It’s been awhile since I sent out a post; I apologize for not keep you informed regarding what has been happening.

The other day I posted a note on Facebook which said:

“It’s been a tough 9 months! Two strokes, financial challenge, loosing focus and purpose have been my struggles. But, as I climb out of the hole and get out of the fog, I trust the Lord to get me back on HIS track. Working towards finding a way to get back in the fight in regards to reaching the unreached. The Lord reminds me that it is his fight and trying to fight the fight myself is like a dog chasing his tail. He is Lord! Pray that I continue to get better, his opportunities open up and that I may join him in his work.”

I was surprised that over seventy responded to my post, it was quite an encouragement! Those who responded with some encouraging words are truly a blessing. I look forward to the coming season that as I turn the corner I will be able to accomplish what the Lord desires in his time. I was recently reminded that the Lord’s love and care for me is a relationship that is based on our relationship with each other and not some transactions that I accomplish. Our relationship with him is focused on him and that he loves us. It is not based upon my accomplishments and score to earn his love.

What’s Next:
• I have been able to pick back up my volunteer project with The Seed Company. I hope to continue on towards the goal of researching thousands of people groups in Southeast Asia and the progress of providing them God’s Word in their own hear language.
• I am praying about the timing of our next trip to Asia and spend some valuable time with those I have served with and have opportunity to serve them as the Lord leads.
• I’m still learning to trust the Lord for our provision. Since the stroke, I was no longer employed. I started working at Regent University just a few days a week and hope I can be a blessing as I serve in the area if Career Services for the student body. It does not meet our financial needs but I hope I can stay flexible so that I can increase my time and efforts in order to accomplish the direction towards the Lord’s purpose.
• I also hope to make myself available to churches and groups so that I may assist them to:
o Reach the unreached nations and the poorest of the poor.
o Develop simple church networks to reach the portions of their community that is not being reached via traditional means.
o Come along side of simple church planters and providing encouragement and counsel without hierarchal control.
• We will continue to follow the Lord’s leading in regards to reaching out to our neighborhood as disciples of Jesus and revealing his love and opportunities arise.

We thank you for your prayers and support. You are certainly partners with us, we would love to hear from you and know and know what the Lord is doing in your life.

God Bless!

Don Davis

If you are interested in supporting Don’s ministry you may send your offering to:
Strategic Church Network, PO Box 2304, Portsmouth, VA 23702

Several months ago my wife and I were observing the fact that some of the things we were doing were not producing the results we were expecting. We felt like we were adrift and needed to hear from the Lord regarding what we should do or what needed to change. So we took a few days off and went away to seek the Lord. We found a beautiful cabin the mountains of southwestern Virginia and determined to find our way as we listened to the Lord. To make it brief, what we discovered was that because of my ideal view of what the church should be, I had become stingy with the calling and gifts that the Lord had freely given me. I was given these gifts to minister and equip the Body of Christ, but because of my dreams for Church as God sees it, I was withholding what Jesus had given to me.


The solution is not yet clear other than I need to stop being exclusive and be willing to serve the Church regardless of how she functions. Therefore I committed myself to the Lord to serve his bride no matter what she looked like. That brought be to a place to consider what a more blended church would look like and the process to bring her to a more organic, simple expression which gave me the opportunity to write up this strategic plan. By “coincidence” after this time of seeking the Lord, I had received Neil Cole’s newest book (with Phil Helfer); “Church Transfusion – Changing Your Church Organically From the Inside Out” which greatly influenced some of my conclusions and observations. I recommend this book greatly.

The following strategic plan is in no way exhaustive or set in stone. It is still in the theoretical stage, and will certainly need to be tweaked as the opportunity to apply this plan is pursued. The idea of merging the concepts of organic, simple church to a traditional attractional model church is revolutionary. Although some have accomplished this with success[1], it is still experimental and risky. With the Lord’s direction, can an already established congregation be lead into a more simple and organic church life?


One of the major weaknesses in the local church in America today is that it has taken on a business model more than that of family. Neil Cole has said; “When you imagine the amount of resources, energy and time invested in a service held only one day a week, it is remarkable. With all the importance placed on this event, you would expect there to be a lot of scriptural directives to make sure people get it right. But if you search all of the New Testament looking for the commands or injunctions having to do with this important weekly event, you will find them sadly missing. Instead you will find verses, chapters, and entire books that speak to how we are to live together as a spiritual family”[2]

In the many churches today, results are measured by the size of meetings and income rather than the number of those who are being obedient to Jesus. Jesus said to make disciples of all nations by teaching them to obey what he taught. We have reduced that command to gathering members so that they conform to the traditions of men and pay for the “vision of the house.” The senior pastor has usurped the role of head of the church from Jesus and the congregation now looks to the senior pastor as their source for inspiration, spiritual food, comfort, guidance, and he is responsible for the ministry of the church. The five fold ministry may be recognized as valid and welcomed, but never to the degree that the congregation becomes equipped to do the work of the ministry. Ministry is still relegated to the clergy class, office holders and pastoral staff. Unfortunately those gifted in one of the five fold gifts have been elevated to “super star” status. The supernatural ministry of the presence of Jesus has been limited to spiritual manifestations, but never allowing him to actually be the head of the church in all activities.

