As many know already, I’m a big fan of apple products. So I’ve read a few books on Steve jobs and his company “Apple”. Apple is now a huge, innovative company but it wasn’t always like that.
After Steve jobs took over Apple again (he was ousted by the company he founded but got hired back when it began to decline), first thing he realized was that there were too many products being produced. Many of them had different model number but without distinguishing features from consumer’s point of view. Steve held a meeting, and he drew two cross lines on a white board and in each quadrant he wrote, “Pro”, “Personal”, “Portable” and “Desktop”. Then he said, “From now on, Apple will make only one product for each quadrant”. Now the resources were efficiently used because such simplicity brought focus for the workers. Productivity increased and that’s when Apple began to produce innovative products and experience breakthroughs.
Likewise, Church goes into decline when we try to do too many things. Our mission is simple: “To lead people to become followers of Jesus”. When we channel our resources and effort to focus on this one simple mission, we will see breakthroughs. Then how can we faithfully fulfill this mission? It is through “house church”. Many christians think great teachings will lead people to become followers of Jesus. It is not completely wrong because inspiring and challenging message is important in leading people to Christ. But without a small group environment where you can live out that teaching, people tend to remain as “crowd” or “spectator”.
When I visited Saddleback Church this summer, which is one of the largest churches in America, I was surprised by their strong commitment to bring people into small groups. The lead pastor encouraged and challenged people to find a small group everytime he had a chance to speak. Even big churches with lots of resources and amazing fascilities to gather crowds have come to realize that without small group environment, people simply don’t change. Because people change people.
But what makes house church different compared to small groups is this: House church is focused on reaching out to non-Christians but small groups is focused on sharing bible teachings for Christians. That is why the focus of house church is “life sharing”, not bible study. This is the reason why non-Christians feel immediately belong in house church since they have something to share as well. People need to belong before they believe. As we invite non-Christians into our group and try our best to emulate Christ through our love and service to them, that’s when we grow as a follower of Jesus.