New Testament Church Proliferation Digest

 

Spreading the Gospel via House Churches

 


New Testament Church Proliferation Digest Thursday, January 31 2002 Vol 02 : 028
RE: [NTCP] 5 new house churches in the your locale - response to Stephanie and JMuse
[NTCP] Re: 1 million house churches in the US
Re: [NTCP] Re: 1 million house churches - reply to Dan and David
Re: [NTCP] 1 million house churches in the US
Re: [NTCP] 5 new house churches in the your locale vs 1 million in US
Re: [NTCP] 5 new house churches in the your locale vs 1 million in US
Re: [NTCP] 5 new house churches in the your locale vs 1 million in US
Re: [NTCP] Transitioning institutional church s to house church s
Re: [NTCP] Transitioning institutional church s to house church s
[NTCP] Looking for a house church in/near Sayre, PA
Re: [NTCP] Looking for a house church in/near Sayre, PA
[NTCP] My Error
Re: [NTCP] My Error
Re: [NTCP] Transitioning institutional church to house church - response to Barry
[NTCP] admin notes

Date: Wed, 30 Jan 2002 09:47:17 -0600
From: "Tony Dale"
Subject: RE: [NTCP] 5
new house churches in the your locale - response to Stephanie and JMuse

David J and others following this thread:

So often we approach things from an either/or rather than a both/and.
Invariably the either / or approach is designed to promote what WE feel is
God's best way of doing something. There is nothing wrong with having your own
understanding of how the Lord is asking YOU to work. The problems come when we
insist that is also the best way for others. Paul, the apostle, did not even
judge his own work. That to me seems a safe approach.

So in relation to comments from David "If there is going to be massive growth
and expansion it will be something that God does. We wont be able to dictate
it, and I dont think we can force the issue through our efforts. especially if
its at the expense quality relationship."

Why would our efforts necessarily be at the expense of quality relationships.
Let's have both. It is true that "apart from me (Jesus) you can do nothing."
It is also true that in Jesus, we "labor night and day".

It is true, as Sam said below, "that we cannot afford to get caught up in
numbers", but it is also true that someone was spiritual enough on the day of
Pentecost to count how many got saved!

In Christ,

Tony

www.thekarisgroup.com


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Date: Wed, 30 Jan 2002 10:02:16 -0800
From: Dan Snyder
Subject: [NTCP] Re: 1 million house churches in the US

Amen David,

I hear you, brother. It was a big discovery for me when I realized that the
Lord only has one Body.

I like Paul's word in Eph. 4.... the building up of the Body is until we ALL
arrive. I think Paul's view really was ALL.

If we have the view that whatever the Lord gives us is for the whole Body, then
we are willing to share... not judge. This really matches the Lord's word to
Peter "I you love Me, feed My sheep." We won't even focus on things like
institutional church -house church... we'll just feed people with Christ.

I also have to amen what Stephanie shared about rapid expansion - if it's just
a mushroom, that won't meet God's goal. It'll flash and then fade. A lot of
activity but not much life. I believe that's the difference between "movements"
and God's move on the earth.

When the Lord moves through His Body - then whatever He does (whether fast or
slow) will have the life supply to sustain it all the way unto His coming...
and beyond! Hallelujah!!!

Even if our goal is "churches" instead of the Lord Himself... we may miss the
mark.

I guess that's what I meant about "perfecting". To perfect the saints is not
just to have us go out and start a "church", but to help us learn to really
experience and enjoy Christ as our daily life supply... and then for us to help
others enter into that enjoyment too.

When the Lord gains a people who really live by Him... eating Him as the bread
of life, and drinking Him as the living water - then He will have a prepared
Bride He can return for.

Your fellow partaker of Christ,

Dan


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Date: Wed, 30 Jan 2002 13:43:07 -0500
From: "Samuel Buick"
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Re: 1 million house churches - reply to Dan and David

Interesting comments.

From: Dan Snyder
>
>David writes:
>
>lost?? Or the enemy??? I dont think so, and I would have certainly resented
>anyone who told me otherwise. >>

I would say of my own experience in the institutional church , that I was
blinded to the potential in body life and expression and I was bound up in my
doctrine and theology. Everything went through my theological grid.