This business model has caused the local church to be viewed as competitive with other portions of the Body of Christ. This drives the local church to become bigger and more entertaining, thus consumer driven. The pastor is expected to perform via his sermon along with his worship team and other attractions during the service. Finances, talent, time and energy is devoted to making the worship service everything the consumer congregation expects it to be. Unfortunately this leads to a church that has little time for making disciples, developing relationships in the community and simply being family together. Grant it, discipleship may happen amongst the leadership and ministry teams, but the congregation is merely spectators. If discipleship does become a priority it is attempted through preaching or institutional classes and seminars which focus on academics rather than obedience to Christ. This causes discipleship to be diminished to an intellectual understanding of doctrine and church practice rather than relationship with Jesus and being able to hear him and obey him.

The work of the Church in the world today has become complicated and systematic rather than simple and organic. Therefore the goal of this change would be to lead an existing congregation from its present condition to that of an organic, simple church focused on mission rather than events. Where disciples are being made and hopefully citizens within the surrounding communities are being transformed by the gospel in every area of their life.[3] Those who call this congregation their local church would be equipped to do the work of the ministry of Jesus not just within the confines of the local church events, but also in the world where they live. In fact greater emphasis would be given to the latter. The church would then be a true expression of God’s Kingdom bringing the gospel to where they live, work and play.

Here are some facts and trends to consider:

What is happening in the USA?[4]

  • 65 million attend church, 25% of population
  • Only 4 to 5 million have a great commission focus.
  • In 1995 – 375,000 churches.
  • In 2000 – 324,000 churches.
  • In 2002 – 300,000 churches.
  • There is a 50% divorce rate in the church.
  • Eight out of ten pastors want to leave the ministry.
  • The number of men involved in church is declining.
  • Many children leave the church in their teen years.

Neil Cole states: “Churches lose 2,765,000 people each year, between 3500 and 4000 churches close their doors each year for the last time; while only 1100-1500 churches are started. Not a single county in all America has a greater percentage of churched people today than a decade ago.”[5]

George Barna has discovered that:

  • 4 out of 10 born again Christians do not attend church totaling 10 million.
  • 15-20 million do not attend a traditional organized church.
  • Majority of those making a decision for Christ in an evangelical church were no longer found attending church after eight weeks of making their decision.
  • Over the next 20 years the number of Christians seeking spiritual fulfillment in traditional churches will decline.
  • In 2007, 70% of Americans relied on traditional church expressions, by 2025 this number will decline to 30-35%
  • There will be alternative expressions of spirituality (house & market place churches) will rise from the current 5% to between 30-35%.

In light of these statistics, the church is certainly in need of a change, a reformation, a return to a more organic, simple model revealed to us in scripture.


Jesus is Primary – Jesus is the center of all that is said and done. Jesus is Lord will be the core affirmation then everything else will follow. From a Revelation of Jesus to Mission – Disciple Making to Church Happens.

Traditionally we establish a church, and then we develop programs and events with the intention to make disciples.. Knowing Jesus comes by revelation. This revelation of Jesus comes first, and then discipleship happens focusing on the mission and life of the disciple. This is the activity that causes real church to happen. Jesus’ will is to always remain the head of the church. So we are to reveal Jesus to them, disciple them and while this is going on, church happens! This also puts Jesus in his rightful place of building His church rather than men building his church.

Be Incarnational/Missional – It has been said that “What we draw them with is what we draw them to.”[6] That being said, the church must attract them to Jesus rather than to human achievements, personalities and programs. Although attractional churches make it easy for some seekers to visit them, incarnational churches go to where the people are instead of spending time and energy attracting people to come to a service. We see our God as a missionary God and we are a sent people.

 Walk in love – Agape love is to be our motivation. Agape is love without expecting anything is return. It is the same love in which God loves us. In relationships with one another and the community, our goal will be to express the love of God to all. Our attitude towards other churches in the Body of Christ will be that of love and not comparing ourselves to them, but blessing them.

 Main focus is on Making Disciples – Discipleship will be the purpose of all activities. The simple, organic church discipleship desires to make no man or women dependent upon one leader or any source (such as curriculum or meetings) for spiritual growth and maturity. The goal is to make the disciple totally dependent on his relationship with Jesus using the Bible and his relationship with the Lord as his primary source. The only tools needed for the follower of Christ is his Bible and his life being applied to God’s word. Simply, they need to learn to feed themselves rather being dependent on a preacher to feed them. It has been said “to make a disciple all you need is two people who are willing to surrender to Jesus, the Word of God, and then use life’s circumstances that Jesus has given you as the curriculum, and maybe do this over a meal or a cup of coffee.”

