Tag Archive | Luke 10

Simple Church Networks in Europe (And What it Means for the United States)

Simple Church Europe just released its findings of its latest survey.  The survey is an attempt by the leaders of the organization to uncover meaningful trends in the house church movement in Europe.  You can get the full survey by following by jumping to their website here.

I won’t quote much of the 21 page report because, though it won’t cost you any money, Simple Church Europe does want you to download the report straight from their site.  It’s important to look at their conclusions because the United States is quickly becoming a post-Christian nation, much like Europe.  Their findings will greatly help us in the future.

The report actually breaks down three types of house church networks that exist in Europe:

  • (a) Apostolic networks: simple church groups started by an apostolic worker ‘straight in the harvest’, mostly along the lines of the instructions Jesus gave his disciples in Luke 10 (planting a new simple church group in a household/social circle instead of inviting people to an existing church meeting). These networks are primarily made up of new believers who just heard about Jesus, are being discipled, and win others to plant new groups.
  • (b) Bridge networks: simple church groups made up of existing Christians who intentionally seek to be ‘missional’. They try to build relationships with non-believers, often using conventional forms of evangelism and a ‘come to us’ approach.
  • (c) Christian networks: simple church groups formed by existing Christians who mainly seek a more relational and participatory alternative for conventional church. These groups tend to be inward-focused and sometimes reactionary: seeing their way of church as more biblical and healthy than the churches they come from.”

Not surprisingly, apostolic networks grew at a faster rate than Bridge networks and Christian Networks (which as best as I can determine are more like small groups that have a larger meeting once a week).  Apostolic networks see house church groups dissolve at a slightly higher rate as well.  The most encouraging finding, however, is that apostolic networks see the highest number of conversions among people from previously non-Christian backgrounds.

What this points to is that fact that Luke 10-style church planting (Person of Peace, building on relationships around that person of peace, etc.) is both risky and incredibly rewarding for the Kingdom.  Not surprisingly, the authors of the study suggest that bridge networks and Christian networks learn from the apostolic networks in a way that causes Kingdom expansion.

What does that mean for us?   No research of this kind has been done in the United States, but these stories seem familiar from what I’ve seen in the house church movement in the United states.  All three types of networks exist here and are growing.  The major difference between our context and Europe is Europe’s population is much more secular than ours.

I think one of the major points this report emphasizes is the need to learn from apostolic workers who are building house church networks accoridng to the Luke 10 principle.  Everywhere I see significant Kingdom expansion happening in the house church movement, this seems to be the model.

I think this report also highlights the tendency of churches that are not started out of the harvest to draw on already existing relationships with believers or those with a Christian background to fill our churches.  We definitely want a place for everyone to belong and be equipped. But if our concern is for the harvest then those starting house churches among primarily Christians (myself included) need to adjust our models and strategies for church planting in the future.  We want to avoid doing ministry that only attracts Christians and focus on those activities that are bringing lost individuals to Jesus.

This also highlights a great need however in the house church-community-at-large.  That need is for those with apostolic and evangelistic giftings to seriously consider training and equipping others.  Without more apostolic and evangelistic giftings functioning in and training our house churches, we will continue to draw people but we may not impact the Kingdom significantly.  This will also require a significant amount of humility on the part of existing house churches, because until now many house churches have been reluctant to accept this kind of help.

I would love to know what you think. Does this survey reflect your experience with house churches in the United States?  If you are participating in a non-apostolic house church network, are there changes that need to be made to grow in apostolic methods?  What are the hindrances to that?  Jump to the survey here, read it, and come back and let me know your thoughts.

If you’re looking for more information on the house church movement in the United States you can check out my previous post on house church stats  here or pick up the book Missional House Churches, by J.D. Payne (Amazon Affiliate Link).

Photo Credit: Floating Networks by WebWizzard

Food For Thought: A New Move of the Spirit Edition

Every week here at Pursuing Glory I try to bring together the best posts I’ve found that will equip the end-times church to operate in her God-ordained destiny.  These are the best blogs, articles, books and other resources related to our purpose here at this site.  Feel free to visit, comment, and make use of the resources found at each site.

