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  • Why was this site started?

    slide06.jpgLet us begin with a very important fact. The goal of the site is not to criticize traditional or institutional churches. Yes, some of the articles make comparisons and some of the writers do strongly question traditional practices. However, those of us who have created this site did so for several reasons:

  • Our Best Articles

    bestartikle.jWe have over one hundred articles available on our site, so if you are a new visitor, you may be overwhelmed. Where should you start? Here you will find some of our best articles that we have posted since the s...

  • What is 'simple church'?

    slide02.jpgSome call them house churches. Some call them organic churches. Some call them simple churches. We prefer to just call them churches. They are rapidly multiplying, simple communities of believers, meeting in homes, offices, campuses, wherever God is moving. This is the pattern common to many parts of the globe, and is now becoming more and more common in the U.S. as well.

  • Incarnational Practices

    slide05.jpgYou are church before you do church. This is one of the fueling insights of the missional church movement. This isn't a new idea...but it is pretty provocative, especially when one considers its implications. If we take Jesus at his word when he says (as recorded in John 20:21) "as the Father has sent me, I am sending you," then we realize that our being sent is the basis of our "doing" church. In oth...

  • What is an Organic Church?

    slide04.jpg Organic Church. I've been using this term for around fifteen years now. Today it's become somewhat of a clay word, being molded and shaped to mean a variety of different things by a variety of different people.

    T. Austin-Sparks is the man who deserves credit for this term. Here's his definition:


Principles of Simple Church
Who's In Your Simple Church? PDF Print Write e-mail
Tuesday, 02 September 2008 08:11
facial_expressions_book_cov.jpgJ.D. Payne has done a study of house and simple churches, specifically those that he calls “missional house churches.”  Many interesting tidbits are found in this study.  For example…

Payne identifies four types of people who are typically involved in house churches.  I think looking at these categories of people can be very informative and provoke some excellent conversations about our own simple/house churches.
 
When People or Churches Feel Bogged Down PDF Print Write e-mail
Monday, 25 August 2008 16:13
frustrated-02.jpgSooner or later some, most, or all of the  members of a simple church will become dissatisfied with the gathering.

“It’s not worshipful enough.”  “We seem to be in a rut.”  “The needs of my children aren’t being met.”  “We are not reaching out.”  “We need to be more open with each other and closer.”  “We don’t seem to be going anywhere.”

Sometimes, just verbalizing the longings or dissatisfactions are enough to catalyze the church to move in some new directions or make new commitments.  The beauty of simple church is that we can change course nearly instantaneously.  We want to reach out more?  Let’s plan something for next week!  We want to focus more on the children?  Let’s do it today!
 
How Much Do Sermons Affect Lives? PDF Print Write e-mail
Thursday, 14 August 2008 16:58
preaching.jpg

Editors Note:

This is another one of the articles that will really challenge some of us, particularly those who love to preach. You will discover the article is not against the preaching of the Word, but instead asks us to seriously question our overemphasis on it.

I am aware of many churches where the Word is taught passionately and accurately through sermons 3 times a week, and yet it is obvious that the sermons alone are not changing and cannot change people’s lives.

You may or may not agree with all that is written here, but simply ask God to show you if your church has anything in which to grow and learn in this area.

 
Letters to Nikolay # 3 PDF Print Write e-mail
Friday, 08 August 2008 08:19

writing_a_letter168h.jpgDear Rich,

Greetings, dear brother! Our church sends their greetings to you. We always remember you in our prayers.

A while back you mentioned that multiplication was not a core value in all that we do. Would you, please, expand upon that thought for us in Ukraine?

I sense that there are many brothers who want multiplication or reproduction, but believe it is just an impossible dream. Perhaps it is happening in China, but “this is Ukraine”.

Love in Christ,
Nicolay

P.S. Based on your last email, I would agree that we do not have a movement here. Many people are doing good things, but many of those things promote addition and not reproduction.

 
Jesus or the Church PDF Print Write e-mail
Tuesday, 05 August 2008 19:06

jesus_or_the_church.jpgI have heard so much lately whether in bookstores, blogs, or in conversation regarding ways to do church. (Or the should I say the programs or atmosphere of services.) We question and discuss and write about ways we can enhance and put into action plans that will touch people’s lives, especially those who do not know the wonderful Savior. And I read how house churches in China are shaking that country, many who are uneducated (some who are), but regardless it is another Book of Acts all over again.

We here in the West, or for that matter north, south or east need a revelation on what twelve men had that they could shake the known world and rattle the most powerful empire at the time. They lived with passion, power, and presence. It backed-up and validated the message they were bringing. They had no problem with the issue of death for a Savior that lived in them every second, because they had already died to what they wanted and what they thought. He was their thoughts, and He was what they wanted. My question is, do you have a problem dying for Him if that is what He would want? That in itself is a sobering question.

 
Meeting the Needs of Children in House Churches PDF Print Write e-mail
Tuesday, 29 July 2008 18:28
painted-hands-girl-(2).jpgHow did the early church teach their children? Did it involve Sunday school, children's church, or nurseries?

At a Virginia house church conference, before a panel discussion was about to begin, I whispered to a friend that I bet the first question was going to be: “How do we handle the children?” Sure enough, it was. This, in my opinion, is the number one question asked by those contemplating the house church. It is a tremendous stumbling block, but it shouldn’t be. This chapter will examine three things: first, the differing philosophies or mind sets that the institutional and house church have toward children and the church; second, practical issues that arise; and third, the advantage to children of the church in the home.
 
