New Testament Church Proliferation Digest

 

Spreading the Gospel via House Churches

 


New Testament Church Proliferation Digest Thursday, April 4 2002 Vol 02 : 067
Re: [NTCP] A vision in my city.....
RE: [NTCP] What is 'PREACHING'?
Re: [NTCP] What is 'PREACHING'? - response from Sam
Re: [NTCP] What is 'PREACHING'?
[NTCP] A time to rejoice
Re: [NTCP] What is 'PREACHING'?
Re: [NTCP] A vision in my city.....
Re: [NTCP] What is 'PREACHING'? - response from Sam
Re: [NTCP] What is 'PREACHING'?
Re: [NTCP] What is 'PREACHING'? - response from Sam

Date: Thu, 04 Apr 2002 07:48:58 -0500
From: jferris
Subject: Re: [NTCP] A vision in my city.....

David Cummings wrote:

>And instead of trying to plant house churches, I am just going to
plant Jesus. And I am going to do it with 200 percent. Because I love Jesus and
to be honest it is all I really want to cling to...
>
>One thing that Scott Smyth taught me is that multiplcication comes
through increased quality, which comes through increased brokeness, which leads
to total reliance on Jesus.
>
Dear David,

On 6/9/01 I wrote:

... Priorities are not mutually exclusive, but what comes first does make a
real difference. The priorities I would like to look at are "intimacy" and
"reproduction". Another way of saying it might be "fellowship" and "church
growth." "Quality" and "quantity" might be still another way to put it.

While I'm here, it is my impression that the seed that Paul planted was the
seed of Christ in the lives of individuals. It takes God to give the increase,
and it takes God to make a Church out of individuals. Jesus said, "I will build
my Church."

Conversation in a typical religious leaders meeting might go something like,
"Paul greeted them and reported in detail what God had done among the Gentiles
through his ministry. When they heard this, they praised God. Then they said to
Paul: `You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews have believed, and all of
them are zealous for the law."

It's not clear from what has been written, if Paul also focused on numbers, but
it is clear enough that numbers were an important indication of success or
fruitfulness, where the spokesman for the Jerusalem eldership was concerned. It
is also not very clear what might have been in Paul's heart as he shared. This
was certainly a very loaded meeting where anticipation is concerned. There is
hardly another meeting in the Scripture that anyone was so seriously warned not
to attend as this one. So for present purposes let's just say it was a
religious leaders meeting.

I would like to offer for your consideration that those with a carnal or
immature perspective tend to be very impressed with numbers. Whether it's the
followers of John the Baptist concerned with being out done in baptisms by the
followers of Jesus, Or the followers of Jesus wanting to be the greatest. Or,
even the Jewish leadership concerned that, left unattended, every one would
believe in Jesus. In all of them, there seems to be a failure to appreciate
what The Lord was really after.

And then there is the problem of circumcision, the preoccupation with outer
things. Even here, Paul nails the source of the problem down to the lust for
numbers: "Those people are zealous to win you over, but for no good. What they
want is to alienate you [from us], so that you may be zealous for them."
Galatians 4:17 The "war party", looking for scalps.

Given a choice, (generally we would have to admit the religious do not offer
one, at least not this one) between intimacy and reproduction, it's
reproduction, numbers, that's taken as an indication of greatness. Where paid
leadership is concerned the numbers are also good for the financial base.

Intimacy, on the other hand, seems to be hindered by numbers. No wonder that
leaders are taught not to be intimate. It's bad for the numbers, bad for
income, and very bad for church growth, the church growth as it is presently
understood and practiced. (It's hard to take up an offering for a
conversation.)

The priority seems to be clear,... But wait... Jesus said, "Get
away from me you evil doers, I never knew you." It seems in His heart, the
"knowing" really does have priority, even before conception. "...that all of
them may be one,.. so that the world may believe..."

Perhaps we could have it all. Suppose we love the ones the Father gives us. The
world just might want to get in on that. That is, if the children of the slave
woman would stop making war on the children of the free woman.

