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Church hopping: Biblical model for fellowship and ministry

by Theodore Wright

Acts 2:46 (KJV): And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,

Acts 5:42 (KJV): And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.

Whenever two or more gathered in the Lord’s name, Jesus is there in the midst.  Believers were gathered as church wherever they did and that was, and still in fact is, church. The greek word for church is έκκλησία (ekklesia) meaning “called out ones”. Therefore, the church is not the institution, nor the building, nor a denomination of any sort, but is the believers in Jesus.
 

To the surprise of many, Christians traveling between fellowships, known in modern times as church hoppers or church floaters, was what the early church did in the earliest of New Testament times as demonstrated in the Holy Bible. These passages from Acts have often been looked to as a model for church and ministry. Christ’s church is organic in nature. Being so, church floating not only helped unite the body of Christ but also furthered the sharing of the gospel. There was also the meeting of needs which could be regular in distribution or could be some unexpected financial blessing. An excellent and very personal way for the flock to be fed.
 


Despite what objections have been raised, those who have hopped or floated between churches have benefited these local fellowships with their giving, their encouragement, teaching, and even other support. With believers visiting different home fellowships and other church gatherings on a daily basis, this demonstrated a regular dependability of ministers who would come to be recognized amongst believers in Jesus.
 

The larger church gathering was the Church in Jerusalem which was at the temple which could not always be done due to persecution such as that of Saul of Tarsus.  This required home fellowship to be relied upon further and also necessitated changes in location of gatherings.  Church floating is not a justification for those who will not abide by the doctrines of Christ, nor for those who live in rebellion, nor yet for those who do not commit to the body of Christ. The reputation of translocal believers would indeed follow them where it would lead to whether or not they would be received or not in bodies of believers.
 

The Lord Jesus tells us that traveling ministers, who receive lodging and support from a home, should not be floating from home to home…

Luke 10:5-7 (KJV): And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house. And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again. And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house.

 

Many institutional Christians may find this model of church difficult to accept since they have been urged to embrace a different model of church based upon denominational segregation. Floating from church to church also does not generally gain favor with such institutional churches that frequently raise high expectations from those they wish to recruit as exclusive members. Nonetheless, it is the call for believers not to follow these reinvented doctrines of men according to their own desires but to follow the teachings of the Holy Bible rightfully discerned within their context.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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