(Done for Tyndale Publishing House’s blogger reviewer program)
“…instead of getting people to the church it gets the church to the people,” so says Wolfgang Simson. The ‘it’ is a house church.
Borne out of a multi-faceted view, that the there is too much “copyism” in the Christian faith today that leads to discouragement among church leaders, lay and clergy, when a ‘successful’ ministry model does not take root; that the institutional needs of the larger congregation cause a siphoning off of a person’s faith and joy in Christ; and that while there has been reformations of faith throughout history there has not been a suitable ‘structural’ transformation, Simson argues that a simplification is needed and that simplification is the house church.
Written in an engaging and impassioned style, Simson argues from the point of history and modern cultural that for the Church to truly grow and be all that God has called it to be, it must grow “flatter” and “sideways.”
Anticipating questions regard the issues of male and female leadership, Simson affirms the need for both and often uses the analogy of family to emphasize the point. The book also contains several practical outlines as to how house churches can and do function.
While respectful of the cell church and the traditional church, Simson passionately argues for the house church model that is less dependent on a single leader and less wieldy to adapt and multiply. But his vision is very challenging especially as it depicts a church that basically returns to a counter-culture perspective in which smaller is healthier and challenges the individualistic culture that has engulfed western society.