Sometimes I get really excited when people leave the church that meets in our home.
Here’s an email I received this week.
Sometimes I get really excited when people leave the church that meets in our home.
Here’s an email I received this week.
It seems that the terminology is changing. People now are referring to Disciple Making Movements (DMMs) rather than Church Planting Movements (CPMs).
After my last post on this subject, one where I am just beginning to explore the differences, a few people, who have far more experience (at least of DMMs) than I do, commented. Their comments were so insightful, I decided to post them where more people are likely to read them.
Multiple factors have produced this change in terminology. Some suggested it because Jesus directed “make disciples,” while he is the one who builds his church. Churches (communities of faith practicing the “one another” passages) will result when people are discipled to Jesus. Secondarily, the shift happened because CPM terminology was being hijacked by folks who are not seeing rapid, multiplicative and indigenous growth. When terms are used to mean whatever you want them to, they really mean nothing (sort of like the guy shooting the side of his barn and then painting a bull’s eye around where the shot landed).
Intentionally discipling disciple makers forces you to:
That is a great observation Felicity. Having been involved in a CPM in India I would say from my observation that to a certain extent a CPM is a disciple making movement. You can’t have a CPM without leaders developing leaders several levels deep. The exponential growth is a result of leaders being developed and trained to reproduce. To me that is a level of discipleship. You can’t make disciples without being first a disciple. However, I think the real question is depth of discipleship. You know the old saying, “A mile wide and an inch deep”. So on one hand a CPM is in itself a DMM to a certain level. But on the other hand, there is a need for the next level of a DMM to help sustain and grow the maturity level of each church.
My study of CPM’s & DDM’s is that they are driven by what I call Ordinary Christians. They are non-professional, with no special theological training, who are average people but love to spend lots of time with Jesus. Many of these ordinary christians are just months or even weeks old. Another form these kinds of movement that has started in the US is the T4T Training with Jeff Sundell in North Carolina. He’s a former IMB Missionary who ignited a movement in Nepal but now is igniting one in N. America.
Anyone else with experience of DMMs like to comment?
One of the areas I’m exploring at the moment is the difference (if there is one) between a church planting movement (CPM) and a disciple making movement (DMM). My impression is that they both result in multiplying churches, but there are subtle differences in how they come about. Many of those involved in CPMs now seem to be emphasizing DMMs.
The CPMs I’m most familiar with are in India. They use Luke 10 principles to find a person of peace and start a church in their home. For example, a few years ago, I met with two middle-aged housewives, one of whom was responsible at that point for having started 2000 churches and the other 6000 churches. The movement they are part of has seen 750,000 baptisms each year for the past several years.
In David Garrison’s book, Church Planting Movements, How God Is Redeeming a Lost World, he defines a CPM:
A CPM is a rapid and multiplicative increase of indigenous churches planting churches within a given people group or population segment.
Three key points to note:
There are CPMs all around the world, but none that have been labeled as such here in the States. Church Multiplication Associates led by Neil Cole is probably the closest in this country. CMA has trained more than 45,000 people around the world since its inception.
Church Planting Movements are also characterized by things such as intense prayer and abundant evangelism, small groups usually meeting in homes, Bible study and discipleship. The churches themselves plant other churches.
Have any of you studied these areas? What have you found?
For most of us, the New Year is marked by a sense of anticipation. The old year is done with; what will 2014 hold? Here are three of my ideas for what 2014 might bring for those of us in the simple/organic/house church movement (or those with an interest in the role of women in ministry).
Am I right? Only time will tell. What do you think will happen in 2014?Google+
On Friday evening, when the church that meets in our home met together, it was quieter than usual. We were a smaller group (the weather was terrible) but, as usual, the Holy Spirit showed up. Much of our time was spent around the Word, and what we learned together was truly relevant to the things going on in people’s lives. I was blessed as God spoke to me about reclaiming a habit I’d lost over the years–that of meditating on his Word as I fall asleep.
If we do in our homes what we’ve traditionally done in the four walls of our church buildings, (what our friend John White calls, “Honey, I shrunk the church,”) we miss out on one of the greatest blessings of simple/organic church–the Holy Spirit being in control. He’s like the conductor of an orchestra, and as each one of us plays our individual melody at his prompting, a symphony emerges.
I first learned this back in the early days of the British House Church Movement.
I remember those times very well. The power and presence of the Lord was almost tangible. I remember running to get to the meeting because I couldn’t wait to get into the Lord’s presence with the rest of the body of Christ. No one dared go in with unconfessed sin because the Holy Spirit was likely to address it publicly. I remember times when everyone was on their faces on the floor, lost in God’s presence.
It was in that kind of context that we learned to follow the Holy Spirit in a gathering. Week after week we would watch the Holy Spirit lead and guide in his own unmistakable fashion, drawing out whatever theme he had for us. Sometimes we would be mostly in worship, other times in prayer. I can still remember some of the lessons we learned in times around the Word. It was always fresh, never dull.
But it was a learning experience. As we tried to follow the Lord, sometimes our times were so bad, we would all decide to just go home. But as we learned to press in, over the months, it came to the place where nearly every week the presence of Jesus was there.