I did not see much beyond the four walls of our "local" church and did not get
involved with too many outside our four walls. Too much to do and don't want
the distraction was the logic used to defend our isolationism.

I think the system reinforces the system, be it the institutional church or
the house church. If we let the system (how we operate and do things) rule us
instead of ruling it, then the house church is no better than the institutional
church .

The true advantage of the house church is in the relational body life
expressing the life of Christ in a more pliable and tangible way. If we are
relational it usually means we have grasped a larger vision of what the body of
Christ is supposed to look like, or at least I hope so.

>Amen David,
>
>I hear you, brother. It was a big discovery for me when I realized that the
>Lord only has one Body.
>
>I like Paul's word in Eph. 4.... the building up of the Body is until we ALL
>arrive. I think Paul's view really was ALL.
>
>If we have the view that whatever the Lord gives us is for the whole Body,
>then we are willing to share... not judge. This really matches the Lord's word
>to Peter "I you love Me, feed My sheep." We won't even focus on things like
>institutional church -house church... we'll just feed people with Christ.

I know of FEW, very FEW within the institutional church in my locale that is
willing to share resources. If we pray, let us truly pray for the walls of
division to come down within the Body. That would at least be a good place to
start!

>I also have to amen what Stephanie shared about rapid expansion - if it's just
>a mushroom, that won't meet God's goal. It'll flash and then fade. A lot of
>activity but not much life. I believe that's the difference between
>"movements" and God's move on the earth.

I think there is nothing truly wrong with a rapid expansion, provided the
wineskin can hold and sustain what is happening, and body life and intimacy and
nuture are all in sync with the rapid growth. God can prepare His body for
that kind of growth. In fact that is what we are praying for.

However, it dawned on me that we may be need to distinguish between RAPID and
RABID growth! I am just as concerned about RABID growth!
>
>When the Lord moves through His Body - then whatever He does (whether fast or
>slow) will have the life supply to sustain it all the way unto His coming...
>and beyond! Hallelujah!!!

Amen! What God births, He sustains and nurtures! PTL!

>Even if our goal is "churches" instead of the Lord Himself... we may miss the
>mark.

This is the danger if all of a sudden we get consumed with GROWTH (ie. church
growth movement) versus MATURITY IN CHRIST!

>I guess that's what I meant about "perfecting". To perfect the saints is not
>just to have us go out and start a "church", but to help us learn to really
>experience and enjoy Christ as our daily life supply... and then for us to
>help others enter into that enjoyment too.

The bottom line is the God ordained and ordered sustained by the Spirit
reproduction of Christ in His saints! When that happens and the gathering of
the saints grow together...here we have meaningful body life and expression and
ministry.

>When the Lord gains a people who really live by Him... eating Him as the bread
>of life, and drinking Him as the living water - then He will have a prepared
>Bride He can return for.

The ULTRA meal....The BREAD OF LIFE with NEW WINE and some LIVING WATER! What a
feast to eat and drink of Christ daily and with other saints too!
>
>Your fellow partaker of Christ,
>
>Dan

Blessings Dan and David,

Sam


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

Date: Wed, 30 Jan 2002 20:34:01 +0100
From:
Subject: Re: [NTCP] 1 million house churches in the US

Guy wrote
>Anybody else struggle with these kinds of issues?

The answer is yes, we all do. There are three answers as I see it. (1) we let
them die. (2) we start building a pyramidical/hierachical structure, even
though we know that Daddy doesn't like that. Or (3) we do what the apostles did
before us. Those Churches we can relate to we do, those we can't we ask others
to care for for a bit (Timothies), or we write to if their too far away, or we
encourage them to get input from other leaders passing through, or all of the
above. try it, it works.

Blessings, Keith


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

Date: Wed, 30 Jan 2002 20:50:18 +0100
From:
Subject: Re: [NTCP] 5 new house
churches in the your locale vs 1 million in US

John Said
>Just to play with numbers for a minute, I'm thinking of 10,000 apostles
>planting and nurturing 100 churches each over this decade rather than 100
>apostles planting 10,000 each over the decade. If you think 100 churches is
>still too many to "father" properly, then pray for a few more apostles. John

I think he's right. the problem is that many are stuck in hierachical mind sets
and think that apostle=superman. Lets get this right apostle = servant of the
church. If we start there what's wrong with 100,000 apostles.

