New Testament Church Proliferation Digest


Spreading the Gospel via House Churches


June 15, 2001 Vol 01 : 012
 

Re: [New Testament Church Proliferation] Biblical pattern

[New Testament Church Proliferation] Neighborhood Church Planting

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

Re: [New Testament Church Proliferation] introduction

[New Testament Church Proliferation] I lyk to reda theses posts

[New Testament Church Proliferation] are some verses just descriptive?

RE: [New Testament Church Proliferation] I lyk to reda theses posts

RE: [New Testament Church Proliferation] are some verses just descriptive?

[New Testament Church Proliferation] Biblical pattern: crusades

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

Re: [New Testament Church Proliferation] NT patterns versus contemporary church model

[New Testament Church Proliferation] Pastors?

Re: [New Testament Church Proliferation] Pastors?

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Date: Fri, 15 Jun 2001 01:18:40 EDT From: SteveMSpaulding

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

In a message dated 6/14/01 9:12:26 AM Taipei Standard Time, ?*holy-word.com writes:

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.

Isn't is possible (I'm sure you'd agree) that HOW something was done, without clear prescriptive elements from the author, can still be of inestimable value in correctives, etc., to our own blind spots? I take the closing verses of Acts 2 and 4 as descriptive only, but would say that the church especially in America has, possibly for lack of prescriptive language, lost out rather terribly in patterning itself a little more by the early church's life. Of course there were things described which, as a hermeneutical community, we can discern and discard as culturally bound or even in error, but.... you get the point.

Let's keep the discussion going; sometimes we all get moving toward more heat than light in a 'dialogue.' sms


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Date: Fri, 15 Jun 2001 12:28:52 +0700 From: "Link"

Subject: [New Testament Church Proliferation] Neighborhood Ch*rch Planting

A large 7 page document on this topic that I have written is available at <http://www.homechurch.org/ubb/Forum7/HTML/000005.html> . That is a forum on a forum on the website associated with this page.

There are a couple of Indonesian words on that web page ('pendeta' for clergyman, and 'majelis' which is similar in meaning to pendeta, but refers to a type of church representative.)

Below is a shorter description of the concept.

I wrote up an article on something I thought of as a simple way to plant small house churches in neighborhoods in urban areas. I wrote it with Jakarta in mind, but it might work in subdivisions in the US or rural villages n other countries where people live close to one another.

Here is the basic idea:

Plant churches in neighborhoods. This is great for cities like this with atrocious traffic. Having your church family live on your own street saves time commuting and can offer a high level of accountability. It can also help build community in the neighborhood.

Evangelistic method: Personal evangelism.

The church planter finds a 'man of peace' in a neighborhood- someone who is willing to open his home for ministry, generally a Christian in most situations.

The host builds up relationships with his neighbors, giving food, getting to know them. He also builds up a relationship with the church planter.

At some point, the host invites one family from the neighborhood over for dinner. The same night, he invites the church planter (or other laborer gifted in evangelism) over for dinner as well. The environment is very laid back. The ch*rch planter shares the gospel in a conversational way with the neighbor. This can be done in a not-so-confrontational-way.

One way to make it easier to start conversations is to decorate the host's house with Christian conversation pieces. For example, fill the dining room with the 10 commandments and various other scripture verses. Ray Comfort teaches personal evangelism techniques using the 10 commandments. His emphasis is that presenting Christ as 'life enhancement' produces false conversion, and we need to present the gospel in such a way that people are aware of their sins. 'For by the Law comes the knowledge of sin' the scripture says. Ray Comfort explains a way of going through the 10 commandments to reveal to the person that he is a sinner.

Family after family, the host invites people over to his house, maybe one family per week. The church planter comes each time and evangelizes. If any people repent through this process, the church planter and host work together to disciple the person in a small house church setting in the host's home.

After listening to and participating in sharing the Gospel with his whole neighborhood, the host may have picked up some good training in evangelism as well.

Winning relatives:

At some point, the focus of evangelism may change from the neighborhood to the family of the new believers. New believers often mention unsaved loved ones as prayer requests. It must be tough for a new believer in an unsaved family. He generally doesn't know much about how to evangelism well, unless he is just gifted in this area early in his Christian walk. Also, for the first several months of his Christian life, he still has relationships with a lot of unbelieving friends. Some in miss'ology call these relationships 'bridges of God' for the Gospel to cross over.

