New Testament Church Proliferation Digest

Spreading the Gospel via House Churches

June 14 2001 Vol 01 : 008


Re: House Church Introduction (was Quit My Job? - WAS: [New Testament Church Proliferation] Fishing?)

RE: [New Testament Church Proliferation] Fishing & Making Tents - the best of both

Re: [New Testament Church Proliferation] Introduction and Making Tents

RE: [New Testament Church Proliferation] Fishing & Making Tents - the best of both

[New Testament Church Proliferation] Introduction... (fwd from Jane Jafferi)

[New Testament Church Proliferation] re. struggling to start a house church. (fwd from Steff)

[New Testament Church Proliferation] Biblical pattern

Re: [New Testament Church Proliferation] Biblical pattern


Date: Wed, 13 Jun 2001 22:18:06 +0200

From: "Tom Belt"

Subject: Re: House Church Introduction (was Quit My Job? - WAS: [New Testament Church Proliferation] Fishing?)

> To be blunt (more for brevity's sake) ... HOW

> something was done in the 1st century is really only

> relevant to us if there is a clear prescriptive

> element

> from the author.


> How we "do" church today is not any better or worse

> than how the early church did. There are gives and

> takes in each model. Each conxtexutalized for adequate

> cultural adaptation and interpretation.


Good question. I sat in on a great 3-day cell/house/whatever seminar few

years ago. The speaker (forgot his name) said something wonderful. He said

the goal of believers getting together is COMMUNITY. It's that simple. He

added that there's no ONE right structure that guarantees genuine

"community." So I agree with ya. The biblical prescriptive--if you will--is

genuine Christian "community." What structures best achieve that in your

context might not work in mine.


------- <><><> -------

Date: Wed, 13 Jun 2001 14:58:06 -0500

From: "Tony Dale"

Subject: RE: [New Testament Church Proliferation] Fishing & Making Tents - the best of both

Endorse all that is said about the Wolfgang Simson book, and want to let

folk know that they can order it at Tony Dale

- -----Original Message-----

Behalf Of jferris

Sent: Wednesday, June 13, 2001 12:40 AM

To: ntchurch planter

Subject: Re: [New Testament Church Proliferation] Fishing & Making Tents - the best of both

Dear sms,

would like to receive the zipped version. please send to jferris154*

>Have you all read Wolfgang Simson's book: Houses That Change the World: The

>Return of the House Churches? I'll stick my neck out: it's the best single

>volume on house church available, published by OM Publishing // Paternoster

>copyright 1998, 2000 ed., (see


>kudos come from friends like Patrick Johnstone, Peter Brierley, Ken

>Mulholland, Ernie Addicot, Bob Fitts, Ralph Neighbour, Jim Montgomery,


>Banks and many others, including women, non-westerners, and non-ordained

>lay-birds like me.


>I can also email requesters an earlier rough draft (looks rough also) in a

>zipped version, couple hundred K.


>The 2000 ed. chapters deal with:

>1. The Reinvention of Church: bridging the church gap

>2. House Churches in History: Rediscovery through the valley of the Dark


>3. The Nature of House Churches: what they are, what they do, and how they


>4. The Five-fold Ministry: God's resources and structure multiplying house


>5. House Church or Cell Church? thirteen reasons why house churches are the

>natural solution

>6. Developing a Persecution-proof Structure: 'blessed are you when you are

>persecuted' -how to develop a persecution-proof spirit and thrive under


>7. No progress Without Change: the art of transitioning, or how to avoid

>doing the new in the power of the old

>8. All Change is Practical: the last step you want to take determines your

>next step

>9. QSQ: values and content come first, methods and plans second, growth and

>numbers last - how to think Quality-Structure-Quantity

>10. Fathering the Next Generation: who will do all the work?

>11. Models of Church Multiplication: How to plant churches without

>manufacturing them

>12. Building National Momentum: how to develop a critical mass, and leave


>outcome to God.


