The New Testament Blueprint for the Church and the Master's Plan for Evangelism
The New Testament church met “from house to house” (Acts 2:46; 20:20). The church met in the homes of believers (Acts 5:42; 8:3; 12:12; 17:1-9; Acts 18:7; Romans 16:5; 1 Corinthians 16:19; Colossians 4:15; Philemon 1:2). It was more than 300 years after Christ before the first church building was built, and by that time the phenomenal growth of the church had resulted in the conversion of one third of the earth’s population.
The Master’s plan of evangelism was simple. His disciples were to seek “sons of peace”—someone receptive to the Gospel message (Matthew 10:11-15; Mark 6:10-11; Luke 9:4-5; 10:5-12). Once a “son of peace" was found, he or she, along with their “household,” were converted and a church established in their “house” (Acts 16:14-15, 31-33; 18:8; Romans 16:10-11; 1 Corinthians 1:16; 16:15; 2 Timothy 4:19). The Greek word for “household” or “house” in the New Testament is “oikos,” which means, among other things, one’s immediate sphere of influence, consisting of one’s immediate family and closest friends.
Both the New Testament blueprint for the church and the Master’s plan for evangelism are clearly illustrated for us in the initial instance of the Gospel being preached to the Gentiles (Acts 10:1-48). Furthermore, its phenomenal success, even in the difficult days of great persecution against the first century church, is proven by the fact that the Apostle Paul, while under house arrest in Rome, won converts and started a church with members of Caesar’s own “household” (Philippians 4:22).