Living Hope Christian Fellowship is a growing network of house churches located in Northern California. Although we began as a more traditional church plant in the spring of 2000, the Lord has recently led us to a far more simple strategy of ministry, spreading His love house to house. We now meet in local homes, gathering together in small, caring independent groups for worship, study, mutual edification, and fellowship. There have been several key factors that prompted us to return to this basic New Testament pattern of Kingdom expansion.
1. The price of real estate in California is exorbitant in the extreme. Whether purchasing new property or leasing existing facilities the cost for a new church is prohibitive. Even if adequate acreage or suitable rental property is acquired, the cost of building and maintaining physical property in this area would demand the vast majority of a congregation’s resources leaving little to spend on actual ministry to the community. To us it comes down to the question, “What is the best stewardship of the resources God has given us in order to best advance His Kingdom?” We have opted to pursue ministry rather than maintain a monument, to pour our resources into building people rather than filling a building, to take the love of Christ into the homes of the local community rather than hoping the local community will leave their homes and come to us.
2. In the midst of one of the most affluent and technically advanced areas on earth, where almost everyone is connected via the internet to everyone else, we have created one of the loneliest societies in history. People are crying out to belong to a small, intimate group of individuals who honestly and passionately care for one another. In response to this heartfelt need we are attempting to stop “doing” church and start “being” the church. It is our intention to grow small, intimate fellowship groups where we can practice the “one another’s” found in the New Testament, where we can discover our spiritual gifts and learn how to use them in service to each other and the surrounding community, where we can pray for one another, care for one another and encourage one another to live in a way that brings glory and honor to Christ.
3. Let’s face it; the Bay Area is home to millions of people who would never think of darkening the door of a local house of worship unless it was for a wedding or a funeral. But if invited, they just might go to a neighbor’s house for a barbecue and an informal discussion about God. Planting small indigenous house churches has become the accepted strategy for Christian missions throughout the world. Houses church movements are experiencing exponential growth in many regions of the world once thought impenetrable by the Gospel. Why should we not expect the same results in Northern California where the unchurched rate hovers in the low to mid 90% range? It is our aim to spread the Good News throughout this region by planting a growing number of interdependent, simple churches in local homes, coffee shops, dorm rooms, parks, or anywhere people may choose to gather.
Our home fellowships are filled with people from many different social and economic backgrounds, age groups, races, and religious heritages. We have individuals who are long-time Christians, brand new believers, and those who are just curious to learn what Christianity is all about. Our gatherings usually include a meal (barbecue, pot-luck dinner, picnic, etc.), a time for sharing personal joys and sorrows, some time spent in God’s Word (Rather than preach we simply read and ask God to bring out what He desires us to learn that day), a worship and praise time, and much time spent in prayer lifting up the needs of each other as well as those of the surrounding community and the world. There is usually no set agenda. We ask the Holy Spirit to lead us and He always complies.
As we strive to follow God’s lead in growing a network of simple churches in the Bay Area and beyond, we are happy to connect with any other like-minded groups throughout northern and central California. We are not sponsored by, nor do we belong to any denominational organization. We are not anti traditional church but maintain close ties to many local congregations and cooperate with them in ministering to the community. Our churches are independent gatherings of Christian believers and seekers, Christ-centered, ministry-minded, servant-led, who are connected via the internet and our passion for a return to a simple, New Testament pattern of worship. On occasion we will gather in larger groups to build each other up and enjoy a greater fellowship. Please contact us for additional information and to subscribe to our weekly email “Update.”
Living Hope Christian Fellowship
P.O. Box 2338
Dublin, California 94568