>God has given me a vision of over100 christian gatherings in my city of 2+
>million people. Living simply, worshiping God the Father through Jesus
Christ His Son and gathering as often as they so meet. And not a single one
will call it church. Yet this shall be the body of Christ.
>
The important thing is that they be Jesus doing, and not yours. Just keep
planting the seed of the gospel in the hearts of individuals, and Jesus, "The
Stone that the builders continue to reject", will have the raw material He
needs to build His Church.

>I would encourage all of your brothers to consider planting Jesus and quit
>planting churches.
>
AMEN!!

Yours in Christ,

Jay

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Date: Thu, 4 Apr 2002 08:33:26 -0500
From: Nathan Smith
Subject: Re: [NTCP] What is 'PREACHING'?

From what I can tell, Paul used preaching as a means to reach the unsaved
population, not during gatherings with other believers. Do we really need
preaching in our gatherings or just teaching?? "Since God in his wisdom saw to
it the world would never find him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish
preaching to save all who believe... (1 Cor. 1:21) We speak WORDS given to us
by the Spirit, using the Spirit's words to explain eternal truths... (1 Cor.
2:13)"

I believe that we should be as consistent as possible in how we live our lives
as well. But it would do us well to remember that it is the message of the
proclaimed Gospel that is "the power of salvation," and not our behavior.

With respect and blessings to you, Sam, (if you wrote this one)

TC

Message

From what I can tell, Paul used preaching as a means to reach the unsaved
population, not during gatherings with other believers.&nbsp; Do we really need
preaching in our gatherings or just teaching?? "Since God in his wisdom saw to
it the world would never find him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish
preaching to save all who believe... (1 Cor. 1:21) We speak WORDS given to us
by the Spirit, using the Spirit's words to explain eternal truths... (1 Cor.
2:13)" I believe that we should be as consistent as possible in how we live our
lives as well. But it would do us well to remember that it is the message of
the proclaimed Gospel that is "the power of salvation," and not our behavior.
With respect and blessings to you, Sam, (if you wrote this one) TC

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


Date: Thu, 04 Apr 2002 08:47:08 -0500
From: "Samuel Buick"
Subject: Re: [NTCP] What is 'PREACHING'? - response from Sam

Hi TC!

>
From: TheologusCrucis
Subject: Re: [NTCP] What is 'PREACHING'?
>Date: Wed, 3 Apr 2002 21:53:30 EST
>
>
>>When Paul 'preached' it was an interactive dialogue, and not a one person,
>>everyone else be quiet monologue!
>TC said:
>
>I'd disagree on this one. I would 100% agree that Paul's teaching was very
>much a dialogue! If I understand correctly, Midrash was a give and take method
>of instruction that Paul would have engaged in teaching his disciples.

I would like to suggest that if Paul was true to himself and his convictions he
WOULD NOT have inflicted a Judaic form of teaching on the Gentile converts. In
fact if Acts 17, and the dialogue at the Aeropagus is any indication, Paul
would have articulated to the Gentiles in a Gentile form and structure, and not
a Judaic one. So, I personally cannot hold to the belief that he would have
inflicted the Gentiles with anything from the Midrash. The dialogue at the
Aeropagus, although among philosophers and thinkers, reveal that Paul used
common Greek thought, and quoted from known Greek philosophers. He won his
hearers by using their own language and systems of thought. Perhaps we could
learn a lesson or two from Paul on that one!

>One of the strong points of the house church movement that I've seen is just
>this aspect, the give and take of dialogue in a teaching environment. I have
>to say that since I've been involved in the whole house church thing, I've
>rarely heard someone preach.

And you know what TC, I have gone to 'meetings' where I have been bored out of
my skull listening to a 'good sermon' and 'solid exegesis'. I felt like
walking out on more than one occassion. I have found benefit in those
preaching environments where the emphasis was on the practical and learning
new ministry tools. But, I have not really been edified, which is what the
'church gathering' is supposed to be about! So, what are these meetings then,
'apostolic'? Perhaps. But that is for another discussion! :-)

>Most of our preaching style today is based on the greco-roman style of
>rhetoric, of a person trying to prove a point. Not exactly body participation
>is it? I think there should be a definite distinction made between preaching
>and teaching. They are two very different things.