Instead of leaving the new believer to win his friends and family alone, the church planter or host of the new home church helps him share the Gospel with them. The host may invite the new believer and his unsaved friend over for dinner. If persecution is a factor (and the new believer's parents want to punch the host of the new house church) then someone else the church planter knows who is good at ev.

If the new believer's family repents, then the church planter or believers who have been raised up through this process in the new home church can go to that person's house as he invites his friends and neighbor's over for dinner. They can help him try to win his relatives to Christ as well by inviting people to dinner.

I've read that most people get saved through personal ev. anyway. Even people who come up during altar calls may have heard the Gospel for a long time from friends.

From the perspective of the church planter

The church planter can really do a lot of work. At first, he could spend every night of the week in a different neighborhood with a different 'man of peace' sharing the Gospel. Hosts get a lot of exposure to sharing the Gospel, and some may be able to help in the work later on. New believers who listen to their more mature brethren share the Gospel with their families also listen and learn how to do ev.

Over time, as house church's develop out of this type of work, the church planter may need to spend more time laying foundations with existing believers. Hopefully, new believers in these house church's will mature and do ev work for new believers. If all new believers grow up spiritually in an environment where sharing with new believer's family and friends is a priority, hopefully this practice will continue on after the church planter moves on to another area to labor.

church planters will have to be flexible about what days they consider legitimate for 'real church' meetings.

Raising up Leadership

In Acts 14, we see that the apostles appointed elders from within the churches they founded. Leaders were raised up from within the church.

Churches will have to educate and train all believers, teaching them the whole Bible. Elders need to be trained up from within the churches. Regular stable men within the neighborhoods, who meet the Biblical requirements can be elders in the church.

The church planter needs to realized that while elders are to be 'apt to teach' the list of requirements for elders do not say that he has to be 'a specially called servant of God.' All believers are called, gifted, and serve God. Some meet the requirements for being a bishop. A group of elder, holy men, who demonstrate their ability to lead a spiritual family by ruling their own households well may be able to serve as elder/bishops.

The church planter must have a 'Christ in His body' model of ministry, rather than the 'special servant of God' mentality. We are all gifted and we are all to have some kind of ministry as we grow and mature in the Lord. 5-fold ministers can be found among regular believers sitting in the meetings. In mutually participatory meetings, these gifts can be manifested. Elders and other ministers can be trained and mentored within these house church's. The church planter will need to spend time mentoring these leaders. Later, elders and other gifted brethren can take his place at the many dinners and other small social gatherings done to tell family members and friends about the Gospel.

Finances:

Elders can follow Paul's advice in Acts 20, and work with their own hands. Congregations can follow Paul's teaching in I Timothy 5 about 'honoring' elders who rule well with double honor. An elder can be compensated through free-will offerings by those he ministers to. If the work is small, an elders work may be small. As it grows, so will his work, but the financial support base may as well. An elder may get little support in the beginning. He may have to work a job and carry on his eldership responsibilities. This can weed out people with the wrong motives. As he rules well, he may be given more, and eventually, the church may decide to alleviate him of his other work responsibilities and let him work full-time in the church. Primarily, this is a 'bi-vocational model' as far as local elders are concerned. Decisions for elders to go full-time is something that the church should pray about. Not every elder will be led in exactly the same way.

house church's will need to be networked with other believers in different parts of the city or area. Houses tend to be clustered together according to price range. house church's in rich neighborhoods need to have a close relationship with poorer house church's so that wealth can be given and received. home church members can be taught to share, but if the rich share with the rich, and the poor share with the poor, the poor can still lack.

Circulation of Brethren:

Small house church's can send brethren to other meetings to new house church's in areas in which they are week. If there are open participatory meetings, and everyone's gift is recognized, it will be easier for the leaders or the brethren (esp. if there are no bishops yet) to recommend a gifted brother to help a new house church. If one home church is weak in intercession, and intercessor from another can visit. If one house church is weak in teaching, a teacher from another home church can visit.

Elders of different house church's (or elders of different groups of house church's) can met with other elders in the city. They may also want to organize larger meetings for teaching new believers, celebration, etc.

One a larger scale, a believer from an home church in one city can visit another home church in another city. Christians need to be taught the much-neglected Biblical principle of hospitality, offering room and board to Christians who travel, especially church planters and evangelists. Those that preach the Gospel should live of the Gospel. Apostles have a right to eat and to drink, as Paul pointed out.

