Jesus said he would give to those he called ‘my church’, ‘the keys of the kingdom.’ (Matt 16:18-19) Today those keys are in the hands of multiplying missional groups – simple churches, house churches, established churches, café churches, workplace churches, etc – gatherings of people whose lives are defined by Jesus Christ, sharing faith ‘on the pathways of life’!
Since the first Church Planting News (in Dec 2000) the purpose of this newsletter has been to provide stories to encourage and inspire a movement of church planters! Check out these stories.
CHURCH PLANTING NEWS – 30 May 09 (check out www.newchurchlife.com)
Relational Outreach – plants Simple Church in Beverley and York: Terry and Glenda attended last year’s Church Planting Summit in Western Australia – and came again this year with two other couples. Beverly, where they live, has the oldest demographic in the State – and Terry and Glenda are retired. They built friendships, Terry joined the men of the community in establishing a Men’s Shed – and, at Christmas time, invited people in the community to a BBQ. ‘About 50 attended,’ Terry said, ‘Some wanting to know what a vegetarian BBQ without alcohol would look like! Those who didn’t come have heard the good reports – and they are keen for a Xmas-in-July’. Recently a games evening was conducted – and in the future there will be a time of Bible reading before the games night. Two ‘simple church’ groups have now formed – one in Beverly and another in York; and a third is being planned.
Baptism @ Simple Church: ‘Mariana had recently been baptized when she invited her friend NaLynn to begin attending Simple Church,’ Milton Adams reports in his Simple Church Occasional newsletter. ‘After attending for about 6 months and completing Voice of Prophecy’s new Bible studies for kids (Kid Zone), NaLynn was baptized.’ Check out the new web-page www.SimpleChurchAtHome.com .
SKIDZ Alive attracts Kids: SKIDZ Alive is a monthly kid’s church at Living Waters Community Church – conducted by teens. On Saturday May 16 ‘the snake man’ (with live reptiles and Australian animals) spoke to the enthusiastic kids about Creation. ‘We did some records,’ says Brian Boyland – chaplain at Gilson College and coordinator of the team. ‘We had a record 65 kids.’
Café 7 reaches people who would not ‘go to church’! As well as operating as a full commercial café, Café 7 provides opportunities for friends from the community to connect with God. 25-35 mostly unchurched people now attend a weekly discussion and ‘worship’ opportunity – in the relaxed environment of their local café. ‘Café 7 is reaching and contacting people the church normally doesn’t reach,’ says Phil Brown – State Coordinator for church planting.
Planning to Multiply – ‘each team to bring another team’! Plans are already in place for the 2010 Church Planting Summit in Western Australia. Having just conducted another summit with 50 planters – leaders Glenn Townend and Phil Brown have sent out the message: ‘We invite all church plants to each bring a new team of at least four people in 2010, to equip them to plant – to multiple your present plant with another missional group or plant!’
Garage Church Plant – ‘found’ in Perth: Church pastor and planter, Steve Goods, visited a Sudanese family whose children attend the school where the LINC plant meets for fellowship. ‘Roger and his family became Adventist Christians back in Sudan – and came to Australian as refugees,’ says Steve. ‘Roger showed me his shed – set up with about 20 chairs. He and a friend run a worship service each Friday and Saturday night. He has about 20 adults, plus children, turn up. They worship, sing and pray; Roger preaches and then the friend teaches some English – followed by more preaching, for about an hour and half.’ (It is great for a planter to just find a new church plant! Keeps your eyes open for the activity of the Holy Spirit!)
New Group Planted in the ‘Goldfields’: A new missional group is growing in Boulder – the sister city of Kalgoolie, in the goldfields of Western Australia. ‘Albert and Gena prayed about where they should start a new small group,’ says Stevce McGuire. ‘They talked with Emily, an indigenous Christian about the idea of a group in Boulder. Emily was excited and offered to open her home. Nine people accepted the invitation to come for Bible reading – and others are showing a keen interest.’
STEP goes camping! STEP is a Canberra (Australian) based group – families who invite community families to join them on regular camping trips, usually 1-2 hours from the city. ‘On the camps we function as a community,’ says facilitator John McLean. ‘We share meals, engage in deep prayer, share bible activities with the children – as well the physical things, hill and rock-climbing, etc.’ Those non-church families that have been on a camp are all eager to come again. ‘Camping gets people into a really positive environment and gives excellent opportunities to share the gospel in a personal way,’ John says.
Mini-Planting Movement in Perth! John Horvath is passionate about sharing the gospel and gathering people into fellowships. His State leader, Glenn Townend, describes John as one who ‘blazes the trail through the forest – leaving others to form the roads.’ In 2006 I was in Western Australia to help equip new planting teams – and John brought a team from Kondoolah, a culturally diverse suburb. Out of this grew All Nations – a church plant composed of Africans, Karen, indigenous Australians and others. This quickly grew to 80-90 people attending. By 2008 John had another team with him, and they have now planted a church group in Queens Park – with 35-50, mostly Africans, worshipping and sharing faith. This year, another team (Karen people) reported that they were multiplying out of All Nations to plant a new church in Maddington. John reports that they expect to plant an ‘indigenous church’ in Belmont this year. If each plant brings another team for training next year, John will have at least 8-9 teams at the Church Planting Summit in 2010! (Note: Glenn & Phil, when we floated this idea of ‘each team to bring another team’ – we said you may need a bigger venue!!!)