They do not have to be different. In fact some would argue that the five fold
should be 'four fold' with the combination of 'teacher/preacher' as one of the
ministry gifts.

I do believe that there are differences between teaching and preaching, but not
enough to say that they are not the same gift. I think they are, and the
context and situation dictates how one preaches or teaches.

>No, the kind of preaching that we need to recover to go along with the Lord's
>table as part of a real meal deal, not the 'holy snack' the institutional
>church has continually propagated, and the full participation of not only
>what you call 'elders' and 'deacons' for you can have legitimate church
>WITHOUT those 'offices'. Sam, if these were not thought of an authority or
>leadership in the church -- why the qualifications? You can have a church
>without these people -- they may temporarily be gone, or the church may be in
>the middle of replacing or searching for a person(s) to be these things. But a
>church isn't a church without these people.

TC, how do you explain, (1) Paul's lack of appointing these elders or deacons,
and (2) his clear statement that we should not hastely appoint them in the
first place! The church is not the church because these people are present!
Paul established churches without them and they were churches! So, maybe, just
maybe, we, us, the 'leaders' need to take a reality check and realize that for
the church to be the church, we are not as necessary as we think we are!
Perhaps, the understanding should be that we yield to the Spirit, and allow Him
in His time to appoint the elders and deacons WHEN they are needed!

>I agree with you about the Lord's Supper, but on a different account. I also
>believe that Communion is too often "tacked on" to the service, and has been
>lacking to say the least!

I personally think the central focus of the gathering should be 'communion', as
our desire is to focus on Christ and the life we have in Him, by giving Him
pre-eminence in all things. We gather in His Name, and we eat of Him and drink
of Him. Surely, the repast should be the central focus, and all else flow from
that. That is why the gatherings should be small and intimate. It is
certainly more real and tangible and vibrant.

>And Sam? Where in my post did I say that these were "offices?" They are people
>-- people with a God given role to play in the Body, roles that were defined
>by Christ and not myself thru Scripture.

Forgive my presumption brother. When I hear stuff about elders, deacons and
the ministry gifts, I presume and sometimes wrongly that the person is
referring to 'offices' rather as you and I would agree, people. It is the
people who are the gifts. I agree with you on that!

>Paul himself declared that we ought NOT be hasty in appointing elders (doesn't
>say anything about them being 'voted in' either. In my understanding the
>apostles appointed elders of the churches they planted). I have real concerns
>about 'preaching' when it does not allow for response, dialogue and
>interaction. Sam, I think that although they were not to be hasty in doing
>this, I believe the thrust of Titus is that they are to be appointed. It
>wasn't something they could have put off and off until eventually in the dim
>future they got around to it.

I think we need to read between the lines of the scripture narratives to see
and understand just how much under attack the church was from its very
inception. Paul passed on to Titus and Timothy the responsibility to appoint
the elders and deacons, but how and why they did it is just as important as
their existence. I am not debating the need for leadership. What I am bothered
by is in giving pre-eminence to such leadership that is not evident in the NT
passages. We give undue attention to leadership in the modern church. My
understanding by viewing the NT evidence is that these people were meant to be
involved in crisis intervention and not take over churches and be the head
honcho. In fact, Paul argued in Acts 20 with the elders and told them that
some of them would gather around themselves people from flock! Paul was already
revealing the danger of people taking this leadership gift and using it in the
wrong context. Should we not ourselves?

>I agree with your contention about their being appointed. My opinion is that
>preaching lays a foundation for teaching -- and instead of some "altar call"
>at the end, why not a question and answer session? There is a lot of room for
>flexibility here, Sam, so why not have a dialogue after?

TC, I have tried it both ways. I found that if I engaged the people in an
active dialogue from the start, that most people open up and dialogue. You
will always have a group of listeners who hardly talk, but they are absorbing
and thinking all the way through, and often one on one, you end up in a great
dialogue after the fact too! Some people try to dominate given the
opportunity, but if I am sensitive to where the discussion is going, even while
teaching/preaching I can redirect the discussion by encouraging others to join
in.

