In the first few decades of the Christian church, virtually every church was a “house church.” And to serve that house church, Paul urges the Corinthians to “Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts.” (1 Cor. 14:1)
We usually think of “spiritual gifts” being used in a big sanctuary—a pastor speaking to hundreds, if not thousands; a word of encouragement that requires a sound system; musical talents that are carried out through amplifiers.
In the context of the New Testament however, Paul encourages “eagerly desiring spiritual gifts” in very small settings, which is why I think we can especially apply this in our homes.
Every Christian family is, in one sense, a “house church.”
You have a group of believers (at least two) who are called to worship God, encourage each other, and reach their community. This doesn’t (and in my view, shouldn’t) take the place of being involved in a local church, but here’s perhaps a radical thought: what if a husband and wife decided to “follow the way of love” by eagerly desiring spiritual gifts to bless their home, their “house church”? What if we thought, “Lord, what does our family need to function better as a worshipping, witnessing community?” and then pray for any gifts that might be lacking?
What if kids grew up thinking that they should look at any given social situation, see what might be lacking, and then start praying, “Lord, if you would have me fill this need, please provide this gift”?
What if a wife spent a season asking God what would most bless her husband and children, and then “eagerly desire” any gift that might be of particular benefit in her home? What if a husband spent more time asking God what he lacks than fretting over what his wife and kids lack, and then began eagerly pursuing the spiritual gifts necessary for his family to be a worshipping community?
I’ve always thought of pursuing spiritual gifts in a larger church setting, which is understandable and appropriate. But what if we broadened it a bit and “eagerly” desired the same dynamic to bless our homes? Wouldn’t it be a healthy dynamic for all family members to essentially pray, “God, fill me up with you, equip me with your gifts, give me the supernatural ability to serve this family in a way I couldn’t in my natural self”?
It’s an intriguing proposition, don’t you think?