Discipleship, Leadership and Church Planting
"The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Therefore, beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest fields."
Jesus tells us the key to seeing many people saved through a great harvest of souls is to pray for more workers. The more prayer, the more workers; the more workers, the greater the harvest-It's a simple equation.
Many have used these words to challenge believers to get out of the pews and into the fields. And it must be so. What will it take to get the workers out into the fields? The word Jesus used to "send out" workers is the same Greek word used of "casting out" demons (ekballo). It is a violent term as if the Lord of the harvest must grab us by the collar and thrust us out into the fields. Unfortunately, that may be what it takes for most of us Christians.
I no longer try to start simple/house churches. I think house churches are great. They provide a place for people to experience participatory, everyone-matters church life. They provide a way for people to really connect into authentic, one-another community. They often provide a place for people to recover from some of the pains caused by institutional church life. But house churches are no longer the end game for me.
Jesus invited us to join him, organically, in the reproduction of life. His church is a living, thriving, reproducing organism (Mark 4) that allows life-in-the-Spirit to spread virally from one disciple to the next. His church is alive as illustrated by a seed (Mark 4) that brings forth 30, 60, or 100-fold reproduction. That is the life of the kingdom. His life in me is passed on to the life of another (2-fold) which is passed to the life of another (4-fold) which is passed to the life of another (8-fold), etc. That is the way of organic/viral life and this is what the kingdom IS. This is ultimately what Jesus invited us to become part of: discipling viral disciplers.
Leadership in the Relational Church
What did Jesus have in mind when he spoke of leadership among the incredible community of the Body of Christ?
Here is the best definition I’ve ever heard of spiritual leadership: If you were going to be caught in your worst failure, who would you want to catch you?
If you really want to experience the fullness of life in Jesus, wouldn’t you want someone who would treat you as gently as Jesus treated the woman at the well while offering you the truth in a way that you could understand and follow into God’s freedom?
I have not heard a simpler statement that summarizes the way Jesus lived and what he taught his disciples about leadership in his church. Even Paul’s lists of qualifications in Timothy and Titus point out those who had walked with Jesus long enough to be transformed by him in a way that could be clearly seen in their families, in the community and their freedom to live the truth and thus be able to help others in the way Jesus would.
“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are my friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.” John 15:13- 15
The One who legitimately could claim all position, title, honor, glory and authority did not do so! He looked into the eyes of men who would soon betray Him and called them His friends. When He did this He absolutely, totally and for all time destroyed all possibility of any hierarchy representing His kingdom. Pyramids are for dead people!
"I have a question I've been wanting to ask you for four years," I said to Charles Brock, author of Practicing Principles of Indigenous Church Planting, when I met in the Philippines a few years ago. "You go into the poor areas of Manila, you plant churches rapidly, they always produce their own leadership, they are never dependent on outside funds and they always reproduce.
2. It is not an issue of numbers, but of obedience - Jesus emphasized over and over again the necessity of obedience as a prerequisite for being one of his disciples...far too much of our time is spent catering to religious folks who are disobedient instead of investing in the non-religious who are desperate and responsive. Jesus loved the multitudes, challenged seekers and followers, but discipled the ones who would obey him.
If we think that a model of church is our solution to reaching the world we are already in a bad place, whether that model is a mega church or a micro church.
There is a vast difference, however, between an attractional posture and an incarnational/missional understanding of church. The difference is not in the organization, but in the release and flow of God's kingdom. The church is not meant to be sedentary but sent-"one holy, apostolic (sent) church."
Today we expect the lost to come to us. In the Bible, God is always the Seeker going after those who are lost. He pursued Adam in a garden and Moses in a desert. He found Jonah at the bottom of the sea and Peter on top. Jesus found Matthew in an office and Paul out on the road.
God became a man and entered the world through a birth canal just like the rest of us. He chose to come to us on our turf, rather then expecting us to rise to His. Jesus preached everywhere that the kingdom of God has come near. He came to seek and to save the lost, and He now invites us to join Him.
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...