I must prefer the inter active dialogue DURING the preaching/teaching, than
after. One main reason. I may forget what I wanted to say if I have to wait to
the end. Also, where you read about Paul, the Greek term implies interaction
that interupted the speaker. I believe in these divine interuptions, for even
when we look at 1 Cor. 14: 26 ff., the person prophesying is to be silent when
another speaks. So interuptions and interactive discussion were incouraged in
my view in the NT gatherings.

Blessings,

Sam
>
>Just my opinion, Sam. What do you think?
>
>With blessings to you, Sam,
>
>TC

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


Date: Thu, 04 Apr 2002 08:49:50 -0500
From: "Samuel Buick"
Subject: Re: [NTCP] What is 'PREACHING'?

Hi TC:

No, Sam did not quote St. Francis. :-) I merely responded to the initial email

Sam

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


Date: Thu, 4 Apr 2002 12:04:52 -0500
From: "Gordon G. Gentry"
Subject: [NTCP] A
time to rejoice

To Brothers and Sisters scattered around the world,

Greetings in the precious name of Jesus our Lord. "Precious in His sight is the
death of His saints." This is the promise of the Lord, and it is at times like
these that the Holy Spirit must open our eyes and strengthen our hearts to walk
in truth so that we may turn to the world and give forth a living witness.

God has seen fit to take our dear Bro. Gordon Gentry home to be with Him. The
Lord took him home early this morning (4 April) as he slept in his chair. The
night before, he was rejoicing with the saints gathered here in West Palm
Beach. He closed the meeting in prayer, praying for those who are going through
great trials, mentioning in his prayer the soon appearing of our Lord and
Savior. We had just sung the chorus a few minutes earlier, "I want to be a
stone in the New Jerusalem, forever to shine, and never grow old." Standing
next to Bro. Gordon, I repeated that phrase and then put my arm around a
brother standing next to me and said "with you." I then turned and shook Bro.
Gordon's hand. There was joy in his heart and a smile on his face. That night
God granted the request which was always in his heart, since the day I met him
more than 30 years ago. That request was to be able to look on the face of the
One he loved so much.

Brothers and Sisters, we do not know what tomorrow holds, but we know who holds
tomorrow. The times are full of trouble, but these things do not bother God. He
is calling out a people to be with Himself for all eternity. He bids us to rise
this day and give forth a living witness. The time is short and the needs are
great. His grace is sufficient, no matter where this day finds us here on this
earth. May the Lord strengthen our hearts as we are about His business. None of
us knows the day or hour when we too shall stand before Him to give an account.
May none of us stand empty-handed.

In His great love,

Bro. Dave Sheats

- ------------------------------------------

Note from Diane Sheats, secretary to Gordon Gentry:

My father wrote the above message to inform you of Bro. Gordon's passing. Feel
free to contact him with any questions or messages. However, Bro. Gordon's
e-mail address ggentry(--AT--)gate.net will continue to be active, and messages
to the family may be sent here. We trust you will rejoice with us and keep us
all in your prayers in the days ahead.

Christian Revivals, Inc.
P.O. Box 1294 Loxahatchee, FL 33470 www.godsmiraclehour.org

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


Date: Thu, 4 Apr 2002 14:23:09 -0500
From: "Dan Shepherd"
Subject: Re: [NTCP] What is 'PREACHING'?

It was mine...and I completely agree that the Gospel....needs to be spread
through words (speech, writing, sign language...whatever fits the
situation).... and I am by no means promoting salvation by works. What I am
saying is that a persons deeds as a method of sharing Christ's love and message
are very effective when reaching a lost world. If I need to mow a neighbors
lawn to get the opportunity to share the Gospel (in words) then that's
absolutely what I should be doing. When we look at Christ's example.... it
was...show up...serve (feed, heal, comfort, etc..)...preach...teach and send.
(Sometimes the order was different, but almost always there)

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


Date: Thu, 4 Apr 2002 23:37:24 +0200 (MEST)
From: David Cummings
Subject: Re: [NTCP] A vision in my city.....

Brothers, I am not a man of numbers. In fact numbers often make me sick because
I think as some of you have seen I seek after deep intimacy that I don't
receive from family, In fact I am very comfortable in the small house churches
that I am involved 11 people and 8 people. One of them is a part of a larger
network and the other is a "red headed step child" of 2 failed church plants!

