Prior to the World House Church Summit in India, a much smaller group came together to go through the training that the Indian church planters use. It is interesting that similar training, from many different sources, is being used all over the world. The Holy Spirit is giving the same principles to those who are seeking him about reaching out to transform society with the Good News.
I took extensive notes during that time, and hope that what was covered will prove useful to others.
Victor: Making Disciples
It is the business of a bride to produce babies. If she is not able to have babies, then she is investigated by a doctor. Similarly, a church has to multiply to show she is alive!
Two disciples of John spent time with Jesus. From that time on they made disciples–for example, Andrew brought Peter to Jesus. The very first house church was planted in Jesus' house. It lasted one day. There was no singing, no pulpit, no pastor. The message was about making disciples which is the primary function of the church.
God is glorified when we bring much fruit, and that fruit is disciples. To be a discipler, you have to make disciples. If you want to glorify God, make disciples!
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7 replies on “Teachings from India (part 1)”
Good principles – I’m looking forward to Parts 2 and on!
Felicity, These are the same things that the Holy Spirit has been impressing on my over the past year.
Thanks for passing this on.
You and I have had this discussion before but I thought I would write this so others can join in. Thanks for your patience with my perspective! 🙂
Using the metaphor of marriage and having children is a great place to start in thinking about planting churches. This leads us to a key question: Are children (churches) the goal or the natural by-product of marriage?
In the great majority of marriages I’m familiar with, the husband and his bride don’t generally say to each other, “Well, I guess we better get on with this business of having children so I suppose we will have to engage in sex tonight.”
Isn’t it more like what we find in the Song of Songs? (from The Message): “Kiss me – full on the mouth! Yes! For your love is better than wine (1:2)… Take me away with you! Let’s run off together! (1:4) All I want is to sit in his shade, to taste and savor his delicious love. (2:3) The sweet, fragrant curves of your body, the soft, spiced contours of your flesh invite me and I come (4:6) The fire of love stops at nothing – it sweeps everything before it. (8:6)” Isn’t that the way a marriage is supposed to be? And, don’t children naturally result from this kind of passion in most cases?
So, what if a marriage isn’t producing children? In some situations there may be some sort of problem which requires medical attention. A much more frequent solution is finding a way to restore romance and passion to the relationship. (Telling the bride that it is her “business” to produce babies won’t motivate most women I know to have sex.)
Roland Allen expressed a similar view in 1927: “This then is what I mean by spontaneous expansion. I mean the expansion which follows the unexhorted and unorganized activity of individual members of the Church explaining to others the Gospel which they have found for themselves: I mean the expansion which follows the irresistible attraction of the Christian Church for men who see its ordered life, and are drawn to it by desire to discover the secret of a life which they instinctively desire to share; I mean also the expansions of the church by the addition of new churches. I know not how it may appear to others, but to me this unexhorted, unorganized spontaneous expansion has a charm far beyond that of our modern highly organized missions.” (“The Spontaneous Expansion of the Church”, p. 7)
Notice the descriptive words that Allen uses: spontaneous, unexhorted, unorganized, irresistible, instinctive, charm.
Hasn’t the American church been making mission (evangelism, church planting, etc.) into a “business” or obligation (see church growth theory) for many years? Perhaps a better solution is to talk about how spontaneity and romance might be restored?
I’m guessing that from an Indian cultural perspective (remember, I’m quoting Victor), marriages are pre-arranged and very much with having children in mind.
Many people in the West have an intimacy with the Lord (which is essential) but without any fruit in terms of seeing others find the Lord. I have to ask myself why this is so. Surely, a closeness to the Father should lead to others coming to know Him.
My observation from around the world is that without some kind of missional intentionality, we merely give lip service to reaching out to others. On the other hand, in places where people live and breathe the Great Commission as an indispensible part of their relationship with Him, and an integral part of discipleship, they have to rely on their relationship with the Lord to lead them.
John, your premise has me wondering. God definitely uses marriage as a metaphor of our relationship with him. I can’t think of it being used for church planting. It seems to me to be a completely different class of activity.
I really love to read your insights and teachings from India. Maybe I’ll take a try to translate them into German and post them on my blog. Would it be possible to put them all into a categorie “India” for example? Then it would be handy to give this category link to others.
They are now categorized as “teachings from India.” Hope this helps.