All New Testament churches only met in homes and the believers did the following: 

 

 

  • House Gatherings:  The regular church gatherings for all believers in every city were only and always in believer’s homes.  They were all house churches (Acts 2:2, 46; Rom.16:5; 1Cor. 16:19; Col. 4:15; Philemon 1:2).  No “church” buildings were ever erected until the 4th century and even then not by the believers but rather by Roman Emperor Constantine and his mother.   

 

  • Weekly Gatherings:  Believers would gather at least once a week on the first day of each week (Acts 20:7) in their homes for an evening supper together.
      
  • Supper Gatherings:  All believers gathered in different homes around the city at least once a week for a shared evening supper.  That is why they called it the “Lord’s supper", because that was what it was.  This was their church meeting.  They ate a shared supper together remembering Jesus.  There is not one New Testament church example where they ever got together to nibble a tiny wafer and sip a thimble of wine or juice and call it “communion”.  It was an obvious full supper/meal as they were even admonished to not get drunk from the wine during the supper (1Cor.11:21).

    This special weekly celebration/remembrance meal was also called the “breaking of bread”, “fellowship meals”, “love feasts” and “Lord’s supper” (Acts 2:42, 46; 20:7, 11; 1Cor. 11:17-33; Jude 1:12; Rev.3:20)The New Testament regular church supper gatherings would only function practically within house churches.   Believers were never told to meet together to be encouraged by hearing some sermon. Rather they were told to meet together to encourage! “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of His return is drawing near.” (Heb. 10:25).

 

  • Four Purpose Gatherings:  All New Testament churches had four and only four church gathering purposes.  The only way these four church purposes could practically function as they did in the New Testament where everyone shared (1Cor.14:31) in them, could be in house churches.  The four church purposes were (Acts 2:42): 
    • Word       
    • Fellowship 
    • Supper 
    • Prayer 

 

  • All Believers Share In Church Gatherings:  With thousands getting saved in Jerusalem in one day and thousands more the next day and multitudes thereafter (Acts 2:42; 4:4), most house churches would not have had elders/pastors meeting with them most of the time.  Also, there were whole cities of believers with no recognized leaders for extended periods of time (Acts 14:21-23; Titus 1:5).  Believers must never think they need elders or pastors to be a house church and do what they did in the New Testament.  Remember it is Christ's Church and He is the Head and He has made every believer a “priest” so they can carry out His will in building His church.  Every believer who has the Holy Spirit living in them is a “priest” and thereby should function as a “priest”.  Peter said all believers are holy priests… to offer spiritual sacrifices [worship/prayer] that pleases God” and all believers are royal priests… so that you may proclaim [speak about] the excellencies of Him” (1Peter 2:5 & 9 NASB).  So every believer is to: pray and speak.  This can only be done in house churches, small groups. 

    Coming together for church in the New Testament was not to just hear from one preacher every week, but where everyone would contribute and share what God put on their heart:

    “Well, my brothers and sisters, let’s summarize. When you meet together, one will sing, another will teach, another will tell some special revelation God has given… but everything that is done must strengthen all of you… Let two or three people prophesy, and let the others evaluate what is said.  But if someone is prophesying and another person receives a revelation from the Lord, the one who is speaking must stop.  In this way, all who prophesy will have a turn to speak, one after the other, so that everyone will learn and be encouraged.  Remember that people who prophesy are in control of their spirit and can take turns” (1Cor. 14:26-32).  [Prophesying in the New Testament is “One who prophesies to strengthen others, encourage them, and comfort them” (1Cor.14:3).]

 

  • City Public Centers Were Not Church Gatherings:  The times the apostles were speaking in the city public centers -- temple, synagogues, market places, and schools – were not the church gatherings (Acts 4:1; 5:20; 9:20; 13:5; 14:1; 17:17; 19:9).  These were public gathering places where the apostle would regularly go out to preach the gospel.   Of course as people got saved many believers would come to be there as well.