 Resist Dualism – Dualism is the practice of seeing life divided as sacred and secular. Our goal is to see all of our life sacred. God is not just in church or worship services. We must see him in all aspects of life. Many times we have two spheres of life – our church life, and our life in the world. This is in error. You are the same whether in church or at work or visiting family or at play with your friends. When a part of our life is separate from our spiritual life or Christian life (church life); that part of our life is the breeding ground for idolatry. When we see all of our life under Jesus’ lordship and sacred, our spiritually is genuine and real. When we give our life to Jesus, our life becomes His, therefore all of our life is sacred.

Recognize the Priesthood of All Believers – Everyone has a part, a gift, and no one is better than another. Every believer must function as a priest and king. The church is a gathering of these priests and kings; a chosen people doing the Lord’s will. Since Jesus builds his Church, we can trust that He has placed those within the congregation with the much needed gifting to accomplish His purpose both generally and unequally for that specific congregation.


Here are some basic goals that would guide the congregation to a simpler, organic expression of church.

  1. Transition the church from a traditional/institutional/attractional model to a simple/organic model.
  2. To use the facility (which many times has an historic and cultural identity in a community) as a bridge to the community that expects church to be in a building and that has Sunday services. This will facilitate and spiritual environment where when there is gathering, it leads to scattering. The building will be seen as a tool and not a sanctuary or temple.
  3. To make disciples who follow Christ and are able to mature regardless of the condition of organized Christianity or society, but based upon their relationship with Jesus and their family in Christ.
  4. To equip the church to do the work of the ministry via the gifting/function of the apostle, prophet, evangelist, shepherd and teacher.
  5. To acknowledge the church as already sent into areas of the community to reach those who may never come to a church service; establishing discipleship groups in homes, businesses and social gathering points.
  6. To prepare the congregation to reach/disciple the nations (people groups) that have come into our communities as well as those who live in areas of the world where the gospel has not been preached.
  7. To multiply the numbers of disciples that then make disciples themselves. Growth will not be measured by those who attend a service, but by those who are actively doing the ministry of Jesus as He has gifted and called them.
  8. To serve as a base for other simple, organic, and house churches who need a place to gather with other believers for times of celebration, instruction and fellowship beyond their own small gathering.


It is difficult to be exact regarding a complete strategy without having an opportunity to dialogue at length with an actual congregation. But there are several strategic steps that need to be taken in order to accomplish the goals mentioned earlier. All of these will need to be established in prayer and a gentle spirit. These steps will certainly overlap so they are not meant to be a hard fast sequence of events.

Get to know the congregation. The leadership of the congregation needs to get to know each person individually and learn about their dreams and visions. They should want to spend enough time with them to know where they were in their relationship with Jesus and the church. During this stage, not much would change within the activities of the church including the worship service. If any changes are made it would be done with a clear consensus of the active church members and for the purpose of instruction. There will also be a intentional plan where each of the members of the congregation get to know one another as well.

Prepare the congregation for change. This would be done through teaching both during the main service as well as in small groups and informal gatherings and visits.

Begin to introduce simple, organic church practices including the development of small groups in homes, the marketplace and gathering places outside the church facility. These gatherings would be developed in response to a valid paradigm shift amongst the congregation and not a dictated mandate. Let Jesus lead. These gatherings will include the following (not necessarily in any specific order):

  • Meal/Lord’s Supper – There will be regular meals at the church facility as well as other places where they would gather.
  • Praise and Prayer – Focusing on Jesus.
  • Sharing what God has done, and is doing, as well as words of encouragement and revelation.
  • Ministry – exercising the gifts focusing on one another’s needs. Traditionally referred to as “body ministry.”
  • Ministering God’s Word via teaching, dialogue, discussion and exhortation.

The Sunday service will be focused on celebration and reporting together what the Lord is doing in our lives. There will be corporate training and encouragement in the form of teaching and exhortation. I Cor. 14:26 will be the standard or “order of service”, therefore being a participatory meeting.

Watch for leadership to emerge as each one does his part to serve, both in the context of the activities of the congregation and in other areas of their own life.

Begin to undergird and support those who have a specific burden or call, equipping them to do the work of the ministry. The ministry of the church will take shape based upon the gifting and callings of those whom the Lord has brought together. This is opposite of the traditional model where the pastor leads the congregation to do the ministry in which the pastor feels must be accomplished. Certainly the pastors and other fivefold leaders may have areas of ministry that they have a burden for, but these will not be the only ministries established, but it will be from the congregation as a whole. The congregation would encourage that as they gather, they would then scatter to reach their local community and the world.

 Prepare for growth. As the saints begin to do the work of the ministry throughout the region, harvest will happen. Therefore there will be groups of believers in many settings and sizes as well as the Sunday gathering at the main facility. Growth will be spontaneous and beyond the control of what can happen at the main facility. Growth will then be in the hands of Jesus who builds his Church, rather than man controlling and manipulating the growth.


There will certainly be challenges regarding this strategy both internally and externally. Change is hardly ever welcomed.

