make disciples


[For the sake of full disclosure, I have a selfish motive regarding this subject, I am involved in missions work traveling to Asia from time to time. My wife and I plan to do this in a greater capacity as soon as possible, therefore we are seeking more funding than we presently receive.]

Now with that out of the way, I want to share with you some of my observations regarding missions, money and simple church. (When I speak of simple church, that also includes organic and house churches in varying degrees) ].

One of the factors that convinced us to be more simple in our way of being the Church is that we do not have to raise funds to pay for buildings, big shots, programs, staff or parking lots. What a freedom to be relieved of these burdens. Of course most of our local mission to make disciples takes very little money at all; the cost of a cup of coffee, a meal, or just doing life together. The funds that are now available to us are certainly greater than before and we can be a blessing and help those who are normally forgotten, and left out of typical “church budgets.” Our income that is available in our simple churches and networks can do great things with just a handful of folks who give sacrificially, cheerfully and generously. (see the article: “Assessing The State Of Simple Churches In The USA Regarding Releasing Resources Toward Finishing The Great Commission” by Steve Lyzenga for a thorough look at this subject). So what do we do with our money now? We certainly have needs that arise within our simple church or network that needs attention. I am making the assumption that you are already making sure that no one in your simple church lacks and that you are following the pattern we see in Acts when a need arises. Mission also includes taking the gospel to all nations (people groups), and some of these groups still have no access to the gospel. How do we fund these efforts to reach the nations?

Here are a few questions to ask yourselves as you seek the Lord’s leading in these areas:

In your simple/organic church how are you doing missions?

  • What about those who are connected with folks in the church who have not yet become believers but have material needs, how are you meeting those needs?
  • Are you seeking the Lord regarding how you can now use the funds you have to minister to those in the “household of faith” so that none among you lack?
  • What about the unreached, or out of reach nations? There are over 6000 nations (ethnic or people groups) who are out of reach and have no opportunity to hear about the gospel of the Kingdom. (For more information and statistics about unreached people groups go to: http://www.joshuaproject.net )
  • Since we no longer have up to 90% of our budgets going to serve ourselves, are we supporting apostolic servants of the Lord who have been called to these unreached groups?
  • Are we sending financial support to those who are training others who live near these people groups to reach them?
  • Are we funding apostolic leaders and teams to go into an area to make disciples of a few new believers in an unreached area that will train them to be disciple makers seeing churches planted among their own people?
  • Who is better equipped to go and make a handful of disciples in an unreached area and prepare these disciples to go and make disciples seeing churches planted? I believe it is those who are now function as part of a simple, organic church are prepared for this hour to reach the most difficult nations (people groups) around us. Are you seeking the Lord as to how He would have you do this?
  • Is your network ready to prepare a team to go to these unreached areas and send them with the proper funding, prayer and training?
  • Are you part of a regional network that can link together in order to accomplish more than one single simple church could? If not, are you willing to be a part of one and if there is not one to be the catalyst to start one?
  • If you are already sending teams to the unreached nations and/or serving the needy in your community, are you willing to share your story with others?

I challenge all who are involved in simple, organic churches and networks to seek the Lord regarding what you should be doing regarding taking the gospel of the Kingdom to the unreached nations as well as to those in need around you. Remember, Jesus said: “This gospel of the Kingdom will be preached to the whole world as a testimony to all nations (people groups), and then the end will come.” Matt 24:14. Let’s remember that the purpose of the church is not for our needs, what we can get out it, but to reach out and serve the lost and fallen world around us. We exist for others, not for ourselves.

I would love to hear about what you are doing or plan to do as well as how you are processing some of these questions so that we can learn from your experience. One way you can do this is to go to www.house2harvest.com and then click on the “Relationship Room” link and sign up to be a part of a network of folks who are simple church folks interested in doing mission and tell your story. Or you could just send me an email and tell me your story (dondavis@house2harvest.org ) I have a feeling that more is going on than we know.

….oh, and by the way, regarding my selfish motives – if you want to partner with my wife and I or want to know more about what we are doing let me know and I would love to share with you what we are doing and what our needs are. Send me an email at dondavis@house2harvest.org or you can comment here.

A few months ago we (several of us in Hampton Roads) held a forum on “Loving Muslims” which became a catalyst for trainings regarding reaching our Muslim neighbors. We then held a training on “Understanding the Muslim Worldview” where over fifty were in attendance. This led us to consider – what’s next? In the scriptures, Jesus gave us some basic instructions; love God with all your heart mind and soul, love your neighbor as yourself and go and make disciples. This includes the thousands of Muslims which are now living in neighborhoods and working all around us.
How do we go about building bridges into the Muslim community and revealing to them the love of Jesus and the relationship that they can have with God the father? No one has all the answers, but we can find out those answers together. So we propose to the body of Christ in Hampton Roads to connect together for this purpose. We can simply develop a “missional community” made up of believers from different congregations for the purpose of developing community so that we can ask questions, share our vision, needs and ideas regarding reaching our Muslim friends. This will allow us to avail ourselves to corporate prayer and missional action in our daily life.

