New Testament Church Proliferation Digest

 

Spreading the Gospel via House Churches

 


New Testament Church Proliferation Digest Tuesday, January 29 2002 Vol 02 : 025
Re: [NTCP] 1 million - our passion - apology to John and list and comments
Re: [NTCP] Confronting the Evidence
[NTCP] Passion
Re: [NTCP] Confronting the Evidence
Re: [NTCP] 1 million - our passion - apology to John and list and comments
Re: [NTCP] cell groups
Re: [NTCP] 1 million house churches in the US
Re: [NTCP] Passion
Re: [NTCP] 1 million - our passion
Re: [NTCP] 1 million - our passion, etc
Re: [NTCP] 1 million house churches in the US
Re: [NTCP] 1 million - our passion, etc
Re: [NTCP] 1 million house churches in the US
Re: [NTCP] cell groups
RE: [NTCP] "We LOVE visitors!"
Re: [NTCP] 1 million house churches in the US
Re: [NTCP] cell groups

Date: Mon, 28 Jan 2002 07:19:35 -0500
From: "Samuel Buick"
Subject: Re: [NTCP] 1 million - our passion - apology to John and list and comments

Hi John:

Good subject "passion"!

>
From: DenverWH
Subject: [NTCP] 1 million - our passion Date: Sun, 27 Jan 2002
>09:23:11 EST
>
>DenverWH said:
>
>5. Finally, for my Canadian friend, Sam. You don't listen very well and you
>are incredibly irascible but you are also amazingly passionate about God's
>passion to bless all the families in your city. You even have goals in spite
>of all the abuse you have suffered from the church growth movement! May your
>passion even increase and may the Lord grant you 250 house churches in your
>city!

John, if I appeared 'irascible' I apologize for that. I get rattled when we
used a curse such as 'plague' to define the rapid (whatever that means!)
multiplication of house churches. I would prefer to not use 'curse words' to
difine the divine process of multiplication of house churches, that's all.

Also, I would think that most of us have learned lessons from the radid
production, rather than divine reproduction of house churches.

It is often a slippery slope to go from the desire of the fullness of all that
Christ is for us individually and for us corporately.

If I have misunderstood you John, I apologize, but the 'church growth lingo'
sets off a chain reaction in me of 'here we go again...numbers, stats,
projected growth, etc.'

Enough said on that. I will attempt to not be so abrasive John. Please
understand that I have not attempted to do anything other than remind myself
and others that I have no interest in 'producing' anything, and that my only
'goal' is to see Christ Jesus reproduced in people, and thus reproduce Himself
in the gatherings of people, gatherings which we define as 'ekklesia'.

>So, your thoughts on God's passion and our passion?

Passion.

I would have to define the 'passion' as a 'divine obsession', a love that is
placed in us as we live a live of adoration at the feet of Jesus. Jesus is the
personification or the incarnation of the Kingdom of God, which was the vision
placed in Abraham to bless the families of the earth.

The one problem Israel had with the Kingdom of God coming in fulness, was that
their 'passion' reduced the Kingdom of God to a 'nationalist' economy. They
reduced it to their own kind.

Jesus Himself felt that frustration with the aposles. They kept on harping
(oops Irish expression, "hobby horse")about when the independence of the state
of Israel would be restored. They missed it too, even after such a time of
seasoning at the feet of the Master. It is of little wonder that we too in the
Church at large even in our day, we have reduced our passion for the fullness
of God's Kingdom coming to the families in the earth to those which are closest
in kind to our own selves. Thus we have used national or ethnic distinctions
in our reducing what God passionately wants to see expressed. God is
passionate about the Son and thus He is passionate about the Kingdom coming in
fulness in the earth.

This passion is God breathed in us! We cannot manufacture in and of ourselves.
John, you rightly placed that passion in God coming and giving that blessing
to Abraham. Unfortunately for many, and that includes us, our capacity for
fulness is limited, very limited. Perhaps this is why in God's own timing and
provision for us, He chose these recent days to us a man like Wilkinson to
awaken us to the prayer of Jabez. We need our capacity/territory enlarged to
hold the passion that God has! If we are limited in any way, either through
our natural minds and understanding, or faith to believe for more of God,
especially with the passion that you (I include all of us here) have John, for
a million house churches in the US, then we need a 'divine enlargement' of
vision and capacity, for God's passion is vast and great! I want to see that
fulness come in me and for all that desire to see the Kingdom come in greater
fulness!