What to do with other Christians on the Block?

If there are other Christians who already live in the neighborhood, build up good relationship with them. They might want to continue going to their own church. If a home church does develop from this type of ev. ministry, a Christian going to a more traditional type church could participate in a night meeting and still go to the other church on Sunday. This way, the existing Christian neighbor can participate in the neighborhood Christian community. We don't have to demand that he joins our work.

Other Comments

I haven tried this out yet. I'd like to be in the 'host' role in this type of ministry. This sounds really organized and is all spelled out. But I believe this same type of thing has happened spontaneously in areas where there have been people movements or mass movements for the Gospel.


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Date: Fri, 15 Jun 2001 07:18:19 -0400 From: "Jim Morris"

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

Vanessa DiDomenico wrote"

"I used to teach English at Berlitz here. Right behind the luxurious building, there was a group of glue-sniffing children who lived right there on the street and begged for food outside a breadstore. I used to have my lunch, bought from a restaurant, in the building... until I saw the children from the window. I began to spend the money rather on buying lots of bread and milk, and then began to go sit where the children begged and eat bread and milk with them. I never dress up, but there I had no choice, for Berlitz is where executives study. I must have looked very funny dressed up in office garb, sitting on the floor right next to the street with a bunch of dirty kids, who were also quite dangerous and feared by all, to the point that many have been murdered by the police.

Well, I never said anything, but the kids asked: WHY ARE YOU HERE? I was like, well, should i not come anymore? they insisted. I said, JESUS sent me, and I also have kids, who could be in the same situation and I hope someone would also care for them. The questions came in a flood always: who's Jesus? Why does he send you? Why do you listen? etc. You can be sure that many, many more of these kids were saved by the crazy lady sitting on the floor in full office dress, than by any evangelist standing on the street yelling to people to get saved."

God bless you Vanessa. I had a similar experience in inner city Cleveland, OH USA.

She also wrote: "Those kids are dangerous, and once, many months after I quit at Berlitz, I was recognized by one, who told the others in that group to leave me alone. And in this same way, God has saved me from many dangerous situations. I have even been fed by criminals when I was hungry!"

A professional Mafia hit man circulated the word in Cleveland that anyone who hurt me was a dead man!

Jim Morris


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Date: Fri, 15 Jun 2001 08:28:46 -0400 From: "Dan Beaty"

Subject: Re: [New Testament Church Proliferation] introduction

Sam,

Your introduction was very refreshing!

<<If we revolutionize the church and follow the New Testament pattern, then we will see: Every person a worshipper. Every person discipled, equipped and released in their calling and gifting. Every person a minister. Every home a house church. Every house church pregnant and expectant to birth another church in God's timing. Every house church expanding through multiplication of house churches throughout our cities pushing back the kingdom of darkness and expanding the Kingdom of God.

Like in the Book of Acts, the church met from house to house. Do it again Lord! Restore apostolic vision! Restore apostolic passion! Restore apostolic power! Restore the New Testament church!

I read Bob Fitt's book several years ago. When I saw that he gave permission to freely reproduce it, I knew where his heart was. So I included a copy of it on my web site.

Will be looking forward to more encouraging posts like this one!

Dan Beaty Columbus, Ohio USA

www.livingtruth.com


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Date: Fri, 15 Jun 2001 07:35:40 -0500 From: Phillip Cohen

Subject: [New Testament Church Proliferation] I lyk to reda theses posts

I really like to reda theses postst, but pleez prufred and spellchekc befour you hit the sedn key.

Phillip & Mary Cohen harborlights3*juno.com \o/ \o/ \o/ Jesus still fixes broken lives. \o/ \o/ \o/


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Date: Fri, 15 Jun 2001 06:43:37 -0700 (PDT) From: Vanessa DiDomenico

Subject: [New Testament Church Proliferation] are some verses just descriptive?

Hi List! first let me say I'm sorry I didn't use a little more tact when I asked about the Rev verse. David, thanks for finding it for me! ;-) I had been planning on writing an article for my lists in Spanish about that, and when I had the chance, I just asked!

Now, do methods matter more than results? Are results more important than methods? or do results depend on methods?

