House Churches Are More Satisfying to Attenders Than Are Conventional Churches

January 8, 2007 (Ventura, CA) – With the growth of house churches across the country, a new study by The Barna Group sheds light on how these independent, non-denominational churches operate.

Levels of SatisfactionPerhaps the most compelling insight from the national study was an evaluation of the levels of satisfaction of those who attend a house church compared with the views of adults who attend a conventional local church. Four aspects of people’s church experience were gauged. Overall, people attending a house church were significantly more likely to be “completely satisfied” with their experience in each of the four dimensions examined.Two-thirds of house church attenders (68%) were “completely satisfied” with the leadership of their church, compared to only half of those attending a conventional church (49%).Two-thirds of the house church adherents (66%) were “completely satisfied” with the faith commitment of the people involved in their gathering. In contrast, only four out of ten people attending a conventional church (40%) were similarly satisfied with the faith commitment of the people in their congregation.Three out of five house church adults (61%) were “completely satisfied” with the level of community and personal connectedness they experience, compared to only two out of five adults who are involved in a conventional church (41%). A majority of those in a house (59%) said they were “completely satisfied” with the spiritual depth they experience in their house church setting. In contrast, a minority of the adults involved in a conventional church were “completely satisfied” (46%).

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The house church movement is growing at an astonishing rate.  Any organization with these type of satisfaction numbers will grow.  What are we doing in the mainline churches to fulfill spiritual satisfaction? As a pastor I often find myself asking the question “Am I meeting God’s expectations for spiritual fulfillment or am I enabling a spiritually dysfunctional person to feel good about being in our fellowship.”  Does the order of service really matter or that someone reads in a  monotone voice or full of expression.  Do the colors on the altar or the robe impact a person’s satisfaction in worship.  What I fear will happen is that some mainline denominational bureaucrat develop the church satisfaction quotient and 101 ways to fill your church through congregant satisfaction surveys.  (you know someone is thinking about it now)

Mainline traditional churches are challenged to have meaningful worship services where lots of people are involved in planning and implementing the ministry. The emphasis should be on how people will live lives of significance based on the scriptures as a result of worship.  The worship event itself must not be so exaulted that people worship the event instead of God. Contexulization of worship must not be to indivuals persoal whims but to help the congregation based on their everyday realities connect their very exsistance to God’s work in their work, family and community.

Many people are functioning members of the church social club and dysfunctional as The Body of Christ.  They want little or no responsibility, they don’t attend Bible Study unless required and their service in outreach is only if they have any extra time.