Our passion must be relational. God comes to us seeking relationship, seeking
what John has clearly stated 'family' and community. He desires it with the
nations (ethnoi) of the earth. He has made provision of all the criteria to be
met through the Son, again as John pointed out. Let us not forsake divine
relationship building and intimacy for the sake of numbers. But let us labour
in obedience to what the Lord is building, and come alongside and lay our hands
as to how He directs, and let us let Him build the house as He sees fit, and
let us go ever deeper in intimacy with Him and with one another.

The world recognizes genuine passion. As people energized by the Spirit of
life, the very breath of God, we should be 'obsessed' with His passion, His
heartbeat! It should consume us. People in the world see that passion. People
in my workplace see that I am genuinely passionate about real and genuine
relationship. I do not have an agenda for relationship. Many have been
exposed to all kinds of 'friendship evangelism' which was 'fake' and reduced
them to 'numbers' or 'notches' on the proverbial 'Gospel six-gun' of the local
zealous evangelist! They see a difference in me. I have no agenda but to
glorify God. I come along to bless people in simple tangible ways in which the
realness of my own life is read like a book. It is purposed that way. I too
was a 'victim' of the 'six-gun' approach! When I said 'Yes!' to the Christ and
the Gospel, the person who shared Him with me abandoned me for the next 'soul
winning project'. Once I was perceived to be in the Kingdom, I was abandoned!
This is all the more reason we in the house church movement need to build
relationally and at the speed of the Holy Spirit. It may be rapid or less
rapid than we desire, but in this day, the Lord is restoring to Himself many
prodigals (like me) who already have the word buried deep within them, but
repressed, and others who know nothing of Him. For some it will be a more fluid
and rapid transition into relational ekklesia, and for other less so, for a
foundation will need to be laid.

Passion should not be for passion's sake! Our passion should be birthed and
should be nurtured and fed by the Spirit. If we are simply passionate about
passionate and bear no fruit we need to examine our hearts as to what we are
about. Just Friday night, one brother spoke up and said, "I have no passion
for the lost." And then he went on to describe how much he loved going door to
door! Some of us are still blinking and scratching our heads over that one!
B.... was passionate about going door to door, but not passionate about the
people themselves! Could it be that many are passionate about the 'work' God
has for us, and are less passionate about our relationship with Him and with
other people? Tough questions.

Well John, thanks of openning up an interesting topic. Again, I apologize to
you and any on the list whom I may have offended.

Blessings,

Sam


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


Date: Mon, 28 Jan 2002 07:29:37 -0800
From: jferris
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Confronting the Evidence

Deborah wrote:

>I was too pushy and snippy in my last few posts and ask your forgiveness,
>please.

You are certainly forgiven.

>>If you will send me the date of your evidentiary email, I could give it one
>>more try.... I will therefore try to keep it brief so as not to further
>>grieve the Spirit, to say nothing of the spirits of others on this list.

>First I want to know of your genuine interest. If you think the whole
>endeavor would really grieve God's Spirit (though I don't), it would not be
>productive to continue.

I don't think that it is "the whole endeavor" that is the problem. It is the
temptation to focus on the style on someone who sees things differenty, rather
than the content they have presented. If we could avoid the temptation to be
demeaning or patronizing, there might be some value in the discussion. I don't
think it requires a complete discussion of every verse, however, but an
exploration in the Spirit of what the Spirit is saying to us through the Word
of God in our own day. If my understanding that the Sword of the Spirit which
is the word of God is living and active, rather than dead and dormant, is going
to be a problem, then perhaps I'm not one of those "some"s that you just
mentioned in your last paragraph to Mike:

"Iknow I'm not for everyone, but I'm for *some* of you out there. And here."

>And furthermore it would violate your conscience. You would just shoot back
>some quips to be done with it. And I would be responsible before God for
>pressuring you into sin. I want you to honestly see the value in the
>discussion I propose so that it will be worthwhile for all involved.
>
Like you Michael, I have no desire to be a "pin boy", setting things up only to
be shot down. That is the kind of discussion that spoils those who listen , and
builds iron bars into the hearts and spirits of those who see it differently.

I'm not a matador. I'm not interested in an audience, but a heritage.

Why don't you send me the New Testament passage that represents your strongest
case for building type, and liturgy, and let's see if we can come to some kind
of an agreement as to what that might mean in this time and place. I'm guessing
that whatever we might have to say about that verse, would probably have
application to other passages of a similar nature.

Yours in Christ,

Jay


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Date: Mon, 28 Jan 2002 07:36:32 -0800
From: jferris
Subject: [NTCP] Passion

Samuel Buick wrote:

>Hi John:
>
>Good subject "passion"!

