Methodist Episcopal
Nonconforming Conference
Welcome to Eric Michel Ministries International the Methodist Episcopal Corporation in Canada
We are mainly a Religious Not-for-Profit Corporation (NGO) and we DO NOT HAVE a church status
We are united with some members of the United Baptist of Nova Scotia

Our main work is an
Outreach Community Chaplaincy

Also we provide "a House Church" including a Bible Study
House church or home church (From
is a label used to describe an independent assembly of Christians who gather
for worship in a private home. Sometimes these groups meet because the membership is small, and a home
is the most appropriate place to assemble, as in the beginning phase of the British New Church Movement.
Sometimes this meeting style is advantageous because the group is a member of an underground Christian
movement which is otherwise banned from meeting as is the case in China.

Some recent Christian writers have supported the view that the Christian Church should meet in houses, and
have based the operation of their communities around multiple small home meetings. Other Christian groups
choose to meet in houses when they are in the early phases of church growth because a house is the most
affordable option for the small group to meet until the number of people attending the group is sufficient to
warrant moving to a commercial location such as a church building.

House church organizations claim that this approach is preferable to public meetings in dedicated buildings
because it is a more effective way of building community and personal relationships, and it helps the group to
engage in outreach more naturally. Some believe small churches were a deliberate apostolic pattern in the
first century, and they were intended by Christ.

The satisfaction level of those attending house churches tends to be higher than their counterparts who
attend traditional churches. Surveys have shown that satisfaction levels are elevated in regard to church
leadership, faith commitment of members, level of community within the church and spiritual depth of the
church setting. Research has shown that older members are drawn to house churches because they are
devout Christians who desire deeper, more intense relationships with God and other church members.
Younger members who are drawn to house churches are those who are interested in faith and spirituality
but not traditional forms of church.

Cell churches are usually associated with larger churches: they also meet in homes and share some
characteristics of house churches, but they are not normally considered to be house churches, as they
are not self-governing, and they don't form their own doctrine.

Some within the house church movement (associated with Wolfgang Simson, Frank Viola and others)
consider the term "house church" to be a misnomer, asserting that the main issue for Christians who
practice their faith in this manner is not the house but the small group type of meeting that takes place.
Other titles which may be used to describe this movement are "simple church," "relational church,"
"primitive church," "body life," "organic church" or "biblical church."

House churches can adopt an organic church philosophy which is not necessarily a particular method,
technique or movement but rather a particular church expression that the group takes on when the
organization is functioning according to the pattern of a living organism. The church represented in the
New Testament is based on this principle, and traditional, contemporary Christianity has reversed this order.

Early Christian house churches
The Dura-Europos house church, ca. 232, with chapel area on right.
The first house church is recorded in Acts 1:13, where the disciples of Jesus met together in the
"Upper Room" of a house, traditionally believed to be where the Cenacle is today. For the first three
centuries of the church, known as Early Christianity, Christians typically met in homes, if only because
intermittent persecution (before the Edict of Milan in 313) did not allow the erection of public church
buildings. Clement of Alexandria, an early church father, wrote of worshipping in a house.

The Dura-Europos church, a private house in Dura-Europos in Syria, was excavated in the 1930s and
was found to be used as a Christian meeting place in AD 232, with one small room serving as a baptistry.
At many points in subsequent history, various Christian groups worshipped in homes, often due to
persecution by the state church or the civil government.

Scriptural basis
Christians who meet together in homes usually do so because of a desire to return to early Church style
meetings as found in the New Testament. The New Testament shows that the early Christian church
exhibited a richness of fellowship and interactive practice that is typically not the case in conventional
denominations. They believe that Christians walked closely with each other and shared their lives in
Christ together. Others believe that the early church met in houses due to persecution, and home
meetings were the most viable option to the early adopters of Christianity.

Several passages in the Bible specifically mention churches meeting in houses. "The churches of Asia
greet you, especially Aquila and Priscilla greet you much in the Lord, along with the church that is in their
house." I Cor 16:19. The church meeting in the house of Priscilla and Aquila is again mentioned in
Romans 16:3, 5. The church that meets in the house of Nymphas is also cited in the Bible: "Greet the
brethren in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in her house." Col 4:15.

For the first 300 years of early Christianity, people met in homes until Constantine legalized Christianity,
and the assembly moved out of houses into temples creating the current style church seen today.

Many churchgoers are turning to house churches because too often in today's environment, a person
can attend a church for a whole year and not know the names of those sitting next to them. Many
traditional churches fail to meet the most fundamental needs of the attending believers for fellowship
and covenant relationships even though pastors try various church programs. This leaves many
members feeling frustrated and lost with the desire to find a better way to build the body of Christ.
"The struggle to attend multiple worship services each week, join other church programs and keep
up with family and job responsibilities creates an atmosphere of attending, not relating."

During a struggling economy, churches can face formidable financial challenges forcing them to make
cuts in funding to missions and benevolence programs. A traditional church that is required to support
the typical church infrastructure including a building or campus can face financial pressures if it faces a
significant drop in membership. Limited financial resources can encourage church leaders to rethink the
pattern of ministry and look for ways to forward the outreach of the church with unpaid members. House
churches are already in a more favorable financial position due to the limited expenditures required to
facilitate the functionality of the church.