I’m super excited for this week’s Food For Thought.  I found a blog by Kevin Matthews who we’ve featured here before that I feel captures the essence of what we’re working towards here at Pursuing Glory.  I don’t know that I’ve seen a prophecy like this anywhere before and its accuracy is amazing.  You can read more about the man gave the prophecy here.  The spirit of the prophecy, I believe, is the aim of all the posts featured here and what we contend for here at Pursuing Glory.

A New Move of the Spirit Kevin and Lorna’s Daily Devotional features a prophecy by Smith Wigglesworth about a move of the Spirit after the charismatic movement and the church planting movements. It describes exactly what we’re believing for.

Tim Keller on Movements Steve Addison @ Movements That Change The World does a nice job of condensing a post by Tim Keller on the nature of movements. Any serious movement should wrestle with his thoughts.

Thursday is for Thinkers: Rice Brooks on the Evangelist and the Missional Church Missional guy and evangelism guru Ed Stetzer hosts a guest post on his blog by Rice Brooks about the necessity of evangelists to the missional church.  Much needed wisdom at Ed Stetzer’s blog.

Why Simple Churches Don’t Work #7 Ross spends a post looking at how lack of apostolic ministry hinders house churches.  This issue needs addressing.  You can see this and other hindrances at thejesusvirus.

Why compliments help in planting a simple/organic/house church Felicity Dale looks at the Luke 10 principle of pronouncing peace on houses you enter.  This is an often missed part evangelism in the West. More at SimplyChurch.

It’s Not Rocket Science Katie @ Backseat Driver looks at the centrality of family to our definition of church and explores how it can transform our congregational life.

Photo Credit: Design Probes – Food for Thought by centralasian.

Food for Thought: Church Planting Movement Edition

Every week here at Pursuing Glory I try to bring together the best posts I’ve found that will equip the end-times church to operate in her God-ordained destiny.  These are the best blogs, articles, books and other resources related to our purpose here at this site.  Feel free to visit, comment, and make use of the resources found at each site.

Most of the following links are connected with the idea of seeing multiplying church movements birthed in the Earth. We’ll talk more about multiplying church movements shortly, but for now let’s just say that for the harvest at the end of the age to become a reality, God will need to begin to birth multiplying church movements here in the West and in the nations of the Earth.  Their reality will fuel and sustain the great harvest.

Cesar, Man of Peace Ross Rohde gives the readers of his blog a down-to-earth current example of how men/women of peace can aid church planting.  I’ve heard (and experienced) that when Jesus leads you to a person of peace, you can’t help but start a church.  Starting a church without a person of peace is incredibly more difficult.  In all of my reading, this is the most down-to-earth description of how an individual finds a person of peace and establishes a church. Ross blogs regularly at thejesusvirus.

To the Fourth Generation You really can’t beat first-hand information from people who are on the front lines of any ministry.  Steve Addison got a chance to sit down with church planters who have seen the churches they’ve planted start daughter churches, granddaughter churches, and great-granddaughter churches.  He combines all the insights from that time and presents the common themes in a three page PDF document.  It’s a treasure. Steve blogs regularly about Christian movements at Movements That Change the World.

Passing It On and What is Sequentialism and Why Does it Prevent Multiplication? These are both posts by Felicity Dale, who with her husband gives leadership to the annual House Church conference that pulls together many house churches and house church movements in the nation.  In “Passing It On” Felicity writes about the need for the taught to teach others in order to see church planting movements birthed. “What is Sequentialism and Why Does it Prevent Multiplication” focuses in on how our need to have everything right in a church or movement before we expand is often the reason why no growth happens. Both of these articles are extremely worth your time and can be found at Felicity’s blog Simply Church.

A Lesson in Unity Here, Kevin Matthews looks at the behavior of fire ants and how they swarm and then relates it to our need to operate in the same spirit of unity.  This article at first might not seem very closely related to church planting movements but I can assure you that at their core, church planting movements operate in this way.  They are led and built up by five-fold ministries that encourage this unified swarming.  This is a great picture of how Christ builds an at once individual and yet unified body.  You can check out more of Kevin’s writing at Kevin and Lorna’s Daily Devotional.

Photo Credit: Brain Food by The Wandering Angel at Flickr.