Dear Sam,

I don't think it would be too big a stretch to paraphrase Isaiah 9:7: "The zeal(passion) of the LORD of hosts will perform this."

We need that same passion, because it is His passion, and without it, nothing
is going to happen that is worth anything.

Yours in Christ,

Jay


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


Date: Mon, 28 Jan 2002 08:39:22 -0500
From: "Michael Gastin"
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Confronting the Evidence

- ----- Original Message -----
From: "Deborah" To: Sent: Monday, January 28,
2002 2:49 AM
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Confronting the Evidence
>Mike Gastin wrote to/of me:

>IMPLIED MESSAGE: "It's okay to be baselessly dogmatic
(pontification),
>conveniently or absent-mindedly elusive (rabbit trails), and ignore the plain
>sense of certain biblical texts; to wrench from them what one wants them to
>say (allegorical smoke and mirrors). Because Jesus was like
that."

>IMPLIED MESSAGE: "Michael Millier is like the religious leaders of Jesus' day
>and therefore Jay, like Jesus, is justified in employing
evasive
>maneuvers."

>IMPLIED MESSAGE: "It's okay for you or others to be fuzzy about what you/they
>believe, ... so long as your/their heart(s) is in the right
place."

>IMPLIED MESSAGE: "Michael Millier is like a Pharisee, not Jesus, in that he
>demands scriptural perfection."

>IMPLIED MESSAGE: "Michael MIllier is not wise because he focuses on dissecting
>every verse of every passage of every page of Scripture and
does
>not focus on the heart."

>IMPLIED MESSAGE: "Michael Millier is not wise because he challenged
a
>member of this list (and others) who assigned names such as "the spirit of
>religion" etc. to some current church practices" (see posts Jan. 18 and 22 of
>the "Cell Groups" thread).

>IMPLIED MESSAGE: "It is wiser to stay general with our understanding of evil
>and our Christian responsibility to withstand it, than to try to pin-point
>particular abuses because we run the risk of becoming
nit-picky."

>--MICHAEL Jerusalem

Golly, Michael. You sure have read A LOT into my brief comments. I thought I
had simply said what I said, not all this that you accuse me of implying.

I meant to imply nothing. I meant my original comments to stand on their own.

I will refrain from making comments regarding you and your posts and I will not comment directly to you in the future.

I think what I am saying here is clear enough and that no discernment should be necessary.

Mike Gastin


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


Date: Mon, 28 Jan 2002 08:58:58 EST
From: DenverWH
Subject: Re: [NTCP] 1 million - our passion - apology to John and list and comments

Hi Sam,

Apology accepted. In fact, I worried all day after I wrote that email that I
had been too critical of you in this "public" place. Thank you for your
gracious response!

Church growth lingo. My favorite quote from church history is from Martin
Luther: "The church is like a drunken horseman. Prop him up on one side and
he falls off on the other." That is, we have had the tendency to overreact to
some abuse and go to the opposite extreme. I agree with you about the abuses
of the "church growth movement" but I'm not ready to throw out things like goal
setting (obviously you are not either).

Divine vs human. Seems to me that we in the West often fall into an
"either/or" mentality. Either God does "it" or we do "it". (Whether the "it"
is sanctification or church growth.) The Hebraic mentality seems to be more
"both/and". Remember Tevia(?) in Fiddler on the Roof? "On the one hand....on
the other hand" (Eugene Peterson also has some great insights into this in
"The Contemplative Pastor".)

So, regarding "one million house churches" (I want to keep focused here), I
believe it is a "both/and". We can't "make it happen" (church growth fallacy)
but we can ask for it and participate with God in the process.

Task vs relationship. Another place where the American church has failed
miserably. We often have been so focused on the "task" of evangelism that
people have become, as you said, merely "notches" and "numbers". However,
let's not fall off the other side of the horse. It's about task and
relationship. Let's be passionate about both. I love your term - "divine
obsession"!

So, Sam, you and me together thinking, talking, praying and participating with
God in order to be a channel of God's blessing for all the families in Canada
and the U.S. and beyong. One million house churches in the US (how many would
you like in Canada?) to start with.

John

Hi Sam,

Apology accepted. In fact, I worried all day after I wrote that email that I
had been too critical of you in this "public" place. Thank you for your
gracious response!

Church growth lingo. My favorite quote from church history is from Martin
Luther: "The church is like a drunken horseman. Prop him up on one side and
he falls off on the other." That is, we have had the tendency to overreact to
some abuse and go to the opposite extreme. I agree with you about the abuses
of the "church growth movement" but I'm not ready to throw out things like goal
setting (obviously you are not either).

