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.
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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.

Video: Felicity Dale on the house church movement

Several years ago, I wrote a book called An Army of Ordinary People: Stories of Real-Life Men and Women Simply Being the Church. I recently rediscovered a video where I talk about how I came to write the book and I answer questions about the simple/organic/ house church movement. Enjoy…

 

Q&A with Felicity Dale from simplechurch.com on Vimeo.

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

 

Were there women among the “seventy”?

I’ve recently become fascinated by the life of a woman I call Mrs. Zebedee, mother of James and John, wife of a fisherman from Galilee.

 

Photo Credit: Hindrik S via Compfight cc

This is what Matthew’s gospel says about Mrs Zebedee on the day of Jesus’ crucifixion:

And many women who had come from Galilee with Jesus to care for him were watching from a distance.  Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary (the mother of James and Joseph), and the mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee. (Matthew 27:55-56)

When did Mrs. Zebedee join Jesus’ group? When he left Galilee for Jerusalem.

The first part of Luke 9 clearly takes place in Galilee. Then Luke 9:51-53 says this: As the time drew near for him to ascend to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. He sent messengers ahead to a Samaritan village to prepare for his arrival.  But the people of the village did not welcome Jesus because he was on his way to Jerusalem.

This passage obviously refers to Jesus’ final trip to Jerusalem. If we marry these two verses, it sounds to me as though Mrs. Zebedee was with Jesus from this point onwards.

The remainder of Luke 9 is the passage where Jesus talks about the cost of discipleship. Luke 10 then goes straight into the story of sending out the seventy or seventy-two “other disciples.”  It’s hard to know if the rest of Luke’s gospel is in chronological order, but the end of Luke 9 and the first part of Luke 10 are clearly linked in time.

There’s no way to prove it, but it seems likely that Mrs. Zebedee and the other women were among the seventy that Jesus sent out to all the places where he planned to visit. They went out two by two, praying for the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into the harvest. They put into practice the teaching about the “person of peace.” healing the sick and telling the good news of the Kingdom. They reported back to Jesus how even demons were subject to his name. And Jesus told them too that they had authority over all the power of the enemy.

And Jesus was filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit, thanking God for revealing truths to the childlike (Luke 10:21).

 

If I were a missionary…

Globe
Photo Credit: rogiro (Creative Commons)

Some people might say that Tony and I are already missionaries.  Firstly, we have crossed cultures from the UK to the USA. (I sometimes wonder why here to the affluent West which is already so heavily Christianized when we would have willingly gone to any country in the world.)  And secondly, we are missionaries in the sense that all of us are. John 20:21 says, "As the Father sent me so am I sending you." The word missionary simply means "one who is sent."

We have the privilege and opportunity of traveling to many countries around the world. Wherever we go, we train local people how to reach out to their own spheres of influence, making disciples and starting churches. We don't mind how small the group is; all we are looking for is the one or two who are "John Knoxers" for their area. (John Knox is famous for praying, "Give me Scotland or I die!") These people take what we say and translate it into their own context, sometimes with results that far surpass anything we could have imagined.

But supposing we were called to leave the West to live and work in another culture?

Here's what I would do–hopefully being led by the Lord. In this scenario, language study is happening, finances are taken care of, either by support from home or through a business venture in the new country.

  • Pray! I remember a story Dr. Yonggi Cho told of starting a church in Japan. He sent what he described as "a mediocre Korean woman." She spent 40 days in prayer and fasting, and followed this by riding the elevator up and down in an apartment building, talking to the residents and helping them where she could. Within a short time, she had started a church with, if I remember the facts right, two hundred people–very successful for that nation.
  • Work with local people. It doesn't matter how well we speak the language and understand the customs, we'll always be outsiders. We may become trusted and accepted in time, but it takes insiders reaching out to their friends to see a viral spread of the Gospel. We'd train local people in Luke 10 principles, giving them the skills needed to make disciples and start churches in ways that can be multiplied. A good example is Guy Muse who works in Ecuador.
  • Help the poor and disadvantaged. This one would be very much as led by the Lord–I don't see it as essential, merely helpful in many contexts, especially in the Third World. I think of a couple of examples: Michele Perry, a good friend of ours, works with orphans in Southern Sudan. She takes them off the streets, giving them a home. Some of them go with her when she takes the Gospel to other villages. She has amazing stories of what God is doing. Another friend is working in a war-torn area of Russia with people who have been severely traumatized by the fighting. She brings them to her center, sees them healed, trains them and sends them out to plant churches.

What else would you do?

Why is food important when it comes to church planting?

Meal
Photo credit: CarbonNYC (Creative Commons)

A post about food seems appropriate after the amount I've eaten over the past two days!

Food is very important in the context of seeing multiplying churches. Luke 10 is our signature passage on how to reach out to those who don't yet know the Lord. It tells us that we are to look for people of peace–those who have influence and are open to our message. We can identify them because they offer us hospitality.

Luke 10:7-8 says this about the person of peace:

Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house. When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is set before you. 

What is the importance of food?  Why is it important to eat what is set before you?

Food creates relationship–in every culture of the world.  If someone offers you food, they are generally offering friendship and relationship.  

There are very few times when the same concept is mentioned in two consecutive verses in the New Testament. This is one of them.  It's not just an optional extra.

If you reject food, you are doing far more than saying you don't want to eat.  You are rejecting friendship.  There have been times when I would have preferred to refuse food.  (You try eating a hamburger you have just watched a cockroach walk over!)  If you want to see disciples made in the harvest, swallow your squeamishness and eat what is set before you!