One aspect of Church history is the home and it’s importance in the beginning of the church. To truly understand the whole concept we need to look at the Jewish home structure, their ingrained mores and customs, and the integrity of the home as a source of strength and stability.
The home was a staunchly guarded treasure. The home was the foundation of strength for the entire family and it’s sanctity and importance cannot be overstated. There was structure, even a hierarchy, and support network that provided the key to the success and continuance of the family name, it’s particular heritage, and individuality as a separate institution. It was also part of the strength the communities and people groups needed to grow and bond. Some of the established structure was that of the Man being the head of the house, the provider, and arbitrator of disputes. On other words the home was lead by the male and the female was primarily expected to support the family structure, especially the decisions and leadership of the husband, father, or other male leader.
The home was considered sacred and to have been sanctified by God and blessed. Many instructions, prohibitions, and promises centered around the family, home, and the marriage. Children were especially prized and were actually “spoiled” in some ways. Leave it to say that children were highly cherished.
Also within the home structure was the broad role of teaching the children about the law and the many feasts, promises, and covenants that were particular to the heritage and future of the Jews as well as those that impacted the family more directly. There were many responsibilities and much to live up to as a Jew and as one of the very elect of God.
The home then was the center of the family, clan, or even large groups at the time Christ blessed the world. It was this complex and yet pure institution that was initially chosen to bear the message of salvation. Many instances are given where someone of a particular home is saved as well as his (or her) whole family. This was the true grass roots movement that gave the earliest church and it’s expansion a solid footing and strong baseline of support and strength.
From individuals to families the message found a place to grow and spread through the know kingdoms and empires. It was with this unparalleled base that Christianity truly sprouted and bloomed so rapidly. Even today, the support of a family is the greatest food that provides nourishment, growth, and strength to the Church. It is the true incubator of love, trust, and belief that so heavily influences the family itself and the greater communities it affects.
The church then, the home church, became so solid and strong that even persecution and the power of a mighty empire could not dissolve or destroy.