HOW things are done influences the results more than anything... I have a hard time understanding people who think that results matter more than the methods used, as long as they are 'moral'. In fact, I think it's easily noticeable that results of evangelism in any way different from the kind described in the NT are not at all as God wants them. Its just that humans who care more about their own achievements (i.e: I have converted many thousands at my crusades!) than about the exact results God wants, for which He designed an exact method.

Neither do I think there is one single verse in the Bible that is exclusively descriptive. God is too perfect to be wasting our time (and His) making us read stuff that is simply 'descriptive'. It's impossible!! If that were the case, then we would have to admit that God wasn't perfect, and therefore he wouldn't be God, so being a Christian would be a waste of time. I think even the endless genealogies in the OT MUST have a specific purpose, which I think is to show that Jesus is Israel (and that Israel was simply a way to introduce Jesus) and that God keeps records. The Bible clearly says ALL scripture is useful. If there were any parts of it that are just descriptive, then this verse would be a LIE.

As a person with laboratory experience, I know that even a tiny little difference in the way experiments are carried out can make gigantic differences in the outcome! Even 2 or 3 little foreign particles (molecules) introduced into an experiment with millions of millions of particles can ruin it! I know that God is the only REAL scientist (all the others are simply trying to figure out how God set up what we call the Universe), therefore He knows every little detail that makes a difference. I'm sure if it did NOT make a difference, He wouldn't bother to inspire any writers to put it down on paper!

How can ANYONE dare think they may have better methods than those described by writers inspired directly by God? If this were the case, wouldn't our perfect God who never leaves out details have bothered to inspire someone else to write these methods down? I can imagine God's sadness to see that people think they know better than Him, but then again, isn't that the reason we have all these troubles in the first place? because Adam and Eve thought they knew how to do things better that how God told them to. And then in the desert, the Hebrews thought they could get better results by making a gold calf instead of waiting as Moses told them to... and we could go on forever telling of parts where the Bible shows that humans hurt themselves terribly because they thought they knew better.

Isn't is possible (I'm sure you'd agree) that HOW something was done, without clear prescriptive elements from the author, can still be of inestimable value in correctives, etc., to our own blind spots?

I don't think its possible, I think it's obvious. And I have seen the terrible results of trying to convert others with one's own methods. In fact, I think most people converted by other methods are converted for the wrong reasons. Either to 'enhance their lives', or to be called 'Reverend' themselves someday, or to be blessed in the material world, or because they want to judge and condemn others while thinking highly of themselves (this is the most common one, I think). But if we do as the NT says, those who are converted become REAL Christians!!

Vanessa


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Date: Fri, 15 Jun 2001 10:38:22 -0400 From: "Jim Morris"

Subject: RE: [New Testament Church Proliferation] I lyk to reda theses posts

Many of the words are intentionally misspelled to not trigger monitors operated by unfriendly guvmnts.

Jim Morris

- -----Original Message----- From: owner-ntchurch planter [mailto:owner-ntchurch planter]On Behalf Of Phillip Cohen Sent: Friday, June 15, 2001 8:36 AM To: ntchurch planter Subject: [New Testament Church Proliferation] I lyk to reda theses posts

I really like to reda theses postst, but pleez prufred and spellchekc befour you hit the sedn key.

Phillip & Mary Cohen \o/ \o/ \o/ Jesus still fixes broken lives. \o/ \o/ \o/


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Date: Fri, 15 Jun 2001 11:00:25 -0400 From: "Jim Morris"

Subject: RE: [New Testament Church Proliferation] are some verses just descriptive?

Vanessa DiDomenico wrote:

I think even the endless genealogies in the OT MUST have a specific purpose, which I think is to show that Jesus is Israel (and that Israel was simply a way to introduce Jesus) and that God keeps records.

For a starter in this line, observe the translations of the names of the 10 patriarchs from Adam to Noah:

Adam means Man Seth means appointed Enos means miserable Cainan means lamenting Mahaleel means God of Glory Jared means descend Enoch means teach Methuselah means His death sends Lamech means afflicted Noah means consolation

Great instruction has also been found in many other lists of names. Enough has been found to convince me that there is deep instruction in EVERY list of names.

The Bible clearly says ALL scripture is useful. If there were any parts of it that are just descriptive, then this verse would be a LIE.

I find it very disturbing that some want to find instruction in the way ancient Jews conducted their meetings, while ignoring many clear instructions in the New Testament.