The Congregation – The challenges amongst the congregation will be in the area of understanding and then agreeing with the proposed changes. Therefore, approach these challenges with love and gentleness but without compromising our purpose. Time and patience will be of utmost importance. Knowing when to wait and when to initiate takes the wisdom of the Lord. Therefore, the congregation will need to spend much time together not only in discussion, but prayer as they seek the Lord’s will together.

In the areas that seem to contradict simple, organic church. This will be in the areas of the clergy/laity issue, using a traditional church facility, being part of a perceived institution such as a denomination or “covering” organization, distribution of funds, and those who come expecting to be part of an attractional/program centered church. Each of these areas will need to be discussed, taught and understood. This will take much time and patience as well.

Expectations from the denomination or “covering” organization. One of the greatest challenges will be to get them to not only understand what is being done, but to accept it and give us space to experiment and follow the Lord’s leading. Our desire would be to always follow scripture rather than tradition. This may be perceived as rebellion or foolish by some, but I would attempt to maintain a loving respectful relationship and hopefully this experiment would prove to be a model to help the churches of the organization to become more fruitful and effective in making disciples and transforming communities with the gospel of the Kingdom.

Concerns regarding finances. Most organic, simple church folk do not subscribe to using tithing as a binding principle but see it as an Old Covenant law and practice. This does not mean that giving is not practiced; in fact statistically it is usually greater in organic, simple churches as much as we can tell. There is a strong belief in biblical giving from a New Covenant perspective which has greater sacrifice than the Old Covenant. There is very little measurement of who gives and how much other than the results of what we see many networks accomplish. Funds are usually not gathered for buildings, programs or clergy, but to help the poor and accomplish mission. The congregation can continue to take up offerings, and encourage those who may be gathering outside of the Sunday morning service at the church facility to participate in giving as well. But if they determine to use their financial gifts for other reasons, they should be free to do so.

How will the challenge to pay for the facility and staff be met? The staff will need to be providing a service that is not merely tied to the institutional activities of a church, but are truly providing a service to the congregation. Of course, this should never be true in the area of discipleship and ministry, which is the main purpose of the church. Instead funds are provided for those who are accomplishing tasks whose time requirements prohibit them from working in the marketplace.

Keep in mind that working in the marketplace is not less spiritual than working in the church. In most simple, organic churches which are small and usually home based, there is no need for a paid pastor or minister. In a blended model, a full time senior leader could easily justify receiving a salary based upon responsibilities and time commitments. The key is for the senior leader never to allow folks to become dependent upon him, but to be dependent on the Lord for all things. Full time ministry does not position us to have a closer walk with the Lord, or to have a special relationship that allows us to hear God better, nor does it qualify us to lord over others. It should be merely practical and not mandated.

All that being said; offerings would still be taken at most events and the understanding of biblical financial principles will be part of the discipleship process.

Concerns regarding the facility. Make the facility available to the community. If needed. the facility could be rented by several congregations which would help to pay for the upkeep and expenses of having a facility and possible supplement the cost of any staff including the senior leader. See the facility become more of a community center for the surrounding area. This would lead towards the facility being used throughout the week rather than one or two times.

It would be continually affirmed in word and practice that the facility is merely a tool of the Lord, but not a sanctuary or temple. It would be clear that the body of Christ, the people, is the only temple or house of the Lord.


As mentioned previously, this is not an exact science, but an experiment in doing church in a way that is familiar to many who are meeting in houses and are detached from a traditional denominational structure. But many are now attempting to bring the simple, organic way of being the church into their traditional context. This will not be easy; in fact organic, simple church can be more difficult than what we are used to doing. This is not because in its methods or practices we find greater difficulty, it is really much simpler. But, it is because we are not used to going in that direction or doing things that way. It is so much easier to do things the way we always have done and know how to do them. We have all heard the famous quote; “The definition of insanity is to continue to do the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” In this age we live in, we must seek and do something different in order to get different results. This dilemma is truly at the heart of the challenge.

It reminds me of when I used to drive in the snow before the roads where plowed and the ruts in the snow were deep and if you went into them you were sure to get stuck. Therefore you had to force yourself to drive out of the rut, straddling the ruts and fighting the tendency to fall back into them. This was very difficult, but fighting the wheel and staying out of the rut was the only solution. It is the same regarding changing the way we “do church” as we make our way in these changing times to reach our communities and bring transformation to those who live among us by the simple gospel of the Kingdom. We can drive into the ruts with ease. In fact we can just drift normally right into them; we don’t even have to fight the wheel! But if we do this, we find ourselves stuck and going nowhere.

I believe the simple, organic way of being the church is more than a model, but it is the way God intended his church to be and be seen. As we see our nation become more and more distant from the gospel, plus embracing a more post-modern worldview, we must be brave and trust the Lord to lead us beyond our previous understanding and traditions. Thus we see the changes around us as a tool of the Lord and not a barrier to the gospel and relationship with Jesus.

What do you think? What have you experienced in attempting to assist a congregation to function in a more organic, simple way?