I long for true intimacy. And yet this is not foreign to me. Part of my passion
is for my city and yet I think I don't want to do this because I just want to
sit and enjoy spring and the relationships that I have. I don't want a whole
bunch of new ones. And yet God is pushing me outside my comfort zone again to
increase the gospel, not increase myself. What am I? I am nothing. I think in
private that the network of house churches laughs at my zeal and my passion,
and laughs at my "hopping around". I realize I am nothing so every day and
every night I get on my knees and confess Jesus as Lord and pray for My City,My
Friends,My family,My Life,My city-church, and I pray for more faith to forgive,
more faith to move mountains,more faith to heal others, more faith to share,
more faith to pray more often, i pray for more zeal, i pray for more passion,
so that my zeal might consume my heart with overflowing desire to serve God all
my days.

~ ~ ~ ntcp info page: http://world-missions.org/planting ~ ~ ~

Date: Thu, 4 Apr 2002 17:34:40 -0500
From: Richard Wright
Subject: Re: [NTCP] What is 'PREACHING'? - response from Sam

>>>>Most of our preaching style today is based on the greco-roman style
>>of rhetoric, of a person trying to prove a point. Not exactly body
>>participation is it?> I think there should be a definite distinction made
>>between preaching and teaching. They are two very different things.
>
>They do not have to be different. In fact some would argue that the five fold
>should be 'four fold' with the combination of 'teacher/preacher' as one of the
>ministry gifts. I do believe that there are differences between teaching and
>preaching, but not enough to say that they are not the same gift. I think
>they are, and the context and situation dictates how one preaches or teaches.

Many thoughtful responses.

I might put a little different slant on preaching, in that it is my
understanding there is no "gift" of preaching, at least in none of the
scriptural lists I've studied. If preaching can be thought of as simply to
speak the truth, then it becomes apparent that all believers are designed to
preach, though not in a consistent style or pattern, but through their
particular spiritual gift. So a prophet will speak in quite a different manner
then say, one with the gift of service or mercy.

Many believe Paul was an exhorter, and therefore his speaking style reflects
that. A teacher might tend to lay out the structure of a truth, whereas a
prophet might be more apt to proclaim a truth. An exhorter will seek to
motivate you to change, and the one with mercy will offer to help you change.

To preach is to communicate. How you do it is a broad field. So telling a
brother that he must sound like this, or speak in a particular manner, is like
saying all guitar players must sound like Chet Atkins.

Dick Phil. 3:12-14

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


Date: Thu, 4 Apr 2002 21:19:37 -0500
From: David Anderson
Subject: Re: [NTCP] What is 'PREACHING'?

>I believe that we should be as consistent as possible in how we live our lives
>as well. But it would do us well to remember that it is the message of the
>proclaimed Gospel that is "the power of salvation," and not our behavior.

Very true, TC.

Christians quite often and quite needlessly put asunder things that God has
joined together. Yes, one can proclaim Christ with words as well as deeds. Yes,
one should.

I was reminded of this needless dichotomization earlier this week when I heard
a Christian archeologist relate that he had been accused of undermining "faith"
due to his interest in the "facts"... Oh well, I suppose that Jesus was also
guilty of the same: "Thomas, put your hand into my side..."

That preaching is practically always related to the verbal activity beyond the
gathered assembly is considered in this article:
http://homechurch.org/johnzens/ST_Wiehler_Preach.html

Another interesting corollary: Since preaching is NOT what the gathered body
gathers to participate in, the popular passage that modern-day clergy claim
about "preaching the gospel and living by it," is not really sustainable in
their context. It is the apostles and evangelists that are brought into view in that constantly misapplied passage.

Our Lord went forth preaching AND teaching!

blessings to all readers,

David Anderson

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


Date: Thu, 4 Apr 2002 21:25:15 -0500
From: forwarded
Subject: Re: [NTCP] What is 'PREACHING'? - response from Sam

From: "Link H" (From an unrecognized address, thus delayed.)

