Mission and Evangelism

Simple Church Basics – Being a Missional Church

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Keys to missional community: 1. Go to the people 2. People of Peace. 3. Living Kingdom lives

One of the hallmarks of the simple church movement is that it seeks to be what the church, in fact, is: missional. Jesus went everywhere proclaiming and demonstrating the reality, love, and power of the Kingdom (healing the brokenhearted, setting captives free, proclaiming God’s acceptance, etc.) The church (the people of God) goes and does the same.




Too many of us still think the best way to win people is by inviting them to our already-established church, to join us where we are because we have something good for them there. This seems to be the thinking behind most of our efforts to create a welcoming, inoffensive, full-service experience for them once they arrive. This is the “Come To Us” approach.

But that’s not the way Jesus fulfilled His mission, and it’s not how He intends for us to fulfill ours. He completely left where He was in order to mingle with us here. And He now commands us to assert ourselves in a similar way, to leave our familiar surroundings and meet with others where they are. The attitude we need if we’re going to succeed is, “I’ll come join you. Let’s start something with the people you know and care about.” This is a “Go To Them” approach.


Have You Eaten with Sinners Lately?


“Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach. This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such sinful people—even eating with them!” Luke 15:1-2

When was the last time you shared a meal or had a cup of coffee with some unbelieving friends for the purpose of sharing Christ with them? Jesus Christ often broke bread with His unbelieving friends, so frequently that He developed a bad reputation. "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them," (NIV) was the accusation by the religious elite. The Pharisees felt like Jesus was a fool to lower himself by close association with these reprobates. We know that the contrary is actually true. God loves sinners, all of us! He wants us to imitate Him.


When you can’t find a church to belong to…

“I live in _________. Do you know any good house churches in my area?”

I often get emails like this, and here’s how I often respond:

“There are various tools that might help you discover a simple/organic church in your area, (I usually point them to the “find a church” feature on www.house2house.com <//www.house2house.com>  ) but I’d like you to pray about a different approach. You’ve been a believer for a number of years. Why don’t you start something? Work with those who don’t yet know the Lord or the unchurched—it’s much easier. We’d love to help you.”
Most Christians, especially those from a more traditional form of church background, assume the obvious way to start any kind of church is to invite a few Christians to their home for fellowship. As other believers join them and the group gets large enough, they will multiply out into two churches and so on.


Leverage the Limits of Our Relationships

Have you ever heard of Dunbar’s Number? According to Robin Dunbar, there is a maximum number of relationships a person can have due to cognitive limitations and social group sizes. According to Dunbar, the average person can have a maximum of 150 meaningful relationships with a broader range of 100-230 relationships. The larger the number, the more restrictive or superficial the relationships become.

I would venture to say that most of us don’t think very strategically about the limitations of our relationships. Of course we have our immediate relations to our family and extended family. Beyond that we have our friends and church family. Once you factor in the “given’s”, the number of available meaningful relationships is relatively small. That means we need to be careful in how we invest our lives cognitively and missionally for the sake of the gospel.

Knowing these limitations, why not come up with a plan on how to leverage your relational margin for the sake of gospel advance? How many relationships could be acquaintances? Neighbors? Friends? You can’t change the world with 500 relationships, but you can change a neighborhood with 10. I fear the problem with most of us is that we have failed to consider these limitations and leverage our relational margin at all for gospel causes. To correct that, we need to begin with examining our relationships and make efforts to demonstrate personal hospitality, receptivity, and availability for God to use us in the lives of others.


Extraction Evangelism and Community Evangelism

Changing our evangelistic mindset isn’t easy. Extraction evangelism is ingrained in Western Christian culture. Yet extraction evangelism techniques create too many barriers to the Gospel to result in church planting movements. Period. They may even inoculate people against receiving the Gospel. There is not one single example, to my knowledge, of a group that uses extraction evangelism as their primary strategy ever catalyzing a church planting movement. Community evangelism, on the other hand, is part of catalyzing church planting movements around the world: even as you read this post! If church planting movements are our goal, we have to make the jump from extraction thinking to community thinking.


The Importance of Circles

When I look at a city, I don’t focus on neighborhoods or individuals or even centers of power.

Instead, I look for circles.

Each circle I find is unique.
Sometimes a circle is a family, sometimes it is a group of friends, sometimes it is a group that works together, and other times it is a group that plays together.
Here is why these circles are important: with one exception, circles are just like a local church.

  • Circles have a leadership structure and a decision making process
  • Circles have a sense of history, identity, purpose and future
  • Circles have members who care for one another

The only thing that circles are missing is Christ.


Missional Living: The Luke 10 Challenge…

Luke 10:1-24 is, I suppose, one of the key passages in the whole arena of the missional conversation. It is the story of Jesus sending out the 72 disciples to the towns and villages that He would be visiting in the coming days. I think the reason I am so fascinated by this passage is simply because it breaks the whole idea of mission down into relatively easy to manage chunks. So what are those chunks?

  1. Pray – Whether we see it or not really makes no difference. Jesus clearly states that “…the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask [pray] the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” We can never limit our understanding of the spiritual climate, simply, to the amount of response that we are getting at this point in time. Just because I may see very few people coming to faith, does not mean that the harvest is any less plentiful than Jesus said it would be. I just need to pray that the workers would be sent and that I would also be sent with a wise and discerning heart that enables me to engage in a conversation with God’s harvest.



There’s a great scene at the end of the film, “The Big Kahuna” where Danny DeVito’s character counsels a young co-worker about his overt mode of evangelism.

He says, “It doesn't matter whether you're selling Jesus or Buddha or civil rights or 'How to Make Money in Real Estate With No Money Down.' That doesn't make you a human being; it makes you a marketing rep. If you want to talk to somebody honestly, as a human being, ask him about his kids. Find out what his dreams are - just to find out, for no other reason. Because as soon as you lay your hands on a conversation to steer it, it's not a conversation anymore; it's a pitch. And you're not a human being; you're a marketing rep.”

That scene sums up, for me, how the world sees the insincerity in our attempts to sell our faith the way a door-to-door salesman sells magazine subscriptions.

As a young college student, I was very passionate about Christian Apologetics. I read book after book dealing with how to “give to every man an answer, a reason for the hope that lies within” using science, history, archaeology, and logic to convince the skeptic and the unbeliever that Jesus really was the answer.


Seven Signs in John: A Simple Process for Evangelism and Starting Churches

The Gospel of Jesus is the flame that burns at the grassroots of the apostolic movement. Having a means of igniting that flame in such a way that those who catch it can spread it on the same day is an extremely valuable catalyst. We felt we needed a means of unveiling the true Christ to a person open to it that was simple enough that everyone could do it in any culture, language or generation. That is a tall order to fill. We found our answer in the Bible, specifically the Gospel of John

The Seven Signs of John is based on the words that the apostle John writes near the end of his gospel. He said, "Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name." (John 20:30-31)

Apparently, while John was with Jesus from the start and saw all the miracles performed, he selected these particular miracles and included them in this specific order for a purpose-to open the eyes of the unbeliever to have faith in the real Christ and gain eternal life. This is not my opinion; this is what the Scriptures themselves say. Consider it this way: the Holy Spirit is telling you that the miracle stories in the gospel of John are the stories that are best to present the true Christ to an unbelieving heart. It is quite common for American Christian leaders to exaggerate the effectiveness of a method, but in this case it is the Holy Spirit making the claim, not me.


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.