A powerful challenge to us about how we see people...and how Jesus sees them.
Presentation by Neil Cole during a training in Norway in May of 2010.
To view this video in English you may go to the following website.
What is Simple Church?
There are many definitions for simple church, our preferred term for what is sometimes called house church. One of the best comes from the Dawn North America Web site (it is also found on the House2House Web site). Rather then reinvent the wheel, I list their definition below.
By "simple church," we mean a way of doing and being church that is so simple that any believer would respond by saying, "I could do that!"
By "simple church," we mean the kind of church that is described in the New Testament. Not constrained by structure but by the needs of the extended family (oikos) and a desire to extend the kingdom of God.
By "simple church," we mean a church that listens to God, follows His leading and obeys His commands.
By "simple church," we mean spiritual parents raising spiritual sons and daughters to establish their own families (oikos).
As my mind surveys the stories found in the Bible, I can not help but see that our God is a God who leads us to places requiring significant change and the associated risk. Abraham, leaving his country; Noah, building the ark; Moses, reluctantly accepting the call; Caleb and Joshua, saying we can not but God can; Esther, risking her life and luxury; Jonathan, standing with David against his father and King; Jesus, the ultimate revolutionary; and Paul, into the desert. Our God is a revolutionary and He calls us to join Him as revolutionaries who are willing to seek significant change.
Authentic restoration of the church(es) from their current plight in both America and the Slavic nations will require significant change. No tweaking of existing systems will be sufficient. Our current systems are perfect for the results we are getting: DECLINE.
The changes that I am referring to are not new changes, but a return to the apostolic patterns found in the New Testament and a return to follow the life and words of the Head of the Church – Jesus Christ. There are principles and concepts from the early church, which should lead us into the future. These concepts and principles are the same for all who wish for and work for restoration. They are cross-cultural and apply to both America and Ukraine. They are also counter Christendom. We will not be able to maintain the hallmarks of Christendom. There will need to be some deconstruction to take place before we can see restoration. We need to break our dependence on buildings and professional leadership. We will need to release baptism and the Lord’s Supper to God’s people. We will need to seek release from the institutionalism of the church.
JESUS, THE REAL HEAD AND NOT JUST A FIGURE HEAD
Again, we are to demonstrate the Kingdom by how we honor the King. How does the church in the home function? How does a group of Royal Priests function? How do the members of the body of Christ express their common Head? How do the living stones of the temple of the Holy Spirit express their honor and worship to the God who is at home in each of them? The metaphors for the body of Christ in the New Testament range from body, through temple to family and army. The metaphor of audience is never used! The body is not made up of passive observers who pay to watch super leaders do the ministry. We are not divided into clergy and laity, gladiators and spectators. If we believe that the Holy Spirit indwells every believer then we need to see that worked out as every member participates and expresses the Spirit who lives in them.
Is This Really Church?
This is a video that we highly recommend that you watch. Francis Chan, well known author and former pastor of a mega-church, underscores some of the key principles that we try to emphasize here on this website. Namely, that the real issues facing the church do not so much concern size or model, but being honest to recognize that much of what we call church today often does not align with the truths we see presented in scripture. Francis Chan can be respected for his courage and honesty after having been very successful in building a mega-church and then personally recognizing that there were many issues in which his church was not reflecting the essence of the church as it is seen in the New Testament. His straightforward look at what the scripture teaches about the church is both challenging and inspiring. The key part of this video starts at 34:00 and continues to the end.
Thanks to Vitally Keller of St. Petersburg, Russia for translating this video and making it available to us.
Current Question for Discussion
We want to try an experiment to encourage more interactive learning among those who visit our site. We will call this experimental feature- Current Question for Discussion.
We will put a question or questions here on the front page from time to time that we hope will encourage interaction and learning from one another. We will start with the topic of committed relationships and being a spiritual family. Share any verses or thoughts (it can be short) on this topic that you want, but here are a few questions to stir your thinking.
- How can a church be a true spiritual family, instead of just programs and meetings?
- What does it mean to live in committed relationships with other believers? What does it practically look like?
- What are you learning about relationships and being a spiritual family in your church?
Encouraging and teaching one another is one of the biblical principles that we promote on this website, so take a few minutes and share your thoughts with our online community. Feel free to ask questions as well. You will need to be registered to add a comment, but it only takes a minute to do so. Thanks for your participation in the website.
About the Site
All across the world, people are gathering in small groups to serve and worship God, be family, and encourage and affect each others lives. These gatherings are called by many names including simple church, organic church, and house church. Whatever you call it, the people involved value incarnational ministry to the lost, living radically for Jesus and each other, and are willing to get rid of anything that gets in the way of being fully devoted followers of Christ.Detailed...