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    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.

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


How to Prepare for Simple Church PDF Print Write e-mail
Monday, 16 April 2007 21:10

Years of sitting in traditional church has not prepared us to do church in the manner described in the New Testament. We have been taught to come. To sit. To watch and listen to what others have prepared. (Someone described it as "sit, soak and sour".) This is Spectator Church. And it is no way to train believers to be priests!

By contrast, the churches described in the Bible engaged in Participatory Church. This kind of church requires preparation on the part of all of it's members. This is new. We haven't been taught how to do this.

Therefore, some retraining is in order.

Therefore, some retraining is in order. One of the best passages to help us do this is Heb. 10:24-25.  As you consider the instruction in v. 24, note that it is given in the context of the church "meeting together" in v. 25.

"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another-- and all the more as you see the Day approaching."(NIV)

Here are a few notes to help understand the passage:

  1. "Let us..."   Note what this doesn't say.  It doesn't say "Let the pastor consider..."  or "Let the house church leader consider..." The key word is "us".  Every member of the church.  The priesthood of all believers.  The mark of a mature church is that every member understands and fulfills their role in "preparing for church".  No spectators in New Testament church!
  2. "Let us consider...": from katanoeo. noeo = to think + kata = an intensifier. To think deeply about, consider, contemplate, observe. Jesus uses the same word when he says, "Consider the ravens...consider the lilies." (Lk. 12:24-27) This is work that we must do ahead of time. This is where listening prayer comes in.  We consider God's prevenience.  What is He initiating in the lives of the other people in my spiritual family?
  3. NIV says "Let us consider how ...". The Greek really says "Let us consider one another..." We are to be observing and thinking deeply about the others in our simple church in order to be able to effectively "stir them up to love and good works". (Hard to do this if we only see them once a week.)  Each one is unique. What works for one may not work for another. I must "think deeply" about each one. (Difficult to do this in a church of 100 or 1000.)  How is God already at work in their lives?  How am I to join Him in what He is doing?
  4. "Let us consider one another to spur (them) on." "Spur on" comes from a root word that means "to make sharp" as with a sword. (Prov. 27:17 "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.") It means "to stir up, incite, provoke, motivate". (Note:  What motivates one will not motivate another. Every parent and every coach know this.) This is the focus and goal of the New Testament church meeting - every member involved in lovingly and effectively motivating the others. Teaching the Word, singing, prophesying, etc. are not the goal of our meeting together, they are the means to the goal.  (This helps us understand 1 Cor. 14:26 - "Let everything be done for the strengthening (edification) of the church.")
  5. "Let us consider one another to spur (them) on to love and good deeds." How do we know if our meeting has accomplished what God wanted? We know if people leave being motivated and spurred on to love (God and others) and to express that love in good works throughout the week. (Note:  This is not a guilt motivation resulting from "should's and ought's".  Rather, it is a heart motivation that comes from a genuine desire that God stirs up on the inside.  We can't make this happen.  We can only see what God is doing and join Him in that.)

Church prepares us for the rest of the week (24/7). And the rest of the week (24/7) is where we (all of us!) prepare for church.

 

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