House Church Central Turns 21
(Months, that is)
by Herb Drake

Copyright (c) 1998, Herb Drake.

This work may be freely reproduced and distributed provided that no changes are made, no revenues are collected beyond the nominal cost of media, and credit is given to the author and House Church Central. Any other use requires the written permission of the author. Citing this material on other Internet sites is encouraged, but is to be done only by providing a hypertext reference to this file on this server.

House Church Central appeared in cyberspace in January, 1997, with about a dozen pages of information. Since that time it has increased in size to well over 500 files of one sort or another. It appeared to be a good time for an audit of the site's content, and what better way to do that than to consider the interest shown by its visitors in each of the various components?

Recent access to a powerful new web statistics tool made the time right for such a study. And the because a fair amount of effort was required to reduce the massive amounts of data that emerged, it seemed like a good idea to make it available on the web site itself in the hope that viewers might get an idea of the interests of others in the house church community.

Where does all this information come from? No, there is no "big brother" program sleuthing the web. But each server does maintain "usage logs" that keep a time-stamped record of transactions and those data are often made available to client web site hosts. If there is a problem with these logs, it is their huge size. But special software that runs on the server can read the logs and provide some helpful information. Most commerical web sites regard their usage studies as highly sensitive, competitive information. That, of course, is not a consideration here at House Church Central--if there are other house church sites that can benefit from this information, they are welcome to do so.

The study comprises 98 days of activity from June 26 - Oct 2, 1998. It is not completely accurate, of course, because some material has been added or removed between those dates.

For those with no interest in examining the statistical results that appear below, here is a very brief list of observations:

The details of the survey are below.


Number of hits:131280
Number of megabytes transferred:654.8
Number of pages viewed:62164
Number of estimated visits:14710
Number of unique hosts:6035
Number of unique pages:462
Number of pages viewed per day:628
Number of pages viewed per visit:4
Length of visit:3 min, 30 sec
Number of visits per day:149
Number of visits per week:1040
Number of visits per month:4553

Most Popular Pages

As the above summary indicates, 62164 pages were downloaded during the period of study. With that number representing 100%, here is a ranked breakdown of viewing frequency.

Top Level Pages: 62.8%

These pages are the main entry points of the site, ranked in decreasing order.

Page TitleViewing TimeTimes viewed
(% of all pages)
(Frameset, etc.)15 sec24098 (38.8%)
(Main Page)25 sec4568 (7.3%)
Enter House Church Directory1 min, 12 sec2560 (4.1%)
Enter HCC Cork Board45 sec1394 (2.2%)
Links page1 min, 7 sec1039 (1.7%)
Enter House Church Theology1 min, 20 sec1038 (1.7%)
Resource Page1 min, 11 sec1005 (1.6%)
Enter HCC Magazine59 sec889 (1.4%)
Enter The Vernard Eller Collection1 min, 14 sec753 (1.2%)
So you have a House Church?1 min, 44 sec574 (0.8%)
Search Page*53 sec363 (0.5%)
The HCC Survey**1 min, 51 sec259 (0.4%)
What's New?1 min234 (0.3%)
About House Church Central1 min, 17 sec193 (0.3%)
Site Map1 min, 2 sec159 (0.3%)
Giving to HCC1 min, 12 sec119 (0.2%)

* 153 actual searches attempted during the period.
** 35 survey submittals attempted during the period.

Theology Pages: 9.4%

The theological content of House Church Central may be divided into three distinct categories:

DescriptionApprox. Avg. Viewing TimeViews
15 "Green Key" essays. Each such essay is an excursus that is activated by a small green rectangle along the right-hand edge of the text. 2 min2632 (4.2%)
7 doctrine pages2 min1588 (2.6%)
Answering Exam Questions30 sec1683 (2.7%)
Totals5873 (9.4%)

Electronic Books: 9.0%

Books comprise an interesting category because many of them require a large number of views to obtain the entire content. A total of 304 books were downloaded during the period of study (about 3 per day), accounting for 3289 file downloads. The relatively short duration of each view suggests that the books are being printed, rather than read online.

Of those who did not download a complete book, many viewed the first page (containing the table of contents and introduction). A few others viewed occasional pages within various books.

The books are ranked by decreasing order of complete downloads. All Eller books are, of course part of the Vernard Eller Collection.

TitleViews in
the Book
Complete DownloadsIndividual ViewsTotal Views
The Simple Life (Eller)539195130120529 (.9%)
The Simple Life* (Eller)61484
The Anabaptist Story (Nelson)6148411434428 (.7%)
The Anabaptist Story* (Nelson)728196
The Book of Romans: A House Church Manifesto (Drake)139117106201732 (1.2%)
The Book of Romans: A House Church Manifesto* (Drake)1422308
Proclaim Good Tidings (Eller)533165589232 (.4%)
The Most Revealing Book (Eller)1520300157117574 (.9%)
The Outward Bound (Eller)10131306649322 (.5%)
The Outward Bound* (Eller)11777
The Beloved Disciple (Eller)6201204526191 (.3%)
Could the Church Have it All Wrong? (Eller)10181809183354 (.6%)
Kierkegaard & Rad. Discp. (Eller)31113411485301547 (2.5%)
Kierkegaard & Rad. Discp.* (Eller)668528
The Blumhardt Reader (Eller)6181087033211 (.3%)
Language of Canaan, Grammar of Feminism (Eller)3164833283 (.1%)
A Pearl of Christian Counsel (Eller)22143082829365 (.6%)
Totals2363043289104612335568 (9.0%)

*These book downloads included the note views. Not all books have separate notes.