>Simson is a prime mover in the international DAWN network, lives in

>Switzerland, edits the DAWN Fridayfax, and spends the bulk of his time

>dreaming up and moving leaders toward the planting of millions of house

>churches especially in the ole 10/40 window.




------- <><><> -------

Date: Wed, 13 Jun 2001 17:59:27 -0400

From: (jferris)

Subject: Re: [New Testament Church Proliferation] Introduction and Making Tents

Dear John,

Thank you for your very balanced observation concerning house churches and

compensation. Where tent making is concerned, I have a little different

perspective on the "bottom line:


We would like to direct our particular attention to "the house church

movement". The saints meeting from house to house is a subject, even an

experience very close to our own heart. We see two great problems, however.

The first is that the man handling of the institutional church will be

carried into our living rooms, there to only further divide the already

splintered Body of Christ.

The second problem relates to the finances of the Kingdom of God at the

household level. The institutionalized church has depended on or, at least,

preached tithing as its source of support. In INFLATION, THE ULTIMATE

GRAVEN IMAGE, we spoke briefly about tithing not being a New Testament

principle of giving. Today, we are more convinced than ever that tithing is

not The Lord's means of financing the new creation.

Having already pointed out that tithing is not a New Testament principle

of finance, we are brought to the question of, what is the New Testament

pattern or principle. In spite of the many instructions about money and

finances under the law, in virtually every instance, The New Testament

draws from life, not law for financial answers, so much so that we are

forced to conclude that our focus must be on household finance in the

Kingdom of God.

The Household of Kings

Matthew 17:24-27:

"... the collectors of the two drachma (half shekel) tax came to Peter and

asked, 'Doesn't your teacher pay the temple tax?' 1. 'Yes he does,' he

replied. When Peter came into the house, Jesus was the first to speak.

'What do you think Simon?' he asked. 'From whom do the kings of the earth

collect duty and taxes - from their own sons or from others?' 'From

others,' Peter answered. "Then the sons are exempt,' Jesus said to him.

'But so that we may not offend them, go to the lake and throw out your

line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a

four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours."

The Scriptures tell us that, Jesus was born "... under law to redeem those

under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons." 2.

Even while he was still "under law" he was not preaching law, but rather a

transition to the "full rights of sons". Rather than citing Exodus, rather

than saying "yea verily, it is written... " He said in effect, "What does

life teach you about these things?"

Under the law this was identified as "atonement money" and its use was for

"... the service of the tent of meeting", the shadow of God's house. 3.

Again, all of that aside, Jesus used the occasion of Peter's unspoken

question as opportunity to share, that this money is for God's household,

God's children. Jesus is God's child, and Peter was and is God's child by

association in the first instance, by adoption in the second

1. Exodus 30:11-16, 2. Galatians 4:4,5, 3. Hebrews 9:10, 10:1

- -2-

instance, 1. and by participation in the very nature of God in the final

instance, 2. There are people, place and circumstantial reasons for not

being an offense, but, bottom line, the children are exempt.


I Timothy 5:17,18:

"The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double

honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. For the

Scripture says, 'Do not muzzles the ox while it is treading out the grain,'

and 'The worker deserves his wages."

Much needs to be said about elders, but for now, perhaps it is enough to

say that the pastoral ministry is a nurturing or parenting ministry and the

ministry of elders is like that of grandparents. That said, once again, we

can and ought to go to the old creation to understand the content of these

respective ministries.

As for compensation, there are several implications to this passage from I

Timothy. First, "directing the affairs of the church" involves more than

preaching and teaching. When it is done well, even without preaching and

teaching it is still worthy of double honor.

Singular honor is that which we owe to parents, "... the first commandment

with promise." The second honor is that of material compensation. Assuming

that the ministry of the elder is performed well, preaching and teaching is

especially worthy of compensation.

Paul instructs us, however, not only by precept, but by his own example. By

precept, here and elsewhere, he makes it clear that "In the same way, the

Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their

living from the gospel."3. By example, he models the heart of a father.


