Photo by TMAB2003 (Creative Commons)
Many of us within the simple/organic church movement are so scared of organization and denominationalism that we have failed to work together to take financial responsibility for those from our midst who, according to Scripture, "deserve their wages." As a result, some of these people are either unable to put much of their time into Kingdom work, are being supported by outside organizations or their spouses, or are suffering through great financial hardship.
We need more full-time people in the Kingdom, not less. Those with an apostolic call of God on their lives will do the work of the Kingdom anyway, whether or not they receive financial reward, but how much more effective could they be if they weren't worried about money? I'm not talking about local leaders here. I'm talking about those who travel to train and equip others around the nation or the world.
- Example: Neil Cole and the CMA team of Greenhouse trainers have trained more than 40,000 leaders around the world in the principles of organic church. This has been profoundly effective. We need more people like Neil released to equip the body.
- Example: In the UK, Pete and Marsha Farmer are strategically reaching out to every region of the country, training and equipping people to make disciples and start churches. We need more people like Pete and Marsha.
- Example: we had dinner last night with a man from Bhutan, thrown out of his country because he openly shared his faith, now traveling the Himalayas providing training schools for other refugees on how to multiply churches. We need more people like him.
We (as a movement) should be sending out people who have a call on their lives to work with unreached people groups around the world. Think of the effectiveness of movements like the Moravians. Together, we could do it.
It's time for us to grow up and take responsibility.
(If you would like some ideas of those who need financial support, let me know.)
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9 replies on “It’s time for the house church movement to grow up!”
There certainly is a place for financially assisting those who are engaged in mission work where employment is not readly available or for those in itinerant ministry that involves a lot of travelling. That is a far cry from paying someone to administer religious rituals on a weekly basis. Perhaps a good rule of thumb is that we should financially support sending, not staying?
Ultimately we should be focused on sharing financially with any and every Christian in need, regardless of how they function in the church.
I am in total agreement with the movement taking care of the financial needs of those who have been commissioned to go and have accepted that call upon their lives. It is another of the examples given us in the book of Acts.
My experience of going within my country began when my business failed and I could not find employment. As a member of a small Prayer group that evolved into a Church, I found myself more and more involved in communities and with people who had a genuine desire to know God but hated what they saw in the traditional structure of Church. So I have been actively planting churches around my country, I have no form of income but often have persons with whom I encourage to meet say to me that God told them to bless me.
My point is that I have learnt to live with very little and be content because I know this is what God has called me to but sometimes it gets hard making ends meet. I have allot of prayer support from the Home Church leadership I’ve submitted too but they haven’t been able to go beyond that. God is faithful and I would not stop what I do because I have no income however I feel that we need to look at the book of Acts again and to see that there are many like myself willing to go out planting and supporting House/Organic Church and we should as a movement play a greater role in the financial provision of such persons.
The Harvest is indeed ripe and many, many persons are open to having a Church within their home or their office or as in one instance I started a Church that meets at a restaurant in the city every Monday from 12:00pm. We have to grow up!
This is very similar to the way Watchman Nee talks about financial stuff in The Normal Christin Church Life, and I agree, it is the whole church’s responsibility to make these things available to those traveling to do apostolic work.
Not that they should demand or require payment or travel needs met, but if we are truly spiritual we will see the need and act accordingly.
The worker deserves his or her wages, and it would be great to have as many full-time workers as possible, as long as their time are investing their time in the right things.
The rut we are stuck in today today is that the full-time workers we have are serving in inefficient churches that are not making the best use of their abilities.
In organic church, one full-time person working in an apostolic role has the potential of serving numerous highly-efficient multiplying churches. In traditional churches it is the opposite. We see numerous full-time workers stuck serving in a single non-multiplying inefficient church.
Thus, the issue is not one of whether it is wrong to support full-time workers. The question is, are those full-time workers investing their time and resources in work that will bear much fruit and multiply? If they are proving themselves and fruit is abounding, support them!
We brag about a house-church having no expenses and therefore many resorces for the Kingdom of God but we are miserly. Ifthe Old Testament required a minimum of 10% how much more should we who no the grace of God and have been set free from sin and death give,… I would expect us to give much more than the Old Testament required. OurFilipino Church planterslive on $120.00 a month an we can’t find people willing to give to their support even though most of them plant 15 to 30 churches a year. Most House churches in the USA could easily support two or three of these faithfull workers,..
Great comments everyone!
Earline, I’d love to hear more of your story.
Carl, check out my post http://bit.ly/oL3nu0. Having said that, I totally agree with you that we could accomplish so much more by working with local church planters. The problem is when Western money isn’t used wisely. In the long term, in the wrong hands it can be a hindrance to church multiplication.
Beginning with Central Kentucky, we are prayerfully looking to see disciples made and simple churches planted throughout our state and beyond. My family and I are trusting in the Lords provision as we move forward…
P.S. Thanks Felicity for this great blog! We really enjoyed our time with you down in Florida and continue chew on all we discussed!
Gavin, keep us in touch with how things go!
I know of a church planter in Bangladesh who has started a house church movement of 550 churches, 4700 believers. They, and another network which together make up about 1100 churches need about 1500 Bibles. They are dealing with Mus1im background believers, many of whom are very poor. Does anyone know a way to connect house churches who want to give to missions to people doing this kind of work?