Divine vs human. Seems to me that we in the West often fall into an
"either/or" mentality. Either God does "it" or we do "it". (Whether the "it"
is sanctification or church growth.) The Hebraic mentality seems to be more
"both/and". Remember Tevia(?) in Fiddler on the Roof? "On the one hand....on
the other hand" (Eugene Peterson also has some great insights into this in
"The Contemplative Pastor".)

So, regarding "one million house churches" (I want to keep focused here), I
believe it is a "both/and". We can't "make it happen" (church growth fallacy)
but we can ask for it and participate with God in the process.

Task vs relationship. Another place where the American church has failed
miserably. We often have been so focused on the "task" of evangelism that
people have become, as you said, merely "notches" and "numbers". However,
let's not fall off the other side of the horse. It's about task and
relationship. Let's be passionate about both. I love your term - "divine
obsession"!

So, Sam, you and me together thinking, talking, praying and participating with
God in order to be a channel of God's blessing for all the families in Canada
and the U.S. and beyong. One million house churches in the US (how many would
you like in Canada?) to start with.

John


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


Date: 28 Jan 2002 09:25:16 -0500
From: Mike Sangrey
Subject: Re: [NTCP] cell groups

On Mon, 2002-01-28 at 00:12, David Anderson wrote:
>
>Let's say you overheard me exhort my child: "Now listen, a son should not sass
>his Dad." Surely you would not presume that I only had one son. But that's
>what you seem to be doing in these two instances.
>

If I may, David, a slightly better example would be "Now listen, the son should not sass the Dad." The `the' in each case does not in and of itself imply th eexistence of only one object. Certainly a son has only one dad (well, I guess that's not even all together true!) but a particular dad may have more than one son. We know those things from information outside of the immediate text.
`The' does not mean `one and only'.

I'm not disagreeing with you, David. Just trying to cite a better example so
your point stands better.

Mike Sangrey msangrey(--AT--)BlueFeltHat.org Landisburg, Pa.

"The first one last wins." "A net of highly cohesive details reveals the
truth."


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


Date: Mon, 28 Jan 2002 07:55:45 -0800
From: (Nate Krupp)
Subject: Re: [NTCP] 1 million house churches in the US

Hi, John - I agree - fulfill the Great Commission very simply and quickly
around the world by planting multiplying networks of house churches. GOD bless
you - greetings to your dear wife - NK

Nate and Joanne Krupp, 2121 Barnes Avenue SE, Salem, OR 97306, USA Telephone
503/585-4054, Fax 503/375-8401 Check our web page at
http://www.open.org/kruppnj "But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness,
and all these other things shall be added to you." - Matthew 6:33


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


Date: Mon, 28 Jan 2002 11:33:35 -0500
From: "Samuel Buick"
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Passion

Hi Jay:

Yes, well said. I love the whole idea of passion, a 'divine obsession' with
the adoration of the One who has given all that I might become like Him!
Amazing! Simply amazing the distance that He will go in giving us a passion for Him and His holiness and a passion to not let go until He blesses what He
deposits in us!

I believe that passion cannot be divorced from our adoration of Him. He places
His passion in us, and He perfects it in conforming us into His image, and in
so doing allows His River of life to flow from Himself, through us and touching others! That passion can become contagious! I compells us and drives us into the holy place all the more!

My only concern is that in our passion, if we are not 'bridled' by the Holy
Spirit, we will depend on our own resources for the task before us! It is such
a fine line, and it can be so easily blurred. We can want something so
passionately, that at times it is hard to distinguish between the work of the
Spirit in us, and our own flesh. I am more than ready and able to jump into
the fray of the task ahead, but I want THE TASK to flow FROM the INTIMATE
relationship and guided by the Spirit. I don't want to pre-empt the Spirit. I
want to be Spirit led.

Blessings,
Sam


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


Date: Mon, 28 Jan 2002 12:14:54 -0600
From: "J. Guy Muse"
Subject: Re: [NTCP] 1
million - our passion

John wrote:

>So, your thoughts on God's passion and our passion?

One quote (have never known the author of the quote) that has helped me through the years is:

"Pray as if everything depended upon God; Work as if everything depended upon
man."

My wife and I are members of a church planting team here in Guayaquil, Ecuador.
Prayer is our number one strategy for reaching the Guayaquil Mestizos, our
assigned people group to Christ.

There is no doubt in my mind that everything depends on Him. He is moved to
act through the prayers of His people. We have watched Him plant 89 house
churches in the past 18 months and are acutely aware that nothing would have
taken place apart from prayer and His working to build His church.

