Apex is a church of about 3,500 people with the vast majority attending either the one Saturday night or the two Sunday morning "gatherings". BUT they really effectively push and are all about house churches (which meet anytime during the week, even Sunday morning). They have 75 house churches of about 20 people each.
- http://apexcommunity.org/first-things/introducing-apex/ Key Watch this whole 6 minute video
Their name and what is on their church sign "Apex: A network of community house churches". Ever year the senior pastor does about a four sermon series on house churches. The first one of this year (September) is just out and is at http://apexcommunity.org/resources/?resource_id=407
They don't have cell groups or Bible Studies (see the 6 minute video above) so they can focus on the house churches (house church is defined in the 6 minute video). They don't have a church wide men's ministry so they can focus on house churches (http://apexcommunity.org/how-to-connect/men/
) They have a really good website http://apexcommunity.org/
Notice what their main page pushes -- It shows the 5 regions their house churches are split into, i.e., it's all about house churches.
For Horizon to follow the model the main thing would be to upgrade the small groups to house churches and focus everything on it. But still have Sunday morning like Apex does. Americans like to go to a big service for good music and preaching. But Apex is really, really all about discipling through the house churches.
- Apex is not a church
- Church is never used as reference to a building but as the assembly of God's people.
- Committed group of people with authentic community
- Apex is all about being and making disciples. We exist of an network house churches which are made up of people who are all about discipleship.
- Discipleship defn: Becoming individuals who are fully devoted to 3 core things: Knowing, loving, obeying the Lord Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit.
- Why HC? Believe form should follow the function of the church. function is discipleship, then form have to lend itself to that function. Obedience can not be practice individually. Love, obey, confess. Can't be done in a gathering but in an authenic Christian community
- They are called house churches because we
Meet in homes in their neighborhoods
To be an Apexer you need to be a follwer of Jesus Christ and a commited member of a house church
- Embrace Jesus Christ as the head of the church
- Overseen by qualified elders
- Practice Baptism and Lord's supper
- Carry out Church discipline and restoration
- Teach the scriptures
- Proactive about sharing the Gospel
- They really care about one another and intentionally help meet one anothers needs.
The 3 G's
- Allows us to celebrate, keep vision of HC always in front of us, keeps us on the same page, reminds us we are part of something bigger,
- Value getting together in a park just as much
- Grow together, love, instruct, teach one another
- Conferences, equipping conferences. Just can't do while sitting in a pew.
- Equipping disciples for the intentional pursuit of those who don't know Jesus.
- Try to maintain everyday going mindset
- Missions cafe in main church building
- HC parties, serving poor in own town.
- We want to make disciples who go
5. Commitment to an intentional method of discipleship
By this we mean:
Because we are a holy priesthood called to make disciples, we should gather regularly as simple expressions of the church in the intimate settings of daily life (homes, 3rd places, etc) for the purposes of fellowship, communion, mutual edification, teaching, the exercise of spiritual gifts, and other practices (such as FEAST, BELLS, etc). This allows for a deliberate effort to evangelize the geographic context in which every disciple lives. We desire a regular commitment of same-gender accountability and the development of leaders within these small gatherings which allow them to multiply and further the work of the Kingdom. http://apexcommunity.org/who-we-are/core-convictions
Who We Are
A Network of House Churches
We operate as a network of house churches because we believe that they are a great environment for discipleship. Plain and simple. Being smaller, they allow disciples of Christ to be the church in ways that you simply can’t in a large gathering. The New Testament lists over 50 “one another’s” in which the church ought to be active. Love one another. Encourage each other. Serve one another. We simply cannot live life together as the church without opportunity to do these things… and these things simply don’t happen when the church remains a sea of anonymous people.
Sometimes people wonder why we bother to network the house churches together (rather than just have them operate completely independent of one another). Basically, functioning as a network allows for large opportunities like major missions projects or large teaching forums, and the small community house churches which make up the network allow for the intimate interaction of accountability and exercising spiritual gifts. We see the “big” and the “small” as compliments to one another… not in opposition.
What happens in a house church
Every house church is unique. The personalities, gifts, contexts, and backgrounds within a church will always shape a group to some extent. We do, however use a simple measuring stick by which the group can hold themselves (and be held) accountable to healthy body life. We refer to this as the DNA of our house churches. We should all continually be challenged and growing in the following areas:
- Dynamic Truth: Teaching one another, through the Word and Spirit, the dynamic truth of scripture and challenging one another to be accountable and obedient to becoming more like Christ.
- Nurturing Relationships: Building strong, dependent relationships with brothers and sisters in Christ through close, personal accountability, prayer, and the many “one another” expressions of community mentioned in the New Testament.