Things may not be as dramatic in this current move of what God is doing (the house church movement in the UK was very tied in to the charismatic movement). But the Holy Spirit still leads clearly, and I’m spoiled for anything else!Google+
For some time, Tony and I were involved in a church plant in the low-income housing projects in our city. Each time we got together, we started with a meal; at times, it resembled a stampede to the table. On one particular occasion, we had barely finished the meal when a fight broke out between two of the kids. James, the son of Rosa, our person of peace, took the troublemaker upstairs; he wanted the instigator to know how that kind of behavior in the projects around the wrong person could possibly get him shot. Then Rosa got involved, telling James that he was handling the situation all wrong. (This is supposed to be church!)
When things had settled down and the kids were outside playing again, James posed a question to the rest of us. “How do you handle it when you hate someone?” Was this the Holy Spirit leading us to discuss this question? We thought so. For forty minutes, we discussed how a Christian should handle hatred, how to discipline kids, and what to do when Christians disagree. Everyone read Bible passages and shared personal experiences. Then someone else suggested that we pray about the situation. Again, this seemed to be the leading of the Lord, and so we prayed for each other. There were tears and laughter. Then the kids joined us for a time of praise. At one point I looked up, and two kids about nine and eleven years old were singing their hearts out with their faces raised, eyes closed. It may not have been the most in-tune worship, and it was certainly loud. But I thought to myself, Jesus, You’re here, and You love this!Google+
This past weekend I met with a group of people to discuss missions.
Traditional church is complex and complicated. Think of what goes into a typical Sunday morning service, let alone the upkeep of a building, handling the finances, keeping the programs running. Ordinary people, who have no training in ecclesiology and who have jobs and families, would find it very difficult to start and/or run a traditional church.
Simple/organic church, on the other hand, is so simple, almost anyone can start one.
Traditional missions is complex too. They require mission agencies and mission boards to keep them running. Raising support is tough. It’s hard to adapt to a different culture.
A question I’ve been asking myself for some time is this. What would simple missions look like? Just as simple/organic church has a very different feel and DNA to the traditional, what would be the differences between simple and traditional missions?
What ideas do you have?Google+
Here is another guest post by Sean Steckbeck. Sean lives in Israel and he brings a unique perspective.
Preparations had been made all day, and an intensive time of cleaning the house. The family is expecting the guests to arrive at any moment and the table is set. Finally, a knock on the door welcomes a house filled with guests, mostly family and close friends. The dinner is prepared and is neatly set on the table and at its center piece, the bread and the wine. The head of the household begins to tell a story from the Bible, uses sensory symbolism, and asks inductive questions especially to the kids sitting at the table. The interaction is electrifying and even sometimes erupts into heated debate. The bread and wine are taken, and then an enjoyable meal starts as everyone ponders on the story that was told at the table, the questions which were asked, and the discussions that proceeded.
What do you think this event was? Was it a house church in Asia or America? Was it a typical house church meeting? No, this took place in an Orthodox Jewish home in Jerusalem, as well as nearly all the Jewish homes around the world in an event called Passover. Although it has all the elements of a typical house church around the world – eating together, story-telling, inductive learning and discussion, community — taking place in the home.
Oftentimes, when we talk about restoring the New Testament church, we are forgetting that many of the elements we want to see restored are actually concepts from the Old Testament. We speak of the “temple mentality”, but don’t realize that temple worship for the everyday person in Israel was only three times a year (Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles). Most historians and archeologists even agree that during the 2nd temple period the synagogue was a multi-purpose community center rather than a religious building. The synagogue becoming the center of weekly religious Jewish life happened around the same time that church buildings became the center of the Christian church’s life.
The central theme to the Jewish people is the Shema, which is mentioned in Deuteronomy 6:4-9:
“ Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.”
Impressing the commandments to our children.
Talking about them when sitting at home.
Talking about them when walking along the road.
Does this sound like organic church and simple church?
Are we restoring the New Testament Church, or something God had planned from the beginning?Google+
In the fall of 2000, Tony and I were approached by Jim Mellon and David Underwood, leaders of two other house church networks here in Central Texas. We met at an IHOP in Waco.
“We’ve had this idea. God is obviously up to something. What about a magazine that would reach out to this emerging movement of house churches?” In those early days, the terms, simple church or organic church hadn’t come into use.
We thought that was a great idea. We had seen the impact of magazines in the British House Church Movement we were part of and knew that they had played an important role in other movements in history too.
And so House2House was born. It was a true periodical–it only came out when there was enough money. We decided early on that we wanted it to be a quality production, so it was full color. We printed between 25,000 and 50,000 copies per issue, and they all disappeared–fast. There were great articles. There were loads of stories about what others were doing. It went all around the world and became a shop window on what God was doing in simple/organic church.
Our own network of churches had been going away for a long weekend over Labor Day for several years. When we opened it up to others via the magazine, it grew into the national House2House conference where hundreds came to learn.
But the way people communicate their message was changing. Magazines were less and less a feature of life. And, let’s face it, it’s expensive to produce a glossy magazine. So the magazine became a website that seeks to resource the simple/organic/house church movement.
Over the years, many people have asked us, “When are you going to bring out another issue of the magazine?”
We ran a Kickstarter campaign to gauge the interest, but fell $400 short of our $14,000 goal. What was God saying to us? The result is an online magazine. Check it out here.