[1] Cole, Neil, Church Transfusion – Changing Your Church Organically From the Inside Out, Jossey-Bass, 2012

[2] Cole, Neil, Organic Church: Growing Faith Where Life Happens, Jossey-Bass, 2005 pg 40

[3] Neil Cole states, “Church attendance, however, is not the barometer of how Christianity is doing. Ultimately, transformation is the product of the Gospel. It is not enough to fill our churches; we must transform our world. Society and culture should change if the church has been truly effective.” Cole, Neil, Organic Church: Growing Faith Where Life Happens, Jossey-Bass, 2005. Introduction

[4] Source: Dawn Ministries, 2007

[5] Cole, Neil, Cultivating a Life for God, ChurchSmart Resources, 1999, pg 11

[6] Cole, Neil, Organic Church: Growing Faith Where Life Happens, Jossey-Bass, 2005, pg. 95

Other Sources:

Frost, Michael and Hirsch, Allen, The Shaping of Things to Come: Innovation and Mission for the 21 Century Church, Hendrickson Publishers, 2003

Hirsch, Alan, The Forgotten Ways – Reactivating the Missional Church, Brazos Press, 2006

On Easter around the world Christians gather to worship Jesus, celebrating His Resurrection. Easter is more than bunnies, eggs and candy! But Easter causes us to remember Jesus – who is not dead , but He is alive!

Matt 28:1-9 – After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.

2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him.

 Who is this Jesus that we celebrate?

  •  More than a historical figure
  • Not a philosopher or religious leader but . . .
  • HE IS GOD!
  • He is Lord, He is King, He is Savior, and He is alive!


Certainly to prove his victory over death and seal our redemption for all eternity, but also so that He can be with us – BE WITH YOU! Since He is risen, He is not just a memory, but He is present – He is with us!

Imagine …

  • What would your life be like if Jesus had never been born, crucified and resurrected?
  • What would your life be like?
  • What would this world be like?

But He IS present,  He is our friend, or King, our brother, or God, our savior, or Lord. He comforts, He forgives, He heals, He restores, He makes us new, He is forever with us.

But how can that be?

He is also at the right hand of the Father waiting to return visibly to us to establish the fullness of His Kingdom.  How can he be here and there?

This reminds me of a meeting we had in our home many years ago when our second daughter Elesha who was then about 4 or 5 years old was asked by one of those there “Where is Jesus?” and she answered; “He is in my heart.” Then she was asked (trying to stump her), “How can Jesus be in your heart and also in heaven at the same time?” She quickly answered with childlike faith and confidence: “That’s why I have heaven in my heart”

Because of Jesus, the world is not the same. Just like he has made a difference in your life, he has made a difference to millions around the world. We are now forgiven, restored into fellowship with God, a new creation, no longer bound by this body of flesh, but now we will live with Him forever!

We pray as Paul did: “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection” (Phil 3:10).  That is why we celebrate Easter / His resurrection, every day!

Let us remember and turn our hearts to worship our risen Lord Jesus and experience His heaven in our heart every day.

We just sent out our newsletter, if you would like to read it go to:

You can also visit our new website at:

Have a blessed Resurrection Sunday and every day.



The Dreaming Revolutionary

I recently had the opportunity to guest lecture at Regent University during their Church Planting Methods and Models class. I put together a PowerPoint of my lecture and thought I might share it with you here.

I posted it up on YouTube, so I have broken up into four parts ten minutes each.


Simple Church Planting – Part One:

Simple Church Planting – Part Two:

Simple Church Planting – Part Three:

Simple Church Planting – Part Four:

Hope these are a blessing to you!

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Many years ago I became aware of unreached or least-reached people groups and it changed my whole view regarding my purpose and calling. I would like to share with you how this came about, but first let me give you a simple definition of the unreached (also called least-reached). According to Joshua Project and many others who have also embraced this definition, it is

“An unreached or least-reached people is a people group among which there is no indigenous community of believing Christians with adequate numbers and resources to evangelize this people group”.

Now a people group is simply a group of people who have a common affinity with one another in which the gospel can spread without encountering barriers of understanding and acceptance (also from Joshua Project).

I was serving as pastor of a small church that we planted in 1983 in West Chester, PA. After about five or six years we began to prepare ourselves and others in the congregation to take a team into inner city Philadelphia to plant a church in the Kensington/Northern Liberties area of Philly. I enrolled in the Center for Urban Theological Studies in Philly (part of Geneva College) to hopefully prepare me for the road ahead. I had always had an interest in missions, and it was during that time that I subscribed to Mission Frontiers magazine. One of the issues I received contained a chart of all the unreached people groups in the world. As I began to read the over 7,000 names of these people groups from nations around the world I began to weep and desired to know more about what it would take to reach these who know nothing about Jesus, and no one is going to them to tell them about Him. I also had “ears to hear” when I read Matthew 24:14 which says:

“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (NIV)

It was not long after that that I received and invitation to go to Indonesia and serve in the development of a recently established indigenous bible school. My strategy to go to the inner city and plant a church became pointless since there are thousands of churches in Philly, but my heart was now consumed with the fact that there were over 7,000 people groups that had no gospel witness available to them in the form of a church in their own language and culture.