Spirit-Led Gatherings PDF Print Write e-mail
Wednesday, 16 July 2008 07:19
faces28.jpg“If we will learn to hear and follow His promptings,
we will never have a boring meeting
(Felicity Dale).”

I believe we all want to see our gatherings fueled by the Holy Spirit’s leading and empowerment.  It is good to remind ourselves some of the ways that we can help facilitate this.

1. Relax.  This is not a performance-oriented event.  In our past church-life we gauged the value of our gatherings by how “good” the church-event was.  We have grown past that.  Our church-life, now, is about being the church everyday, living a 24/7 lifestyle, and about being part of a community of people whom we love and share life with.  We don’t look to the gathering to be the “big event” that will make up for our own lack of relationship with God.  So, we can relax and enjoy whatever God does in our midst.


 
Letters to Nicolay # 2 PDF Print Write e-mail
Wednesday, 09 July 2008 02:55
writing_a_letter168h.jpgDear Nicolay,

Greetings, dear brother!  I hope your family is well.  Greet your wife, Anna, and children for me.

Nicolay, I should probably define what I mean by “a church planting movement”.

Neil Cole who was with us in Kiev in November of 2006 describes a church planting movement as follows:

“A rapid and multiplying increase of indigenous churches planting churches…”
 
Re-Thinking Simple Church PDF Print Write e-mail
Tuesday, 08 July 2008 15:27

question-(2).jpgThe process of thinking about, practicing, re-thinking, re-imagining, and re-experimenting is exactly where the church needs to be today as it struggles to shed some irrelevant outer garments and seeks to uncover the shape it is morphing into.

I have seen the benefits of moving away from more traditional structures and into church forms that are simpler:

* Small, so that community and family can be experienced
* Participatory, so that every person’s gift is valued and developed
* Non-positional in leadership status, so that submission is mutual and leadership is situational and gift-based
* Non-programmatic, so that mission, discipleship, and leadership training is relationally-oriented
* Simple, so that it supports a 24/7, Jesus-following way of life

 
Letters to Nicolay Part 1 PDF Print Write e-mail
Wednesday, 02 July 2008 09:44
Writing a letterDear Rich [1],

As I look at our churches, it does seem that we have become very complex and that you from America have helped us get this way.

There was a time when all that we had was the Bible and prayer.  Those were difficult days for us.  I remember the early 1990’s when ordinary men and women did very extraordinary things.  There was such a spontaneity to our evangelism and starting of new churches – even though many church leaders feared division in the church.  Even small groups threatened many church leaders.
 
Responsibility in the Church PDF Print Write e-mail
Tuesday, 24 June 2008 17:45

faces.jpgHello Friends

We keep having this conversation about the several responsibilities that one must accept if any church is to work. Folks join up with a simple community and then discover that the freedom brings responsibility!  It would seem as though some actually prefer freedom from responsibility to the responsibilities of freedom!  Sitting in the stands watching the game carries no inherent risk but actually playing the game carries the risk of failure as one of the prices of the possibility of victory.

 
A Church with No Name: A Personal Letter from a Pastor PDF Print Write e-mail
Thursday, 12 June 2008 04:27

no-name.jpgFor years, I’ve tried to put my finger on it—the reasons why I left the professional pastorate. And you know, more than anything, I think it’s this: I lost my first love.

The reality is that much of what we call ministry today is really administration. It’s about adding things—programs and strategies and rules. In my 22 years as a pastor, I often administered more than I ministered, if that makes sense. I’ve come to see that I was an add-minister more than a minister.
 
Rekindling Passion PDF Print Write e-mail
Thursday, 05 June 2008 10:27
a_lit_match1.jpgCan you remember the last time you awoke in the middle of the night, not to anxiety or fear, but to Jesus' invitation to spend some time with him? Or when last God's presence was so real neither of you needed to say anything and the minutes raced by as if time itself no longer had significance? How about the last time being obedient to God landed you in hot water because someone misunderstood or because, "that's not the way we do things around here"?
 
Word Time in the House Church PDF Print Write e-mail
Monday, 02 June 2008 16:27
bible-study-group.jpgThe house church context provides a unique environment for the study and application of God’s Word. When you have 10-20 individuals gathered in close proximity, it is different than speaking to 1000 people in an auditorium or even 40 people in a classroom. The house church gives a great opportunity for people to ask questions, to develop their understanding in a group, to share what the Holy Spirit is saying to them, and to develop points of application in community.

 
A Way To Do Life--Not A Way To Do Church PDF Print Write e-mail
Saturday, 03 May 2008 20:11

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Editors Note:
Every day new visitors are coming to our site. In order to expose them to some of our best articles, and to create fresh discussion among those of us who have been active on the site a long time, we will from time to time repost an past article like this one. This article has been a favorite of many people. We invite you to read it for the first time or read it again. Take a moment to add your thoughts and commentary and let's learn together how we can honor and magnify Jesus and join Him in building His kingdom.

I'm concerned that we are trying to re-structure church instead of re-learning what it is to live the Christian life.

House churches, simple churches, organic churches can easily become just the "new way" to do church, the next-wave model of churchianity. It's easy for us, if we have been doing church for years, to want to simply come up with a "better way to do church." But that really misses the whole point.

 
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