In defense of worship spaces
Earlier this week I wondered if it might not be such a bad idea if some of our struggling established meetings experimented with the house church model. An commenter maps out the difficulties:
Speaking as a “meeting planter” (our small Friends meeting here was founded two years ago by me and one other Friend), I can tell you without reservation that, while we could meet in people’s homes, it would strictly limit the ability to reach out with our message and attract others to participate. You can pretty well be certain that only those who already feel comfortable with you will come back to someone’s home, which may not include the seekers who really are looking for something they can be part of.
I have seen this with other churches as well; the local UU fellowship grew from ten to 15 people in the 5 years that they met in living rooms; they grew from 30 to 60 in two years when they had their own meetinghouse.
I am trying hard to raise the money to allow us to purchase and maintain an appropriate building for a meetinghouse. Until we do, our Meeting will continue to hide its light under a bushel, despite all our efforts to the contrary. The desire to have a “home” is deep within the human heart, whether it is where we reside or where we worship.
The commenter was anonymous (update: no, he’s not, it’s Bruce Arnold of Letters from the Street) but I’d love to hear more. I wonder particularly of there’s a zone of difficult viability when the worship community it’s too small to support a building structure and need to pick a bigger-or smaller model for long-term viability.