Our passion comes from wanting to colaborate with Him in what we see our Lord
doing. We pray, watch, wait, and when we see Him moving, we do our best to get
in line with what He is doing. An old German proverb says, "God gives the
squirrel a nut, but does not crack it for him." God opens doors, but we have
to walk through them.

Our short-term human goal is 100 house churches. I believe God's goal is that
He wants "all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth..." If
this is what Christ desires, then 1- million house churches is not out of line
or egotistical. The question remains, are we willing to pay the price in
prayer and sacrifice/work that one- million new churches will require?

An interesting question for me is, what would have to happen in order for us to
see one-million new house churches?

Guy Muse

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
J. Guy & Linda Muse
IMB-SBC Missionaries Casilla 09-01-3236 Guayaquil, ECUADOR

tlf: (direct dial from USA) 011-593-4-238-2386 fax: (efax number in USA)
1-509-275-0721

"God's plan in these last days is revival in His worldwide church and through
the revived church the reaping of a final great harvest of souls." --N. Grubb

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


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


Date: Mon, 28 Jan 2002 13:36:14 -0500
From: David Anderson
Subject: Re: [NTCP] 1 million - our passion, etc

>Church growth lingo. My favorite quote from church history is from Martin
>Luther: "The church is like a drunken horseman. Prop him up on one side and
>he falls off on the other." That is, we have had the tendency to overreact to
>some abuse and go to the opposite extreme. I agree with you about the abuses
>of the "church growth movement" but I'm not ready to throw out things like
>goal setting (obviously you are not either).

Hi all,

I appreciate that quote very much, John. Do you know its address?

Another saying attributed to Luther is about fighting battles that need to be
fought, that is, issues that are confronting the church at a particular time.

I have his works but can't find these references.

Much thanks in advance.

David Anderson


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Date: Mon, 28 Jan 2002 21:34:07
From: "David Jaggernauth"
Subject: Re: [NTCP] 1
million house churches in the US

>DenverWH wrote:
>
>>To say it another way, a massive and spontaneous expansion (thank you, Roland
>>Allen) of organic NT churches. Specifically, I'm praying for 1 million new
>>house churches in the US in this decade.
>>
>>Any body want to talk about that?

Jay said:>
>Seems like the new creation is a lot like the old one, where growth is
>concerned. (Romans 1:20: "For the invisible things of him from the creation of
>the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even
>his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:")We might be
>more fruitful by reproduction than mass production. The quality of the fruit
>might even be better.
I have some comments i'd like to make but first I would like to give you all an
update on our latest meeting.

The last family we started with that had been bound for years. The father in
the home has been in an almost suicidal depression for very many years. In our
last meeting on saturday he broke out in laughter (not the spooky kind, the
normal healthy kind) and couldnt stop. he was rocking back and forth and
stomping his feet. He said he hadnt laughed like that for years. They have
really opened up to us and embraced us, something they have never done with
anyone else before.

The girls have been smiling and talking freely with us (except for the
oldest)and the both parents have begun dealing with issues they have kept
secret for a long time.

I said in a previous post that I believe their deliverance will be a long slow
process ( you cannot remove years of garbage overnight ). We are beginning to
see a breakthrough in their lives, it has started.

I am at this moment trying to reconcile quantity vs quality. I have a few
questions for all those (assistant) coaches out there.

I have a team of five people that work together with me, I have three meetings
established now and we are about to start 4 more possible six.

Our meetings are meant to be evangelistic, we rely on the family to invite
friends and neighbours, we also go into the community house to house to see how
we can meet the needs of the people.

My problem at the moment is that so far i seem to be the only one capable of
ministering the word in a way that will not only teach but also be
evangelistic. the others are capable of ministering as well but I always seem
to have to intercede at times. We work well as a team together though.

We cannot all run each meeting together, so I have decided that we will split
up into pairs (I always prefer ministry to be done by a pair rather than a
sinsle person, we can watch over each other).

Should I just release the others to take charge of the new meetings or should I
work with them in each meeting for a while until it is properly established ??
I dont want to be doing everything myself I want others to explore and
discover, and learn the way I did, one on one with God. They are already well
taught in the word and competent in interpretation. However some may need a bit
more experience in actual ministry.

My currrent plan has been to disciple believers (new or old) and bring them to
a place where they can have their own House meeting. This is a very slow
process (unless God sends me people already trained and ready, highly unlikely)

I want to see many people come to the Lord and feel that the more meetings we
have established, the more people we can reach.

With the family above that I mentioned, every person in the group has been able
to minister to them and this has brought a lot of light into the situation.

