"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.
Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind (Rom.14: 4-5).
Oh, come on Paul; give it to me straight, should we worship on Sunday or not? Can we eat meat sacrificed to an idol or not? Don’t hem and haw, just give me the rule and I’ll obey. But he doesn’t; why not?
Jesus often comes to us in unexpected ways and unexpected means.
Think about how He came to Earth. For centuries, Israel had waited for a political Messiah. They expected Him to lead a rebellion and free Israel from Roman oppression. But how did the Messiah make His entrance? He came in a way that made it easy for His own people to reject Him. He came as a frail baby, born in a feeding room for animals. There He was. The promised Messiah who was expected to overthrow the Roman Empire and set Israel free from oppression. A needy Nazarene born in a manger.
When Jesus grew up, He ate and drank in their presence and taught in their streets (Luke 13:26). Yet they didn’t recognize Him. He was unassumingly modest. A mere craftsman; the son of a craftsman. He grew up in the despised city of Nazareth, fraternizing with the despised and oppressed. But more startling, He befriended sinners (Luke 7:34). As such, the people of God didn’t recognize Him. Why? Because He came in a way that made it easy for them to reject Him. And what about the disciples?
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.
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.
We already saw in Chapter 1 that Jesus valued the power of a changed life when He called Matthew and immediately put him into service. The New Testament has many examples of people who have only just met Jesus, have little knowledge of His person or work and yet are already able to effectively stand up to others with a bold witness. They do so all on the irrefutable persuasion of a changed life. My favorite such story is found in the ninth chapter of John.
Circles are powerful. They shape identity, instill and reinforce values, and provide a variety of emotional, physical and spiritual support.
My question for you is this:
Do you experience the power of circles as an obstacle or an opportunity as you disciple the lost?
Your answer to this question reflects a small handful of factors, one of which is your disciple making strategy.
If your strategy is to disciple individuals, the power of their existing circle will often feel like a barrier to you. This is because discipling an individual places you in competition with their primary circle.
If your strategy is to disciple a whole circle, the power of the circle will typically feel like an opportunity to you. This is because discipling a circle makes you their advocate and champion.
Some 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.
Where are two or more are gathered in His name, there is church.
Where "DNA" is present among people, there is church.
"D" stands for Divine Truth (loving God/Jesus)
"N" stands for Nurturing Relationships (loving one another deeply)
"A" stands for Apostolic Mission (being on Jesus' mission to the world)
Editors Note: Around the world, people are using this very simple approach to studying the Bible with unbelievers and believers alike. It is proving to be very fruitful because it helps people see how God can open their heart and help them discover truth, it does not depend on a gifted teacher, it highlights the importance of obedience, and it is simple and reproducible. If you would like a more in-depth understanding of how this approach can be used, check out this link- //simplechurch.com.ua/en/resursy/e-books-and-other-written-material/325-gruppy-posika-iisusa.html
3 question study
One of the best ways to help people discover and respond to God is
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.
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...