The early Christian community started as a house church. The record in the book of Acts tells us that 'They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship... They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts. 'Some twenty-five years later, the apostle Paul wrote to friends in Rome: 'Greet also the church that meets in their house.'  The word church in the New Testament is a translation of the word ekklesia, which means “called out ones” or “assembly.” It never refers to a building or place. The English word church is an interesting word. Where did that come from? It came from the old English kirch or kirche like in the Scottish kirch, and it comes from the Greek kuriokos which means “belonging to the Lord.” So, the word church means “belonging to the Lord” in its etymological origin, and could refer to a place or could refer to a people. So, that is where the English word church comes from and doesn’t prove anything about where a people should meet.

New Testament portrays local churches, that is, local assemblies, gatherings of the universal church in a local place, and the expression of the universal church gathered in a local place. It portrays these churches often as gathering in homes. So, in 1 Corinthians 16:19, “The churches of Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Prisca, together with the church in their house, send you hearty greetings.” Colossians 4:15, “Give my greetings to the brothers at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house.” Philemon 2, “[I write to] Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier, and the church in your house.” So, it is clear that, in the earliest days of the church, the church regularly met in homes.

Such a scenario is required in the present day churches where the church gathers at the houses of different believers of the church during the weekdays for a time of fellowship, worship and to hear from the Lord. While on Sundays the entire congregation gathers at the church to worship the Lord, it is equally important for the believers to gather up at their homes during one day of the week. For this to come to pass, the believers are clustered as groups of for or five staying in one vicinity, where they take turns in gathering up at each person's house once a week. This practice strengthens the faith within the believers as they join together to pray, meditate and share their testimonies. It also paves way to clarify one another's doubts in the Scripture. It is the time set aside to recall the message the Lord shared to the congregation on that Sunday at the church by meditating on it once again just like the cow which chews the cud. Gathering up during the weekdays at home churches strengthens the relationship with God along with which second level leaders bloom. Yet another boon to home churches is the fact that those neighbors who could not make it up to drop down at the church on Sundays find an opportunity to know the love of Christ, thereby aiding in expansion of the Lord's Kingdom. Once in a while the chief Pastor pays a visit to these home churches to encourage them in the Lord. Paul also made it a point to visit the home churches during his missionary journeys.

Meetings conducted at these home churches, termed as "Cottage Prayer Meetings", have given room towards the building up of the kingdom of God from slums to apartments. These cottage prayer meetings, when led with proper prior personal prayers and preparation as family, yields in exponential rise in growth of the church within a short span of time. Being Christ-centred and never self-centered must be the unbreakable discipline of this wing of church ministry. For Jesus himself said, "That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." (Matthew 18: 19, 20). The seed of the living word of God sown in the hearts of the hearers at the cottage prayer meetings result in multitude of harvest in no time. Let's get geared in reaching out to the lost souls close to our neighborhood through the church gatherings at our respective homes. Hallelujah!