I do not want to spread myself too thin because my ministry begins with my own
family and I do not want to neglect this area. The needs out there is great but
the labourers are truly few. I am trying to steal a few sheep from my old
Church who are very well trained but most of them are not ready to hear what we
are doing.

I am all for quantity but I remember Jesus saying, "Enter ye in at the strait
gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction,
and many there be which go in there at: Because strait is the gate, and narrow
is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." matthew
7:13,14

I personally believe that when Jesus comes its not a whole big bunch of us that
will be going with Him. In fact there are some things that I see in scripture
which are pretty scary and largely ignored by the Church. The institutional
church uses the argument that God will bring a massive revival to usher in his
second coming. This teaching has brought about the doctrine that there will be
a massive transfer of wealth from the heathen to the Church to fund this
growth(to build big Churches). Hence the prosperity gospel which is really
contrary to the life exhibited by Paul and the others(see 1 Tim. 6:3-9) They
also believe that the Church will have all this wealth and believers will drive
mercedes benzes and BMWs etc. and the world which will be in financial
difficulty will look on in amazement.

My question here is this, these same people that believe this idea, also
believe that it is prophecied in the Bible that there will be a great economic
crash and money will be worthless. If there is going to be an economic crash,
then why will God transfer to the Church money which will have no value???

I believe the true Church will be those that have learned through intimate
relationship with God, how to live by faith, day by day, believing God for
every next day, that He will meet every need.

Jesus said, when the son of man comes, will He find faith on the earth??

Those who have stored up much treasure and have learned to trust in such
treasure will not have developed the tools to survive during the said economic
fall. David Jaggernauth Trinidad


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Date: Mon, 28 Jan 2002 20:06:51 EST
From: DenverWH
Subject: Re: [NTCP] 1
million - our passion, etc

David,

I have to admit that I don't have the address for that quote. I heard it years
ago and it made sense to me. Maybe someone else will have the reference.
Frankly, if Martin didn't say it, he should have. :-)

John


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Date: Mon, 28 Jan 2002 22:36:37 -0600
From: "J. Guy Muse"
Subject: Re: [NTCP] 1
million house churches in the US

David Jaggernauth wrote:

>Should I just release the others to take charge of the new meetings or should
>I work with them in each meeting for a while until it is properly established
>?? I dont want to be doing everything myself I want others to explore and
>discover, and learn the way I did, one on one with God.

David, the way we handle this question here in Guayaquil is to set aside
another day for training of those who will be working with the new groups. In
this once-a-week training time we model for the servant-leaders how to minister
to one another, teach, disciple, lead in discussion, etc. In other words we
practice in a safe environment what to do out in the real world.

We feel the best way to start a church is to go out and start a church.
Therefore we tell those whom we are training that they have a maximum of four
weeks to begin meeting with a group of non-believers. If they haven't started
in at least four weeks, they aren't likely to begin at all (at least that has
been our experience to date!)

>My currrent plan has been to disciple believers (new or old) and bring them to
>a place where they can have their own House meeting. This is a very slow
>process (unless God sends me people already trained and ready, highly
>unlikely)

This is also the way we work. We (the church planting team) do not actually
begin any of the house churches. We train/disciple lay believers to lead their
own house church meetings from the very beginning.

We constantly pray the Lord of the Harvest to send us servant- leaders who are
willing to go out into the fields of harvest and plant NT churches. The
amazing thing is that God has seemed so willing and open to answer this prayer.
At the moment we are training some 50+ men and women to start house churches.
All have come to us in direct answer to prayer seeking to be trained.

>I want to see many people come to the Lord and feel that the more meetings we
>have established, the more people we can reach.

I agree with you on this one as well. The more house churches that can be
planted, the more people will be reached with the Gospel.

>I do not want to spread myself too thin because my ministry begins with my own
>family and I do not want to neglect this area. The needs out there is great
>but the labourers are truly few. I am trying to steal a few sheep from my old
>Church who are very well trained but most of them are not ready to hear what
>we are doing.

Our primary source of house church leaders come out of the "old churches". Once
they understand that they too are ministers and are called to "make disciples
of all the nations..." many respond positively and have of their own
conviction left (or are in the process of slowly leaving) their traditional
churches. It is not our intent to pull anyone out of their home church, but
once they taste relational Christianity and begin to see the lost come to the
Savior, they begin to give more and more time to the new church plant and find
that they have less and less time to give to their home church. After a time
they themselves come to the realization that the church they are planting is
where they need to be giving their time and energy.

Hope some of this helps.

