Multiplication tools: vision

The vision the individual members have for your group will determine the actions they take and your group's ultimate destination.

Destination
Photo credit: woodleywonderworks (Creative Commons)

Why are the people in your group meeting? 

Simple/organic church provides a more intimate community. This is great, and an important component of simple church, but if that is why people are meeting, community is what you will get.

Simple/organic church offers a more informal and relaxed atmosphere. But if that is the main reason you are meeting, it is what you will enjoy.

Simple/organic meetings are participatory, with the Holy Spirit setting the agenda. This is crucial, a vital component of what goes on, but it is in danger of stopping there unless there is a deliberate outward focus.

Unless your group has a vision for reaching out and touching the lives of those who don't yet know the Lord, you are unlikely to see the multiplication of new disciples and churches.

If you long to see the lives of those who don't yet know the Lord transformed by their coming into relationship with Jesus, then that vision needs to be set before people frequently. Everyone in your group needs to be excited by the prospect, otherwise they will resent the thought of change. As people buy into this vision, their actions and attitudes will change. It may take a little time, but it's worth putting the vision before people on a frequent and regular basis. It can be done in different ways: for example

  • An interactive Bible study on the Great Commission, or Luke 10, Matthew 10 etc.
  • Videos such as this one
  • Asking the Lord what he wants for your group

(This last one is crucial. Everyone in our simple/organic church bought into the vision of multiplication when we spent time seeking the Lord about his vision for our group and he showed more than 50% of us the same thing in different ways. You can read the story here. We frequently refer back to that vision and make sure that newcomers to the group hear about it. Whenever a potential new group starts, we remind people how this is a fulfilment of what the Lord showed us.)

Practical application: Ask everyone in your group to listen to the Lord with the question, "Jesus, what is your vision for our group?" Give everyone 20 minutes on their own to listen and then compare notes. See if a theme emerges. See if the Lord gives you a vision of an outward focus.

 

 

What is on God’s heart for your simple/organic church?

Orchard
Photo credit: pipnstuff (Creative Commons)

Simple/organic churches can be inward looking. But when we seek Jesus, making him the center of everything that goes on and we ask him what is on his heart, we may find things change…

A few months ago, our simple/organic church spent time learning to listen to God. Each week we did different activities to hone those skills. One week, our activity was for everyone to spend 15 minutes alone asking the Lord the question, "What would you say to us as a group?"

When we came back together again, more than 50% of the group had heard the same message. The word came in various different ways:

"It's time to be light in the darkness, to gain a vision for your city and your people."

"I had the story from Luke 14 where Jesus said to give a banquet inviting the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind."

"The Lord showed me the verse in Romans 10:17, that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God."

"John 15, that if we remain in him, we will bear much fruit, and that fruit is more disicples."

"Feed the hungry, but remain hungry for the Lord."

"Mark 16:15: we're to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every person. We're to have an impact wherever we are in our world."

Perhaps the clearest and the one that we have discussed on many occasions since then was a picture someone had of a small group of people next to a small fruit tree, which turned into a bigger group of people next to a bigger fruit tree, and finally many groups of people next to many fruit trees. The sense the person had was that if we listen to the Lord, a lot of fruit will come. As we follow his instructions, groups will multiply.

It's been interesting to watch what has happened to us since then. There are probably four new groups that are in the process of forming as people listen to the Lord and obey what he tells them to do, reaching out into the world around them.

What is God saying to your group? Have you asked him?

 

 

How big is your vision? (part 2)

Crowds
Photo credit: rightee (Creative Commons)

Vision is one of our greatest challenges here in the West. We think too small, and act accordingly. Our dreams are limited by what we believe we can accomplish. This post is the second part of a vision statement put out by an apostle from Asia who is constantly seeing things that amaze us. You can read the first part of his statement here.

Among all the issues and challenges, lack of vision is the greatest weakness. With all our small thinking, hiccups, resource crunch and other failures and hang-ups, is making 10 million new connections doable in three years? Just by mobilizing your disciples to catch one person per month and training them to do the same, can your disciples add 10 million to the Body of Christ in 3 years? Can we agree to this target for 2012-15?!!  

Is it possible to reach the whole world and bring them to faith in the Lord Jesus in this generation – the answer must be ‘Yes!’  Simply by being obedient to two of the commands of the Lord Jesus – Follow Me and Make Disciples!! 

What will it take for you to start this chain reaction and for it to go viral? 

Suggested thoughts:

  1. Debunk all existing myths surrounding the traditional church, even the house churches that are not multiplying.  Go for the flexible “Third Place Discipling Church” that happens wherever you spend 8 hours of the day. That way no one will have the excuse of being too busy. Focus on small group discipling as worship rather than on large group gathering and singing as worship.
  2.  Filter out all those who have excuses. Don’t waste time on them but invest time and resources only on those who are willing to invest their own time and resources. Most of the resources are in the harvest field. Regional training and apostolic visits are the only times you may need external resources.
  3. Opening of e-gates. Use mobile phones and the Internet which are now ubiquitous (five billion mobile phones in circulation worldwide; companies are planning to add another billion customers in 2012). Provide facilities for downloading Bibles in their language, God story and Christian music (Great Commission songs ). Send SMS to non-believers instead of sending wonderful gospel messages to well meaning but non-performing Christians. Use mobile phones not just for voice communication but for multi-tasking. Can be used for discipling, providing privacy and safety to both the mentor and the mentee.
  4. Focus on young people. All the disciples of Jesus and Paul were young people.
  5. Focus on women as they are relational and have access to closed doors in restricted communities.
  6. Focus on the supernatural rather than on a cognitive, academic, intellectual approach.
  7. Focus on “Church Planting Movement Planters (CPMPs)” rather than on evangelism.
  8. Focus on discipling rather than on preaching, where Christ has not been named.
  9. Focus on rapidity (instant baptism) rather than on stability (the same people gathering every Sunday).
  10. Be intentional in sparking a CPM (Church Planting Movement) but it must end out of human control. spontaneity (Holy Spirit driven).
  11. Focus on developing local leadership and passing the baton to them, but keep the connexion.
  12. Periodically monitor to see that the goals are being achieved and if necessary, do a course correction.
  13.  Measure your success not by buildings, bodies and budgets, not even by the missionary force on the field or graduates coming out of your Bible schools. Instead measure it by disciples made, baptized, equipped, sent, People Groups reached and territories possessed….until the kingdoms of this world have become the Kingdom of our Lord and his Christ.