Home churches, all-night prayers vs neighbours

A lot of people in Zimbabwe now prefer home-based church sessions. It is now common in most high-density surbubs to see small gatherings worshipping at a verandah or in the lounge of a selected believer. Some even go to the extent of holding all-night prayers in the comfort of their homes.

Report by Jairos Saunyama Own Correspondent

Temples and synagogues are no longer regarded as preferred places of worship as most believers have adopted the “easy route”.

But the existence of these “churches” has resulted in both positive and negative effects. Most people interviewed expressed their displeasure at worshippers, saying the gatherings disturbed their peace.

This rise in home worship has seen an increase in complaints from neighbours about noise, traffic congestion and parking problems.

Some worshippers routinely cross over into their neighbours’ territories in search of parking space, as host yards would be too small resulting in the neighbour getting upset after his or her lawn is trampled upon or finding the way out of their own yards blocked.

With most people taking the weekend as their resting time, home-based churches are becoming a thorn in the flesh. The worshippers’ noise filters through, thereby disturbing others.

“It is so irritating that after a week at work, you are trying to settle down and rest, then there are worshippers in the next house who spend the whole night singing and dancing.

“I am a Christian, but I have my own way of doing things. It is hard to go and silence them, but deep down in my heart, I know it is not good,” said Tapera Munjoma of Chitungwiza.

“Responsible authorities need to do something. A residential area is a residential area and people need peace and tranquility.

“We need to rest during weekends, but the disturbance we get from home churches is very irritating. I think people need to gather in homes maybe once in a month, but if it’s five times a week and all night long, it’s very disturbing,” said a woman from Dombotombo in Marondera, who refused to be named.

However, there is no official permission required to create a church in the country.

Several local governments have tried using zoning laws to bar house church meetings, or to limit the frequency and size of the meetings.

Home church leaders interviewed stated the following: “We are here to serve the Lord and we can serve the Lord everywhere and every time. I understand that there are some residents who do not attend church services, but I am suprised to hear one castigating the practise in any place.

“I have been running a church at this place for the past five years and I haven’t received any complaints,” said Pastor John Ngoma from Chitungwiza.

Many pastors of established churches are aware that they cannot effectively minister to congregations numbering thousands. They subsequently organise members into “cell groups”.

The groups usually meet on a weeknight to discuss the previous week’s sermon or to study the Bible or an assigned book.
Harare sociologist Darington Nyabiko said the existence of home churches was due to a number of reasons, one being the love of money as “gosprenuership” had proved to be a lucrative bussiness.

“These are for the most part people who want to strip faith down to its bare minimum. They don’t want to have to support a big building and staff and insurance policies and advertising campaigns and fixing the roof, because all of that seems to them to be extraneous to what they understand a life of faith to be.

“Some are rebelling against the contemporary culture of the megachurch, in which even midsized churches have adopted marketing campaigns, multimedia Bible studies and Sunday services and others, which seems to be difficult to many who believe worshiping is not a complicated thing. Others say they have been alienated by pastors who cling to power, or by churches that experiment with doctrine and styles of worship.

“But as it stands, this country for the past decade has seen certain elements in society becoming filthy rich after forming a church.Who doesn’t like money?”

House churches are not solely a Zimbabwean phenomenon.

Missionaries and church leaders say there are thousands of them in countries where Christians are sometimes forced to meet clandestinely. House churches are also popular in countries where numbers of evangelical Christians are growing.

18 Responses to Home churches, all-night prayers vs neighbours

  1. mzansi December 22, 2012 at 7:45 am #

    One of the fundamental laws of Christianity is love your neighbour Luke 10: 27.Mathew 22:39 Singing and dancing the whole night at the expense of your neghbour is a gross disregard of this principle

    • SlowVybz December 22, 2012 at 10:31 am #

      Mzansi, I think if you where to be a Pastor and you quote the scriptures the way you did here, oh my oh, the whole congregation will perish

      • mzansi December 22, 2012 at 4:47 pm #

        Please be specific. The last time I checked scriptures were for upbuilding and setting things straight

  2. Arnold December 22, 2012 at 12:21 pm #

    I agree with Mzansi, sensitivity and being considerate ought to be part and parcel of Christianity. Making noise the whole night preventing neighbours from having their peace is insensitive and selfish and these are ungodly attributes. This God can be worshipped and praised even in silence, he is not to be impressed just by outside manifestations- and remember too, we can never impress him. And by the way, I do worship at a home church but we are sensitive to the fact that we ought not to disturb our neighbours.

  3. samanyika joe December 22, 2012 at 3:43 pm #

    haa apa munyori we this story washaya. the life of a church is in cell groups or home groups. it has been there since the inception of the church . read acts and you will understand that even mumba ma Aquilla na Priscilla maive ne church. and the new testament church was very as is today charismatic. ma all night haana kutanga nhasi mface. paul preached all night kamwe kamuchinda kakabatwa nge hope and the rest we know even jesus wen he was healing people hama dzeumwe airwara dzakaita undo roof to have their sick healed na jesu, so the church is right to have their services moderately kuitira vamwe vanenge munyori

  4. Chinja 4life December 22, 2012 at 4:26 pm #

    I think its all down to these false prophesies and the desperation people are having. These Pastors are there to make money at the expence of other peole who want to enjoy and relax in their home it a total no no no for churches in homes. Vanhu ndivo vanozvitvagira nhamo long back it was those n’anga now its the maporofita and the home churches all this will make you mirerable and never find peace of mind. Munhu dzidza kushanda nesimba and encorage youngsters to take their education seriously because these pastors will tell you that they can make you get a job through prayer and thats a lie. Dzokerai kuRoman Catholic, even Aglican yabhoo-o nutsvatutsva yakaroveswa pasi. Vamwe vemudzimba ava mafly by night kana kuti ambriefcase churches( if there is anything like that) Its nhamo 4life zvechokwadi zvinirwadza

  5. Truth December 22, 2012 at 5:24 pm #

    People want to worship, but local authorities fail to provide space for building churches. l know one mainline church in Glen View which has been seeking a place to build a second church building but the city coucil has been declining saying w already alloCated you in gV. the budiriro branch took many years to get a stand. l know of small churches that have been forced to worship in homes because of the same reasons.

    l question the motive of this writer. Are you for God or against God. Look at many church stands in Harare, are they in stand alone places or in the middle of the residential stands? Why is it so? My friend just a piece of advice, leave this matter alone, or .else you incur the wrath of God. Don’t be an agent of Satan.

