New Testament Church Proliferation Digest

 

Spreading the Gospel via House Churches

 


New Testament Church Proliferation Digest Thursday, March 14 2002 Vol 02 : 055
Re: [NTCP] Is anybody out there?
Re: [NTCP] Is anybody out there?
[NTCP] Church - where the home is
Re: [NTCP] Is anybody out there?
[NTCP] Remembering Link Hudson
[NTCP] Remember that seed must die in order to bring harvest!
Re: [NTCP] Remembering Link Hudson
RE: [NTCP] Guayaquil House Church Article

Date: Wed, 13 Mar 2002 08:01:05 EST
From: Steffasong
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Is anybody out there?

In a message dated 03/13/2002 7:28:43 AM Eastern Standard Time,
aom_canada(--AT--)hotmail.com writes:
>Hey! Yoohoo! Anybody out there?
>
>What has happened to the list?
>
>This is too quiet! HELLO! WAKE UP OUT THERE! Come on! Hup two three...Let's
>go!
>
>The truth is out there somewhere.......
>
>Sammy
>

Have you got Jesus inside you? Then the Truth is somewhere in there then, eh?
:>)

Hi Sammy,

The Koinonianet.net list is just as quiet.

Maybe it's okay, you know? The Holy Spirit has got us all busy advancing the
Kingdom of God in our various locales!

Bless you, and have a good day walking in the Lamb!

Stephanie Bennett Creative Services & Consulting Marketing Solutions for the
21st Century


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Date: Wed, 13 Mar 2002 06:47:30 -0600
From: Phillip Cohen
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Is anybody out there?

Mmmmmmm........ who's dat bangin' on my computer screen! C'mon, lemme sleep.

On Wed, 13 Mar 2002 07:27:21 -0500 "Samuel Buick" writes:
>
>Hey! Yoohoo! Anybody out there?
>
>What has happened to the list?
>
>This is too quiet! HELLO! WAKE UP OUT THERE! Come on! Hup two three...Let's
>go!
>
>The truth is out there somewhere.......
>
>Sammy

Phillip & Mary Cohen

And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast
heard me. John 11:41


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Date: Wed, 13 Mar 2002 10:00:24 -0600
From: "J. Guy Muse"
Subject: [NTCP]
Church - where the home is

NTCPs,

Since things have been slow the past few days, I thought I'd send in to the
list the following article that was written about planting house churches here
in Guayaquil [The Commission magazine, March 2002.]


Any feedback would be most welcome, whether positive or negative. We are
definitely on a learning curve and appreciate insights from those fellow
believers who are out there walking these same paths. I have appreciated the
feedback already given by two of the members on this list, John White and Jim
Rutz. Thanks, guys!


I have taken the liberty of underlining some of the statements I think are
important things happenning. In this way hopefully the article will be made
more personal from us to you.


Guy Muse _______________________

Church - Where the Home Is

The house-church movement is gaining momentum in Guayaquil, Ecuador. Is it the
beginning of a church-planting movement?

March 2002 Story by Chris Turner Photos by James L. Yates


Cever Guerrero enthusiastically beats a cowbell with a stick, keeping perfect
rhythm with the congregation's praise song. It's a small group, but their big
sound pours out into the street. The music is heard above cars zipping by and
dogs aggressively barking at the two men strolling past, straining to look
through the door.


The cowbell is loudest of all. It punches through the noise of life and serves
as a clarion call to those running late. A father across the street opens his
door and two children rush to the church.


Across town, on nearly the opposite side of Guayaquil, Ecuador, church ends for
the evening. Fanny Mena hugs children as they leave, their tiny hands clenching
coloring papers. Teen-agers talk while sipping soft drinks and nibbling
cookies.


Several miles away, Carlos Perez, a student, greets friends as they arrive for
church to the sounds of harmonica and guitar.


None of these churches existed a year ago. Although they all meet in buildings,
none of them worship in a traditional church building and probably never will.
One church gathers in a former guinea pig farm a small narrow building with a
gravel floor. The second meets in a house that shares a common bamboo wall with
a neighbor. The other convenes in the living room of a town house.


Church in Guayaquil is not defined by a building, and the people involved are
as diverse as the churches they lead. Welders, taxi drivers, bakers, restaurant
owners, artists, fishermen, students, maids, lawyers and others are starting
churches. Church here is a group of people gathering in Jesus name, living the
New Testament.


