I posted on the subject of home assemblies on my main blog yesterday. I wrote that I tended to favour holding church meetings in homes.
This raises the question of whether I would request that those attending a home assembly in my home remove their shoes. This is perhaps a peculiarly western question. I gather that in most churches in India, shoes are removed, reflecting Indian culture (and the state of Indian streets). I expect this is the case in other Asian countries.
It is vital not to cause offence. It would be very wrong to adamantly insist on somebody removing their shoes for a fellowship meeting when they did not feel comfortable with this. Even more importantly, it would be wrong to exclude somebody from the assembly because they refused to remove their shoes.
However, making a polite request is a different matter. In a the home assembly there is likely to be a level of trust and intimacy that will recognise the needs of individual families and homes. Thus, there is likely to be an understanding that everyone wants to keep their home clean.
Most church buildings have quite dirty carpets, due to the heavy use they receive. A home in which church meetings are regularly taking place is likely to receive a lot more wear and tear on its carpet or flooring unless those attending remove their shoes. Thus, it is perfectly reasonable for a home that hosts assembly meetings to request shoes-off, but not to insist upon it too rigorously. Such a request is in the same order as advice about car parking or requests not to smoke. In a church I attended in Finland, the congregation were expected to remove their coats and put them in a cloakroom, something I had never experienced in England. Though it was not winter when I visited, this practice was presumbably instituted with the snowy Finnish winter in mind.
Those attending could helpfully be advised to bring their slippers.
Perhaps a shoe-less home assembly would be reminded of Moses and Joshua removing thier shoes on the sacred ground of the Lord.