, once printed if a mistake is detected on a hard-copy form, you have to edit the same manually and resend the copy to the printer in order for the modified versions to be printed. It unnecessarily leads to wastage of time and cost. These situations can be avoided when you use an online application – you can edit multiple times any aspect of the form and instantly re-publish the same online without any cost added to the work.

Smartly Manage Your Members

You can manage your members smartly via an online process. Request all church members, volunteers, and supporters to join the online forum created by you to discuss matters and problems instead of physically carrying out such discussions and conversations. New groups of people can become a member anytime to get information on the church’s developmental activities.

Create Online Invitations

Instead of sending hard copy letters, why not use the emailing module to send online invitations and reminders to innumerable numbers of people. It is very easy to operate an email communication tool and any non-technical person can use it to create, edit and save drafts of email templates for sending out later.

Automate All Back-office Jobs

A church event solution lets you manage different managerial tasks in an effective manner without compromising on quality or quantity. From registration to payment collection to organizing church events, creating invitations, every element can be supervised and monitored via such a Cloud-based system.