The Church as Household

“I am writing these things to you so that…you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church” (1 Tim. 3:14,15).

There is a largely neglected ethos of church which Paul both beautifully and fiercely lays out and defends. Namely, the ethos that church is to be something like a household, organized and behaving congruently to the way a family does.

Unfortunately, most Western evangelical churches are much more congruent to the local Lion’s Club, a nonprofit organization.

A familial ecclesiology

Consider 1 Timothy 5:1-2, “Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father. Treat younger men like brothers, older women like mothers, younger women like sisters”.

Or, consider the fact that Paul so closely ties a man’s ability to lead his family with his fitness to lead a church in 1 Timothy 3:4-5, “[An elder] must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?”

 

In other words, church is not a social club or an activist organization, it is a missional family with God as Father and Jesus as Brother.household

Idealist utopian dreaming?

Imagine the kinds of relationships that would be forged when everyone in your church treated each other like family. No one would have any need. Each other’s brokenness would be more apparent because who needs to impress family? Older men would train younger men. Older women would train younger women. Men would treat women with purity as sisters.

Not only will the internal relationships be enriched, but the mission is much more becoming in this kind of paradigm. I have already written on what this can look like.

Certainly some will think this to be idealist utopian dreaming. Others will immediately think of that wierd, candle lit bohemian group they visited in college. I don’t know. I’m exploring this paradigm, and inviting your biblical insight.

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2 Responses to The Church as Household

  1. Dan says:

    Galatians 6:1-10, especially verse 10. Acts 2:42-47

    • jamogck says:

      Thanks Dan! The Acts passage you cited really is what has sparked a lot of this. It describes how the richness of the community within the church was part and parcel of the mission of the church.

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