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Book Recommendations

The books listed below are highly recommended for the house church library. All of them are in paperback, and most titles are available at a discount from (links are provided for your convenience).

Please let us know of other books that you find useful.

A Believers' Church Theology by Stanley A. Nelson

This seminary text for has been out of print for over a year. Edited by Herb Drake and Matthew Wysocki.
Out of print. eBook version now available at no charge.

The Insanity of God by Nik Ripken and Gregg Lewis

This story of the life of a missionary family gives an inside look at the witness and practice of underground house churches in many countries where believers are persecuted.
Order The Insanity of God: A True Story of Faith Resurrected"

Parting Ways by Patrick Sipperly

This book is a work of fiction that describes the path of a "successful" pastor as he starts to question success.
Order The Church Comes Home.

The Church Comes Home by Robert & Julia Banks

Robert and Julia banks first came to the attention of House Church Central through the rocommendation of Vernard Eller, who described Dr. Banks as "Mr. House Church." In this compact volume, people new to the concept will find the answers to many of their questions about joining or starting a fellowship, children, multiplying, home church clusters, as well as a host of testimonies.
Order The Church Comes Home.

The House Church by Del Birkey

This splendid book is foundational to the house church, delving into its history and centered on the need for the three "R's"--Revival, Reformation, and Revitalization . Dr. Birkey had a house church in his home for more than ten years, and travels a great deal in third-world countries where the house church tends to be the norm.
Order The House Church.

Notice: Before his death on May 19, 2009, Del completed an update to this book which is availble for sale in electronic form. It is available at

Ekklesia: To the Roots of Biblical House Church Life, Steve Atkerson, Ed.

ISBN 0-0729082-1-8.
As with any book assembled from many authors, Ekklesia is somewhat variable. It champions 1 Cor. 14 as a model for doing church, and that is where this book's strength lies. The book makes a good attempt at reconciling equality within the HC membership while still providing for the designation of elders. This reader found the chapter titled Divine Order to be lamentable -- there are more biblcal understandings of "women should be silent..." (See Berkey's Book, above). Home Churchers will find it a practical resource, but it is unfortunate that the book lacks an index. Order Ekklesia.

The Fall of Patriarchy by Del Birkey

Why would anybody involved in house churh want a book on patriarchy? You'd have to read the subtitle to get the answer: Its Broken Legacy Judged by Jesus and the Apostolic House Church Communities. Like Del Birkey's The House Church, this is a scholarly work that treats the subject of male dominance, and authority in general, in the context of the church. The book is thorough and biblical. ISBN 1-58736-374-7.
Order The Fall of Patriarchy.

Resident Aliens by Stanley Hauerwas and William H. Willimon

A well written and challenging alternative view of the church in Western society--how to look critically at the culture and its invasion of the church. Subtitled A Provocative Christian Assessment of Culture and Ministry for People Who Know that Something Is Wrong. Dr. Hauerwas is professor of theological ethics at the Divinity School, Duke University. Dr. Willimon is professor of the practice of Christian ministry there.
Order Resident Aliens.

The Community of the Spirit by C. Norman Kraus

The Holy Spirit empowered the church at Pentecost, but to understand the tremendous implications of that event requires an appreciation of the importance of both the individual and the messianic community of which he or she is a part. Dr. Kraus presents the historical roots of the Spirit's work, both in the Old Testament and the New, and creates a framework for interpreting the biblical concepts of salvation, peace, love, and grace.
Order The Community of the Spirit.

Paul's Idea of Community by Robert Banks, Revised ed. (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1994)

What can be more important to a properly functioning house church than that it should have a sense of community? This careful study demonstrates that Paul's thinking is rooted in Christ's radical message, and shows how the apostle tried to shape the churches into the ideal that they would one day find in heaven.
Order Paul's Idea of Community.

The Believers' Church by Donald F. Durnbaugh.

The concept, history, and character of the house church. Prof. Durnbaugh has written or edited ten books and over 70 articles in journals and periodicals. He taught church history at Bethany Theological Seminary until his recent retirement.
Order The Believers' Church.

Matthew, Believers Church Bible Commentary, by Richard B. Gardner

While there are about a dozen truly excellent Bible commentaries available, this is one that every home church should have. Matthew's is the gospel of the gathered people, and Gardner's treatment of it brings out that aspect like none other.
Order Matthew, Believers Church Bible Commentary.

The Politics of Jesus by John Howard Yoder

Of the many, brilliant books by Yoder, this is perhaps the most important and accessible. Christianity Today said that this "could be one of the most significant studies published among evangelicals in quite some time." Yoder was on the faculty of Goshen Biblical Seminary and Notre Dame. He died in December, 1997.
Order The Politics of Jesus.

Plain and Simple by Sue Bender: A Woman's Journey to the Amish

Here is a book about the simple life, written from the perspective of an "outsider"--and that is what makes this book so delicious. We see a modern, secular artist drawn into the simple life through the beauty of Amish quilts. There are other books that deal better with the theology of the simple life, but Mrs. Bender communicates, probably better than any other modern author, its joys. You will be blessed by this book. (Of the books on this page, this one-time best seller is the one most likely to be found in an ordinary public library).
Order Plain and Simple

Selling Out the Church by Philip D. Kenneson & James L. Street

This book speaks primarily of problems in the institutional church, so would be of interest mainly to those HCC visitors who are interested in cell group ministry. But all Christians can benefit from this book, which examines many modern church "programs" under the microscope of house church (that is, believers' church) theology. The target is a small one--the church marketing press--but the authors reveal the surprising amount of damage that has been caused by the thinking characterized by phrases like "user friendly," "seeker sensitive," "meeting unmet needs," etc., in in the contemporary church. ISBN 1-59244-296-X.
Order Selling Out the Church.

By the way, the authors of these publications come from a wide range of denominations. Birkey, Kraus, and Yoder are Mennonites; Eller and and Durnbaugh are Church of the Brethren, Hauerwas and Willimon are Methodists; Nelson is a Baptist.