I Corinthians 4:17:

"For this reason I am sending to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is

faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus,

which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church."

On the one hand, there is what Paul is teaching, and on the other, there is

his way of life. By life Paul is a father in the Lord, even to Timothy, his

son whom he loves.

Paul's meaning here in Corinthians is not so much that Timothy is being

sent to teach them about Paul's way of life, but , as his son, will remind

them of Paul's way of life by example. As we say, "The apples do not fall

very far from the trees."

1. Galatians 4:5, 2. Galatians 4:6, I Peter 1:23, II Peter 1:4, 3. I

Corinthians 9:14

- -3-

While having a father's heart, Paul is careful to instruct his children as

to the proper thing to do. But, he himself is not willing to exploit his

position as a proper object of their giving.


Acts 18:24-26:

"Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He

was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. He had been

instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and

taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John. He

began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard

him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God

more adequately."

So much for "... not allowing a woman to teach..." 1. We include this

passage as indication that a home is a Biblical setting for teaching, and

teaching even those who are already teaching accurately about Jesus. We

also know from other references that the church met in the home of

Priscilla and Aquila while they lived in Ephesus as well as later when they

lived in Rome. 2.

Fathers and Children

II Corinthians 12:14-18:

"... I will not be a burden to you, because what I want is not your

possessions but you. After all, children should not have to save up for

their parents, but parents for their children. So I will very gladly spend

for you everything I have and expend myself as well. If I love you more,

will you love me less? Be that as it may, I have not been a burden to you.

Yet, crafty fellow that I am, I caught you be trickery! Did I exploit you

through any of the men I sent you? I urged Titus to go to you and I sent

our brother with him. Titus did not exploit you, did he" Did we not act in

the same spirit and follow the same course?"

This hardly needs elaboration except to say that, having spoken elsewhere

of the rights of an apostle, and principles of work and compensation,

Paul's bottom line is a father's heart. Not what the law says, but what

life teaches us about the provision of a house.

Provision of the house

Malachi 3:8-10:

"Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. But you ask, 'How do we rob you?' In

tithes and offerings. you are under a curse - the whole nation of you

because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse that

there may be food in my house..."

1. I Timothy 2:12, 2. I Corinthians 16:19, Romans 16:3-5

- -4-

By the way, "... we are His house if we hold on to our courage and the hope

of which we boast..."1. "Food in my house, the early church "... broke

bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts."2. We

are also told that , "... There were no needy persons among them. For from

time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money

from the sales and put it at the apostles feet, and it was distributed to

anyone as he had need."3.

Here we are not being instructed about compensation for the laborer, but

provision for the house. An old creation household is a picture of

something, a picture of a new creation household, and by extension even new

creation households.4.

1. Hebrews 3:6, 2. Acts 2:46, 3. Acts 4:34,35, 4. I Corinthians 16:15,16,

So as not to break the rules, I'll save the rest for tomorrow.

Yours in Christ,


------- <><><> -------


Date: Wed, 13 Jun 2001 18:10:52 -0400

From: "Jim Morris"

Subject: RE: [New Testament Church Proliferation] Fishing & Making Tents - the best of both

I have felt as Vanessa does for many years, but I have never made a major

point of it. Some years ago I started an inner city miss*on in Cleveland,

Ohio, USA. When I did this, some people called me Rev., some called me

P*stor, some called me a min*ser, and some even called me Father! I answered

to whatever people called me, without bothering about it. But I called

myself Jim.

As to working or not working, I founr over a period of many years that most

of the min*stry I could do was in the evening anyway, so my job interfered

very little with my real work. I noticed with some sorrow that many of the

"full time" workers around me did not do nearly as much "real" work as I was

doing. (I do not stste this as an accomplishment for me, but as sorrow for

the apparent laziness of many others.) While I was operating my miss*on,

five of the largest IC's in the city banded together to start another one,

bt they had to shut it down because among their combined membership of

5,000, with around 20 to 30 full time workers, they could not find enough

volunteers to keep it open two days a week!