Within two years my family (my wife and four daughters) moved to Indonesia to serve for the primary purpose of assisting the students of that bible school to focus their efforts on those people groups in Indonesia and other nations who have no gospel witness. Our adventure in Southeast Asia began and continues on to this day even though we do not presently live there.

Over the years, we have found ourselves involved in ministries overseas as well as here in the states that have reaching the unreached as their primary task. But lately, another passion has developed while serving in Asia assisting others to reach the unreached; and that is, seeing the church function in a more simple, organic way that focuses on making disciples. While training workers to go into the unreached areas of Southeast Asia we had to first “un-train” them regarding how to do and be the church and learn how to make disciples in a simple, organic way that fit the culture and understanding of the people they were reaching.

Upon returning to the states, I was “ruined” for church as I had always known and even served as leadership in the past. I longed for a more simple, organic expression focusing on making disciples rather than all the other “stuff” churches find themselves invested in.  So I began to familiarize myself with those who are part of the simple, organic and house church movements here in the USA. What a blessing to meet those who had come to the same conclusions as I had regarding church. But something was lacking: the zeal and burden for the unreached. This new direction caused me to be involved with many who have no present tangible desire to reach the unreached. Fortunately, I had met a few who were personally sacrificing and doing what they could to reach unreached peoples in India, China, and other nations, but these individuals are few, and congregation and networks are hardly nowhere to be found although I am sure there are some out there.

This is why in 2007 we started House2Harvest Network to serve, network and assist simple, organic churches and house churches to do strategic missions in order to finish the task of reaching all peoples with the gospel. Needless to say, the results have been slow. Unfortunately I have not been able to devote as much time as needed to accomplish our goals, but we are praying that this will soon change. I am still deeply moved when I read the list of unreached people groups, and I pray that our role in the near future will become more productive in seeing hundreds of teams from the simple, organic, house church movements take the gospel to these pioneer regions and begin making disciples where there are no disciples.

You can find the most recent list at: Joshua Project’s Unreached Listing

Will you weep with me!

In the times that we live in, it is easy to drift away from the Lord and his direction in our life. We can get overcome by circumstances, disappointments and doubts. We can get caught up in theological debates, or trying to “do church” the right way, that we miss the basics. In our reaction against a system that can be abusive and controlling, we can easily enter into a state of self-centeredness and forget the call to reach those who have never heard the gospel, or have not heard the complete gospel of the Kingdom. The important thing is that we run and finish the race that our Lord has set before us.

Several years ago I heard this illustration (I forget the source, so I apologize if I get some of the details wrong.): During the Olympics in Mexico there was an amazing track and field event where a runner from Africa arrived to the finish line, which was in the stadium, long after the race was finished. He came limping into the stadium barely able to walk. He had fallen during the race and broken his leg. His arrival into the stadium was so late that everyone was packing up and cleaning. There were less than 1,000 folks left in the stands. The runner refused to stop and makes his last lap of the race around the stadium track. As he approaches the final turn, people stopped what they were doing and begin to applaud. Everyone left in the stadium gave him a standing ovation. Years later he was being interviewed about his experience in the Olympics. This runner, who was a poor farmer in Africa, was asked; “Why did you insist on doing that final lap around the stadium that day knowing that your leg was injured and you were the last to arrive, and it was very late? This humble African farmer answered; “My country did not send me to the Olympics to start and run a race, but to finish the race!”

Are we prepared to finish the race that the Lord has set before us? One of the portions of Scripture that speaks to me that helps me is that Psalm that is used many times in traditional services that speak a blessing over the congregation as a benediction. This is usually spoken at the end of a service, but it is really the Lords blessing over us as we are sent out with his blessing, his benediction! It reveals our Lord’s desire for his people.  In these short seven verses God reveals his heart for the nations and his desire to involve you in the process by blessing you.

Psalm 67.

v.1 May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine upon us, Selah

The Lord give you grace and he blesses you like an affirming parent, looking at you with endearment. Why does he do this?

v.2 that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations.

He blesses us so that His ways will be known on the earth, this includes all nations. The result of this promise or this blessing is found in verse 3.

v.3 May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you.

The nations will praise God because his kingdom has come to them. Will you reveal Jesus to them?

v.4 May the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you rule the peoples justly and guide the nations of the earth.  Selah

v.5 May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you.

When this is happening, great things happen! Harvest will come!

v.6 Then the land will yield its harvest, and God, our God, will bless us.

v.7 God will bless us, and all the ends of the earth will fear him.

The race set before us is really the Lord’s race, and we run with Him to take his gospel to the nations and to our neighbors.  He blesses us to be a blessing to the world around us, not forgetting the nations. Are we willing to finish the race regardless of how we perceive our condition, or our position in the race? As a proponent of simple, organic church life, let us not forget our Lord’s purpose for blessing us.

