An excerpt from the Simple/House Church Revolution book: ”The clergy-laity distinction removed personal discipleship from the hands of common Christians (Dennis McCallum).” The greatest joy of the Christian life is being used by God to bring ...

 

SimpleChurch Journal - 5 new articles




Natural Disciplemaking

DisciplemakingAn excerpt from the Simple/House Church Revolution book:

”The clergy-laity distinction removed personal discipleship from the hands of common Christians (Dennis McCallum).”

The greatest joy of the Christian life is being used by God to bring whole-life, spiritual transformation to another. We have removed much of this joy by not understanding that true “disciple-making” is about everyday life and everyday relationships—and that it is for everyone. By making it a program that is part of our churches or a process that people are specially trained to do, we are holding back Christians from stepping into their true destinies and their greatest sense of purpose. By presenting disciple-making as something we “do” to others, as opposed to something that God does (which we can invite people into), we become performance-oriented and manipulative rather than contagious as we naturally influence others toward their own relationship with God.

Disciple-making flows naturally out of the relationships we are building through reaching and loving people.

       
 

Catching the Vision of Church-As-It-Can-Be

An excerpt from the Simple/House Church Revolution book:

Many people, today, are catching the vision of what the church is meant to be as she throws off the hindrances and becomes the Spirit-filled movement of Believers she is destined for.

We are catching the vision for living life, 24/7, with and for God without one moment or place being more holy than another. It is a vision of every believer contributing to one another through the spiritual gifts that reside in each one. It is a vision of every believer, using his/her gifts, to take God’s love and power into the world we live in. It is a vision of no longer thinking of the church as an event or place to go, but realizing that we, his people, really are the church everywhere and every place that we go.

Wolfgang Simson describes his vision of what the church, unhindered, is becoming:

[I dream of a] church, which does not need huge amounts of money, or rhetoric, control and manipulation, which can do without powerful and charismatic heroes, which is non-religious at heart, which can thrill people to the core, make them lose their tongues out of sheer joy and astonishment, and simply teach us The Way to live. A church which not only has a message, but is the message. Something which spreads like an unstoppable virus, infects whatever it touches, and ultimately covers the earth with the glory and knowledge of God.

       
 

Living Church Primer

It is always good to review the basics of church which is, by nature, organic and living. Church is the people of God organically connected to God. At Pentecost, when the Spirit breathed upon God’s people, this organic connection came to life. Thus we see terms for the church like: ‘living church,’ ‘body of Christ,’ ‘seed planted that produces fruit 30, 60, 100 fold.’

When church is understood this way, its development becomes less about planning ‘how to build’ and much more about learning to facilitate the life cycle that is already inherent within it.

Living Church Cycle

The simple DNA of the living church is evident:

1.  Intimacy with Christ. The abiding living relationship with God is at the core of our life with God and the life that grows out of the church (God’s people).

Jesus did not invite us to follow a religion of rules, nor did he mandate an order of service or church structure to follow. He did ask us to follow him. Out of that flows all of the life, joy, and power that we need to live fully in him and for him.

2.  Reaching out with love.  The experience of being loved by the God of the universe produces an outward desire to love and reach others with the same Gospel love.

This is not a project nor a program, but a way of life that involves an outbreak of Jesus’ love toward others.

3.  Disciplemaking as a lifestyle. This is not about what we have to give to others, but it is about relationships in which we come alongside people while they discover that God speaks directly to them. We walk with them but the word and the Spirit of God become the teachers.

The Bible, indeed, is far more powerful than we realize. It has the power to transform hearts and lives, all by itself, through the energizing of God’s Spirit.

4.  Gathering simply and in a participatory manner. Gatherings are family-based and allow every person to grow spiritually, care for one another, and exercise spiritual gifts. Healthy missional-family gatherings continue to encourage the upward, inward, outward processes of loving God, blessing one another, and reaching out to others.

What we do see in Scripture are many different types of gatherings which took place frequently, naturally, and often spontaneously… They took place in normal, everyday settings and they fit into the rhythm of everyday life.

5.  Empower others to go, reach, disciple, and gather. This is the function of ‘leadership’ as it seeks to serve others who are becoming fruitful, vibrant, and reproductive.

Everything is given away: spiritual authority, recognition, encouragement, opportunities to minister and serve. This leader empowers others so well that his or her own ministry goes virtually unrecognized.

Where does one begin?