Some years earlier than this, I felt specifically called (by u-know-who) to

quit my job and work for Him full time. I did so with much fear. The same

day I left my job, He spoke to me to go to a place about 40 miles away. When

I got thewre a man I had never seen before suddenly began ti tell me with

great excitement what J*sus has accomplished for him on the chr*ss. This was

important to me because it showed me he was "in the Sp*rit." He then

suddenly stopped, laid his hands on me, and began to tell me I was going to

accomplish geart things for G*d. Severa; Hours later, I sadi to myself, I'm

tired, I think I will go home. The L*rd said, "no, go to (such-and-such) a

restaurant." I went there and the same man was just entering. Another man

who was with him invited (actually commanded) me to st with them. He then

told me "You are to order whatever you want. I'm paying for it. If you need

anything at all, just let me know. You are welcome to stay at my house. And

you need to know that this is not coming from me. It is coming from G*d. He

told me to say this to you." I never felt a need to take him up on his

offers, but was comforted by this confirmation of my call.

My L*rd then made me give away everything I owned, keeping only my clothes,

my books, my tools, and my car. Then He made me chop up all my credit cards.

When I completely ran out of money, He said, "Now it's time to go." I stored

my books at a friend's house, put my clothes and my tools in the car, spent

my very last penny (the smallest piece of American money, one hundredth of a

dollar) for gasoline, and started off down the road. I had no plan, no

destination, and not even a letter of introduction from other Chr*stians. I

proceeded to drive that car 12 to 14 hours a day for months on end,

wondering about the USA, going wherever He sent me. A full account would

fill many pages. But a short summary is that I led an average of ten people

a month to the L*rd. My way was paid entirely by Him. My support typically

came in the form of four five dollar bills handed to me without my asking

for them, by four different strangers in four different cities in a single


Later He led me to go back to work. Just half an hour before I got back to

my friend's home, which I had left as a message center, my old employer

called for me. I returned his call and he said, "Do you wan to go back to

work?" I said, "when?" Hs said, "This afternoon." I said, "I am not exactly

dressed for the office." He said, "I don't care how you are dressed, be

there." I worked the last half of the day. He asked me, do you have any

place to go? I said, "Don't worry about me," and walked out. That evening a

lady asked me to go with her to see her landlord. Without first asking me if

she was correct, she told the landlord, "I want to move out and he wants to

move in." He shrugged his shoulders and said. "OK." In his presence she told

me, "Just give me half an hour to get my things out and you can move in

tonight. The rent is already paid through the end of the month." SO before I

had been back twelve hours I had a full time job and an apartment, with the

rent already paid through the end of the month!

Trust Him. Stay on your job until He tells you nto leave. And if He does,

quit without fear.

Jim Morris

So before I had been back 12 hours

------- <><><> -------

Date: Wed, 13 Jun 2001 19:24:07 -0400

From: forwarded

Subject: [New Testament Church Proliferation] Introduction... (fwd from Jane Jafferi)

From: "Jane Jafferi"

<mailed from other address - mail forwarding agent>

Hi... My name's Jane, I'm an English teacher, and I live in Wisconsin.

This forum is all new to me, but my friend Robert Fitts in Hawaii's been

after me for several years to start a house church here. I'm praying

about it. I'd like to agree with Tony Dale that evangelism is "going out"

to all the world and sharing with whomever's around us, as God leads.

Since I became a Christian in 1976, my mission field's been wherever I

am. Right now I teach drug- and alcohol-addicted teen girls in a

treatment center, and the Lord's allowed me to lead some of them to Him,

as well as to share my testimony and pray with/for them. But I've done

the same whether in public/private school, on a missionary base in Kona,

HI or in "secular" jobs. Availability is the key. God will do the rest if

we agree with Him for opportunities... To the AG pastor in Amherst, MA

who's becoming discouraged: hang in there. When you feel as if you can't

stretch any more, the breakthrough's on its way. I'll pray for you...