What should we do? Where to do we begin? This is something we do together with those we fellowship and serve. Do you need help finishing the race? That is why we need one another, provoking one another in love to do the Lord’s will. If you or your fellowship needs some help in this area, I would be glad to correspond with you or come to your group and talk about it. May you be blessed to reach those who do not yet know Jesus! You can contact me at

Blessings to You!


Do we know what it takes to reach your community where hundreds are coming to the Lord? Not really, but we do know what hinders harvest and the making of disciples. Certainly we can try different things that have worked in the past, but it is God who brings the increase. We can learn from those who have gone before us and observe from their examples. In this article I want to talk about those historical and biblical lessons and see how they can help us become effective in reaching our communities and neighborhoods.

If you have read Alan Hirsch book; The Forgotten Ways you discovered in his introduction some simple facts. Here are a few things that Alan mentions:

In the year 100 AD there were less than 25,000 followers of Jesus. By the year 310 AD when Christianity became legal, there were over 20 million followers of Jesus. How did the church grow like this? What caused them to grow so quickly? They grew from a small insignificant movement to the most significant religious force in the Roman Empire in just 200 years. There were no telephones, no newspapers, no TV, no radio, no books, no tracts, no Bible as we know it today, and no church campus!

That begs the question; then how did they do it? They were an illegal religion throughout this period of growth. In some places they were tolerated, but in most places they were persecuted. They did not have church buildings, but they met in homes. They did not even have the scriptures as we do today, but scrolls and letters. There were no Bible schools, seminaries or professional clergy. There were no youth groups, Sunday school, worship bands, or commentaries for study. What an amazing example for us.

This is similar to what we have seen happen in China. During the Communist revolution there were over 2 million believers. The churches during this time were patterned after the those in the west established by western missionaries. The missionaries were kicked out of China, during that time, senior pastors were killed, and all second and third level leaders were either killed or imprisoned. All public meetings were banned and there arose a persecution as never seen before in the history of the Church. There was an attempt to destroy Christianity in China.

In the early 1980’s a small number of missionaries were allowed back into China but under much control. These missionaries expected to see a weak and battered church in this communist nation. Instead they found that the church had flourished and was over 60 million strong! Today there are over 150 million believers (some estimates are putting the number over 200 million) with very few Bibles, no professional clergy, no official leadership, no central organization, no mass meetings, or buildings, but they are growing faster than they can be counted!

Another example is what is happening in northern India today. In May 2009 over 300,000 new believers were baptized on the same day (the day of Pentecost)! The number of simple churches started in some of the most difficult areas of northern India and Bangladesh that are now numbering in the hundreds of thousands! This has happened in the last 20 years!

In the oppressive nation of Myanmar (Burma) I have heard the testimony first hand of a church planter that in the year 2005 had planted 20 churches with 63 believers (these are small house churches). After learning some basic simple church planting principles things began to change. By 2009 there were over 6100 simple churches with over 23,000 believers. This does not include the 1600 believers that were killed and 400 churches were lost in the cyclone of 2008!

How did this happen and what can we learn from them? They kept things simple.

We read in Matthew 28:18-20:

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Making Disciples has become the missing element of church life. Instead we are consumed with scheduling events, providing services and developing programs. We need to return to the simple task of making disciples. How did Jesus make disciples? He is our example.

We read in John 1:35-39:

 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”  When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?” They said, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?”  “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.” So they went and saw where he was staying, and spent that day with him. It was about the tenth hour

 Take note that the disciples started walking behind Jesus; he turned and asked them “What do you want?” What was interesting was the answer to his question. They answered with the question; “Where do you live?” They wanted to know where he lived; they wanted to spend time with him. They did not want to go to a seminar, a classroom, a worship service or follow some curriculum, they wanted to spend some time with Jesus at his house. Jesus was fulfilling a promise that God has spoken throughout the ages.

This promise began with Adam and Eve and then to Shem and then the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This promise was spoken by the Lord in several ways. This promise of God is can be summed up as this:

  1. I will be your God
  2. You will be my People
  3. I will dwell in the midst of you. Dwell – tabernacle

This is the central theme to the whole Bible! The promise is a declaration of assurance, a proclamation of what God has planned for all nations, tribes and tongues – for YOU! This promise is declared a number of ways throughout the scriptures over and over again. Consider this promise and how it has affected your life:

First: God will be Your God. God is a jealous God and he wants you, and he wants to be your only God! God wants to take care of you as a loving Father.

Second: Refers to who you belong to – You will be my people. God wants to possess you. He desires to do nothing less than to own you. He will even put His name on you!.

And third: I will dwell among YOU. As a follower of Jesus, You are the tabernacle of God. Therefore, he is in your midst at all times. Do we have to enter into His presence, to pray, to praise?  Of course not, He is with us at all times!  He is ever present in us.  “Christ in YOU the hope of Glory” – Colossians 1:27. He is with us, “surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” – Matt 28:20.

