The Ichthus Church
To American churchgoers, the Ichthus Church, which will be an incognito underground church, will be a totally unconventional approach to church. While many churchgoers may opt to remain in their conventional, traditional, and denominational churches, they must do so with the acute awareness that the days of such churches are numbered. Although these churches presently dot the American landscape, they will soon disappear from America, when they are either swept away by the state or forced to surrender to state imposed apostasy. Either way, the true church of Jesus Christ will soon have but one option in America, to meet, as the New Testament church did, “from house to house” (Acts 2:46; 20:20).
Christians in America need to start establishing house churches, small groups of family members and personal friends who meet in the privacy of each others’ homes. These house churches will soon be our churches, when the state shutters or subjugates all others. Although communication, communion, and cooperation between house churches will be critical, it will need to be conducted as untraceably as possible in these times of high-tech surveillance. We will need to be extremely careful not to leave digital footprints that provide would-be persecutors with trails to track us down. For instance, communication between us will need to be mostly, if not exclusively, by word of mouth.
The purpose of house church meetings will be “body life.” The church will come together so that everyone may participate as the Spirit leads, anoints, and has gifted them to minister. This way, all the members of the body will be used by the Spirit to minister to one another. We will be doing what Hebrews 10:25 teaches us to do, “assembling ourselves together” for the purpose of “exhorting [edifying and encouraging] one another,” which, in the light of Christ’s imminent return, will become evermore important and imperative.
House church meetings will not resemble conventional church services. You will not come to look at the back of someone’s head, while someone else looks at the back of your head, while everyone sits silently listening to what the pastor has to say. Although pastors or elders will oversee and facilitate house church meetings, they will be, like you, participants, not the main attractions. Now, this is not to say that pastors or elders will never have a word from the Lord for the church or that participants in house church meetings will not be subject to pastoral authority, but only to say that pastors are not to be seen exclusively as the ministers. Instead, as the New Testament teaches, every member will be seen as a minister capable of ministering to the church through their spiritual gifts.
Joint meetings of networked house churches will be opportune times to encourage one another, by testifying to each other about what God is doing in individual lives, as well as individual house churches. They will also provide opportunities for house churches to share burdens and needs with others in their network, so that all house churches and their members can pray and provide for one another.
The real dynamics of the spiritual life of the Ichthus Church, however, will occur in the individual house churches. These small groups will allow for the kind of intimacy among the saints that is necessary for us to effectively support one another, something that will become increasingly critical as the day of Christ’s Coming approaches (Hebrews 10:25). It is only in a small group that Christians can come alongside one another and earn each other’s confidence, so as to share one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2). It is only when we have the intimate fellowship with one another that a small group alone affords that we will truly suffer when our brother or sister suffers, be honored when our brother or sister is honored, and rejoice when our brother or sister rejoices (1 Corinthians 12:25-26).
These small groups in church members’ homes will also serve as the outreach arm of the church. Unbelievers, especially unbelieving family members and friends, will be selectively invited to attend a small and informal meeting in the home of a relative or intimate. In addition, all converts will be immediately encouraged to start a small group meeting in their own homes. By doing so, they can invite and attempt to win to Christ their lost loved ones and friends. This is exactly how Christ taught His disciples to spread the Gospel and how the first century church turned the world upside down (Acts 17:6).
Are you interested in stepping outside the box? Are you interested in going back to the future, by returning to the New Testament blueprint for the church and the Master’s plan for evangelism? Are you interested in being a part of a nonconventional church, one designed to be a formidable force for Christ in the dark days ahead by separating itself from today’s politically correct culture in order to offer to those within it a true alternative to it? If so, the Ichthus Church is for you.