Dan Hubbell is an apostolic father who works in many Third World countries where persecution of believers is common. Recently, he sent me a response he had given to a church leader from a Third World nation asking for prayer that his church could find a building to meet in.
As I mentioned in the last post, we may not be facing persecution by government authorities here in the West, but for economic reasons we may find more and more churches meeting in homes, restaurants, dorms etc. So note Dan's loving response to this brother.
Son, thank you for sharing this urgent need of a gathering place for the church of your city.
Let me share what the Lord is stirring in my spirit in response to your prayer request:
We are living in both a perilous time, and time of a mighty move of God in the closing days of the ages.
What you are experiencing is happening all over the world, for believers are under great persecution and are faced with the same question: Where are we to gather as a church in our town/city that is safe from persecution from Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Communists, etc.? This challenge from the “natural understanding” is going to get worse and worse throughout the world or better and better from the “spiritual understanding.”
On one of our recent mission trips, some servants shared this incident with me: authorities in their province with whom the believers had gained great respect, told the house church leaders that if they would meet in private homes in small, family size groups of 2 or 3 up to approximately 12, depending upon the size of the house in which they were gathering, they (the authorities) would not bother them, but if they continued to meet in larger numbers than “family size”, they would have to arrest them and close the gathering.
Isn’t it interesting that God used these authorities to remind the believers in that country that His Church/ekklesia is relational and family. For Jesus told His disciples: “where two or three are gathered in My Name, there am I in the midst of them.”
In my discernment from the Lord, I am strongly recommending servant leaders in every nation (including the USA) to keep their gathering size as small as possible, i.e., family size like having brothers, sisters, parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts, visiting, etc.
Meeting in small family size groups does not guarantee there will not be persecution, but it is less likely. Remember in the Book of Acts about Saul of Tarsus persecuting believers as they gathered in their homes, etc. Church buildings and/or large house gatherings become targets for persecution.
Also, remember the biblical understanding of the Lord’s church/ekklesia, that in any given town/city, there is only one church/ekklesia, even though they meet in multiple locations, i.e., houses, apartments, offices, factories, caves; or as in Africa, under trees, in the woods, forests, jungles; or in the USA, houses, apartments, offices, etc., throughout the town/city.
As persecution becomes greater and greater, we will not be able to meet with all the believers in one location as they did in Jerusalem on Solomon’s Porch, but rather multiply into small family size house type gatherings.
Even here in the United States, house churches are facing town/city ordinances against larger gatherings in any one house/apartment, etc. primarily because of congestion, neighbor complaints, etc. So, I am reminding you that this issue you are facing is worldwide and all believers need to know this and adjust their gatherings accordingly. By the way, we are practicing what we are advising you, son, for we gather here in our town in homes as small family size groups as well.
James, I encourage you to again to log onto our website http://www.churchrestoration.org and search the teachings about persecution, gathering places, house churches, etc. This will give you the biblical basis for what I have written to you in this email to you, son.
Remember that I love you dearly and faithfully pray for you, your family and other believers who gather in His Name in your nation.