The church in your house is an opportunity to reach every neighborhood of
Guayaquil, Perez says. It gives people accessibility to church in a
non-threatening way, and it reaches families. It has potential to see many come
to know Christ.


La Iglesia en Tu Casa, literally, The Church in Your
House, is an approach developed by a team of International Mission Board
missionaries in Guayaquil. New churches in the city now open at an average of
more than one per week.


It is a popcorn effect, says IMB missionary Manuel Sosa. We
hear each week of churches that have been started that we didn't know anything
about. We have no idea where they are popping up.


Something different


Before La Iglesia en Tu Casa was launched in July 2000, church
growth in Guayaquil had averaged one church start per year for 40 years. Sosa
and the other six missionaries on his team longed to see more people accepting
Christ and more churches started in less time. They looked for a different
approach.


We asked ourselves, How can we get more people involved? Sosa
says. We saw the youth coming all the way across town, paying their own
way, to come and work with Fanny. We said we needed to find a way to give more
lay people the opportunity to be a part of the Great Commission.


The team prayed and looked to find where God was already working. They knew
there was interest among members of several churches to be directly involved in
church planting. The team developed a training program, and it was publicized
through radio announcements. More than 30 men and women gathered for the first
meeting in July 2000. Seventy-five new churches were meeting in one year's
time, with weekly additions.


The people have grabbed the opportunity and are running with it,
says missionary Guy Muse. We had no idea what to expect, just going on
faith, and God has brought the people and given them a desire to share the
gospel with their families and friends.


La Iglesia en Tu Casa ended years of frustration for Angel and
Nancy Pincay, who host a church in their home. It liberated a pent- up desire
to start churches.


Eight years ago we were interested in doing this, but no one taught us
how, Nancy says. We were always told by our church to bring the
people there, but the problem is that it is very far, and people don't feel
like they fit in.


Angel climbs into buses early each morning for long days of selling spices
wholesale to small stores in outlying cities. Leading a house church caused him
and his family to make major adjustments in their lives. There is a
house-church related activity in their home or neighborhood every night of the
week.


The adjustment has been worth it because it has been a pleasure to serve
the Lord, he says. We started with six people and led those six to
the Lord. Ten have now been baptized and five more are ready. We also have
three other new works in the area. God is blessing the work.


Simple and biblical


If simplicity is the framework upon which La Iglesia en Tu Casa, is
hung, prayer is the foundation. The missionary team prays often for wisdom and
teaches those with whom it works that prayer and the Bible are their two
greatest resources.


We want them to know that they are a church and empowered to do the
Lord's work from the first time they meet, Sosa says. They all are
self-supporting.


Training centers and lessons the IMB team developed are keys to the rapid
growth. The customized plan alternates among 34 lessons covering salvation,
prayer, church, doctrine, stewardship and family. Leaders teach a lesson on
salvation at least once every six weeks.


We are discipling and evangelizing at the same time, says
missionary Ed Ridge. They get constant repetition and reinforcement on
the core issues.


As a course requirement, each member of the group must start a church within
the first four weeks. That way, they immediately apply what they've learned.
Missionaries are always available for guidance. After more than a year, nearly
everyone started a church within those first four weeks, and several started
more than one.


Most of the house churches are started with relationships the people
already have, says missionary Barbara Rivers. They start with their
families and their neighbors. They invite people they work with. Starting a
church in four weeks is not that difficult because they want to start churches.
They want to be involved.


Pleasant surprises


Geovany Ruiz works with both Muse and Ridge. All the missionaries stay in
constant contact with those who pass through the training center, and Ridge is
a friend and mentor to the young artist and seminary student. Ruiz was also the
cause of what Ridge thought was a great disappointment, but he was eventually
pleasantly surprised.


The church meets in a tiny room Ruiz uses for an art studio. Prostitutes wander
the street near the door, and drug deals are visible from the window. The
church members welcome both groups.


Eight people were meeting together when Ridge last attended. On this particular
night, there were six people, but none of the original eight were present.
Ridge sat through the service discouraged, but as soon as it ended, asked Ruiz
what had happened to the others. They had seemed like such a dynamic group.
They have all left to start their own churches, Ruiz excitedly told
him.


