Okay….okay…I get it. It’s not as catchy nor anywhere near as intense as Shark Week. I mean, who in their right mind would try and top Shark Week? I did want to announce, though, that in October (one month from today) we will begin Starfish Month here at Pursuing Glory.
What’s Starfish Month, you ask?
Well, nearly nine years ago this October, I was part of a conference that was hosted by some dear friends in Kansas City. These friends had invited a long-time inspiration of mine, Wolfgang Simson, to come and share about what he felt the Lord was doing in the Earth. Wolf, as some of you know, wrote Houses That Change the World and at that time was putting the finishing touches on a new book that he eventually published himself called the Starfish Manifesto.
Houses That Change the World helped birth the idea of house churches in the hearts and minds of many early adopters within the house church movement. The Starfish Manifesto was kind of a next step. Where Houses was a micro level view of how churches should function, the Starfish Manifesto was the macro view of how a movement of house churches could reach the world for Jesus. It was next level thinking beyond anything I had come across at that point.
Also during this conference, I had the opportunity to spend a few minutes here and there chatting with Wolfgang. I remember him saying very firmly at one point that if we wanted to understand the true nature of what the Lord was doing in the church in that hour, we had to go and read a secular book called “The Starfish and the Spider” by Ori Brafman and Rod Beckstrom. When the conference was finished I hurriedly ran to my nearest bookstore and picked up a copy with a gift card I received. The book, which was all about the power of leaderless organizations, blew my mind and changed the way I’ve thought about the church ever since. Don’t let the fact that this is a secular book throw you. There is so much here gleaned from history and nature that you will quickly see the Lord’s inspiration in this book, whether the author’s meant it that way or not.
Needless to say, that month of October all the way back in 2008 was a formative year. Much of what came from that time formed the basis for what was to come as we worked to plant and raise up house churches here in Iowa. Every October, as the weather gets colder here, I look back sentimentally on that season and wish I could share it with you all. So, this October, I plan to do just that.
Starting Monday, October 2nd, I’m going to host a sort of book club here on the blog. Mondays and Thursdays in October I’ll share a brief synopsis of a chapter here on the blog with my thoughts on the content. Tuesdays and Fridays during October, I’ll take some of the thoughts and apply them to how they relate to the church. Throughout the week in October, I’ll also be sharing short excerpts from the condensed version of Wolfgang’s Starfish Manifesto, the Starfish Vision, on my Twitter feed. All of this adds up to us talking about how Jesus designed his church to function like a starfish.
Why am I telling you all now? To get you prepared, of course. First, I would love it if one or two of you joined me in re-reading “The Starfish and the Spider.” If that sounds interesting to you, now is the time to pick yourself up a copy of the book. You may also want to jump straight to Wolf’s Starfish Vision booklet and dive into what you find there. Regardless, I hope you join me in Reformation month reading and thinking about how there is still more reformation left ahead for the church and strategizing about how we can be part of it.
It’s not Shark Week…but it might just cause you to change the world.
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.
So call me crazy, but I’m really excited this week to include a new piece of artwork here on the blog that I think better compliments the “Food for Thought” feel. The previous graphic with some guy advertising grilled brain was fun, but maybe it wasn’t quite the “brain food” graphic that I was looking for. Let me know what you think of the new picture. Now, with no further ado, your links for the week:
Greek and Hebrew Evangelism Probably the biggest thing that holds back many in the church from missional lifestyles is the fear and confusion surrounding sharing their faith. This article by Ross contrasts a confrontational, idea-based form of evangelism (Greek) with a conversational, listening-from-the-heart style of evangelism (Hebrew). Ross’ message is that evangelism can be as easy as pointing out to those we know and love the places in their life where God is already working. I think this style has a lot of merit and it would be interesting to know how this has worked out practically in the lives of others. You can catch other great articles from Ross over at thejesusvirus.
Felix: Before and After This post by Keith Giles looks at the writings of a first century pagan and his view of the church before and after his conversion. While his words before his conversion sound harsh and his thoughts after his conversion sound more complimentary, the interesting thing about both accounts is that they each describe how the people of God should live and operate together. Get this at-once-unbeliever, now believer’s take on the the first century Jesus movement. Keith is a profound and challenging blogger that you can read more from at Subversive1.
Missional House Churches in America Part 1 Probably the biggest news of the week on the house church front is that the house church movement is big news! Several articles came out in major newspapers talking about the move of many Americans into house churches. J.D. Payne, a researcher and mission-minded theologian who has written and researched the house church movement, looks at the missional impact of this flourishing house church movement. J.D.’s research is deep and thorough. His case studies highlight the true potential of God’s people living out Christianity together. He blogs regularly at Missiologically Thinking.
TV Series on “The Kingdom” This is more of an announcement than an article you can read, but it’s exciting none-the-less. Those of you who have read Houses That Change The World or the Starfish Manifesto know that Wolf has a serious heart for the Kingdom. An understanding of the Kingdom of God has to be central to anything that God is birthing in this hour. Wolf has put together a series of television broadcasts that will be aired in Finland and then repackaged for distribution. Check out the broadcasts and stay up to date with Wolf and his wife Mercy at While We Slept.
About two years ago Christy and I by the providence of God found ourselves at the Tribal Gathering hosted by Rock International. While Christy and I try to make a habit of going to the Tribal Gathering as often as possible, this year God seemed to have something up His sleeve. A work schedule that should have been impossible to navigate opened up and we found ourselves in the middle of a series of meetings that blew our minds.
The Rock’s guest that year was Wolfgang Simson, a German missions expert who wrote the mind-bending book, Houses That Change the World. To make a long story short, my life was dramatically shifted during that weekend in a way that’s hard to explain. Wolfgang unveiled his vision for multiplying house church movements being used to win masses for Jesus at the end of the age. He likened the process to a starfish, which can be multiplied many times over but never dies throughout the process.
Without going into a ton of detail, this “Starfish Vision” called for a gathering of believers to meet in Antioch in 2009 to gather before the Lord and repent for having missionary agendas that were not the Lord’s. This meeting, however, was only to serve as a springboard to a more significant gathering where house church leaders from around the world would gather to hear God’s plan for gathering in the last great harvest. I think it may look something like this.
Needless to say I was intrigued by the idea of the Antioch meeting and never forgot about it. Well, two years have come and gone and this meeting finally occurred. In the last few weeks, several of those who were there have written about what happened. You can read Guy Muse’s very personal observations here. You can get Tony Dale’s perspective here. And last but not least get the thoughts of the guy who called the whole thing together (Wolf) here.
And as if that wasn’t enough at the gathering, Wolfgang and Mercy released the finalized version of the Starfish Manifesto. The Starfish Manifesto is the culmination of a couple of years of waiting on the Lord, hearing His voice, and pairing apostolic strategy with prophetic insight. I have not read this version, but the early version I saw was amazing and challenged me to go deeper in the things that God started in me that weekend two years ago. You can download the final version of the Starfish Manifesto here.
And finally, turning our attention from Antioch back a little closer to home, I want recommend to my readers a new blog “Haven In The Hood.” The blog features two new friends of ours who moved out of suburbia and into a neighborhood not too far from us. The blog is their story about creating a little place of refuge where many think none could be had. You can check them out here.