------- <><><> -------

Date: Wed, 13 Jun 2001 19:32:33 -0400

From: forwarded

Subject: [New Testament Church Proliferation] re. struggling to start a house church. (fwd from Steff)

Received: from Steffasong

CC: ntchurch planter

>From Stephanie Bennett:

Michael wrote about his frustrations in working through the struggles in

the Jerusalem house churches. A friend saw his post and forwarded it to

me because he knows my husband and I have worked through the same kinds

of struggles here in the states for nearly seven years. I do not know

exactly what list I am responding to, but I hope you will accept my

thoughts in the spirit that they are brought to you....

Be encouraged brother!!!! Everything you are going through is totally

normal Whether the differences are cultural or denominational or totally

ideological, there are certain thing that just take time. Intimacy is one

them Michael!

If the saints you meet with are expressing a need to go 'line by line,'

wonderful! IT is not that they do not want to meet or relate, but that

they need to learn how. Do you realize how long it has been embedded into

Christians to simply sit in a pew and listen? Too many believers are

clueless about how to open up, others operate in fear. The Lord Himself

woo us, gives us courage, and teaches us to take bold steps to embrace

relationship, and He will teach them. Bring them what they ask for, do it

in love, and in the meantime model holy, Biblical koinonia.

Koinonia with the saints flows from our koinonia with the Father. Our

frustration comes when we do not embrace what we have or who we have been

given, but strive to make it something that it is not. The overflow of


relationship with the Lord will touch the saints in your household more

than any forced relating will ever do. God never seeks to make us into

something we are not. He accepts us, loves us, and overwhelms us with His

grace, patience, and multifarious fruit. Our lives are changed as we are

more and more in touch with His glory and His beauty and HIS PRESENCE.

One last know this brother. It is more blessed to give than

receive. Give them what they ask for, (it's not as if they are asking for

evil or heresy or false gods, they simply desire what is familiar!) and

then I'll bet more opportunities will come to you to love them and engage

in closer brotherly/sisterly relationships.

Please feel free to contact me or add me to your list at the following


Blessings in the Majestic Name above ALL Names.

Peace brother., --May His joy fill your household!

Su hermana,


Creative Services & Consulting



Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?

Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?


------- <><><> -------


Date: Wed, 13 Jun 2001 20:05:56 -0400

From: "Jim Morris"

Subject: [New Testament Church Proliferation] Biblical pattern

I thoroughly agree with Greg that it is improper to use descriptive passages

as if they were prescriptive. But there are many more prescriptive passages

in the Holy Scriptures that many imagine. The main problem with

understanding that many of these passages are prescriptive is that they are

so radically different from accepted practices in the IC.

I have written a book tracing the Biblical prescriptive for the church. You

can read it and learn how to obtain hard copies at

Jim Morris

- -----Original Message-----

From: ntchurch planter On Behalf Of greg

Sent: Wednesday, June 13, 2001 1:21 PM

Subject: Re: House Church Introduction (was Quit My Job? - WAS: [New Testament Church Proliferation]


This is not a comment against "home churches" at all,

as the idea really intrigues me.

I guess my red flag regarding all of the pro-house

church stuff I've been reading here in this group is

that it would appear that many of you are confusing

simple descriptive passages with being prescriptive.

To be blunt (more for brevity's sake) ... HOW

something was done in the 1st century is really only

relevant to us if there is a clear prescriptive


from the author.

How we "do" church today is not any better or worse

than how the early church did. There are gives and

takes in each model. Each conxtexutalized for adequate

cultural adaptation and interpretation.

Again ... not anti-house church in the least, but

always leery of "biblical" imperatives derived from


As far as I see it (from my limited perspective, I

admit) *how* we do church is fair game. We needn't

squeeze the New Testament to make it say things that

it never intended to.