This promise is why we have been called to go and make disciples. Should we keep this promise to ourselves? Never! And there is urgency to this call, Jesus said in Matthew 24:14And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”

It is clear that God is doing new thing today, which is really an old thing. He’s changing the way we think! He’s causing us to look at what He wants rather than what we want. We are in need of a change in the Body of Christ! I am sure you have heard the quote attributed to Albert Einstein that “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”

Why do we keep doing things the same way? We have erected walls to limit who we can reach, both physical and cultural walls. We have established traditions that keep out those who are not religious or like us.

Consider this, The Church is called to reach the lost within a given community or city. The Church is not just one congregation, but it is all the congregations within a given area, city or county who are faithful to the Lord and His Word. Who makes up these congregations? First, individuals, then their families, and whole households make up congregations within any given region or city. So, who really reaches the people within a community or city? The individuals, families, even whole households! These reach the community, not the organized or institutional Church. It is people that reach people!

How do we usually try to reach our communities? We try evangelistic programs. But, less than 10% of all new believers come to Christ via an evangelistic program, the rest are brought to Jesus through relationships. Or we try events to get people to come to the Church building. Those who come are usually believers already. If we do this, we have to get them to like what we do in Church and like us before we can get them to know Jesus! This is so complicated.

Now consider this: we are to make our homes ministry centers, the place where we reach out from to reach our community! If we look at the book of Acts as our example, we see who households not only coming to know Christ, but reaching out to others. (Acts 20:20; 2:46-47; 5:42; Acts 16:13-15, 31-33)

Is it possible to reach a community house by house! Absolutely! “But that’s not the traditional way of ministry in the Church” Then we can remain to be accused of being insane!

Jesus said, ““By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples.” (John 15:8-9) The Kingdom of God is a kingdom built on right relationships, first with God and then with each other. Then fruit is born. We become a healthy household (Oikos) living life together reflecting the love, care and compassion of Christ to all those in our sphere of influence because we are his disciples, and disciples are being made. Can you see the fulfillment of the promise: I will be your God, your will be my people and I will dwell among you?

Some big questions to ask ourselves:

(1)   What are we willing to do or change to see those in our community come into the Kingdom? Our traditions and our fears can keep us from becoming the people of God who with humility and gentleness can be used by God to deliver His message of love and redemption to a hurting and dying world.

(2)   How do we view the Church? Is it the new lifestyle of the redeemed, where we share life with God and each other in the Power of the Holy Spirit? Are we truly a supernatural people, happening 24-7, not just 2 hours in a 168 hour week? Are we living The Way of Life, as it was once called where we are essentially a family, not company or business. Are we organic and not organized? Are we relational, not institutional? In other words are we a church as God wants it, rather than a Church as we know it?

(3)   How can our homes become ministry centers? It starts with who you are. In your very being you become a ministry center from your own personal treasure in Christ. Then where you live becomes a ministry center. Your home is a reflection of who you are. You are a minister of what is in you and your home will become a ministry center. Then, your neighborhood, friends, family can be reached as the opportunities open up and you have a real rather than contrived vision and purpose to reach them. What happens then is that you begin to fulfill what the Church is called to do by YOU doing it in your own home where God dwells in you.

(4)   Can you do it? Yes! That is God’s plan in 1 Corinthians 1:26-29 we read:

26  Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27  But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28  He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things– and the things that are not– to nullify the things that are, 29  so that no one may boast before him.

(5)   What hinders us from opening our homes?

To open our homes, we must see ourselves as servants in the midst of our society. We serve the message of the Kingdom, making disciples. This means that we must learn to be hospitable and open our lives up to others.

(6)   What happens when we only do this in the Church Building?

  • People think they have to attend a meeting or go to a building to hear from God.
  • The powerful truth of the priesthood of every believer is forgotten because we have become dependent on clergy for our spiritual health and truth.
  • People become temple focused rather than people focused in their service to the Lord.
  • People become temple focused in their worship experience rather than it being a part of their life throughout each day.
  • People see the Church as an institution or a building rather than a family – the people God.
  • We become business driven in ministry rather than service driven.
  • We must do some activity in order to attract customers or prospects to come into our meetings, rather than taking the Gospel of the Kingdom to where we live – which is where the world lives!

(7)   What should we do?

  1. We need to dedicate our homes – ministry centers to the Lord.
  2. Cultivate a godly atmosphere in our homes and cultivate hospitality.
  3. Allow our home to become homes of His glory, His manifested presence.
  4. Our homes are to be houses of prayer.
  5. Our homes become homes of the promise that HE will dwell with us because He is our God and we are his people.

Whatever we have expected our churches to be, our homes must first be. Why do we expect our experience in our churches to be different than our homes? Are we not the Church? We are the condition of the church; it is not our methods, our structures, or activities, our programs or our church’s name. The church is who we are in Christ. We are the body of Christ. Do we believe that?

Let’s examine our lives, our homes so that they can be the source of life, light and love in our community where every believer a disciple maker, every home is a place for making disciples, every church building (if you have one) is a training and celebration Center.