Link in response to Sam and TC,

TC wrote,
>I'd disagree on this one. I would 100% agree that Paul's teaching was very
>much a dialogue! If I understand correctly, Midrash was a give and take method
>of instruction that Paul would have engaged in teaching his disciples.

Sam replied: I would like to suggest that if Paul was true to himself and his
convictions he WOULD NOT have inflicted a Judaic form of teaching on the
Gentile converts. In fact if Acts 17, and the dialogue at the Aeropagus is any
indication, Paul would have articulated to the Gentiles in a Gentile form and
structure, and not a Judaic one. So, I personally cannot hold to the belief
that he would have inflicted the Gentiles with anything from the Midrash. One
of the strong points of the house church movement that I've seen is just this
>aspect, the give and take of dialogue in a teaching environment. I have to say
>that since I've been involved in the whole house church thing, I've rarely
>heard someone preach.

I think in all but one verse, the Greek words translated 'preach' in the KJV
most likely refer to proclaiming the Gospel to unbelievers. In one verse, Paul
tells Timothy to 'preach' presumably to believers. 'Preach' in English can
refer to a loud, churchy style of speaking.

I am a 'preacher' and not a 'teacher' says the person who talks loud and
dramatic. I am a 'teacher' and not a 'preacher' says the calm exegete--at
least in some Pentecostal and Charismatic circles where they have loud,
dramatic speakers.

Some use 'preach' to refer to the act of talking in church behind a pulpit. But
'preach' in the NT usually refers to evangelism. Almost always, this would
have taken place OUTSIDE of the church meetings-- in synagogues, the temple,
people's homes, marketplaces, or other public forums like a lecture hall or
amphitheater.

In a house church I wnet to right before leaving Indonesia, one person would
bring a word for the group, and after he had gotten into it, others would ask
questions and make comments. Usually, comments would be concentrated toward
the end of the meeting.

Link in response to Sam,

>>They do not have to be different. In fact some would argue that the five
fold should be 'four fold' with the combination of 'teacher/preacher' as one of
the ministry gifts.>I do believe that there are differences between teaching
and preaching, but not enough to say that they are not the same gift.why the
qualifications? You can have a church without these people -- they
>may temporarily be gone, or the church may be in the middle of replacing or
>searching for a person(s) to be these things. But a church isn't a church
>without these people.

Acts 14 says that Paul and Barnabas appointed elders in every church. This is
evidence that--(drumroll)--

These churches were churches BEFORE elders were appointed.

This is something important to keep in mind on the mission field. The method of
going in to a village and planting a church for two or three years, and not
leaving till elders are appoint was not what Paul and Barnabas followed. It was
much quicker for them to plant 7 or 8 churches in maybe 2 years, and then come
back through after the time was over and appoint ment who had matured into
elders. On a completely new field, appointing elders right away doesnt' make
sense, imo, because overseers are not supposed to be novices in the faith.
Unless the Lord gives revelation, there is no way to know if your
'elder-in-training' will be a novice in a few years.

The apostles trusted the Holy Ghost with churches while they left. Of course,
the place they labored was different from a Borneo pagan village. The churches
they planted would have probably all had a core of new believers who had been
raised in Judaism, converts to Judaism who had become prostelytes after much
study, and God-fearers who had heard the Torah for some time in the synagogue.
On the other hand, the churches would have probably had plenty of Gentile
converts from paganism who were used to living in a culture with worse sexual
more's than modern France, who had recently been worshipping idols.

The passage doesn't say that they appointed deacons in every church. I listened
to one of Dan Hubbell 's (list participant) tapes. He advised noe appointing
deacons for the sake of appointing deacons, but rather appointing deacons to
take care of specific needs. At one stage of church growth, a church may not
need deacons.

TC, in a previous message, you told about a conversation with a fellow house
church laborer, in which you wanted the members of the body there to identify
who among them was an evangelist, etc. Does the Bible teach that each
individual house church would have an evangelist? In a large, mature, city
level church, we should expect an evangelist, but in a church of a dozen
people, are we guaranteed that God will make one person an evangelist?

God bless your ministries,

Link Georgia


End of New Testament Church Planting Digest V2 #67

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