Church planting Simple Church

Ways to see more harvest: 6 core skills

Laughing fish I am no fisherman (in the natural, that is)! On the few occasions when I have tried fishing, I have never caught anything. In fact, I vividly remember one occasion when Tony and I were taken fishing by some friends on a shrimping boat in Canada. It was a spectacular setting, mountains in the background, and a beautiful sunset, and the fish were biting. Our companions on the boat were reeling in the fish one after another, but neither Tony nor I caught a single one! I think the fish were laughing at us!

The problem? I lack the core skills. I have never been taught how to fish.

One of the problems that many people face when leaving the "legacy" church and involving in simple/organic church is that they have not been trained in some of the core skills needed when reaching out to others. In the past these things have often been left to the "professional." So what are some of these core skills?

  1. The ability to tell a variety of stories appropriate to any situation without using "Christianese."
  2. The recognition of a person of peace.
  3. Being able to naturally introduce spiritual topics into a conversation.
  4. Having the confidence/faith to pray for somebody and if God doesn't show up, we look stupid!
  5. Knowing how to pray for healing, inner healing, deliverance etc.
  6.  Recognizing a "ripe" harvest field.

Any other ideas? Are there any of these you would like us to discuss further?

15 replies on “Ways to see more harvest: 6 core skills”

Felicity, This is such an important post!
These are what business people might call ‘core competencies’ –
the very basic skills, without which we will see hardly any fruit.
If these were actually being taught in churches, the country
would be turned upside down. I’d vote for a treatment of #6,
as well as exploring what type of stories you mean in #1.

By number 1, I imagine you mean telling the stories of scripture, but in a natural conversational way.
Actually if I were to put this list in chronological order it would be.
1.Be able to naturally introduce spiritual topics into a conversation.
2.Be able to tell a variety of stories appropriate to any situation without using “Christianese.”
3.Be able to spot a person of peace.
4.Be able to pray for people in a way that expects an answer from God, and know how to pray. (I combined these)
5.Recognizing whether or not the field is ripe.

Thanks for sharing all this! Your points here are right from my heart.
What I would like to add here is that there is a wonderful training available in personal witnessing that helps very effectively in most of your points. Especially in how to introduce spiritual topics in a natural way and how to tell appropriate stories. I have been working with the complete renewed version of Evangelism Explosion (called “XEE) that gives christians exactly those tools they need to share Jesus and to lead others to Him. http://www.xeeinfo@com. What I have found that training christians in EE is much easier and natural in simple housechurches than it is in traditional churches, for in the housechurch movement we don’t look at it as a program or method. Now it becomes much more natural. It gives christians the tool to fulfill the A (apostolic mission) in the DNA in organic churchlife. Last year over 200.000 christian were equipped and became local missionaries in their own town and neighborhoods.

I thought about that Felicity. I was going back through the Luke 10 passage in my mind and I thought about the shake the dust passage. I had interpreted that as being the recognition of whether or not the field was ripe unto harvest, so I put it last.

I, myself, really appreciate hearing more of your thoughts on these topics, Felicity. THANKS!
From my limited experience, I find that people LONG for a transparent person talking with them (v.s talking “at” or “to” them); they can tell when someone really cares and values what they have to say. For me, compassion is paramount, along with remembering to truly listen (vs trying to “fix” others)and hear their heart as they share. LEARNING TO LISTEN WELL is something I am continually learning to practice and grow in.
Something comes to mind I heard Danny Daniels say once at a Vineyard conference, something to the effect, “you don’t have to tell a crooked stick it’s crooked, you just lay a straight stick next to it.”
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on all these topics, Felicity! Love to you!

This may not be a core competency; maybe more of a prerequisite. But the first thing Jesus did was pair up the disciples. In leading our small group ministry in a legacy church, we emphasized that there be a leader and at least one apprentice, who would be preparing to lead groups. We left it up to the folks to pair up. It was very difficult because, I think, the relationships in our church were so shallow that we couldn’t even do that much, let alone try to practice the one another verses. Such is the weakness of the culture in many of our churches. Obeying John 13:34-35 is a dream, I’m afraid.

Interesting comments. I wonder if that’s why Jesus did the pairing? In other places, the disciples are listed in pairs too, eg Matthew 10:2-5.
Have you found that relationships have deepened within the small groups?

No. Actually just the opposite. Kind of a long story, but our elders and one of our pastors didn’t buy into the small group concept and when the senior pastor who did left, the whole thing fell apart. The groups we still have have reverted to mere information transfer and not on relationship building or reaching into the community. We have a new pastor now, however, who is into that model of small groups and we’ll be relaunching this fall. Some resistance is expected. My wife and I also plan on a prayer/home group apart from this in which we hope to apply simple church principles to set an example and hopefully find some persons of peace to help advance the Kingdom.

Dan, my impression is that unless small group is part of the DNA of a legacy church, it is hard to persuade people to make it a matter of priority. Will take a real work of the Holy Spirit. I pray your new pastor has great wisdom.
We know people who have done what you and your wife are planning, and when the stories were told back in the church (of people becoming Christians and groups starting in the harvest) it really helped the legacy church to turn outwards.

Thanks Felicity for the encouragement. And you’re right about the DNA. One book the pastor and I have read together is Activate by Nelson Searcy and in that he suggests focusing your small group ministry completely on new people and trusting God to bring along the “old guard.” So that’s what is going to happen, I think/hope. And with my wife and I, we’re of the mindset to almost discourage legacy members from being in our prayer/home group so they don’t “infect/innoculate” the not-yet-Christians or unchurched who come. I covet your prayers. We’ll see what happens. Maybe we can be a chapter in your next book. 😉

Dan, we have actively discouraged existing Christians from being part of groups with not-yet or brand-new Christians. We find they tend to know all the answers, and unless they’ve been trained to stay really quiet, can be a hindrance. We had one church of very new Christians in their early 20s that disintegrated while we were away on a mission trip because a youth pastor came along and felt they needed teaching, and proceeded to take over.
But we have also trained existing Christians to be in-the-background mentors for a new group. We took a couple who had been Christians for a long time to a church that we started with new agers, and after we left, they did not lead the group but provided a solid and safe foundation for what went on. They moved away about 3 years ago and the group continues to go on well.

Republicains serve money.
Republicains serve money for thier own gready intrests and for the ‘special intrests’ who give to them. Thier silos are bursting with illgoten, immoral wealth.
“You can not serve two Masters.” Republicains have chosen thiers – $$$$$.
Republicains like Jesus said: “These people honor God with thier lips, not with thier hearts.” “Thus in vain do the masses worship God, teaching not the will/doctrins of God, but thier own man-made doctrins.”
Conservitives and right-wingers aquiring the money which they prize, they will spend stollen from another, not giving to those who trully own it and deserve it, thier fondness/gread for money which they have made thier master, makes them unwilling to pay taxes, (with money they have plundered from the 90% who deserve it). They have received their reward, and as Jesus said in : 10 Maidians; Lazareth the Beggar; Etc thier punishment will come. God is the same now, from the beginning and forever. They don’t like what Jesus taught in : 10 Maidians; Lazareth the Beggar; Etc. because as God said: “an evil tree brings forth evil fruit. Right-wingers have had thier reward, and thier punishment will come. Read : 10 Maidians; ETC. ETC. ETC.
Read: 10 Maidians; Lazareth the Beggar; Sermon on Mount; for whom to through a feast; what Jesus told man who asked what he must do to be saved; Etc. Etc. Etc.
“Thus in vain do the masses(right-wingers) worship God….” “These people (right-wingers) worship God with their lips….”

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