House churches require less money to start up and operate which frees up funds for other ministries.
There are no sanctuaries to buy and maintain, and frequently there are no pastoral salaries to sustain.
"The constant pressure to fill the pews and provide the money to keep the building and programs going is
draining to the traditional church. To some of us, churches have become like big monsters that eat up
everything we can give them and then constantly ask for more and more."

It should also be noted that the church is mandated to regularly assemble, and it needs a suitable facility
for the congregation to meet. While it is desirable to many to meet in free facilities such as private homes,
the  Bible makes no such mandate in this regard. Scripture is silent as to if the early, New Testament church
met exclusively at locations that incurred no cost to the church. "Disciples may meet in free facilities; they
may rent a place of assembly; they may purchase a building in which to worship. Depending upon the
circumstances, any of these options could be viable."

Structure and organization

Some assemblies have a conventional leadership structure; others have none. A commonly held belief
in the modern-day house church "movement" is that the Protestant Reformation did not go far enough
to demonstrate a New Testament belief in the "priesthood of all believers" and that Jesus Christ alone
is the Head of the Church, and the believers the body. The absence of hierarchical leadership
structures in many house churches, while often viewed by the Protestant church at large as a sign of
anarchy or rebelliousness to authority, is viewed by many in the house church movement to be the
most viable way to come under true spiritual authority of love, relationships, and the visible dominion
of Jesus Christ as Head of his own bride (i.e. the church). This does not mean that they reject all
leadership, however.

Many house churches recognize elders and deacons who serve the members. Often, the elders function
as a plurality where each elder holds the same authority as the others. There is a deliberate attempt
within many house churches to minimize the leadership of any one person to reduce the chances of an
authoritarian leadership structure developing within the church. Having a lone pastor is generally
considered unscriptural by a percentage of house church attendees and such meetings foster an
openly plural responsibility of leadership. Some house churches also accept ministry from church
planters and itinerant workers whom they consider to be apostles.

House churches that follow a more traditional leadership structure include a senior pastor in similar
fashion to larger, traditional churches. Groups following this format can be traditional churches in
the early stage of growth or churches that do not want to incorporate under the 501(c)(3) structure.

Meeting format
Many house church gatherings are free, informal, and frequently include a shared meal. Meeting formats
can vary from week to week due to the relaxed structure of the church service. The progression of the
church service frequently follows a participatory style where there might be several short teachings
offered by multiple attendees. Participants hope that everyone present will feel invited to contribute
to the gathering as they are led of the Holy Spirit to do so.

The house church movement today also owes much of its networking and exchange of information to the
use of the Internet; HC is generally used as an abbreviation for "House Church" and IC is used to designate
"Institutional Church", which is the generalized term for more traditional church structures, including a
church building and/or sermon-centered church services directed by a pastor or minister. More recently
local networks of house churches have begun to form, with gatherings of house churches in an area getting
together periodically for celebrations.

Modern revival
The origins of the house church movement are varied. In North America and the UK particularly, it is often
viewed as a development and logical extension of the 'Brethren' or Plymouth Brethren movement both
in doctrine and practice where many individuals and assemblies have adopted new approaches to
worship and governance, while others recognize a relationship to the Anabaptists, Free Christians,
Quakers, Amish, Hutterites, Mennonites, Moravians, Methodists, and the much earlier Waldenses and
Priscillianists. Another perspective sees the house church movement as a re-emergence of the move
of the Holy Spirit during the Jesus Movement of the 1970s in the USA or the worldwide Charismatic
Renewal of the late 1960s and 1970s. Others see it as a return to a New Testament church restorationist
paradigm and a restoration of God's eternal purpose and the natural expression of Christ on the earth,
urging Christians to return from hierarchy and rank to practices described and encouraged in Scripture.

Relationship to established churches, mission groups and society
Historically, there have been tensions between house church movements (along with other restoration
and revival movements) and traditional churches. Therefore, many house churches do not have formal
links to larger Christian organizations as a matter of principle. (This does not apply to home groups which
are connected with a denominational church, often referred to as cell groups.)

Recently, however, a number of established Christian denominations and mission organizations have
officially supported efforts to develop house church networks. These include the following: The Free
Methodist Church in Canada, The Foursquare Gospel Church of Canada, The Evangelical Fellowship
of Canada, The Presbyterian Church in Canada, Partners in Harvest, The Southern Baptist Convention
(USA), Dove Christian Fellowship International, DAWN Ministries (Discipling a Whole Nation), The
Progressive Christian Alliance, and Youth With A Mission (YWAM), Eternal Grace, and the recently
launched Underground Churches among others.

In a social sense, the movement towards house churches may be linked to other social movements as
well, such as the "emerging church movement", missional living, the parachurch movement, and perhaps
even larger social phenomena such as panocracy and intentional living movements.

House Church Movement Abroad
Today, the spread of house churches is largely found in countries such as China, Vietnam, India, Cuba,
Brazil and African nations, but they are also seen in small, but growing, numbers in the Philippines,
Europe, and North America. A modern day example of the house church movement is the group known
as "the local churches" which began in China with Watchman Nee and spread all over the world through
Nee's co-worker, Witness Lee. The local churches have grown to hundreds of thousands of attendees
congregating together patterned after the New Testament example and have been commended by
several Christian leaders in the United States.

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information storage and retrieval system without permission in writing from the author.
Home Church - Bible Studies
See the worship page for more information on our Home Church set up to great you in our
own apartments building in Laval vicinity.