Blessings, Keith


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Date: Wed, 30 Jan 2002 18:05:26 EST
From: DenverWH
Subject: Re: [NTCP] 5 new house churches in the your locale vs 1 million in US

I think Keith is "right on" on this. Apostle servant of the church. Wolfgang
defined an apostle as "a weeping father crying out for his sons (and daughters)
to overtake him". Yes!

We are not talking of apostle superman. Or, as some authoritarian figure who
is trying to get everyone else to come "under" him. Rather, a true father in
the best sense of the word. His deepest desire is that his sons and daughters
would grow to maturity and prosper in every way.

John


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


Date: Wed, 30 Jan 2002 22:57:42 -0500
From: AOM Canada
Subject: Re: [NTCP] 5 new house churches in the your locale vs 1 million in US

Hi there:

Had coffee with Vineyard pastor friend of mine, Al Remley in Guelph. He just
transitioned his church of 330 to house church's! He got rid of the church
property and has taken a view of the city church. The offerings that come in,
10% is given to the church in the city. They pray about who to bless. Last
year they gave $50,000 to various expressions of the body in the city!

He is going to India to meet some house church planters at the end of February.
He is having Toni Dale come and do a house church conference in April.

We just talked about apostleship, about apostles be ordinary men and women with
a gift from God to weep as fathers and a desire to see Christ reproduced in
their spiritual children. Also spoke about apostolic church planter teams.

Also mentioned how the current 5 fold movement in the US is to our
understanding another form of the shepherding movement and a distraction from
the genuine thing! I agree with him. Too much money and power and control and
empire building that is not of God!

Blessings,

Sam

>
From: DenverWH Reply-To: ntcp Date: Wed, 30 Jan 2002 18:05:26 EST To: ntcp
>
Subject: Re: [NTCP] 5 new house churches in the your locale vs 1 million in US
>
>I think Keith is "right on" on this. Apostle servant of the church. Wolfgang
>defined an apostle as "a weeping father crying out for his sons (and
>daughters) to overtake him". Yes!
>
>We are not talking of apostle superman. Or, as some authoritarian figure who
>is trying to get everyone else to come "under" him. Rather, a true father in
>the best sense of the word. His deepest desire is that his sons and daughters
>would grow to maturity and prosper in every way.
>
>John


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


Date: Wed, 30 Jan 2002 23:12:40 -0500
From: AOM Canada
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Transitioning institutional church s to house church s

Hi!

Forgot to mention that another large C&MA church in Newmarket is in the midst
of transitioning. It will be a house church network of 20 odd house church's.
Also a former Vineyard, now Partners in Harvest church in Barrie is doing the
same. There will be about 25 to 30 house church's. Another one in northern
Ontario with about 20 house church's. THis is all in a matter of six weeks!
There are more happening all the time. People are astounded around here!

Blessings,

Sam


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Date: Wed, 30 Jan 2002 20:44:36 -0800
From: Barry Steinman
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Transitioning institutional church s to house church s

Sam,

I read with great interest your reports of institutional churches changing into house church networks. I was especially interested in your reports of Vineyard churches doing so.....

Your report put some questions in my mind:

1. This vineyard church: will it still have one main pastor who oversees
everything?

2. Is the structure of the relationship of the house churches to one another
like a spoked wheel, with all the spokes coming out of the central hub? IOW are they all overseen closely by the pastor.

From my history with vineyard, I have observed that they have always been
strong on *home fellowships* and have also been strong on the Pastor being the
one head of the church.

So if they are changing to a network of house churches, how does this differ
from how vineyards have been in the past.

I guess I am also hitting on the difference between cell churches and house
churches. Cell churches seem to be centrally controlled (the spoked wheel
concept) House Churches seem to be more like a vine - linked by personal
relationship not structured authority - no central authority.

