In the past 20 years, methods of evangelism have moved quite significantly to new forms, one of the foremost is via planting churches. Many attribute the beginning of this to a statement from church growth authority, Dr. C. Peter Wagner: “The best means of evangelism under the sun today is church planting.” This statement and others like it have driven much of the evangelical work, at least in the Western nations, in this direction.
However, in an article posted July 12th, 2010, Neil Cole pays respect to flying this banner, but at the same time suggesting that Dr. Wagner has it backwards. It should be: “The best means of church planting under the sun today is evangelism (gospel sowing). What Westerners are seeing, Neil says: “we have a great many people starting churches today but not necessarily doing any true gospel work. There are a number of fast growing churches that simply draw Christians from other churches to form new ones. I do not believe that such a practice is indeed the best form of evangelism or of church planting… Stop planting churches, start planting Jesus… Jesus said, “I will build my church.”
It’s been 6 years now since George Barna wrote Revolution that awakened so many of us to recognize that there had been a wave of Christians that have been leaving their traditional churches and were gathering in many other ways, much like the ways of the Early Church. Other changes are taking place in this new Church-Planting Movement (CPM), for example instead of being called now “house church movement”, most prefer to call in ‘simple church’, ‘organic church’, ‘missional church’ etc.
Since Barna’s book, we are also seeing other major changes away from just gathering as Oikos or as ‘community’ to being intentional about the missional intentions of Jesus as Luke recorded chapter 10:2b-9, expressing the results in verse 17. This is happening today as Simple Church is reforming its apostolic roots in fulfilling a zeal for being an important part of the Great Commission.
An amazing number of networks are forming in the West now. We have heard of how this has been going on in China since the early 70’s as tens of thousands of underground churches networking and moving together, all the while under terrible persecution. Tony and Felicity Dale in Small is Big tell of the work of Roland and Heidi Baker in Mozambique and Victor Choudhrie in India. The same story. On Pentecost Sunday-2009 in India there were 250,000 baptisms in one day.
That is catching on in the west now! “Jesus” is planted beginning with one or two others in China, India, Mozambique etc. and we are seeing that happen here. "For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst." (Matt 18:20; NASU). As in the parables of Jesus, we are seeing the Kingdom of God like a mustard seed or as leaven in a lump of dough, as virally lives, neighborhoods, villages, towns, cities and nations change under the transforming work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Following you can learn from some champions in this work:
|The LK10 Community of Church Planters|
LK10 believes that the Great Commission is best fulfilled by seeing a simple church (a vibrant family of Jesus) within easy access of every person in every region or people group throughout the world. “We believe that Jesus' primary strategy (see Luke 10) to reveal His Kingdom was (and is) the birthing of these small families of faith.”
LK10 is a "community of practice." That is, a place where church planters can connect and learn together with others around the world who are on the same journey. “Our sense is that this is a specific role we are to play in the "revolution". One way LKk10 facilitates this community is through the website http://lk10.com/ that is based on the progression of Jesus’ ministry to train twelve to live life like He did. (Luke 6:40).
“In Luke 10 we have the clearest description of the practices that Jesus followed Himself and then taught to his apostles for planting churches. All of this occurred in what we might call a “community of practice”.
LK10 is oriented around seven practices. The first three apply to every follower of Jesus: (1) Listening to Jesus, (2) Listening to Jesus with one (or two) others, and (3) Listening to Jesus as a spiritual family. We center our own lives on them and we train our disciples in them. The last four practices relate specifically to planting churches: (4) Praying Luke 10:2b, (5) Joining Jesus in birthing churches in houses of peace, (6) A church planter nurturing those new churches – especially leaders and (7) Actively participating in communities of practice with other church planters. As apostolic church planters, we center our ministries on them and train other church planters in them.
From the House2House website, we gain valuable information about the amazing Church Planting Movement (CPM) going on around the world. Tony and Felicity Dale, who founded and lead this organization, have gained much respect and their writings are rich with information to go by for those God is calling to help Him plant churches. From their About Us – Welcome section we learn their vision:
“D” stands for Divine Truth (loving God/Jesus)
“N” stands for Nurturing Relationships (loving one another deeply)
“A” stands for Apostolic Mission (being on Jesus’ mission to the world)
“Church Multiplication Associates (CMA) is a growing and emerging family of churches intent on being alive with Jesus, mutually encouraging and spontaneously reproductive. We are not a denomination, but in fact have churches that represent many denominations.
CMA is not a network of churches either, but a voluntary association of a multiplicity of expanding networks (more here). We are bound together by three things (our DNA):
Neil is a strong proponent of following the Jesus model for doing this as He expressed it here on earth “where 2 or 3 are gathered” and demonstrated by sending 72 followers out into pagan Samaria with explicit instructions (see Luke 10:2b-9) and amazing results (Luke 10:17). This is the mustard seed and leaven approach that we hear so much about today. (Matt. 13:31-33)
From a May 10, 2011 post on his website, Neil offers more insight to his heart, saying that the base unit of life is 2 to 3 people. “Both the old and New Testaments use the phrase “two or three” repeatedly. At least ten times “two or three” is suggested as an ideal size at which to conduct ministry (he gives scripture)… God has designed all of creation to reproduce at the level of two. If you cannot reproduce disciples at this level you are not likely to reproduce them at all. This grouping is the beginning of life.”
The Mission of All Nations is to make disciples, train leaders and plant church planting churches.
There is much more that Floyd and Sally have to say about what they learned through the process that began in Kabul Afghanistan, went to Amsterdam, other places and now in South Africa. It is all rolled together through discipling one person > Oikos > community, involving all of the life-ingredients (spiritual, vocational, fellowship) all rolled into one display – life itself. http://floydandsally.com/all-nations
|The Global House Church Movement|
Another author that helped give me perspective on the growing house church movement was Rad Zadero from Canada. He is very active on Facebook, always with a worthwhile word:
Missionally, Rad sees them as being “more mobile, flexible, and adaptable than conventional churches, especially in areas characterized by persecution and poverty.” They are not limited by church buildings and are less expensive. Expensive buildings, equipment, and salaries of professional clergy are not part of the picture. “There is no need to wait for a gym to be rented or for a building program to be completed to begin a new church or for a full-time pastor to be hired. It can start now, right in our living rooms.
|Equip the saints “that they be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor” (Isaiah 61:3b).|
Website powered by Network Solutions®