We have many cities in Ecuador that have no evangelical witness,
Ruiz says. There is a city north of here on the coast that one person in
our church went to and has started a work there. We have to go, he
says. We can't keep the gospel to ourselves.


Overcoming obstacles


Most of the house churches are frustrated by the lack of support they've
received from traditional churches who often won't recognize the groups as
churches because they don't have seminary-trained pastors. Leaders often are
discouraged from baptizing new believers and administering the Lord's Supper
because they are not ordained.


We are not telling them they need to go against tradition, Sosa
says, but we do tell them that they are free to do what they feel God is
leading them to do. We let them know that they are empowered by the Holy
Spirit, same as we are, and it is to Him they must answer.


Muse agrees, and adds, The issue is how do they feel God leading them?
What does their Bible say? We ask them these questions. We want them getting
their opinions from God, not us.


Some, like Xavier Velez Villavicencio, have the support of their church.
Villavicencio and his wife, Esplendida, are both lawyers working in municipal
government. The house church that they lead recently hosted a special program
and invited 120 professionals. Eighty attended, and the program was moved to a
local school.


This is significant because professionals here believe that religion is
God, Villavicencio says. However, they are open to the neutral
setting of a house church. They can ask questions and challenge the things they
hear.


Villavicencio says that the house church has transformed not just his and his
wife's lives but the lives of their two young children as well. Each has some
responsibility in preparing for the meetings. Villavicencio says it is the
Bible brought to life before their eyes.


This is how the first church began, he says. La Iglesia en Tu
Casa is an excellent opportunity to open the door of the gospel to people
from all sectors of the city. I believe this movement is of God. If someone
wants to know Christ, it is just down the street.


And in some cases, all they have to do is follow the sound of the cowbell.
______________________________

P.S. If you, or anybody else you know, would be interested in receiving short
stories and prayer requests from our team 1-2 times a month, please send a
blank email to the following address and you will automatically be subscribed:

GuayaquilMestizoTeam-subscribe(--AT--)yahoogroups.com

________________________________

J. Guy Linda Muse Casilla 09-01-3236 Guayaquil, ECUADOR


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Date: Wed, 13 Mar 2002 15:54:53
From: "David Jaggernauth"
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Is anybody out there?

I was wondering how long we would have been able to keep up the recent pace of
letter writing here.

I want to say thanks to Tony Dale and the others at House to House magazine for
all the material they have sent to us. It came in on Monday. This material will
be extremely helpful to us.

I am amazed at what is happening here locally. I related before how no one in
my country really knows about the House Church movement but yet we are meeting
poeople who have become fedup and frustrated by the practices and doctrines of
the Inst. Churches here (esp. full Gospel) and are returning to their homes.
One of our guys was travelling in a taxi (here its a small van that carries 12
people) and while on this trip a stranger in the taxi began talking to the
group. He was complaining about the practices of the Church and saying that he
was fedup with it. esp. the issues of tithing, and massive expenditures on
buildings and various religious programmes. He has started a Church meeting at
his house but said it is not "Church". My friend was surprised that people
understand the basic concept of what house church is about. I am convinced more
and more that this is something God is starting here.

On our recent fast camp, many people present had so many complaints about what
is taking place at their churches. Especially concerning the issue of money.
And these were people from all over the Caribbean, different countries.

On Monday when I got the notice for the package, I met someone (a cousin of
mine) with whom I shared breifly on the concept of the house church. She told
me she thought about it and is interested in getting involved and I think she
may start one at her house. This is very exciting. It seemed to me that God was
was confirming the direction we are moving in, and the timing of all the
material that we received seemed to underscore it. People are coming to us more
and more. This material you sent us will make our work much easier and faster.

I am also going to make a presentation to the current pastor I am with
regarding the House Church. I sense that he will accept it and perhaps allow
its revolutionary ideas to change the way he approaches ministry.