- Apostolic Mission: Encouraging one another to live outwardly (together and as individuals), obeying the commands of Scripture and the prompting of the Spirit, to share the gospel and do good works to advance the kingdom of God.
How does DNA really happen?
Keeping in mind that every house church is unique, they do generally all share the common elements of a shared meal, communion, worship, prayer, and time in scripture. They seek to establish transparency and accountability in even smaller same-sex groups (oftentimes called “Quads”) that often meet or talk throughout the week. And throughout all of these things, disciples should always be encouraging each other’s personal calling to minister to those around them.
How is that different than most “small groups” in traditional American church? It’s not unusual to hear about house churches baptizing one another in bathtubs and swimming pools. Stories of house church mission trips and local service projects are becoming more and more common. People are coming to know their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in living rooms and backyards. Some of them may have never been in an Apex building. We truly do believe these simple house churches ARE actual churches.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Where do house churches meet?
Our house church network is organized by geography. We have broken up the Miami Valley into regions which each contain many house churches. We then encourage you to be a part of a house church that meets near where you live. This encourages closer community with those in your house church, and it also allows for you to be “on mission” for Christ together in your community that you have in common.
When do they meet?
They meet throughout the week. It’s common for them to meet on Sunday late afternoons, Wednesday evenings, etc. Really, the time is dependent upon the needs of the folks in the house church. As you grow closer with your house church, you’ll find that you may be getting together multiple times throughout each week.
Who are HC’s for?
Everyone. Since house churches are organized by geography, they are not intentionally geared toward specific ages, life stages, etc. Does that mean that a house church may have singles, parents, and children all together? Yes it does! They can really become a family environment, teaching one another and sharing life together. It’s often much more like “Family Thanksgiving” than “Small Group Bible Study.” And yes, that can make things interesting at times… but you’ll probably grow to love it if you give it a chance!
What else do you have other than house churches?
Not a whole lot. House churches are really who we are. We do have program-based ministry for kids and students through high school, but that’s the majority of our programs. We do not have typical staff-organized Sunday school, small groups, men’s and women’s ministries, etc. At the end of the day, ministry at Apex just looks a lot different. We seek to hand over as much of the ministry as possible to the non-paid, everyday Christ-follower because we know that we are all ministers of the gospel… under the true head of the church, Jesus. And please know that we don’t think we’re better than other local churches because we do things differently. We’re just trying to be obedient to what we believe we’ve been called to do! http://apexcommunity.org/who-we-are/house-churches
This was a fascinating presentation by a group of mega-church members who, in a variety of ways, have been working with house churches. Northland (Orlando), Apex Community Church (Dayton), and Austin Stone (Austin) were represented.
This was a fascinating presentation by a group of mega-church members who, in a variety of ways, have been working with house churches. Northland (Orlando), Apex Community Church (Dayton), andAustin Stone (Austin) were represented.
Stew explained how Austin Stone has been planting house churches amongst the Turkish and Muslim communities in Austin. Now 100 of these are going on to Turkey to continue the process there. This is a situation where traditional, Western-style church could not have succeeded as it would not have been acceptable to the culture. They are also working amongst students on the University of Texas campus, and amongst the homeless poor and seeing real transformation.
Chris Cardiff from Apex in Dayton has been focusing on getting members to do far more than just turn up on a Sunday. 50% to 60% of their people are now meeting in house churches. (This sounded to me very like the cell-church model.)
Rennes, also from Apex, explained that they are trying hard to hear what the Spirit is saying to the church. Jesus is the head. It's about relationship, we are in relationship with the Spirit (who is the Spirit of Christ). We are all led differently but by the one Spirit!
Craig addressed the topic of healing. We sometimes get injured in church and big church is more anonymous so that we can remain hidden in our pain. Jesus healed people, and sometime people may need to move from mega to micro or vice versa to aid that healing.
Dan from Northland spoke about resourcing the small. He made everyone laugh with his unforgettable remark that 'rabbits have teeth, please don't bite the elephant'! We need to reconnect and work together even if we have differences.
They have a goal of facilitating a million house churches. They are putting useful children's ministry material online free of charge, making it available for all to use and adapt. They have the resources to do this and feel it is a useful contribution.
They also run about 30 cross-cultural mission trips annually and invite anyone to join these teams. Their worship webcasts to Seminole Prison are another move of this kind. They want to connect to house churches to facilitate further networking efforts. And with Global Media Outreach (GMO) which involves Campus Crusade they invite house church volunteers to become daily prayer and email partners to help a new believer in, say, Algeria get stated with simple forms of church.