“… the foolishness of God is wiser than men …” (1 Cor 1:25)
The church of Jesus Christ is one. It’s united. It’s different from what is mostly known as church in the world today.
The original Apostles understood what the Lord meant when He said: “I will build my church.”
If the original Apostles were alive today they would not recognize organisations of men as the church of Jesus Christ; neither would they understand a building or a denomination registered by civil authority as the church of Jesus Christ.
The word “church” can be used to refer to the universal Ekklesia, representing dead and living saints of God. It can also be used to refer to the living members of the called-out ones – the militant church worldwide. The commonest use of the word “church” refers to the local congregation of believers.
The Holy Spirit is the builder and overseer of the church. He oversees the militant church through the five-fold ministry of Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers.
The Holy Spirit also oversees the activities of house churches through nine appointive posts. During the apostolic age, every member of a house church was bestowed with at least one appointive post for effective participation in the early church movement.
God in His ‘foolishness’ did not include EVANGELIST & PASTOR in the appointive posts He designed for operating a house church. He must have foreseen the damage those who appoint themselves as “pastors” in particular are causing in the local assemblies today.
Evangelists have no role to play in the local church. It is frivolous to try to evangelize a born again Christian. Evangelists are required to “go ye” and preach to unbelievers and not “come to our church” and hear the gospel. A mixed multitude is not part of the church of Jesus Christ.
The house church was considered by God to be so critically important for building the Body that it is one of two places the Holy Spirit manifests His presence since He arrived as the representative of the Godhead on earth.
The five-fold ministry of Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers was designed for the equipping and edifying of the militant church that is the living church worldwide.
The original five-fold appointees were not restricted to specific locations or regions rather their coverage was the known world of their time. They travelled and did the work of ministry as led by the Holy Spirit. As they did so they added to the church the fruits of their labour.
House churches were set up as occasion demanded. There must be at least two born again Christians to constitute a house church. The Holy Spirit dwells in the midst of two or more people infused with the image of God otherwise known as Hypostatic Chips.
In carrying out the Great Commission the original twelve deployed their apostolic, prophetic, evangelistic, pastoral and teaching gifts to draw people to faith in Christ. Those so drawn were put in clusters under the temporary care of overseers to nurture them to stand on their own.
Overseers did not belong to the local church but moved from one house church to another house church as it was considered expedient for disciplining new converts.
Originally, there was no clergy-laity dichotomy in the local assembly. They were all brethren.
The purpose of the house church was to function as nursery to nurture and grow believers from babyhood to maturity in Christ. That’s God’s designed method of growing in grace.
The Holy Spirit Himself was in charge of house churches. The joy of fellowship was the fact that the Holy Spirit was totally in control of proceedings.
“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” (Eph 4:11-13)
In the days of the Apostles those with pastoral calling had no direct role to play in the local house church other than to transmit messages and divinely-received teachings to them through overseers sent to establish new converts in the faith.
For the house church established by the Holy Spirit and enrolled mostly through fruits of evangelism qualified men and women were given appointments in the church. “And God has appointed these in the church” Apostles, Prophets, Teachers, Workers of miracles, Healers with – gifts of healing, Helpers, Administrators, Speakers with tongues & Interpreters of tongues.
In the early church, every member of a house church was endowed with at least one of these nine gifts to function in the local assembly. They were not ordained by ‘anointed’ men of God. They simply stirred the gift bestowed to them and carried out the enablement in the local assembly of believers.
They did not carry the titles like bracelets. Some functioned in more than one appointive position.
The twelve Apostles appointed from the men who followed them overseers of house churches. They were required to move from house church to house church establishing the new appointees in their roles in the church and strengthening them to continue in the grace of God.
~Collins #Reinventing Apostolic Standards