Therefore if you live in the region, we will be having our first meeting on Monday June 20th at 7:00 pm. We will meet at Renaissance Community Church’s facility in their café’ located at 5045 Indian River Road, Virginia Beach, VA. We would hope that this would be a monthly gathering every 3rd Monday night. Our preliminary agenda will be to pray and discuss what the Lord is leading each of us to do in regards to reaching our Muslim neighbors.

Now let me give some clarification regarding what this is, and what this is not:
• This is not a program of one local church or one missions organization. In fact it is not a program at all.
• This is a cooperative effort of believers in our region who want to put action to their burden and call to love the Muslim community in Hampton Roads.
• This is not a program or method, nor will it become focused on some technique or merchandised plan.
• This will emerge out of the daily life of all those who desire participate in this “missional community”.

What is a “missional community”? “A Missional Community is a group of people who have united, in the name of Jesus, around a common service and witness to a particular context.” (Mike Breen and Alex Absalom in their new book, Launching Missional Communities: A Field Guide – p. 124). Lately there have been many articles and even books written to clarify what missional is and how churches and small groups are seeing these groups develop for specific missional purposes. Being missional is not something we add to our life and practice. It is not a department or program of a church. It is a lifestyle that is founded on the understanding that we are here for the purpose of making disciples and demonstrating the gospel of the Kingdom. A missional community is a group of believers who are working in concert together to accomplish God’s mission. Our focus of course will be God’s mission to reach the Muslims of Hampton Roads. For a more complete description of being missional you can find further information at http://www.missionalmanifesto.net/ ,and http:/www.friendofmissional.org/.

This by no means is in competition with individual local congregations, but will compliment and equip those who want to focus on reaching Muslims. So why do something separate? It is not separate, but it is the body of Christ in our region working together for a common cause. It will facilitate those involved to mature, be equipped and reach out into areas of life where a formal church program would not be welcomed. Instead we will be doing this as followers of Jesus and not representatives of a religious organization.
Once we gather we will focus in the major infinity groups within the Muslim community in our region such as international students, refugees and prisoners. We will also plan further trainings which may include some mission trips that will be equipping in nature.

If you are interested and need more information you can contact me at dr@goasianetwork.org or you may also contact:
Jerry Smith at jerrys@aims.org ; Steve Lyzenga (on the Peninsula) at mt2414@gmail.com or Doug Chandler at dougchandler1@gmail.com

God is up to something, and we hope to see you there on June 20th so that we can learn and walk together!

What role does prayer have in making disciples? What role does prayer have in living out our relationships in our church community? Recently I was reading in Colossians 1:9-11 and had one of those “ah-ha” moments.

Paul says in verse 9: “For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.”

Paul asks God to fill them with the knowledge of his will, and this knowledge of his will comes through spiritual wisdom and understanding.

He then says in verse 10-12; “And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.”

From that knowledge of His will not only brings wisdom and understanding, but Paul is also praying for them to receive this knowledge of God’s will so that they will live a life worthy of the Lord. It is amazing that our prayers for each other can have the authority to help one another grow in the knowledge of the Lord, but also to live according to God’s will. Prayer like this for one another causes them to be fruitful, have endurance and patience and even joy!

When we have the awesome opportunity to make a disciple consider how effective your prayers for that disciple can be. When you pray for them to be filled with the knowledge of God’s will and that they would have the Lord’s wisdom and understanding. This will even help the disciple to live a life that please the Lord and bears fruit. Isn’t that what discipleship is all about? To help the believer hear the Lord, obey him, be fruitful and grow in the knowledge of the Lord. Prayer is an effective tool in making disciples.

What about those you fellowship with on a regular basis? Do you pray for them? Consider this; what if you began to ask the Lord of fill them with the knowledge of His will, thus gaining wisdom and understanding. Not only that, but they would live a life worthy of the Lord and bear fruit. What a tremendous example Paul gives us here in Colossians! There is more power and authority in our prayers for one another than we know.

In simple, organic, house churches, discipleship is not a program or a curriculum. Discipleship is accomplished through relationships. What better way to live out our relationship with one another than to pray for one another as Paul has prayed for those in Colosse.

Now, let’s put what we have learned from Paul to practice.

[I thought I would go ahead and post the remainder of the article rather than break up up any further. This makes it a little longer, so take a few minutes to read it all.]

Can a simple, organic, house church do missions? Can our Lord raise up apostolic teams and send them to the nations out of our house churches and networks? The answer is yes! But, there needs to be some changes in the way we think and approach missions or we will fall into the same traps that plague the institutional missions effort. This is the reason for the series of articles. Hopefully it will spawn some discussion, but most of all spur us all to take the gospel of the Kingdom into the regions of our world where there is no witness, no preaching and no church. Basically to those who are out of reach. “How will they hear unless someone is sent?” (Romans 10:14-15)

A SIMPLE PROCESS:
• Study God’s Word (see Part 2)
• Pray for the Nations (see Part 3)
• Find a “Champion” (see Part 3)
• Pray for harvest, and opportunity for all to participate in that harvest (see Part 3)
• Seek the Lord for His Plan (see Part 4)
Follow the Plan (See Parts 5-10)

Follow the Plan – Continued . . .

