Can you imagine a “church in your house”? And yet anything else would actually have been unimaginable for the early believers.
Most religious people who ever “go to church” (not realizing we are the church, the ekklesia, rather than go to church), go to a very elaborate church building or cathedral. The richer denominations have big cathedrals with prominent steeples (a very pagan relic), stained glass windows, rich and expensive marble floors and more. I’ve been to St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome and there’s even gold on the ceiling and that basilica is so massive you could put several typical churches inside it. St Paul’s in London is patterned after it. You may think of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and the dozens of others that dot the land.
I’m not against worship of God being expensive, as nothing is too expensive if it is truly directed at worshiping the Great God who created all things. Remember he didn’t decry the expensive ointment that was poured on him and certainly the ancient Tabernacle and Temple were quite lavish. But I will say this, the same Peter who was concerned that Paul be sure to consider the poor in his travels (Gal. 2:10) would be appalled that his name has been put on to lavish and massive buildings with pagan symbols (like the obelisk in the center of the courtyard at St Peter’s). Can you see the fisherman Peter decked out like the modern-day popes? I’m not meaning to pick on the Catholic church, but just point to the principle. This applies to just about all the denominations. And Yeshua himself walked everywhere. He didn’t own expensive chariots. John the Baptist was dressed roughly, as Yeshua himself implied in Luke 7:24-28, that John was NOT dressed lavishly.
I’m making a point: the early believers rarely if ever met in expensive buildings like that unless they visited the still-standing temple in Jerusalem (until 70 CE). But remember that only priests could actually go inside the temple itself. Circumcised Jews visited from the square outside or in the courts if they were offering a sacrifice with the priest. Circumcised Gentiles were allowed only so far where they would come to a short wall with warnings that if they went beyond that point, they would be executed.
Yeshua never, ever meant it to be like that. Remember him saying, “My father’s house is supposed to be a place of worship for ALL NATIONS”? (Mark 11:15-17; Isaiah 56:6-7 the context was “foreigners”)
Early believers didn’t meet in huge basilicas and cathedrals, which were often built on false promises. They met in homes of the brethren. Yeshua himself preached outdoors, or on a hillside, or along the shores of the Sea of Galilee as he addressed them from a boat. Imagine that! And there was discourse, there was feeding of multitudes, there was a family atmosphere. My Kenyan brethren meet outdoors as well, rain or shine. Maybe our worship would be more meaningful if we could hear birds singing in the background (but don’t get distracted by bugs!).
Some of the more established mega-churches like to put down the “home church” idea. Well, those who do so are denigrating scripture itself.
“To Philemon our beloved friend and fellow laborer, 2 to the beloved Apphia, Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house:”