“Where are the lights? The stage? Why aren’t we sitting in rows? How am I supposed to sing without the band? This is church!?!”

Let me share a quick story about my experience of house church that I will cherish forever.

Typically in our house church gatherings, we eat, talk, laugh, then devote some time to worship, the word, and prayer. In our meetings, the kids join us the whole time. Some groups do it differently, depending on the children’s age and other factors. But in our gatherings, the kiddos are involved from start to finish. And I am glad they are.

At last week’s meeting, we started with a time of encouragement. Anyone could share anything God had put on their heart during the week. This day, 8-year-old Lilly had something to share. She pulled out a wrinkled notebook paper with some poorly spelled sentences on it. She wrote about the angel appearing to Mary in Luke 1 when she had conceived Jesus. Lilly read the passage, mispronouncing a few words here and there, and said that she was thinking of my wife, who is 34 weeks pregnant, throughout the week.

Lilly then read what she had written. It was an encouragement for my wife to trust God, that His power will overcome her weaknesses and limitations. Lilly said that maybe Mary might have felt worried or stressed about the baby coming, just like my wife, but what was most important was to make time to be with God and trust Him. It was POWERFUL! Articulate? Not really… She’s 8 for crying out loud! But there is something so powerful about an 8 year old girl being used by the Spirit of God to build up another member the Christ’s body.

Sometimes I miss the stage, articulate messages, and moving music. But I am seeing unique power and beauty in the simplicity and participatory nature of the house church expression.

What about you? What has been your experience of being build up yourself and building up others in your church expression? Let us know your thoughts.