The topic of the church's readiness to deal with disaster, harvest, and hostility is an important matter that was recently blogged about. Indeed, are we ready? And are we ready in the "right" things? It is one thing to be ready personally on spiritual and practical levels, but it is quite another to be ready corporately as the church.
Several years ago, I had an unusual dream. Being a non-Charismatic skeptical person, I asked God to confirm it. He did several times. In the dream, the Lord said, “God is not satisfied with denominations, but is drawing out a remnant for himself that will accomplish his will.” And that we must “prepare for revival” in my region. My sense was that God asked us to put into place tangible expressions of relational, intentional, and missional unity. We must shift from simply awareness of each other to practical partnership.
Airports, computers, roadways, human brain cells, ecosystems, and many other things in the man-made and natural world are networked. Simple/house churches should be networked too. Spiritual water can only flow properly if the spiritual plumbing system has been set up! Consequently, simple/house churches will not be ready THEN for disaster, harvest, or hostility, until several things happen NOW ahead of time.
First, simple/house churches must trust, partner, and network together locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally NOW, so that coordination and cooperation can happen THEN, just like the early church (Acts 2:41-47, 5:12, 5:42, 20:20; Gal 1:18,19, 2:6-10; 3 John 1:3-8).
Second, simple/house churches must learn true hospitality toward strangers and the afflicted by providing for their needs and empowering them NOW, so we will know how to do it wisely THEN, just like the early church (Matt 25:31-46; Luke 10:30-37).
Third, simple/house churches must give generously and share money and material resources with each other NOW, so we will be able to efficiently funnel funds to the Body of Christ THEN, just like the early church (Acts 2:44-45; 1 Cor 9:1-14; 2 Cor 9:1-7; Philip 2:25, 4:15-16).
Fourth, simple/house churches must develop leadership hubs for connecting, training, and launching a new generation of local leaders of churches NOW, so we can facilitate spiritual growth in quality and in quantity THEN, just like the early church (Acts 20:17-38; 2 Tim 2:2; Tit 1:5-9).
Fifth, simple/house churches must identify, finance, and launch a new generation of travelling leaders who visit and equip entire networks of churches NOW, so we can strengthen and expand Kingdom frontiers THEN, just like the early church (Mark 3:13-15; Luke 10:1-10; Acts 10:1-48, 13:1-3, 15:36-41; 1 Cor 9:1-14; Eph 4:11-13; Tit 1:5; Philip 4:15-16; 3 John 1:3-8).
Sixth, simple/house churches must create high-tech and low-tech communication channels to effectively broadcast information about needs, opportunities, obstacles, and attacks NOW, so we can navigate future surprises and challenges THEN, just like the early church (Acts 15:22-30,36; Col 4:16; 2 Thes 2:15).
Seventh, simple/house churches must be open to the extraordinary power of God to speak to us, speak through us, heal the sick, deliver the demon-possessed, and even raise the dead NOW, so that we will be prepared and experienced vessels THEN, just like the early church (Acts 5:12, 9:36-42, 13:1-3, 19:11-12; 1 Cor 12:7-12; James 5:14-15).
And that's just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Otherwise, simple/house churches will be caught unawares, not knowing how to deal with disaster, hostility, or harvest. Let’s not miss the chance God gives us THEN! Let’s get ready NOW!
RAD ZDERO, author of LETTERS TO THE HOUSE CHURCH MOVEMENT and THE GLOBAL HOUSE CHURCH MOVEMENT
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4 replies on “Guest post from Rad Zdero: how house churches should prepare for disaster”
Rad, I really appreciate your insight. I have pondered these ideas for some time.
Here are some questions for anyone willing to respond. How do you see the simple/house churches in North America (particularly in Canada) moving forward in the direction Rad is suggesting?
It has been my experience that the first statement (trust, partner and network) has been a stumbling block for many who are involved in simple/house churches. How can this be overcome in practical terms?
Regarding hospitality it is an essential element to being the church. It is also something that needs to be better understood. Hospitality has to extend outside the gathering of the church and reach into our communities. How do you see the individual disciple as well as the gathering of believers intentionally promoting hospitality?
Being generous givers and good stewards is a must. One challenge our gathering has often found faced is a lack of focus in our giving. What would you suggest would be a best practice for giving in a simple/house church? Do you see giving in an individual, family (corporate) or network sense? How could this giving become more effective in terms of a simple/house church?
I like your concept of Hubs. This concept is something that needs to happen in order to see the multiplication of effective disciple makers. What is your understanding of a Hub? Who does it include? How does it function?
Your fifth statement is something I am still thinking about and not as sure I agree. The reason I am less sure of this statement is that it sounds very much like the establishment of a new denomination. This concept seems like it may develop a sense of exclusivity. How would you propose that something like this be established?
Regarding the use of new media and technology I could not agree with you more. One of the major obstacles to doing something like this is the unwillingness many simple/house churches have regarding the idea of being connected in any sense let alone online. I believe the potential for using the Internet is only limited by our imaginations and are willingness to go into uncharted territory. I know many house churches are using the technology but how could it be done more effectively?
Finally, regarding your seventh statement all I can say is Amen.
Obviously I have more questions than answers. I appreciate your willingness Rad to tackle these questions and look forward to further discussions.
Rob you said, ” Your fifth statement is something I am still thinking about and not as sure I agree. The reason I am less sure of this statement is that it sounds very much like the establishment of a new denomination. This concept seems like it may develop a sense of exclusivity. How would you propose that something like this be established? ”
I would suggest that as long as there divisions (denominations)this won’t occur with much purity.. it will appear a bit exclusive. I think you might have to start somewhere.. which, from what I’ve seen, Rad is attempting to do.. but the part to watch out for is that it isn’t a man-made thing. We need, as Rad said, to be “hearing”.. that is the issue.. that’s where the Life is.. Lots of good “man-thought-up-iedeas” out there.
There is one church.. no divisions in the real Body of Christ: only divisions between men and the things of man.
Concerning ministry in Canada. We have some very good friends that are doing home and college ministry in and around Montreal. Our friends are associated with Mission Montreal as a ministry of Impact Church http://impactchurch.ca/ . If you would like to contact the group, I would love to help you get networked. I believe that God is definitely at work and I believe that prayer is key in figuring out what the Lord is up to and joining him. If you are interested in networking with someone, this would be a good place to start. They have a facebook page as well. It is called Impact Church Montreal.
I couldn’t agree more with the above statement, “There is one church..no divisions in the real Body of Christ.”
Rad, thank you for a very thought-provoking post.
As some of you have mentioned, part of the problem is that many house churches have an aversion to any kind of organization, assuming it will lead to denominationalism. As a result, we are less than strategic in our thinking and effectiveness.
We have two options (maybe more) when it comes to developing these ideas. We can think and plan around structure/hierarchy, or we can work together relationally. I personally believe we will be stronger as we work together synergistically based on relationship. Working together structurally will lead to a denominational type of organization. Working together relationally will look more like building the walls of Jerusalem in the days of Nehemiah. Every person did their part. Nobody took the credit.
What does anyone else think? What would it look like for house/simple/organic churches to have a relationally based response in place for disaster relief or when there was huge opportunity for expanding the Kingdom? What would it look like if we joined together with our brothers and sisters in legacy churches to respond in such situations? Any ideas?