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.

A Christian response to same-sex attraction

Sadly, we Christians are renowned for our negative attitudes.  According to David Kinnamen in his book, unChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity…and Why It Matters, we are thought of by ‘outsiders’ (ie those who are not involved in church) as firstly, antigay (91%), secondly, judgmental (87%), and thirdly, hypocritical (85%).  This is a tragedy!

As Christians, we cannot just bury our heads in the sand when it comes to the topic of same-sex attraction. This issue is here to stay, and we would do well to think it through. I’ve heard, “Love the sinner but hate the sin” many times, but I still wonder, how would Jesus react?

You may disagree with me, but when I was sent this video via Luke 10 over the weekend, I was moved and inspired. Jordan Bunch originally produced it for CenterPeace, an organization I had not heard of before. It is the most sensitive and best response I have yet seen.

What do you think?