In China, it took Communist persecution to drive the church outside the four walls of the building and into the community. We all know the result: a vibrant movement of house churches has multiplied across that nation with the number of Christians increasing one hundred fold.
Could economic problems have the same result here in the West?
A few weeks ago I was at a retreat where there were several people in full-time Christian ministry–within missions and/or within the simple organic church movement. The majority of these people, who were supported mainly through traditional means (denominations, mission agencies etc.) were facing questions about how they were going to be financially supported in the near future.
Already we hear of those in full-time ministry in legacy churches being laid off or having their salaries cut. Many churches may have to close their doors for economic reasons.
Could God use this situation to produce a similar effect to what has happened in China? Could this be a part of his plan in allowing a house church movement to arise at such a time as this? Will we in simple churches have the maturity to rise to the challenge of supporting our own missions?