The “house church” is a term used to describe China’s unregistered churches that do not submit to the oversight of government religious organizations but rather claim Christ as their only authority.
When the house church movement first began in the early 20th century, it was a countryside movement. Without places to gather, these churches met in homes.
Today’s house churches look quite different. They are increasingly urban, with many new house churches being planted in China’s major cities. They may meet in homes, hotels, rented spaces, or even gather online together but gather frequently during the week to eat and pray. They may be a group of three hundred or they may be a group of ten. They may be charismatic, fundamentalist, Reformed, non-denominational, Baptist, or Presbyterian.
Despite looking so different, these house churches share a common bond: all of them are illegal. They refuse to register with the Three Self Patriotic Movement, the officially-sanctioned government church. As such, many of them have experienced persecution. The severity and frequency of this persecution varies from time to time and place to place, but ever since 2018 it has grown steadily worse.
Even in persecution, however, there is great hope. God is still working. Indeed, many house churches are clinging to Christ more than ever before, strengthened in their desire to plant churches in urban centers, comforted by the kingship of Christ and the centrality of the gospel. We long to learn from them, to hear their stories, and walk alongside them as brothers and sisters in Christ.
As a production of China Partnership, all of our ministry is made possible through the generosity of our giving partners. Our desire is to see the gospel go deeper and wider in China by supporting the local church already there with gospel renewal, translation of resources, training material, and more. When you give, you are supporting this work of serving, training, and resourcing a gospel movement. Would you consider partnering with us today?