Question:

May God continuously guide you as you continue your service to the lost. I need to ask some questions about the autonomy of the church. Allow me to relate our situation.

My home congregation is a large congregation and members come from different areas. At the moment some of the members are having hard time attending the services of the church because the road toour building is under construction. It may take two years before it is finished. The members affected by this road construction decided to worship in the house of one of them, apart from my home congregation. The questions are:

  1. Are they considered to be a congregation?
  2. If not, are they going to mix their giving to my home congregation?
  3. Is italready a separated congregation, and they need to decide for themselves?
  4. When can we call an assembly of saints, is it a local church?

These are all about the church management, and I really need your advice.

Thank you so much.


Answer:

A church is a group of local Christians who gather together to work and worship as a church. When Paul talked to the Corinthians, he talked about "when you come together as a church" (I Corinthians 11:18) and "if the whole church comes together in one place" (I Corinthians 14:23). We have multiple congregations because it isn't possible for all Christians around the world to gather together to worship. Geography divides us, so those in a region gather together.

Your area became divided because of the road construction. You now have two areas that are not easily accessible to each other. The result is that you have two groups meeting in two places and, thus, you have two churches. The problems and issues in one group will be different than the other group. When the construction is finished, they can merge back into one church, but until that time they will be functioning as two independent groups.