Just wondering and Thanks for the reports.. Blessings

Barry


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Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2002 08:34:03 +0200
From: "Deborah"
Subject: [NTCP] Looking for a house church in/near Sayre, PA

Does *anybody* know of a good house fellowship in or around Sayre, PA? That's
right on the NY border, not far from the Elmira/Corning area. The following is
an email from a good friend. You will see the kind of person he is from his
comments. And what he is looking for. He's kind of (but not completely)
Mennonite in his outlook, and ... he has bi-polar disorder. He has been fairly
stable for a few years but really is not finding the kind of intimate
relationships he and his family of seven are looking for (need!) in the
institutional churches in his area. In fact, he has experienced a lot of
rejection for his few "episodes"-- certainly not reflective of God's
KHESED/KHARIS (covenant loyalty/grace) to us. I would appreciate any leads
anyone could send me. And I will forward them to him. Here is part of his
message to me:

>>Well Bro, thanks for answering. As for the van, are there any other
families you know returning from Israel who may need a van. Remember, they have
to be families of exceptionally practical faith.....every vehicle I have ever
owned requires exceptionally practical faith to survive all its quirks!!!!!
Seriously, it is available to anyone who may have need of it.

The last post from you I received regarding works/grace was the teaching about
the olive tree and being grafted into it. Other than that, I have not received
anything. Unless Karen deleted it by accident or the kids thought we were both
nuts and ignored it......hee hee hee....

The only thoughts I have had is that it seems the more grace oriented a church
is the more law based are relationships. I am really struggling deeply with
the whole concept of the institutional church. I have already decided that
"church membership" may be the most destructive concept to the body of Christ
evident in this generation. Though I see the Word and its encouragement to
meet with believers, I honestly do not see one passage that supports adding to
the work of Christ by joining a local organization. I was baptized into Christ
at my conversion....my identity is with Him......why do I have to add to it by
joining a local institution?
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Looking for a house church
in/near Sayre, PA

>Does *anybody* know of a good house fellowship in or around Sayre, PA? That's
>right on the NY border, not far from the Elmira/Corning area.

Hi, Try Noah & Esther Nolt 607-243-3695 Also Roman & Mary Kaufmann
607-563-9755 They are ex-Mennonite, anabaptist flavored, but are now a
mixture of many backgrounds.

I don't know of any churches that are completely tolerant of bi-polar. That's
what I was for most of my life (50 years). God in His mercy finally set me free
a year ago. In many ways it's easier to find acceptance when a person's
physically crippled than when he's emotionally crippled.

We live in Missouri and would love to have your friend (& family?) come out
here for a few days or a week. Seems that God has been giving us grace to help
people in emotional trauma come to freedom. You or he could contact us
privately if interested.

On Thu, 31 Jan 2002 08:34:03 +0200 "Deborah" writes:
>The following is an email from a good friend. You will see the kind of person
>he is from his comments. And what he is looking for. He's kind of (but not
>completely) Mennonite in his outlook, and ... he has bi-polar disorder. He
>has been fairly stable for a few years but really is not finding the kind of
>intimate relationships he and his family of seven are looking for (need!) in
>the institutional churches in his area. In fact, he has experienced a lot of
>rejection for his few "episodes"-- certainly not reflective of God's
>KHESED/KHARIS (covenant loyalty/grace) to us. I would appreciate any leads
>anyone could send me. And I will forward them to him. Here is part of his
>message to me:
>
>>>Well Bro, thanks for answering. As for the van, are there any
>other families you know returning from Israel who may need a van. Remember,
>they have to be families of exceptionally practical faith.....every vehicle I
>have ever owned requires exceptionally practical faith to survive all its
>quirks!!!!! Seriously, it is available to anyone who may have need of it.
>
>The last post from you I received regarding works/grace was the teaching about
>the olive tree and being grafted into it. Other than that, I have not
>received anything. Unless Karen deleted it by accident or the kids thought we
>were both nuts and ignored it......hee hee hee....
>
>The only thoughts I have had is that it seems the more grace oriented a church
>is the more law based are relationships. I am really struggling deeply with
>the whole concept of the institutional church. I have already decided that
>"church membership" may be the most destructive concept to the body of Christ
>evident in this generation. Though I see the Word and its encouragement to
>meet with believers, I honestly do not see one passage that supports adding to
>the work of Christ by joining a local organization. I was baptized into
>Christ at my conversion....my identity is with Him......why do I have to add
>to it by joining a local institution? Please, if possible, help me and my
>friend Steve out. Thanks.
>
>--MICHAEL
Jerusalem

Phillip & Mary Cohen

In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil:
whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his
brother. 1 John 3:10


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Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2002 08:55:16 -0500
From: "Michael Gastin"
Subject: [NTCP] My Error

Greetings Brothers & Sisters,

I would like to ask your forgiveness.