Guy Muse

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
J. Guy & Linda Muse
IMB-SBC Missionaries Casilla 09-01-3236 Guayaquil, ECUADOR

tlf: (direct dial from USA) 011-593-4-238-2386 fax: (efax number in USA)
1-509-275-0721 email: jmuse(--AT--)gu.pro.ec

"God's plan in these last days is revival in His worldwide church and through
the revived church the reaping of a final great harvest of souls." --N. Grubb

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


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


Date: Tue, 29 Jan 2002 10:58:25 +0200
From: "Deborah"
Subject: Re: [NTCP] cell groups

David A and Link H have both provided some retort on my understanding of TON
EPISKOPON "THE overseer". All I can say is your objections have merit. I am
not set in stone on the issue. But, going back to David's illustration of
speaking to his son: what if you said, "Listen *THE* son must not sass his
dad"? Wouldn't that provoke a question from your boy? Wouldn't he think it
was him? Or that it was someone else? But not that it was speaking about a
*plurality* of sons? Perhaps it could be argued as an ideal; perhaps Paul
meant THE overseer (ie., each person who enters this [... I hesitate to use the
word] "office'), with the definite article pointing to the "status" of
overseer-ship. But that seems a bit contrived as an explanation to me.

You're of course right (David) with the implied answer to your question-- there
are no *biblical* examples of single-bishop fellowships. And that means
something. But Ignatius (who was likely martyred c. 115 A.D.) comes onto the
scene awfully early-- during the Apostlocic period-- with a single bishop
scheme (TO THE EPHSESIANS ii-vi; TO THE MAGNESIANS vi-vii; TO THE TRALLIANS
ii-iii; TO THE PHILADELPHIANS iii, vii; TO THE SMYRNEAEANS viii), and Justin
Martyr (martyred c. 165 A.D.) wrote of "THE *president* of the brethren"
(sorry, I'm working off a translation and don't know the Greek word Justin
used) in his first APOLOGIA (lxv-lxvii, emphasis mine). If this was an
objectional practice back then, it just strikes me as odd that no one wrote a
treatise such as AGAINST THE HERETICAL PRACTICE OF MONEPISCOPACY. But no one
did. No allusions are made to such a work in other Church writings, and not a
peep is made against the practice in any of the Apostolic Fathers/Ante-Nicene
writings, where you might expect the Church to keep more of its pristine
flavor. I know this is an argument from silence and therefore necessarily
cannot be conclusive, but you must agree there is a loud silence given the
furious pens of that period.

If one is predisposed on principle against a single overseer, then of course
this extra-biblical evidence will hold no sway with a person. But if you're
like me, with no firm commitment either way-- simply wanting to allow what God
Himself allows in church polity-- then I at least want to listen to the ancient
witnesses to see if they can help provide a context to illuminate the biblical
text, ... without assigning them the authority of sacred Scripture, I know. I
just wonder if Ignatius and Justin were not simply reporting on an
Apostolic/post-Apostolic Church practice that was an extension of Paul's use of
the definite article (*TON* EPISKOPON, "THE overseer") in Tim. and Tit. I just
wonder.

MICHAEL Jerusalem


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


Date: Tue, 29 Jan 2002 11:00:58 +0200
From: "Deborah"
Subject: RE: [NTCP] "We LOVE visitors!"

Vanessa asked:

>I may bve going to Galilee for a course in NGO management. Are Michael and his
>wife anywhere near that?

WOW!!! I'm about three plus hours south of the Galilee, but hey, I'm in
Jerusalem. And you GOT to come to Jerusalem! If you do, we'll put you (and
yours) up, feed you, tour you, whatever. Just come bring your "debatin' self"
on over to my house. And we'll have fun.

Shalomey Homey,

Michael

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


Date: Tue, 29 Jan 2002 04:39:43 -0800
From: jferris
Subject: Re: [NTCP] 1 million house churches in the US

David Jaggernauth wrote:

>My question here is this, these same people that believe this idea, also
>believe that it is prophecied in the Bible that there will be a great economic
>crash and money will be worthless. If there is going to be an economic crash,
>then why will God transfer to the Church money which will have no value???
>
>I believe the true Church will be those that have learned through intimate
>relationship with God, how to live by faith, day by day, believing God for
>every next day, that He will meet every need.
>
>Jesus said, when the son of man comes, will He find faith on the earth??
>
>Those who have stored up much treasure and have learned to trust in such
>treasure will not have developed the tools to survive during the said economic
>fall.

Dear David,

Of course you wrote quite a bit more than that, that also needs some kind of
response from us "assistent coaches", but This "coach" needs to give your
observations and questions some real thought, and prayer. The observation
above, however, I think perhaps I can help with right now:.

