John White explains why he broke down in tears…

John White has been a friend for many years. We first met in 2001 when he came to our home to hear Wolfgang Simson speak–near the beginning of the simple/organic/house church movement in this country. John now runs a community for followers of Jesus around the world who explore rhythms of  life that result in vibrant churches meeting outside the walls of the building (Lk10.com). John is not normally an emotional guy, but he broke down in tears at “The Future of the Church Summit.” In this blogpost from the Lk10 site, he explains why:

Future of the Church Summit

I just returned from Loveland, CO where I attended a Conference sponsored by Group Publishing with about 130 church leaders on “The Future of the Church”.  On the last day, I was part of a panel and was asked to share a bit about LK10.  Click on my picture below to hear what happened when I started to talk…

(By the way, make sure you see more information about Josh Packard’s research below my video.)

Josh Packard

Josh Packard

While there were many presenters at the Summit, the most important, by far was Josh Packard.  Josh is a sociologist who’s research has uncovered the fact that 65 million Americans (31% of the adult population) are what he calls the “Dones”.  These are people who were once part of a church. In fact, they were often leaders, the “best and the brightest” according to Josh, but they are now “done” with church as they have known it.  What’s more, these people, for the most part, aren’t going back.  I can’t tell you what a staggering statistic this is!

The picture that came to me was Morpheus talking to Neo in the movie “The Matix”.  (Although Josh is nothing like Morpheus!)  Morpheus:  Let me tell you why you are here.  You are here because you know something.  What you know you can’t explain.  But, you feel it.  You felt it your entire life. That there is something wrong with the world (or the church?).  You don’t know what it is but it’s there.  Like a splinter in your mind.

Click on the photo to watch this 5 minute clip of Morpheus talking to Neo.

 

 

For a long time, a great many people have had this “splinter in their mind” regarding church but they couldn’t explain it.  And, now Josh has pulled the cover back and exposed what is really going on.

Two ways to hear more of what Josh has uncovered…

  • 8 minute video describing the “Dones”  (“They are not “casual Christians” or occasional attendees.  Most were in some leadership position in their church.”
  • 90 minute video.  In depth interview with Josh Packard about the “Dones”.  (“Most of these people are not coming back.”)

Back to the Future

While the Dones are not going back to the institutional church no matter how much it is “tweaked”, most of them have not abandoned God.  In fact, some say that they have left “the church” to preserve their faith.  And, the kind of church they are interested in looks surprisingly like the church portrayed in the book of Acts.  Here are some of the characteristics of that church…

  1. All the churches in the Bible met in a home and functioned like a small spiritual family.  The current institutional church, by contrast, spends a great deal of energy and money getting and maintaining a church building.
  2. The churches in the Bible were simple.  We describe “simple church” as a way of being/doing church where any believer could say, “I could do that!”.  (“they were astonished that Peter and John were unschooled, ordinary men”  Acts 4:13)  The institutional church, by contrast, requires highly educated, highly school (seminary, etc) highly creative people to be successful.  (Think Rick Warren, for instance.)
  3. In the NT churches, everyone used their gifts.  In institutional church, only a few, highly gifted people (worship leaders, preachers, etc.) use their gifts.
  4. In NT church, Jesus brought the agenda for the meetings.  In institutional churches, a few, very smart people design the worship experiences.
  5. In the NT, churches were started in a few hours or a few days.  Institutional churches require a great deal of planning and resources and take months or years to start.

Next step?

Want to learn more about doing/being church outside the institutional church?  Check out a free four week course called Church 101.

 

Teamwork and house churches: Guest post by John White

I am hugely blessed  (and definitely humbled) whenever I hear that something I’ve written has made a difference in the life of another person. John White is a good friend. We’ve known him and his wife, Tamela, for almost 15 years. I have been watching what the Lord is doing through Lk10, the organization that he runs, with keen interest, and love the impact that it’s having on house churches around the world. It’s a privilege to partner with them in working for the Kingdom.  Here’s what John writes:

Teamwork in house church ministry
Over the last 15 years, I’ve watched as the Lord has used Felicity (and Tony) to introduce the concept of house church (church as a small intimate family of faith) to literally thousands of people around the world.  This has occurred through teaching at dozens of conferences and, perhaps even more broadly, through writing (books, blogs).  What an impact she has had for the Kingdom!
It’s been our privilege recently in the LK10 Community to team up with Felicity to provide follow-up for some of those she has initially touched.  Specifically, our mission at LK10 has two parts.  First, to provide ongoing “how to” training (see our Church 101 Course).  Second, to provide ongoing relational support and encouragement for house church leaders (see our Leader 101 Course).  (For more information about these two Courses, see our website at http://www.lk10.com/ )
Here are some recent examples of how Felicity’s ministry and LK10 compliment each other…
  • Liv in Norway.  “I found a link (to LK10) in Felicity Dale’s blog… (Writing to LK10)  We want to grow as a “house church”, but are not sure how.”
  • Marie in Australia.  (I found LK10) through Felicity Dale’s blog…  I love the way Father God’s timing is so perfect.  I am very pleased to be able to be involved in the LK10 community.  Thanks for your support!”  (Marie is just beginning Church 101.)
  • Bob and Barb in Germany.  “We “stumbled upon” LK10 while looking at the Dale’s website… When I found your website (LK10), I felt that a relationship with the Lk10 community could be very encouraging and beneficial to us. Barb and I look forward to taking the Church 101 course.”  Several months after the initial contact with Bob and Barb, they told their story here.  http://www.lk10.com/lk10-spreads-to-germany-and-uganda/
I am so grateful for the many ways we have been able to team up with Felicity (and Tony) over the last 15 years including the current way our ministries are meshing together.
johnwhite