Recently there have been some emails zipping back and forth on this list that
frustrated me. I guess there is no sin in being a little frustrated at times.

Unfortunately, I did sin, though. I allowed my frustration to turn to anger and
I jumped into the fray and sent one message that was particularly mean and
unjust to our brother, Michael Miller. In so doing, I put him on the spot
publicly and he responded to that email to defend himself. After that, I
publicly said I would not communicate with him anymore.

I was wrong. I sinned and I did so against Michael Miller, you folks on this
list and the Lord.

I am sorry for my behavior and I am embarrassed. I hope that you will forgive
me. I will not behave in such a way on the list again. I value Michael's input
and I value the opportunity that this list provides all of us as we desire to
serve our Lord. I have realized that if I am having trouble with what someone
says that the issue lies more with my heart than it does the other person. I do
not need to agree with everything everyone says to be right with God, but I
need to act in love with all no matter what.

I think it is right to take a minute to thank both Michael Miller for
approaching me off list to make peace, and to thank Link Hudson for doing the
same. It is a blessing to have good brothers that will encourage and exhort me
when I am in error. God is faithful and the Body of Christ is a blessing.

Mike Gastin


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Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2002 09:36:24 EST
From: DenverWH
Subject: Re: [NTCP] My Error

Mike,

Your email brought tears to my eyes. I thought, "This is the kind of church I
want to be a part of! These are the kind of brothers/sisters I want to hang
out with! This is the kind of humble, mature leadership that the house church
movement can be built on." May your tribe increase.

You certainly have my forgiveness.

John


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Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2002 09:49:40 -0500
From: "Samuel Buick"
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Transitioning institutional church s to house church s - response to Barry

Hi Barry!

I have been blessed to see the movement of the Spirit in places like the
Vineyard which have greatly impacted my life and ministry. I loved John Wimber
and his passion for the Lord and I appreciated how the Lord used him to awaken
my own spirit to the reality of loving the Body of Christ as Jesus loves the
Body! So when I see God stirring things up I get pretty excited!

If you want to get a taste of what God is doing in the Vineyard and former
Vineyard churches see these links:

>
From: Barry Steinman Sam,
>
>I read with great interest your reports of institutional churches changing
>into house church networks. I was especially interested in your reports of
>Vineyard churches doing so.....

There are two Vineyards here in Ontario that have transitioned, one in
Newmarket and one in Guelph. Both of these pastors have also embraced the
5fold ministries, but do not see the 5 fold as Peter C. Wagner and the current
American stream do. I am personally deeply concerned with what I see being
promoted as '5 fold ministry' through Wagner and company.
>
>Your report put some questions in my mind:
>
>1. This vineyard church: will it still have one main pastor who oversees
>everything?
Since both Vineyards here in Ontario are self governing as other Vineyards, the
leadership styles and structures vary. Newmarket (NVCF) Vineyard has been a
church plant out of the Thornhill VCF (TVCF) and that pastor has strong
oversight the 3 church plants that TVCF has released in the Toronot area. The
structures are too weighty for my own personal views and too 'covering'
structured for my liking, but again this is me and that is them. When I got
together with the pastor of the NVCF and a couple from another of their church
plants, they were more than willing to be part of the whole
'covering/accountability' thing!

My own view is one that stresses relationship over covering. It is about being
a father to those who are setting out with a vision the Lord has placed in
them. As a spiritual father, I come alongside to assist and to give and to
support, and not interfere and not demand certain things. I believe fathering
means exercising influence through intimate relationship and a desire to follow
the heart of the Father as Jesus demonstrated. I must live likewise, and
continue to exhort and encourage and counsel through the means of relationship,
those whom the Lord has given me to father and care for. As a father I am
called to bring to maturity those very same church planters, so that they will
be able to stand and be able to move in their calling and destiny. When I
father them in this way, then I am fulfilling my apostolic mandate. Being
apostolic means weeping and interceding, and pouring your life for the sake of
others and the Body. Too much of what is spoken of as aspotolic today does not
have these characteristics, and that really bothers me.