The Bible uses an economic word picture to present us with good news and bad
news. The bad news is that, in the economy of God, no man can pay his own way.
With that as a given, the Bible then presents us with three systems; justice,
injustice and grace. Grace, having been defined as "unmerited favor", the
systems can be described in those terms; injustice, unmerited penalty; and
justice, the merit system. Each of these systems has a people. The people of
justice are the Jews; the people of injustice are the Gentiles; and the people
of grace are the Christians. Each of these systems and peoples has a monetary
system. Under the law it was gold and silver by weight.

Every legitimate transaction of the old testament was done by gold and silver
by weight because they were not allowed to make graven images. Graven images
are the monetary system of the Gentiles, and the monetary history of the world
is revealed in the graven images of the Scripture. The monetary system of Grace is the Love of Christ, "We were not redeemed by corruptible things like silver or gold..."

But, not only are we redeemed by His love, but the love of Christ is the coin
of the realm in the Kingdom of God. Love is a medium of exchange. It has the
power to take things from where they are and put them where they belong and
leave the transaction debt free. Love, however, is not a unit of account,
because, "... love does not keep track of debt." And, "Yea, every pot in
Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness unto the LORD of hosts: and all they
that sacrifice shall come and take of them, and seethe therein: and in that day
there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the LORD of hosts."
Zachariah 14:21 This is to say, in the end, there will no longer be anyone in
the house of The Lord who is keeping accounts, no more Canaanites, no more
merchants.

We might also point out that the Scriptures tell us that "... God sent his son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons."1 Jesus came to the Jews still intact, but it is written of Him, "... and all my bones are out of joint:"2. Clearly this speaks of the cross. The original word in that passage, "parad" translated "out of joint" is the same word in the original of Genesis 2:10, translated "divided" or "parted". By that means the "one seed", became the many by which Jesus would respond to the question of the Greeks or Gentiles, "Sir, we would see Jesus..."3 The river came to the garden, the Jews, in tact, it was from there that it was parted. This is the parting of the cross that made Him available to the Gentiles, Havilah. 1 GAL 4:4,5, 2 PSALMS 22:14, John 12:21

The Greek word for gold is "chrusos", and Strong's suggests that it derives its
meaning from the root word "chraomai", furnish what is needed. The Greek word
for Christ is Christos, and Strong's suggests that word also derives its
meaning from "chraomai".

Jesus said as recorded in John 14:13-15, The Holy Spirit will take the things
that are mine and make them known unto you. We are the Havilah, The Holy Spirit
is the River, and Christ is the Gold. Gold deposited by the flow of water is
called "alluvial gold". This is our inheritance in Christ.

Yours in Him,

Jay


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


Date: Tue, 29 Jan 2002 04:55:13 -0800
From: jferris
Subject: Re: [NTCP] cell groups

Deborah wrote:

>David A and Link H have both provided some retort on my understanding of TON
>EPISKOPON "THE overseer". All I can say is your objections have merit. I am
>not set in stone on the issue. But, going back to David's illustration of
>speaking to his son: what if you said, "Listen *THE* son must not sass his
>dad"? Wouldn't that provoke a question from your boy? Wouldn't he think it
>was him? Or that it was someone else? But not that it was speaking about a
>*plurality* of sons? Perhaps it could be argued as an ideal; perhaps Paul
>meant THE overseer (ie., each person who enters this [... I hesitate to use
>the word] "office'), with the definite article pointing to the "status" of
>overseer-ship. But that seems a bit contrived as an explanation to me.
>You're of course right (David) with the implied answer to your
>question-- there are no *biblical* examples of single-bishop fellowships. And
>that means something. But Ignatius (who was likely martyred c. 115 A.D.)
>comes onto the scene awfully early-- during the Apostlocic period-- with a
>single bishop scheme ...

Dear Michael,

Just a couple of observations: First: all grandfathers are fathers, but not all
fathers are grandfathers. This is to say, that pastors need to look up to find
elders, not down. That's what life teaches me about the meaning of overseers.

As for Ignatius, Some twenty plus years ago now, I was confronted by a
charismatic Anglican priest with a prohibition on celebrating the Lords supper
in our house without benefit of clergy. I asked him, "What page that was on?"
(That was and remains one of my favorite questions. "leadership"'s favorite
question seems ot be, "who do you think you are?") He cited Ignatius. I
responded then as I do now, "It is too bad he didn't say it in time to get it
into The Book. As for me and my house..."

Yours in Christ,

Jay

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