We 21st century Christians rarely connect our homes with a place of service. Most of the time when we talk about church service we connect it with a building called a church. But when we take a closer look at the New Testament we discover that homes were the usual places for service.
On the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was sent on the disciples, Peter preached the gospel, about 3,000 people came to faith, and it is written that “they broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts”. Right from the beginning of the church, homes became the places of service.
But it all started much earlier. Jesus used homes (his own and many others) to minister to people. There are a few examples in Matt. 8:14-16, 9:9-13, 13:36, Luke 19:5 John 3:1-6, 12:1-9. It is written in many places that Jesus was teaching in synagogues. But don’t miss the fact that when He sent out the 12 apostles or the other 72 disciples He gave them very strict orders where to go and minister. In both Matt. 10 and Luke 10 Jesus told his disciples to find a home and stay there. The strategy Jesus taught His disciples was, to minister from a home.
When we read Acts we see how the Church was expanding through the Roman Empire. But we also see how the first Christians were using their homes for ministry. When Cornelius got an order from God to invite Peter, he invited him to his home where he gathered a pretty big crowd. When Peter was arrested by Herod, the church was praying for him in the house of John Mark’s mother. In Acts 16:11-15 we read about the beginning of the church in Philippi.
It all started when a woman named Lidia invited the apostle Paul and his friends to stay at her home. At the end of Acts we read about Paul’s ministry in Rome. Where? “They came to him at his lodging in large numbers.” “And he stayed two full years in his own rented quarters and was welcoming all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness, unhindered.” (Acts 28:23,30,31)
One of the key qualities of a bishop/overseer is based in the home. “He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?)” (1 Tim 3:4-5) Ask yourself, how should we know how a man managed his home if we spend no time there?
We can start with our own families and then move outward to others: relatives, friends, neighbors, etc. Do you get the picture? Our homes could be great places for service and ministry.
My family consists of me, my wife and our three children. They are all grown up. The oldest is Paul. He is 22. Then Martha 20 and Agatha is 18. Right from the beginning we did many things with them at home to teach them about God. We read the bible together, we discussed it, we prayed together, we taught them different lessons from the bible, we worshiped God together, we opened our home for others to share the gospel with them, and we did much more. Today, all of our children walk with God and are His followers. I know it is by His grace but we helped a bit. We tried to model a good Christian life on an everyday basis. They saw us in different situations. Home is a great avenue for ministry starting with our own families and then extending to others.
Why is it necessary to write about the home? I am writing this not because I do not like church buildings. I am writing this because many Christians today have made the home an asylum, a castle where they retreat. I challenge you to place your own home on the altar. Is your home, your castle, available for the King’s service? It may be for prayer, bible study, worship, evangelism, or some other type of service. It is natural, it is biblical and it is very fruitful. In His hands, our homes can change the world!