By David Allis
This week I went to a churches Risk Management seminar sponsored by EIG-Ansvar (a great insurance company). It was a good seminar, covering areas of risk such as
- buildings – insurance, replacement, alarms, alarm monitoring, fire protection, fire evacuation plans etc
- equipment – how to stop your flash sound system & projector getting stolen, insurance etc
- public liability insurance
- how to stop child molesters getting access to the children in the children’s program, police screening, 6 month delay before new members work in the children or youth programs etc etc
These are all valid concerns for a normal church … but as I was listening to this wise advice, it suddenly clicked …. we don;t have to worry about any of these things ….
With a small church meeting in homes, we don’t have these problems ….. with no church building, no church equipment, no childrens program etc …. we don;t need risk management seminars, or to spend $ ,000’s on buildings, equipment, alarms, insurance etc. A simple church is definitely much simpler …..
ORGANIC CHURCH by Neil Cole
I’ve just finished reading this new book – it was great. I took a bunch of notes/quotes of things that stood out to me …..you might find them interesting … (get the book & read it ….)
The Growth of Neil’s network of organic churches
- Yr 1 – 2000 – 18 churches planted
- Yr 2 – 2001 – 52 churches planted
- Yr 3 – 2002 – 106 churches planted
- Yr 4 – 2003 – 200 churches planted
- Yr 5 – 2004 – 400 churches planted
- Yr 6 – 2005 – 800+ churches planted
P26-27’ “We want to lower the bar of how church is done and raise the bar or what it means to be a disciple” If church is simple enough that everyone can do it and is made up of people who take up their cross and follow Jesus at any cost, the result will be churches that empower the common Christian to do the uncommon works of God. Churches will become healthy, fertile and reproductive.
The conventional church has become so complicated and difficult to pull off that only a rare person who is a professional can do it every week. Many people feel that to lower the bar of how church is done is close to blasphemous because the Church is Jesus’ expression of the Kingdom on earth. Because church is not a once-a-week service but the people of God’s family, what they have actually done is the opposite of their intention. When church is so complicated, its function is taken out of the hands of the common Christian and placed in the hands of a few talented professionals. This results in a passive church whose members come and act more like spectators than empowered agents of god’s kingdom.’
P31 ‘The gospel says ‘Go’, but our church buildings say ‘stay’. The gospel says ‘seek the lost’, but our churches say ‘let the lost seek the church’. Quoting Howard Snyder (The Problem of Wineskins)
P38 Someone once said that we shape our buildings and then they shape us. It is not just a fact that buildings hold back growth; they also hold back our understanding of the Kingdom of God. Our minds can be held captive behind four walls as easily as our actions are.
P39 The church is much more than a one-hour service held one day a week. The only time worship and service are put together in Scripture has nothing to do with sound systems, pews, sermons or worship bands. It is a 24/7 expression of Christ’s life in us. In Romans 12:1-2 Paul writes that we are to present our own bodies to be His temple. …… When you imagine the amount of resources, energy and time invested in a service held only one day a week, it is remarkable. With all the importance placed on this event, you would expect there to be a lot of scriptural directives to make sure people get it right. But if you search all of the New Testament looking for commands or injunctions having to do with this important weekly event, you will find them sadly missing. Instead you will find verses, chapters and entire books that speak of how we are to live together as a spiritual family. You will find commands & injunctions to serve and worship, but not just one day a week.
P40 William Law was an 18th Century English writer and mystic who made a formative impression upon John Wesley and the Methodist church planting movement. He made this observation many years ago, which flew in the face of his contemporaries, just as it probably does today: “It is very observable that there is not one command in all the Gospel for public worship; and perhaps it is a duty that is least insisted upon in Scripture of any other. The frequent attendance at it is never so much as mentioned in all the New Testament, whereas that religion or devotion which is to govern the ordinary actions of our life is to be found in almost every verse of Scripture.”
P85 (paraphrased) Consider Mk 4:26-29 “The Kingdom of god is like a man who casts seed on the soil, goes to bed & sleeps. The seed sprouts & grows – he doesn’t know how. The soil produces crops by itself (automatically) …..” As I read this parable, I recognize two things that need to be addressed. First, we are all qualified to do the work, and the work is not really hard. Second, we frequently expend our energy & resources in the wrong phase of ministry life. ….. p87 if you skip the important step of planting seeds and spend all your time expecting things to grow you will have few results to show at the end….. I am confident that if churches invested more time, energy, and money in planting seeds, they would not have to work hard at growing, and the harvest would be more abundant.
P91 The Southern Baptists have said that only 4% of the churches in America will plant a daughter church. That means that 96% of conventional churches in America will never give birth …. P92 Imagine the headlines if it were suddenly discovered that 96% of the women in America were no longer fertile and could not have babies. We would instantly know two things. First this is not natural, so there is something wrong with their health. Second, we would also know that the future is in serious jeopardy. This is the state of the church in America (& NZ) right now. It is that serious and we need to take heed.
P98 As passionate as I am about church planting, I found it perplexing that the Bible never instructs us to start churches. There is not a single command in all of the Bible to initiate churches. The reason is quite clear: we are not to start churches, but instead to make disciples who make disciples. That is actually the way churches are started, at least in the New Testament. Jesus gave us instruction that is on the molecular level of kingdom life, for a very good reason: it works. Trying to multiply large, highly complex organisms without multiplying on the micro level is impossible. Ladies, imagine if you had to give birth to full-grown adults …..
P143 “Risk more than others think is safe, Care more than others think is wise, Dream more than others think is practical, Expect more than others think is possible” Cadet Maxim, West Point Military Academy
P173 Five POP Principles that help us start churches that will reproduce – from Luke 10 & Matt 10
- Practice of Prayer
- Pockets of People
- Power of Presence
- Person of Peace
- People of Purpose
P204 What would I do differently if I were to start again (church planting), knowing what I know now?
- I would begin in the harvest & start small. Don’t start with a team of already-saved Christians. Start with a team of 2.
- I would allow God to build around others. Don’t start in your own home; find a person of peace and start in that home. Read Matthew 10 & luke 10, and do it.
- I would empower others from the start. Don’t lead too much. Let the new believers do the work of the ministry without your imposed control. Let the excitement of a new life carry the movement rather than your intelligence and persuasiveness.
- I would let Scripture, not my assumptions lead. Question all your ministry assumptions in the light of Scripture, with courage and faith.
- I would rethink leadership. There is not a ceiling of maturity that people need to break through to lead. Set them loose immediately and walk with them through the process for a while. Leadership recruitment is a dead end. We are all recruiting from the same pond and its getting shallower and shallower. Leadership farming is what is needed. Any leadership development system that doesn’t start with the lost is starting in the wrong place.
- I would create immediate obedience in baptism. Baptize quickly and publicly and let the one doing the evangelizing do the baptizing.
- I would settle ownership issues. Stop being concerned about whether ‘your’ church plant will succeed or not. It isn’t yours in the first place.
P 113 & 221 George Patterson, an experienced missionary & father to current thinking about spontaneous multiplication of movements suggests that what he calls obedience-orientated education is necessary to see spontaneous reproduction. He lists 7 NT commands that all disciples must obey as the starting point of following Christ.
- Repent, believe & receive the HS
- Be baptized
- Love God & neighbour
- Celebrate the Lord’s supper
- Disciple others