A few days ago I posted 6 trends that I see developing and that we will see more of in 2011. The final one of these is a healthier DNA–more of an outward focus in making new disciples.
Both mega- and micro-churches are currently growing mainly at the expense of the mid-sized community churches. I used to argue with God: wouldn't it be much better if we grew slower, but with primarily new disciples, so that what is going on naturally had a DNA that was missional. Finally I had to admit that God can do what he chooses, and I have no doubt that this is a move of his Spirit.
The simple/organic/house church movement is changing the face of the American church, and I believe there is no going back on those changes. However, I fear that we will become less relevant if we do not develop and maintain an outward focus.
Many people who have come from a traditional church background need to go through an important time of transition, of learning how a simpler Christianity functions. I don't believe God would want to multiply us in the early stages of this transition process if we have a negative attitude towards the legacy churches we have come from. But as we change, and become forward looking, it is essential that our focus turns to the world for whom Christ died. If not, God will raise up another movement that has his heartbeat for the lost.
There are many stories now of where simple churches have changed their emphasis to focus more on the harvest. In the next post I will look at some of the things an inward looking group can do to change their DNA.
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6 replies on “Why it’s important for a simple/organic/house church to develop an outward focus”
This is a VERY important thread. Thank you for starting it.
Thanks, Felicity! I’ll look forward to reading that. 🙂
Hear hear, Jose! Every simple church gathering I’ve either been part of or visited, the temptation was to enjoy each other’s company, and bringing people to faith in Christ was ignored. We need to discipline ourselves to think beyond ourselves, first on Jesus, then on those who need Jesus.
I just finished reading again about Patrick of Ireland in “The Celtic Way of Evangelism” by George G. Hunter III. One of the things that stands out about the Celtic Christians was the way they were both quieter and introspective in their faith but at the same time outward looking and on mission. One of the keys, I think, was that they saw the discipleship process beginning prior to conversion. I’ve reviewed the book on my blog — snortinghorses.blogspot.com.
Dan, I’m very interested by your comment about seeing the discipleship process beginning prior to conversion. Floyd McClung puts the question in his book “Follow”: Do we convert in order to disciple, or do we disciple in order to convert? Now obviously there is a growth process after conversion, but the person is already a disciple, so it may just be a matter of terminology, but I suspect there may be more to it than that. It would somehow raise the bar on what it means for a person to become a Christian. We make disciples, and Jesus builds his church.
i like to read your posts. thanks for this one.