Some imagine that scripture implies that the early church meetings were conducted after the pattern of synagogue worship. That would be natural,as this is what they were familiar with. But the New Test*mnt neither says nor even implies that we should do anything the way the Jews did it. Rather, it specifically condemns many of their practices. In considering how we should conduct our meetings, ALL information other that the B*ble itself is inconsequential.

This also implies to ALL the historical documents from the early ch*ch period. The earliest non-insp*red description that has come down to us was written in the second century AD. I have personally inquired deeply into the history of one particular IC, and found that within the space of no more than sixty to eighty years, it had COMPLETELY reversed its stand on many of the doctrines it considered all-important. But no one in the group even suspected that this had happened. (I grew up in this group, and they cast me out FOR showing many individuals documents written by this very group's founders and early leaders.)

Jim Morris


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Date: Fri, 15 Jun 2001 23:59:02 +0700 From: "Link"

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

Ray Comfort has an interesting site for those wanting to rethink modern evangelism. His sermon _Hell's Best-Kept Secret_ is online. It's worth a listen.

Ray Comfort tells about asking sinner's to come forward years back after preaching about Jesus who would fill that vacuum in the sinner's heart. He knew the stats that if someone went up for an altar call, there was a 90 something percent chance that he wouldn't be involved in church the year after. So if someone came up during the altar call, he'd give the guy a third degree, and keep asking him if he were serious. He'd see the people who came up to the altar call. No tears of repentance. No contrition. Something was wrong.

Ray Comfort had just preached a message about Jesus giving peace, forgiving sins, and meeting the aching of the heart. The man who came up was serious. He'd tried drugs, sex, and rock'n'roll, and none of those things gave him peace. Maybe he could try this stuff Christians were talking about. He was serious about wanting to give this a try.

Ray Comfort says about 100 years ago, the way the Gospel was preached changed. Preachers used to talk about the Law of God. They used to explain to their listeners how they were guilty of sinning against a holy God. Some of us have heard stories of sinners weeping down on their knees, crying out for mercy.

Comfort emphasizes the point that by the law comes the knowledge of sin. He tells about how he evangelizes one-on-one. He goes through the 10 commandments. People acknowledge breaking the ten commandments. he asks them if they think God will let them into heaven. If they say 'yes' he goes from there. The point is to get the sinner to actually become aware of the judgement and wrath of God that he is under.

After he explains to the person that he is a sinner and _deserves_ to be punished, then he tells about Christ's sacrifice on the cross.

Ray Comfort believes that the modern messages preached, which offer Christ as the way to happiness is the reason why the 'success rates' of altar calls is so low.

About following Biblical patterns: Paul repeatedly wrote to churches to follow the traditions that he had left them. So while some things Paul did are not written as explicit commands, might they not fall under these more general commands to hold to the traditions that he had passed down.

At some point, we will have different opinions about what we need to imitate from the apostles. The apostles didn't drive cars or use electricity. The Amish don't either. They might excommunicate someone for driving a car. I think all of us (who use computers:) can agree that this is going to far with trying to imitate patterns. Some groups forbid musical instruments in church because there is no clear 'New Testament pattern' of using instruments in a church meeting. Using patterns in this way can put people in a type of bondage.

But what about other areas? What about the way to plant churches? In Acts 13 we see that the Spirit sent Paul and Barnabas out to do a work. In Acts 14, we see that they successfully accomplished this work.

One thing they did as a part of this work is they preached the Gospel in cities, left, and came back some time later to appoint elders from within these very congregations.

If a religious organization wants to send out one pastor to plant one church, and then have him pastor it-- and the pastor is a young man rather than an 'elder' does that line up with the tradition of the apostles we see in Acts 14?

Some would insist that to have hired pastors that come and go every several years rather than having elders raised up from within the community is violating apostolic tradition.

I can see how some would insist on apostolic tradition, and others would insist on freedom and flexibility.

But even those who emphasize freedom and flexibility might benefit from comparing what they do with what the apostles did. Even if someone doesn't condemn the people who want to plant churches by sending out young men to plant one church apiece, he can still evaluate the plan verses apostolic tradition. Young men preaching the Gospel and planting churches across a country is a wonderful thing. But the way the apostles planted churches might be a _wiser_ way of doing things. All scripture is profitable for doctrine, etc. even though not all passages are clearly prescriptive.

To tie together these two topics- altar calls and apostolic example- what do you think of the issue of baptism?