    • big December 23, 2012 at 5:26 pm #

      Any god who needs a building to be worshiped is full of s*it.

  6. Inquisitive December 23, 2012 at 5:48 am #

    What do the National Statutes say about this?

  7. Given December 23, 2012 at 7:49 am #

    Truth don’t put pple in fear!God’s wrath my foot!!!We need peace in our homes.If you can’t do ur home cell without disturbing your neighbour’s resting then go and do it where u are unlimited.If it means murenje kana mugomo so be it.Muchinda werugare would so much want us to express our discomfort where we feel violated!Chinamato chenyu chokuvhundutsira vanhu ne Shoko ramusingazivi ichi ndeche kutsvakisa mari ichi!We want peace in our homes,period!Mwari tese tinomunamata wani!

  8. Wesango December 23, 2012 at 11:44 am #

    Worshipping from home has been practised time imemorial.and has never been ” the easy way out” to worshippers as Jairos puts it. the practise is not new to Zimbabweans and to attribute this to Pastors that love money or such nonsense is naive. the human need for contact with the Lord at any time can never be measured by earthly absurdities. the home provides a safer bastion to worshippers without too much hypocrisy as is found when more people congregate. Yet it is very much good for a believer to meet often with others in the house of God TO FELLOWSHIP and to pray for each other. However as a christian one needs to always be conscious of one’s actions and effect on others. If your brand of worship is noisy and disturbs your neighbor, what doeas it mean to you as a christian? If our very actions which we deem to be christian, are causing your brother to be disgruntled or to put the Lords name into shame what does it mean to us? If the food that I eat makes others comment negativley what effect will the have to my belief? If as a worshipper I am branded inconsiderate then what evidence will there be of my good intentions? In general most people will ot confront a religious gathering for noise and disturbance largely due to Zimbabweans respectfulnes and understanding of the church but it doesnot mean that people are not disgruntled in private.To the Pastor who has been worshipping in Chitungwiza for the past Five years I say please take time to investigate any possible effects that your gatherings may have on the neughbourhood and do not take it for grunted that the residents have accepted your being there. Those who love God also love his people. those who respect God also respect thir neighbors. those that have faith also care not to cause temptation to others. those who fear to sin also fear to cause others to sin.

  9. big December 23, 2012 at 11:58 am #

    Assumption is the mother of all f*ckups.The idiotic assumption that all people are somehow christian or are need of some kind of conversion is the reason why these religious terrorists keep on pestering innocent people.They shout nonsense until hoarse from street corners,beg you to join them to scam you off your cash,allow barely intelligent people to lead them and most important,they dont pay TAX for being pests.The christian brigade should be immediately reported to the police and locked up if they cause you any discomfort.These “all nighters” which are simply an excuse to hump each other’s wives are a nuisance much like the nonsense religion itself.

    • Wesango December 23, 2012 at 12:55 pm #

      believe in whoever or what ever you will big.. if it was in Iran you would be dead.. for blasphemy… do not put yourself above the power of God… In whatever religion practised in Zimbabwe the underlying principle is not to force yourself unto others… noone has assumed that everyone is a christian… ko mapostori zvanoswera vachizhamba nekuimba machrisitans here…. mamoslems zvanoita noise muna Julius Nyerere maskati machristians here? ko ivo vemasvikiro ne n’anga zvavanorara vachiridza ngoma hosho nehwamanda panext door makirisito here? all these differnt people with differing beliefs and doing thier things at night, is it an excuse to hump some unsuspecting man’s wife here? Mari nemombe nembudzi zvinobviswa kun’anga kuit zviteketerwe what do you call that? value of offerings done in the dark world far outweighs maofferings done in any church. saka who wants money more and who is more gullible? ma offerings emu christian church are for the good work ofthe Lord ekun’anga are for causing death and strife muvanhu saka why do you have a problem with sane people seeking goodness? buda pachena kuti iwe urichii kana usiri muchristian. Ini handihwande ndiri muchristian azere..buda pachena

      • big December 23, 2012 at 5:16 pm #

        I dont believe in religious nonsense.All religions are nonsense as far as i’m concerned.Any god who cant show himself and needs useless middlemen to prove his existence is full of s*it.

  10. Chinja 4life December 23, 2012 at 10:19 pm #

    Wesango warasa topic now and I think you are the culprit of these disturbances peole are having in their homes. I beg to differ when you say churche have been practiced in home since time immemorial. Its recently when we are having these prophets of doom who are after money. So mari ne mbudzi dzawakaona mutown ndedzipi. Please leave other religoins like moslems in Julias Nyerere havasi mudzimba matiri kunyaudzwa. Please house are for living and not for worshiping. Kana muchida kunamata vakai machurch or to join those that have been built already. there are also schools for you to hire by the way. tisiyeyi tigare zvakanaka mudziba dzedu because kana tichida kunamata tinoenda kuchurch every sunday hatinyaudze vanhu

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