------- <><><> -------

Date: Thu, 14 Jun 2001 07:31:09 +0200

From: "Deborah"

Subject: Re: [New Testament Church Proliferation] Biblical pattern

Link wrote:

>I suspect a lot of the preaching we read about in the

>Bible was not done tent-crusade style. I doubt Paul

>had a praise band sing before he preached in the


The Apostle Paul answers:

"And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them

that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are

under the law; to them that are without law, as without law, (being not

without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them

that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the

weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might BY ALL MEANS save some"

(1 Cor. 9:20-22-- emphasis mine).

I elaborate:

"If it works and it's moral it's okay"

Link wrote:

>Synagogues had plural elders, with one man called the archisynagogue in an

>administrative role.

You are partially right. The ancient leadership team included several

positions including arkhisunagogos (synagogue leader), gerousia (council for

general affairs), arkhon (leader for non-religious affairs), grammateus

(secretary), and an official for finances (title uncertain). In addition

there was sometimes the shammash (servant) who took care of the grounds and

building, and then different rabbis to teach.

>The Bible doesn't command churches to follow

>synagogue liturgy, however.

No, but it assumes ancient churches did ... even in places far away from the

Jerusalem church-- sometimes meeting in houses. For instance, the Antioch,

Syria church (house or not?) was following a liturgy (leitourgounton-- "as

they performed the liturgy," "ministered in an official religious capacity")

when Paul and Barnabas were separated for ministry to the Gentiles (Act

13:2). Also, when Paul preached "on the first day of the week," (Acts 20:7)

the Greek text makes explicit reference to mia ton sabbaton (the first of

the Sabbath). Most translators render this something like "the beginning of

the week," hence many readers conclude this meeting was occurring on Sunday

night. But for those of us familiar with Jewish customs, we understand that

Paul is leading a melaveh malkah, or "accompanying the queen" service; a

reference to ending the Sabbath, which if you'll recall was/is marked from

sundown to sundown. All the evidence fits: the bread (and wine), the

prolonging of the service late into the night, the teaching about the

Messiah. In addition, the Syrian and some other Middle Eastern-based

churches still celebrate the Eucharist on Saturday night based on (they say)

Apostolic tradition which I surmise originated from this event and the

liturgy surrounding it. Since Jews were/are forbidden to carry money on the

Sabbath, it was a natural time to bring money for Paul's offering on "the

first day of the week" (1 Cor. 16:2), ie. for the melaveh malkah service

Saturday night which we know from ancient sources was practiced among Jews

since before Jesus' day. And which was liturgical.

>In the first century, Jews built houses of worship. Pagans built temples.

>But the Christians just met in homes.

This is not entirely true either. Yes there were home meetings, but the

earliest believers original met in synagogues. We know that James wrote:

"For if there come unto your assembly [synagogue] a man ..." (James 2:2).

That is a "synagogue". In addition Mark D. Nanos (The Mystery of Romans.

Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1996) provides compelling evidence that when

Paul wrote his letter to the Romans, the church there was still affiliated

with the synagogue network in that city. With the evidence for liturgy (from

the synagogue? what else?) above, one might safely assume that the Antioch

church was also under the authority of a local synagogue. Plus there is

growing evidence that the traditional Upper Room in modern Jerusalem was

built and rebuilt over an ancient synagogue where was discovered Christian

"graffito" from the 1st century in the downstairs portion of the building.

This has led some to infer that this was the meeting place of the Jerusalem

church shortly after the destruction of the Temple. And possibly before.

(see Biblical Archaeology Review, 16, May-June 1990: 16-35).

My point: let's leave a little room in our hearts for those poor souls who

want to (and can) meet in buildings. They are not inferior and they are not

the enemy (Eph. 6:12; Gal. 5:15). In fact, they even have scriptural

precedent to meet in buildings. As you do for meeting in houses. Can anyone

say "both/and"?



End of New Testament Church Proliferation Digest V1 #8

house church eldership servanthood lord's day lord's supper world missions