From what I see in the Bible, when the early Christians wanted to 'lead someone to the Lord' they baptized him. I don't see any examples of the apostles having someone repeat a sinner's prayer. have we replaced the role of water baptism with a sinner's prayer?

- -Link Hudson


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Date: Fri, 15 Jun 2001 11:19:03 -0700 From: Dan Snyder

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

<< From what I see in the Bible, when the early Christians wanted to 'lead someone to the Lord' they baptized him. I don't see any examples of the apostles having someone repeat a sinner's prayer. have we replaced the role of water baptism with a sinner's prayer? >>

Amen Link,

I think we may need to consider the two "sides" of salvation. First is to receive Christ as life. Second is to help that life grow in us... in other words, to live by that life... to manifest that life.

John 1:12 is pretty clear... to receive the Lord as life a man is only required to believe into Him. This is what Paul describes in Rom. 10:9-13. A "sinner's prayer" isn't a bad way to help someone call upon the name of the Lord... "Lord Jesus, I need You!"

On the other side there's Romans 6:4... it's our baptism that practically beings our walk in the newness of that life we've received.

This is why we need to help a person take a full step... "He who believes and is baptized shall be saved". We need to help people believe AND be baptized.

It's like the picture in Exodus... applying the blood of the Passover Lamb saved God's people from His judgment. Passing through the Red Sea (a picture of baptism) saved them from the life they were living in Egypt.

More importantly it brought them out of Egypt and into the good land... so that God could have a dwelling place with His people on the earth. For His house to be built, God's people had to enter and possess the land.

Such a full salvation not only benefits God's people - It benefits Him too!

So we help bring people into Christ... not just so they don't perish... but also so that God may have what He desires... a Body, a Bride, and a dwelling place with man.

As the hymn says "Praise God for full salvation!"

Hallelujah!!!!!

Dan


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Date: Fri, 15 Jun 2001 16:21:14 -0400 From: The Dwelling Place

Subject: Re: [New Testament Church Proliferation] NT patterns versus contemporary church model

Hi Greg and everyone!

Just a few comments. I understand fully where Greg is coming from.

I want to make a few comments.

1. Lets stop calling church in the house "house church" as if it is something from the outer limits, from way out there somewhere. This term is nowhere found in scripture. Scripture just says, "the church that met in the house of...". Let's go back to that term. a. It will remove offense from traditional churches and leaders b. It will reflect a proper ecclessiology, which reveals the people are the church and not the building in which it meets. c. It will enable the Kingdom of God to be advanced into the cities and towns and villages with no overhead for buildings, and all the maintenance a contemporary church has from furniture, programs, professional clergy, etc.

2. Normative "biblical patterns" do not exist, other than the fact that people met in homes. The patterns need to focus not on locality of the church body, but the body ministry itself. The EKKLESIA was known for being a place which defined their activity. They assembled together for a purpose. We need to recover the purpose of the people of God assembling together. I believe they assembled for: a. praise (corporate worship and praise and the Lord's table) b. prayer (fervent prayer in unison) c. personal ministry (mercy ministries, healing, deliverance) d. refreshments (food, fun, and fellowship) e. reports (testimonies, reports of "divine appointments") f. reading (studying the New Testament by reading and interacting with the text corporately) The bottom line of biblical patterns was that the body of Christ assembled to mutually edify one another through these activities.

3. Biblical patterns do NOT exclude God working in the traditional church. Body life can and does transpire in these churches. The Lord showed me how during our house church conference which was in a traditional church setting (sanctuary with rows of chairs, etc.,). During the service at night we conducted worship as we do in our own church in the house. We used CD's and projected the lyrics on a screen. The Spirit of the Lord fell in the room. During the worship I began to get some pains in my lower back, and in my lower left leg. I sensed the Lord wanted to heal people. When the worship was over, I got up and took the mike and moved around and asked if there were people hurting in their lower back and spine and lower left leg. Many, many people raised their hands. I had received this word of knowledge, and called them out, but how do you have body ministry in this setting? I asked the Lord what to do. He said release the people around these people needing prayer to gather around them where they are and anoint them with oil and pray for their healing. I did that, and IMMEDIATELY people were healed and there was body ministry in the midst of a traditional service! This was humbling to me, as I realized that if leadership is submitted to the Lordship of Jesus, then the Spirit will show up in the setting, no matter whether it is a home or a church building, and minister to people.

