Neil Cole likes to define the DNA of house/simple/organic church as:
Most of our simple/organic churches have the first two—we base what we do and teach on Biblical truth, and we have a depth of community based on family relationships that others envy. But many new churches, especially if they have formed by existing Christians coming together, may not have a missional emphasis. After all, in what they have known before, evangelism was often the job of the professional.
Roger Thoman, in his blog, talks about the stages of simple church development. As we "reboot" to Jesus, he infuses us with a passion to take the message of the Kingdom out into our communities.
We have come across an increasing number of situations where, after a period of adjustment to simple church life, Jesus leads people clearly into the harvest. For example, a network of churches in a city about an hour from our home had a men's prayer group that met in someone's home on a Monday night for several years. Last spring, however, the Lord clearly led them to change the location to the local Starbucks. The very first evening, one of the other customers became a Christian, and now, just over a year later, there are more than 50 people who have become believers because they changed venue.
A group focused inwards will eventually die. So what can you as a group do if you sense that your church is not reaching out?
- Pray that God changes your DNA. Many fear that reaching out will somehow interfere with the close fellowship they love. Will the group have to stop meeting together in order to accommodate new believers? As a natural family grows, we rejoice when our kids get married and have their own families. It's a normal part of life. The same is true here.
- Pray the Luke 10:2b virus (everyone set their alarm for 10:02 and beg/beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest).
- Ask God to show which group(s) of people he wants you involved with. God has a strategy for your area (Luke 10:1). Listen to God and do what he tells you.
- Make a list of the unbelievers you individually know and reach out to them in friendship. Maybe start a life transformation group that includes not-yet-believers.
- Choose to spend time in situations that bring you in contact with other people. Is there a natural group that fits your group's makeup. For example, if you have lots of young kids,could you involve in a mothers of preschoolers group. How about getting together at a coffeehouse rather than in homes?
Any other ideas? Any stories where people have seen a group change focus?