On the fast camp we had an encounter with our old pastor. He was teaching the
night session when we arrived. He was a bit taken aback when we walked in. He
began to deviate from what he was originally speaking about and began to talk
about submitting to your spiritual fathers (on earth, he quotes Ephesians 6:1
to say that the bible is referring to spiritual parents ). He went on for a
very long time talking and throwing stones at us, all I could do was shake my
head. We realised on the camp that we still havent been delivered fully from
him, and the experience we had under his ministry. There is still some healing
to take place. ( you can get some info about our camp here:
www.valleyofdecision.trinidadandtobago.com )

Yesterday a friend of mine told me that people in his Church have started
saying now that I am evangelising people away from the Church. None of the
people in any of our groups have left any churches. Some of them had no Church
and some were unsaved also some are still in their original Churches. I believe
he may spread this rumour to keep people away from us. I shudder at the thought
of someone trying to block God's truth from coming forth.

There is an area that i would appreciate some prayer for. Our vehicle has been
giving a lot of trouble lately and we cannot travel too far with it safely.
Transportation has become a problem for us. We had to miss two meetings last
week because we had no transportation. I am praying that God will help us to
get a good reliable vehicle. I have some business that I am hoping will come my
way soon which will give me sufficient funds to get one. I would appreciate
prayer for my business to increase so that we will have funds for the ministry.

Thanks for all your generous support towards us. Yours in Christ,

David Jaggernauth
Trinidad


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Date: Wed, 13 Mar 2002 11:05:39 -0500
From: David Anderson
Subject: [NTCP]
Remembering Link Hudson

Dear reader,

Link Hudson is in the process of moving back to the USA from Indonesia. His
opportunities to participate online are thus limited and uncertain.

About 800 churches have been burned there in the last decade. Please remember
him and his family and the loved ones he will leave behind.

David Anderson


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Date: Wed, 13 Mar 2002 13:31:12 -0500
From: "Samuel Buick"
Subject: [NTCP]
Remember that seed must die in order to bring harvest!

Ah...at least some of you have officially made it know that you neither dead
nor suffering from carpel tunnel! Thanks for your postings!

Remember that seed must die in order to bring harvest!

Never discount conversations and email exchanges with other people. Six months
ago I had an interchange with two people from the Peterborough area (Eastern
Ontario), one who had been in house church for ten years, and another who had a
real interest in house church. I encouraged them to meet one another. Well, I
heard nothing until two days ago. I got a call at home from one of them. They
were both coming to my city for a business weekend. Turns out they work in
similar business. They will be in town tonight and want to meet with some of
the brothers and sisters! So, after all these months, germination has taken
place, and roots have gone deep, and relationship has been developed and trust
established, all for the moment that will come tonight...to seek out more about
house church! Wow! In Kingdom nothing is ever wasted!

Brothers and Sisters, count your divine appointments as seed, and sow a lot of
seed, for a harvest will come forth! I have been praying for six months that
I would have an opportunity to meet with people from Peterborough with the goal
of having a one day seminar on house church in that area.

Blessings,

Sam


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Date: Wed, 13 Mar 2002 23:00:20 -0800 (PST)
From: Link H
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Remembering Link Hudson

Thanks for remembering me. :)

I haven't had time to email. My regular computer's HD crashed several days
ago, as I was moving. I will try to recover what I can in America. For the
past several days, I haven't had but a minute or two to check email.

I got to teach on the Lord's Supper in a house church here in Indonesia Friday
night. A brother who is a Bible college grad pastoring a Charismatic church
wants to meet with me tonight to talk about house churches. We had a
conversation a while back. He had heard about house churches and was
interested, but didn't know how they functioned. I plan to share with him from
the word, and share what I know.

Tomorrow, I leave for America.

I appreciate the prayers. My wife is 6 months pregnant, and this getting up
early, running around all day, and sleeping late at night is rough for her. We
had to pack up our house in addition to our boxes to take back home. We stop
twice on our journey, once in LA.

I got to meet with Crispus in Jakarta (list participant) and hopefully we can
do dinner tonight in Singapore before my plane leaves. God bless you all,

I want to bring up the topic of some contextual issues in planting churches in
Bali. A Papuan church planter working there came to visit my wife and I before
we packed the house up. He labors in Bali and we discussed some interesting
issues about how to minister to idol worshippers without compromising.

Link


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Date: Thu, 14 Mar 2002 09:27:42 -0600
From: "Tony Dale"
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Guayaquil House Church Article

This is such a great articles. Hallelujah. We rejoice with you in the good
things that the Lord is doing among you.


End of New Testament Church Proliferation Digest V2 #55 < Previous Digest Next Digest >

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