Medical Doctors and the House Church Movement

There’s a movement a’brewin and nobody is talking about it. This is what I am seeing . . .

The house church movement seems to be finding more leadership from medical doctors than ministry professionals.

Case in point:  I was in Cambridge a few days ago with my good friend Dr Phuoc-Tan Diep. and his wife, Maggie. They have a house church-type meeting each week which is moving to the house of another doctor named Chris. While I was there, Phuoc-Tan introduced me to Jim who is now part of this group  – and yes, he is also a medical doctor, about to study for his PhD on white cells.


This is not atypical.

– In USA, Tony and Felicity Dale (both MD’s) have given fuel to the house church movement through events and their magazine House2House.

– A church planter from India told me that she and her husband (who is a MD) have started 14,000 churches in the past decade.

– I was talking to another pioneer in the Indian house church movement, (a doctor from Oregon who i will not name) about this phenomenon and why it was so. He said it was because doctors, unlike professional ministers, are more able to face the truth. If you make a mistake as a doctor, someone dies and you do not make the mistake again. Ministers, however, tend to be more nostalgic and continue on making the same mistakes, even if it doesn’t work.

– Also, Derek Chapman told me last week that his sister and her husband have recently found themselves in the house church movement in USA (North Carolina) and are suddenly interested in the same books and resources that we have been talking about for a decade. Both Derek’s sister and her husband are medical doctors.

Anyone see a pattern here?

Related: Thoughts on House Church


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Andrew Jones has been blogging since 1997. He is based in San Francisco with his two daughters but also travels the globe to find compelling stories of early stage entrepreneurs changing their world. Sometimes he talks in the third person. Sometimes he even talks to himself and has been heard uttering the name "Precious" :-)


  • Hello,
    My name is Tony, and I am a family physician in Ohio (USA). I was one of 6 founding members of a house church about 4 years ago. As one of two leaders in the group, your observation is interesting and encouraging. Currently, I’m working with a larger church in the community in forming a smaller, emergent-conversational community, but also meet weekly with our house church for fellowship, prayer, and communion. Very interesting indeed!
    Thanks for the post.

  • Andrew, have you tracked any other professions on this one? My (very limited) experience, reminds me of a fair few teachers in house churches as well.

  • Our pediatrician and his family are part of a house church. We have great discussions when I bring the kids in. You could be right. Whaddya know?

  • It’s not much of an insight, just an observation based on people I saw moving to and from house churches. I thought it might have been related to being immersed in learning strategies and inductive approaches.
    I’d be curious to know if Andrew Walker has any comments on this…

  • if alan jamieson is correct in his studies of church leavers often being leadership quality and spiritual high achievers, then i would imagine teachers as well as doctors would possess the kind of confidence needed to navigate a more difficult and lonely road.

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