4. Recognize that culture and context influence church/body life expression. Where we live and our societal context will influence and often determine how we meet. Be open for all kinds of gatherings in all kinds of places. Wherever two are gathered He, Our Lord Jesus, is in the midst! And that's church!

5. Recognize that the pattern of leadership must become servant oriented rather than lording it over people. Those who are leaders must serve unto death (to self) those to whom they are called, to equip, and to release them in their calling and ministry. Leaders are there to enable others to fulfill their vision, not the other way around.

6. Recognize that the body of Christ is "flat lined" with everyone equal unto one another, and Christ Jesus is the head. All leadership gifts and ministries are FUNCTIONAL roles rather than offices, and are for the maturing of the body of Christ, and for the equipping and releasing of ministry unto Christ, to one another, and to a hurting world.

Blessings,

Sam Buick

The Dwelling Place

- -- The Dwelling Place <http://thedwellingplace.faithweb.com/>

"If you build it He will come" If we revolutionize the church and follow the New Testament pattern, then we will see: Every person a worshipper. Every person discipled, equipped and released in their calling and gifting. Every person a minister. Every home a house church. Every house church pregnant and expectant to birth another church in God's timing. Every house church expanding through multiplication of house churches throughout our cities pushing back the kingdom of darkness and expanding the Kingdom of God.

Like in the Book of Acts, the church met from house to house. Do it again Lord! Restore apostolic vision! Restore apostolic passion! Restore apostolic power! Restore the New Testament church!

From: greg <philtheluv*yahoo.com> Reply-To: ntchurch planter Date: Wed, 13 Jun 2001 10:20:49 -0700 (PDT) To: ntchurch planter Subject: Re: House Church Introduction (was Quit My Job? - WAS: [New Testament Church Proliferation] Fishing?)

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 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.

Again ... not anti-house church in the least, but always leery of "biblical" imperatives derived from narratives.

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.

IMO.


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Date: Fri, 15 Jun 2001 16:41:26 -0400 From: Mark Ware

Subject: [New Testament Church Proliferation] Pastors?

RE: 1 Tim 2: 1-15

I am wondering how the house church movement has positioned husband and wives who are either heading up a home church or have some area/regional responsibilities. Are the couples "pastors" or "co-pastors" or does the home church really not endorse the ordination/placing of women in positions of authority over men? Just wonder what your (house church) perspectives may be.

Mark


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Date: Fri, 15 Jun 2001 18:00:37 -0400 From: (jferris)

Subject: Re: [New Testament Church Proliferation] Pastors?

RE: 1 Tim 2: 1-15

I am wondering how the house church movement has positioned husband and wives who are either heading up a home church or have some area/regional responsibilities. Are the couples "pastors" or "co-pastors" or does the home church really not endorse the ordination/placing of women in positions of authority over men? Just wonder what your (house church) perspectives may be.

Mark

Dear Mark,

If it's life that Jesus came to bring us, then we need to see how God does life. As it happens, he already made a first creation in order to reveal otherwise invisible truth about himself. If we don't find Him there, then we are without excuse.

The real question is not, How do we do "Church", the real question is, How does God do life? In the old creation it is really difficult not to notice that God put's the solitary in families, and there, nurtures them by women as much as or more than by men. The problem with taking the Shepherd/sheep word picture too far is that Shepherds do not expect their sheep to grow up to be shepherds. While in Christ we may have ten thousand external authorities, its parents, those who are able to plant the incorruptible seed of Christ in your heart, that are really needed. Parents expect their children to grow up, and even go beyond where they are. That is the heart of Jesus, "...and you will do greater things than I, because I go to be with my Father."

In Him, the place of women becomes much stronger then it was in the old creation, because, in Him, everything we used to be has been done away, male, female, Jew, Gentile, slave, free.

The best book I've seen on the subject is "WOMEN, GOD'S PLAN NOT MAN'S TRADITION" by Joanne Krupp. I think the book can be ordered at: kruppnj*open.org

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free, stand fast therefore, and do not return again to a yoke of bondage. I hope I don't need to add, that women walking according to the pattern of male role models is only exchanging one kind of bondage for another.

Jay

One thing that really needs to change is for pastors to stop looking down to find elders, and start looking up. All elders are admonished to be shepherds, but not all shepherds are elders.


End of New Testament Church Proliferation Digest V1 #12




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