The Vernard Eller Articles: 2.2%

The Eller Collection also has a number of articles, a ranked listing of which follows:

TitleViewing TimeViews
Covenental Sex & Marriage1 min, 5 sec208 (0.3%)
The Nude Morality23 sec178 (0.3%)
Risks & Dangers of Worship2 min, 32 sec87 (0.1%)
Protestant Radicalism40 sec77 (0.1%)
Baptism/Rebaptism1 min, 1 sec77 (0.1%)
Sex, Power, & the Revolution20 sec73 (0.1%)
Brothers in Ebullience14 sec61 (0.1%)
Ellul and the Bible1 min, 1 sec52 (0.1%)
Peace Not as the World Gives31 sec52 (0.1%)
Depravity or Sin?21 sec52 (0.1%)
Who are the Blumhardts?40 sec50 (0.1%)
So You See Yourself a Prophet?2 min, 2 sec50 (0.1%)
A Theology of Nonresistance28 sec50 (0.1%)
Jesus and the Farmworkers5 sec47 (0.1%)
The Mad (Magazine) Morality39 sec45 (0.1%)
Why the First Commandment52 sec44 (0.1%)
COCU: Self Defeating?1 min, 55 sec40 (0.1%)
Theo. of Promise/Hope1 min, 37 sec32 (0.1%)
Christmas: Luke Theo. of Hope10 sec27 (0.0%)
The Ethics of Promise43 sec25 (0.0%)
Worship30 sec18 (0.0%)
Totals1345 (2.2%)

HCC/HCDL Directory: 7.2%

In addition to the 2560 viewings of the Directory page listed above (859 of which came from HCDL and bypassed the HCC top pages), 4223 views (6.8%) were directory searches. There were an additional 266 maintenance accesses (adds, deletes, modifications), for a total of 4489 (7.2%).

A total of 1254 visits ended with a view of search results from the directory, however it is not known how many of those followed a link from there.

The HCC Cork Board: 5.5%

In addition to the 1394 visits already accounted for above (the message list), the Cork Board generated the following responses:

TitleViewing TimeViews
View messages44 sec3218 (5.2%)
Add a message1 min, 5 sec128 (0.2%)
Administration33 sec46 (0.1%)
FAQ1 min, 14 sec41 (0.1%)
Totals3433 (5.5%)

The most popular Cork Board messages fell into these categories:

Looking for a House Church433
Announcing a House Church372
Offering Services to House Churches102
How do I start a House Church?76
Home Church vs. Inst. Church221
Home Church vs. Cell Church37
Tax Exemption?171
Legal battles with Neighbors138
Children & the House Church68
Conference Announcement35
Not clear from title*200
Deleted by time of report1064

*It is evident that Cork Board performance is highest when topics are well chosen. Quite a few people viewed pages with poor titles, and it is likely that they did not find what they were looking for.

The HCC Magazine: 2.0%

TitleViewing TimeViews
The "Submission of Wives" Passage2 min, 42 sec148 (0.2%)
Cell Church? Home Church? The HCC Position.1 min, 35 sec113 (0.2%)
Paul and Sexual Sin: What's the big deal?2 min, 4 sec84 (0.1%)
A Lament on Music.45 sec84 (0.1%)
Inclusive Language Bibles--the NIV Controversy2 min, 35 sec79 (0.1%)
HCC after Four Months: A Self Assessment1 min, 36 sec77 (0.1%)
The Pain of Being Biblical.3 min, 19 sec72 (0.1%)
What New Paradigm?1 min, 28 sec49 (0.1%)
A House Church vs. Modern Church Parable (John Lepera)1 min, 42 sec48 (0.1%)
The Troeltschian Trap50 sec47 (0.1%)
Children and the House Church1 min, 27 sec36 (0.1%)
Humanity's Referendum on GOD42 sec25 (0.0%)
Other (since deleted)56 sec19 (0.0%)
House Church Music (Jim Schultz)
The House Church Anthem1 min, 7 sec73 (0.1%)
Building Buildings2 min, 12 sec41 (0.1%)
Biblical Archaeology (Ken Eakins)
Part 152 sec48 (0.1%)
Part 256 sec53 (0.1%)
Part 31 min, 27 sec40 (0.1%)
Genesis for Today (Herb Drake)
Genesis 157 sec42 (0.1%)
Genesis 259 sec29 (0.0%)
Genesis 342 sec31 (0.0%)
Genesis 4-647 sec32 (0.1%)
Totals1270 (2.0%)

Visit Duration Distribution

Visit DurationPercent
Didn't Stay48.5%
Less than 1 minute18.8%
1 - 2 minutes6.7%
2 - 3 minutes3.7%
3 - 5 minutes4.9%
5 - 7 minutes3.1%
7 - 10 minutes3.4%
10 - 15 minutes3.6%
15 - 20 minutes2.4%
20 - 30 minutes2.7%
30 - 40 minutes1.1%
40 - 50 minutes0.6%
50 - 60 minutes0.2%
1 - 2 hours0.3%
More than 2 hours0.1%

The average visit duration was 3 minutes, 30 seconds.


Fortunately, House Church Central is not the sole Internet resource for home and cell churches, but is a member of a growing community of such sites. For that reason it has a full page dedicated to links to other sites so that individuals interested in house church can be exposed to a number of different points of view.

Outward links.
While it is not possible to measure each outward link, a total of 588 visitors exited from the Link page. An additional 1254 exited from the result of a search of the House Church Directory (although it is not known whether they followed a link from there).
Inward links.
Sometimes it is possible to discern the originating web site of "inward" links--links from other house church sites, site indexes, or search engines. The following table shows the most active such links.
Cross Search85
Cob-Net (Church of the Brethren)67
AOL NetFind53
Dogpile search engine45
Living Truth43
The Early Church12