Check out Lk10.com

Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 3.26.14 PM
One of the delights of being involved in the house church movement over the last 15 years are the many good friends we’ve made. One of those friends is John White who is a leader in the LK10 Community.  LK10 focuses on connecting and equipping house church leaders in the US and around the world.  Perhaps you’ve heard of some of the unique “tools” they have pioneered … the 10:2b Prayer… CO2 (Church of Two)…  Checking in with SASHET.
LK10 just launched a new website that spells out clearly how they work with leaders.  It would be worth your time to check it out. You may find that it offers just the support and training you need for the role God has called you to.  Here’s the location of the new site:  http://lk10.com/

 

When ideas go viral

John White loves to create practical ideas that go viral through story-telling. The Luke 10:2b prayer is just one example. It is going all around the world–in fact, just this morning I had an email from someone in India who is using it. I have no idea where he may have heard of it.

Another idea John helped to create is Lk10. This is a community of  practice for church planters  that revolves around rhythms that focus on what Jesus is doing as people start simple churches. We love what they represent.

Here is a video of John interviewing simple church network leader, Jim Mellon.

How to catch a virus

There’s a virus that going around the world. It’s a dangerous virus that could change your life. Unlike most other viruses, I hope you catch it.

This virus is the 10:2b virus. It comes from Luke 10 and verse 2.

These were his instructions to them: “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.

The 10:2b virus started when a couple of friends of ours, John White and Kenny Moore, were discussing one morning over breakfast how to find more church planters for their state. As they chatted, they remembered the verse in Luke 10 where Jesus commanded the disciples (both the 12 and the 72) to pray the Lord of the harvest to send out more laborers into the harvest. They decided to try it for a week–calling each other daily on the phone. The week extended into months and eventually years of prayer together on a daily basis.

The results were so life-changing in terms of the number of people starting churches in their state as a specific answer to this prayer, they knew it needed to spread.  And so the idea of the Luke 10:2b virus was born. As John and Kenny told their story everywhere, others joined them, praying in pairs daily over the phone that the Lord of the harvest would thrust out more laborers into the harvest. Many people set the alarm on their phone for 10:02 am or pm to remind them to pray.

Luke 10:2 comes from Jesus teaching to his disciples on how to reach out to others. Luke 10 is a foundational passage for disciple-making and church planting movements around the world.

  • According to Jesus, the problem isn’t the harvest.   In another place, Jesus says to the disciples, “You say there are still 4 months left until harvest, but I tell you, the harvest is ready now” (paraphrase of John 4:35).  We give God excuses as to why the harvest isn’t ready–”My area is too hard, no one is interested,”  As soon as I finish this, (think of an excuse) I’ll go out and find a ripe field.”  But the Lord of the harvest says, “Now’s the time!”
  • The real problem is too few workers.  But hold on.  Jesus had 72+12= 84 workers.  That’s 42 pairs of people who were going out into the harvest.  Surely that’s enough!  If we had that number of committed church planting teams here in our area, we’d be thrilled.  But according to Jesus, that’s inadequate for the task.  It reminds me of the old story.  How do you get a herd of cows to produce more milk?  Do you feed them better food, give them extra vitamins, play them soothing music in their stalls?  That might help a little (well the food and vitamins, anyway).  No, the best way to significantly increase milk production is to add more cows to your herd!  It’s a bit like this here.  It’s easier to see more harvest by increasing the number of workers than by trying to persuade the existing ones to work harder or smarter.  
  • Jesus’ solution to the problem is this:  Pray the Lord of the harvest to send out more workers into the harvest.  We are to pray (beseech, beg) the Lord to send out more workers.  The Greek word used her for “send out” is ekballo which has an element of violence in it.  It’s the word used for casting out a demon. This is not a quiet, gentle prayer. It’s a violent, take it by force prayer.

We won’t see a disciple-making movement without a prayer movement.  

fireworks

Photo credit: Christophe Pasqual (Creative Commons)

A way to deeper fellowship–SASHET

Last Friday, everyone (no one was left out) in the church that meets in our home shared what is going on in their lives–not a casual, all is well with a bright and false smile, but an in-depth genuine sharing from the heart. To accomplish this, we used a tool that we’ve employed a number of times before that we were taught by John White from Lk10.com. It’s a brilliant tool to aid sharing in deep fellowship.

SASHET is an acronym for Sad, Angry, Scared, Happy, Excited and Tender. Many people have difficulty expressing how they are feeling, and this simple acronym facilitates identifying and expressing emotion. Each person chooses one or more of the words that most closely expresses how they are feeling and explains the reasons why. It’s a checking in process. So a person might say, “I’m checking in as scared and excited because…” Often we’ll stop and pray if someone shares a deep need, or we might break off to praise for something someone is happy or excited about. At the end, they’ll say, “And I’m in…” meaning they are fully present in whatever is going on. Everyone takes part because you go around the room.

We’ve had some of our deepest fellowship times using SASHET. Some groups use it every week. Our group doesn’t have any difficulty sharing and so we don’t personally do that.

Has anyone else used SASHET? What was  your experience?

 

Photo Credit: Life Mental Health via Compfight cc