It seems like most models of birthing new congregations involve a lot of time with just a few people, who end up either staying in someone's house, duplicating their small group in other houses (who then stay in their houses) or creating an organized institution. One of the problems I see is that this eventually leads to a closed group.
Some people will argue that the institutional congregations usually find a neutral place that allows people to wander in off the street. But we all know that this is not a common event. Others will say that the houses are less threatening for people to come to, but that model seems to require people to be invited. How many Spokane house churches can I just walk into next week? And why haven't I heard about them before. I looked at all the sites I could find using multiple searches. Even if there a 100, the problem is that they feel even more exclusive than "church" buildings to me.
Another issue that I have struggled with is the question of creating a "missional institution." The term seems oxymoron. Yet that is what a HUGE number of pastors are struggling to do. And this whole process is in real danger of becoming a "works" teaching. "We have to go out there into the world, or attract people here so that we can serve them. Otherwise we are not obeying Jesus." This can seem so right, but are we missing something? Jesus gave us a new commandment, "Love one another as I have loved you," and a great commission, "Make disciples."
It seems that we should start by being a community of love. ("See how they love each other.") And we can't be a community of love if we are not a community. I believe that if we visibly, noticeably, out there in front of everyone, BE a community of love, people might actually want to be around us, and learn, and become disciples.