Editors Note: We often are asked questions about finances and giving in simple churches. Without question there are different understandings, opinions and applications of truth in this area; so we are not trying to present an article that is the ultimate answer. This article is simply a good one to generate discussion and learning in this area. Read, enjoy, and discuss. Let’s learn from one another.
"Follow the money!" The haunting words from Deep Throat, the unidentified Watergate informant for the Washington Post, proved to be the critical voice that unraveled the corruption in the Nixon White House.
Person of Peace (sometimes called “a person of good will”)…this individual is someone who is receptive, of reputation, and is a person of referral. By being receptive, he/she is eager to have a relationship with you. Regarding reputation, it could be either good or bad, but people know this person. He/she is also a person of referral in the sense that there is an influence over others, either good or bad. Every community will have people of peace. (Lydia - Acts 16:11-15; Philippian Jailer – Acts 16:29-34).
1. Finding a Person of Peace – Luke 10:2-11
A Person of Peace will:
• Welcome You
• Speak Kindly to You
• Be a Person of Hospitality (i.e. invite you into their surroundings/home) br>
• Have a heart of Compassion
• Share a Similar Vision
• Sense the Need for Change
• Note: you will find in this person an instant friend, who will open the door to
others. Make this your base of operation, and your first indigenous leader.
Dave Ferguson shares five ways to bless your neighbors.
He says, “From the very beginning, God’s way of reaching and restoring the world has always been through what I would call a blessing strategy…how do we in a very practical way that’s theologically grounded explain to people how they could bless people in places they are incarnating? We came up with this… br>
B- Begin with prayer. We want you to ask, ‘God how do you want me to bless the people in the places you’ve sent me to?’ L- Listen. Don’t talk, but listen to people, their struggles, their pains, in the places God sent you.
The miracle we need most right now is one that the Lord has freely given us already. It is the power of a changed life. The world is poised and ready to see the relevance and power of our message if only we would let them see it firsthand. br>
There is no power on earth more potent than the gospel in a heart of belief (Romans 1:16). Ed Silvoso puts it like this, in his book That None Should Perish, “The church has been entrusted with something that every politician on earth would give an arm and a leg to have: the power to see hearts changed.” We have been given this power, though we generally leave it unused. Our pews are full of “Christians” whose lives show little difference from those who are in the world. br>
I was recently moved by this quotation by a Brazilian theologian, J.B. Lebanio. Simple reproducing churches…”are not a movement, an association, or a religious congregation… They are not a method (or the only method) of building up the church: They are THE CHURCH itself… They are THE CHURCH committed to the ordinary person, to the poor, to those who suffer injustice.”
Simple reproducing churches (organic churches, home churches) are absolutely theologically necessary. They are the foundational level of the church for the church to be THE CHURCH, the first level at which the church is to exist. The second level is the regular coming together of these basic communities to worship and fellowship together. A third level is the periodic coming together of all congregations to express Christ to the city. Are we focusing on the second level of church meetings while short changing the absolutely necessary foundational level? I think so!
J.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.
Jesus said that new wine needs new wineskins (Luke 5:36-40). A new wineskin is only needed if there is new wine. If simple/organic church is like a new wineskin, what is the new wine? Is there something about the life we have together in Christ that needs a new container, that would burst an old wineskin?
This is part of a series on how to start simple/organic/house churches. Changing the structure of church gains nothing unless it is a response to something that Jesus is doing which wouldn't be easy to contain within the old structures. (If you read the story in Luke 5 carefully, it is obvious that Jesus cares about the old structures and the old wine too.) There's no point in doing church as we've always known it within the four walls of our homes rather than in a special building.
Many people take Matthew 18:18-20 as the basic building block of church.
"You want to know what I've learned this weekend?" the man said as he drove me to a Midwest airport early one morning. We'd just spent an incredible weekend together with a house church he'd helped foster and another group of believers who joined us when they heard I was in town. The latter were deeply conflicted about their current involvement with a congregation that sounded abusive. "I've been selling the wrong thing!" he continued.
"What's that?" I asked oblivious to what we were talking about.
"I've been selling house church," he said shaking his head with a sigh, "instead of Jesus." Obviously he wasn't talking about ‘selling' anything, but I love his discovery. Almost everywhere I go people are preoccupied with finding the right way to do church. It seems our hunger for church outstrips our hunger for Jesus.
Though I don't expect to see a perfect expression of the body of Christ on the planet before Jesus returns, that doesn't keep me from beholding her glory nonetheless. I have witnessed again and again all over the world the miracle of people sharing the life of Jesus together in growing compassion, wisdom, care and freedom. I've watched God connect people who had a profound impact on each other's lives and had great joy in doing so.
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.
He was a religious leader who sought Jesus out in the dark of night. He knew Jesus’ miracles were proof that God was with him and he wanted to be part of his kingdom. But he had no idea what it would demand from him.
Perhaps Nicodemus wanted some instructions to follow, new rules that would let him in on the life Jesus lived. But Jesus didn’t offer any. He simply told him that he needed to be born all over again. The idea sent Nicodemus’ head spinning as he tried to conceive how he, an old man, could be born a second time. Jesus must have smiled at the thought.