The pastor from the Guelph Vineyard (GVCF) is very similar to myself. Al is
very apostolic, like a father, and has a passion for evangelism that has been
translated into both personal evangelism and using house church's as a place
that can be safe for the unreached, and a place that is best suited to
disciple, mature in Christ and bring into intimacy new believers. This is what
catapulted Al into the house church thing in the first place. The old Vineyard
'kinships' were not enough, and it was too cell oriented. He wants to see
intimacy be the foundation of the house church's that are now meeting. So much
so that he has encouraged his house church's to just meet and eat together and
truly get to know one another. He says this is really "in your face" for some
of the people and a real stretch emontionally!

Al embraced the house church because he was not satisfied with the G12 model.
He found himself working harder, not less. The house church network is really
placing the load on the people and not on Al. Al told me one of the brothers
said to him, "Hey Al, why are we paying you now?" Al just shrugged his
shoulders! I think Al sees the financial support he has from the house church
network as financial support to be about apostolic ministry. In the NT the
apostolic teams went around and ministered, and Al sees that as part of his own ministry both to the house church network and the church in the city at large.

>2. Is the structure of the relationship of the house churches to one another
>like a spoked wheel, with all the spokes coming out of the central hub? IOW
>are they all overseen closely by the pastor.

The NVCF is more like the spoked wheel idea, but that is because their own
'covering' oversight is in sharp contrast to the 'vine' analogy you use. The
pastor of NVCF is more inclined to the vine model, but by necessity he needs to give oversite in a 'covering' way to the 4 house church's in his network to
satisfy the 'covering' over him! Pretty rough on him!

In the GVCF Al is more desirous of the relational vine thing. He wants to see
people become servants to the body and to relate intimately. This is his
emphasis right now. He just wants to be involved in fathering and encouraging
and supporting and doing evangelistic outreach and networking with the city
church.

>From my history with vineyard, I have observed that they have always been
>strong on *home fellowships* and have also been strong on the Pastor being the
>one head of the church.

Yes, that has been my experience as well. I think they Vineyard really lost
something when their apostolic father, John Wimber died. But many are
realizing how important fathering is.
>
>So if they are changing to a network of house churches, how does this differ
>from how vineyards have been in the past.

These Vineyards are awakening to BOTH body life and body ministry and are
seeing the gifts operating differently than when they first understood it.

Also, many, and I mean many people within the Vineyard have come to a reality
check, that many people have begun to 'worship their worship' rather than the
true object of their worship which is the Lord! So there is a re-discovery of
sorts about worship as lifestyle and as a life of intimacy and a life of
brotherhood among the saints. All this is very good.

Also, they are seeing the distinctions between Citywide/regional church, which
is viewed as apostolic gatherings where there is large scale worship and
teaching and preaching, etc. These gatherings meet once a month for times of
celebration and apostolic and prophetic ministry. They are meant to include
other believers in the city.

>I guess I am also hitting on the difference between cell churches and house
>churches. Cell churches seem to be centrally controlled (the spoked wheel
>concept) House Churches seem to be more like a vine - linked by personal
>relationship not structured authority - no central authority.

I will take the vine-linked anyday over the spoked control happy model! :-)
>
>Just wondering and Thanks for the reports.. Blessings
>
>Barry
>

Blessings to you as well,

Sam


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Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2002 12:51:20 -0500
From: David Anderson
Subject: [NTCP] admin notes

Boo,

Couple of small items pertaining to the list operation. The basic ntcp idea is
free expression, mutual respect, and self-regulation. Check? Check.

Remember to send your messages from the same mail account that you receive them
from. Otherwise they "bounce" and have to be manually forwarded. Usually
reformatted. No attachments or html, either. Thanks.

Also, when the list traffic is high, you may want to postpone starting new
threads on other subjects. They are far less likely to receive the attention
they deserve.

The church multiplication thread, for example, is generating much response and
well it should. When things slow back down, I for one, will post on the hawks & doves debate and get back to Michael's questions, too.

Thanks.
David Anderson

New Testament Church Proliferation Digest V2 #28

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