It is difficult to get away from the idea that there must be a one-two-three blueprint to follow that will allow me to facilitate the growth of ‘a church.’ But it is more about lifestyle than planning and more about listening to God than following someone else’s map.

Still, there is an intentionality that can move us forward. These five rhythms become essential to discovering how God would have us walk with him in the growth of his church. There are many tools and methods for walking out each of these rhythms (perhaps a subject for another post), but through prayer and listening, God is able to lead us to those tools and methods that will be best for our context. When we are diligent about walking out these rhythms, God will lead:

  1. Godward Rhythm: How can I root myself more deeply in His love?
  2. Missional Rhythm: What field(s) am I assigned to sow in? Where is my Calcutta? Who is my next 'person of peace?'
  3. Discipleship Rhythm: Who has God provided to mentor/disciple me? Who can I invite into a discovery, encounter with God through His word to walk alongside as he/she learns to follow God for himself/herself?
  4. Community Rhythm: Who am I called to build one-another community with?
  5. Reproductive Rhythm: How am I empowering my disciples & community to do the same (#1 - #4)?

Five basic DNA elements of the living church and five rhythms to help guide us. Thoughts?

(All quotes are from the Simple/House Church Revolution book.)

       
 

The Church That Is Going

Church-has-left-building_footprintI learn so much more from those who take ‘the course.’

One of the participants asked a question referring to this quote from the Simple/House Church Revolution book: "The church is becoming unleashed as Christians are re-discovering the daring adventure of 'going' and taking the presence (love, life, and power) of God everywhere that they are going."

He then asked the question: What does that look like? Can you or anyone here give concrete examples, please?"

Some great comments ensued:

For years, the dominating church growth models have been centered around activity driving attendance to a meeting (inviting) with the hope that as people enter the building and experience God through the church service (having a rightly planned order of service) the invited will come away having been impacted and return inviting their friends and family. Jesus was less concerned about inviting people to experience God through a meeting and more concerned about meeting them where they were as he and the disciples went along the way.

When our neighbor calls me and asks if we can pick up her daughter from day care because she will be late from work. When another neighbor calls at 12 midnight and asks if we can drive them to the hospital because their daughter has an allergy attack. When a neighbor asks if we can accompany them to the grocery because they have a lot to buy. is that "going"?

A group of us go out onto the streets and offer to pray for people, we pray for healing, personal circumstances, ask God for words of knowledge and prophecy, we sometimes lead people in a prayer of salvation if and when we discern they are ready, we have just started meeting in McDonald's every other week so we can invite people for a free cuppa and connect them up, we're trying to be intentional and build community where they are.

80% of Canadians today will never enter a church. So how can we reach these 80% if we use the strategy of inviting them to come? The only way is to invite them to our homes where they do not feel threatened and do not think they will be bombarded by church stuff. It still starts with our going to where they are, start a relationship so that we come to a point where we can ask them to come to our home for a meal.

…a phrase we have been using in our house church is 'making disciples who make disciples', it's not a hanging on to people to build up an ever growing pyramid system of structure and leadership but an equipping and releasing mind-set.

Add your own thoughts and experiences with the ‘going church.

       
 

Simple Church Online Course: Register Now

Online-course-manYou can now register for the upcoming “Simple/House Church Revolution Online Course.

Beginning date is February 2.

NOTE, you can register immediately as there are only 12 spaces remaining on a first come, first served basis!

The goal of this course is for participants to discover more fully God's story and the nature of His church in a way that fully celebrates the freedom of the Gospel and the simplicity, reproducibility, and joy of simple, participatory, 24/7 church life.

  • It’s interactive with lots of opportunity to share and hear from others who are on a similar journey.
  • It provides a lot of great material that challenges our perspectives and paradigms in order to help us shape our own non-traditional journey.
  • It can be life-changing as it sets our course as pursuers of Jesus in the context of simple church life.

Who is this course for?  It’s ideal for those who are newly exploring simple/house churches or who are in the process of starting simple/house churches or networks of simple/house churches.

This course helps move us from head knowledge to the practice of principles that can release the DNA of living, reproductive, Jesus-led, simple churches that are making disciples who make disciples.  

We continue to offer this course when possible because of the feedback we have received from people who have participated in the past:

"A unique and extremely insightful collection of resources, experiences, and other people who will finally let you know that you are not crazy for hoping that there is more of Jesus to be known and shared in a way that is actually simple."

Read more of the description and register here.  Look forward to this journey together!

       
 
   
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