Resources, websites & equipping
Planting Churches that Multiply! is an equipping opportunity that Revive plant and I will facilitate over the weekend of August 7-9. All who register will receive a guide to facilitate preparation for this training. We encourage all to attend in teams – and, this is an ideal opportunity for pastors to encourage members to expand the witness of their churches. The teaching and dialogue will facilitate a range of models – simple church, café church, structured church, etc. For more details of costs, ‘conversation guide’ (to be studied before), and schedule write to me at [email protected].
HOUSE CHURCH training will be offered at the LIFE Renewal Weekend – July 3-5 @ Carmel College (in Western Australia): This is the premier ministry skill based training weekend – covering a range of areas (spirituality and leadership, faith sharing and mentoring). Contact Phil Brown [email protected].
FORGE Reshaping your Spirit for Mission – July 10 & 11 @ Northern Community, Preston (Melbourne, Australia): Take this opportunity to engage with Alan & Deb Hirsch (exploring missional discipleship) – and Michael & Ruby Duncan (of ‘Alongsiders’). Download a registration form: Event Registration (These 2 days are part of an even larger training weekend. Click here for info on the full 4 Day Intensive.)
Worth watching: Check out http://www.cultureunplugged.com/play/1081/Chicken-a-la-Carte#videoDetail – a sober reminder of reality!
Correction! Call to Intentional Mission in Melbourne on U-Tube! This item should have reported that only about 300,000 out of a population that will pass 4 (not 2) million this year attend church weekly – with more than 2.9 million people in Melbourne having little or no contact with a church!
Find the ‘person of peace’ … for a planting movement …
‘Why church planting movements don’t happen in Christianized lands – so far! In a recent newsletter Floyd McClung draws attention to the massive movements of planting taking place in many countries, with millions coming to Jesus – and asks, why not in the West? Floyd offers three reasons –
1. LACK OF OBEDIENCE – followers of Jesus are not searching for the ‘person of peace’ or making disciples among them as Jesus said in Luke 10.
2. TRADITIONAL WAYS OF CHURCH ENCOURAGE A ‘WATCH THE MAN UP THE FRONT’ MENTALITY – instead of every believer getting out and making disciples through a lifestyle of obedience.
3. A LACK OF WILLINGNESS TO SUFFER AND SACRIFICE – Floyd says bluntly: ‘It takes sacrifice to plant churches and Western believers don’t believe in sacrifice!’
Floyd says, search your neighborhood until you find a ‘person of peace’ – and, if their family or network is open, start a Jesus Bible study with them. There are two qualifications: the person of peace has to be open and their network (oikos) has to be open to doing regular Bible reading. ‘Get them to the Word, teach them simple Bible study, and watch God speak to them!’ Floyd says. ‘It is based on the belief that God is drawing people to Jesus by the Spirit, that he will teach people through the Word if they study it together, and group discovery is much more powerful than individual study because you are imparting the DNA of a future simple church while it is still a home Bible group. It is simple – everyone participates; the Bible is the focus; there is accountability for each other to obey what they are reading; and, it is focused on non-believers studying the word together!’
There are three steps to doing the ‘discovery Bible study method’ –
Choose a passage that is short, that is about obedience – about hearing the Holy Spirit and Jesus. Ask people to write it down from their own translation.
Ask them to write it down in their own words.
Ask them to read it and write down things they hear God saying to them that apply to their lives – things that they should do in the next week!
Now the revolutionary part – M.A.W.L! Lead the Bible study/reading only two times yourself – then turn it over to someone else in the group to lead. ‘You model it only the first two times,’ Floyd says, ‘Then in the following Bibles studies you sit on the outside of the circle and watch as the new leader leads the same process of discovery! This new leader doesn’t have to be a Christian – in fact it is preferable if the person is not!’ This is the MAWL method of coaching: Model, Assist, Watch & Leave.
Practice Luke 10. Go to the poor and overlooked – those who need ‘healing’ and you will find ‘persons of peace’. The ‘person of peace’ is the person who is open and has a network of friends he or she can gather! This takes leg work, tears, loneliness – and lots and lots of prayer.
Your teams for ‘multiplying plants’ are amongst the unsaved – those untainted by religious people. Floyd says, “Go door to door and say you want to start a Bible study for people who are not church attendees – but, who want to look at Jesus again. Do Bible study and reading in their homes, with non-believers. It must be open seekers, not cynical, highly Christianized or ‘churchy’.”
Gather a group in your home, workplace or a nearby café (around a meal); read the Word and become a multiplying group that Jesus would call ‘my church’ – with ‘the keys of the kingdom’!
CHURCH PLANTING NEWS