• Training Opportunities.
As your network extends out, reaching folks form other cultures, you will realize the need for further training if you are going to effectively reach an unreached people group. Continue to read books, attended a local World Christian Perspectives Course, (For more information go to www.perspectives.org) and availed yourselves to every avenue of learning they could find to equip themselves to be effective cross-cultural servants.

One of the hidden benefits of reaching out to other cultures in your region is that you will discover that several individuals and couples have the gift to minister cross culturally. This will confirm their call to other peoples. From this discovery within your church and network, you will have the beginnings of an apostolic team of cross cultural workers who would now be ready to plan to go to the nations!

• Expanding the Network.
The network should continue to do research regarding the unreached people group they have chosen. From this research you will find found out that there are several other groups and churches who have adopted the same unreached peoples. You may even discover that there is a regular gathering of those churches, and they come together to discuss how they can assist one another in reaching their adopted unreached people group.

• Sharing the Vision.
At this time the network should begin to share the vision to be apostolic and reach out to an unreached people group to the point that many of the believers within the network want to support the effort to reach the unreached people group with their finances and business skills. So the network “champions” seek the Lord for a plan to handle the funds, establish entrepreneurial opportunities and develop a preliminary budget based upon their research and the potential apostolic teams need for funding.

• Forming Partnerships.
After meeting with several of the other churches who have adopted the same group as your church or network, form a partnership with them to assist one another in the purpose of reaching this unreached people group. Out of this partnership the network could host an unreached people group consultation for other House Church Networks and churches that are willing to co-operate together for the purpose of reaching unreached people groups. As a result, prayer efforts for the unreached people groups increase and become more effective by the spread of information. The reality of a church being planted among these unreached people groups is now becoming more than a dream, but a reachable goal.

Through these partnerships the “champions” are able to assess the resources available. This is not only funding that is available, but human resources as well. This includes gifting, talents, life skills and availability of the potential apostolic team. Eventually there will be a clear understanding of the level of resources that are available to the degree in which each church or other networks could easily participate in support, prayer, administration and the like. As a result, the partnership will grow and then there is a clear network of believers and congregations that are now committed to reach the unreached people group!

As a result of research and networking, the network partnerships will discover and identify the believers in other nations who desire to reach the unreached. You will soon realize that there are total congregations and networks that want to do the same thing you have done. Out of this research, the churches outside of the United States became part of the network to reach the unreached people group. The network will grow and focus together on the goal of reaching the unreached. From this, several partnerships could be developed in order to accomplish actual tasks needed to be done to reach the adopted unreached people group. Some of these partners may focus on the humanitarian needs, some on developing the prayer network, some on training and assisting the apostolic teams that are gearing up to go to the unreached people group.

• Take a Research.
Trip While this is going on you could lead a group to the region where the unreached people group lives to pray for them and do research. This trip should include several of the members of the apostolic team. They can prepare the team and teach them how to do the research and other cross-cultural pointers they would need to know. If they are unable to train on these matters, there are others that can come along side your team and train them. (Contact dondavis@house2harvest.org for more information.)

When the team returns, and after much prayer, study, reviewing their research, and seeking God’s will; the apostolic team can then write out a strategic plan to reach their unreached people group. The team then comes into agreement with the network as to when they are ready to take the steps needed to be deployed to the region where the unreached people group lives.

• Developing a Support Plan for the Team.
The network can now develop a realistic support mechanism for the apostolic team. You can answer the question regarding what will work best in regards to entering this new culture. Should the main source of support be business? Then you need to find investors in that business. Is it raising funds to support the time outright? Or could it be a combination of both? This depends on many factors: Your team, the field, and the capacity of your network. Many times to start, the network will provide full financial support until the local business is making enough capital to fund the workers needs. This will also depend on whether the team is joining with an already established work that is already developed on the field.

This is why it is import to find other on the field who has adopted the same unreached people group. The apostolic team needs to deepen their research and gather more information regarding other missionaries and missions organizations that are targeting their group. They should also take the opportunity to learn about these other churches and ministries and see if there is an opportunity to network and partner with them.

• More Training.
The apostolic team should now become more intentional in their learning regarding how to be effective cross-cultural workers. They could take several courses and seminars on the subject and study everything they can find. Through the local cross-cultural ministry out of their church, there is also the opportunity for the apostolic team to work through certain skills that will allow them to function effectively as a church planting team.

The “champions” in your network should also meet together with the apostolic team and review their strategic plan and revise it according to what they have learned so far. This process will take many hours together in prayer as well as discussion regarding the will of the Lord. Throughout this process the apostolic team will not only be prepared, but was able to determine when and if they are ready to go. The network should search for the best opportunity for the apostolic team to be trained in the area of pre-field orientation to help them adjust to their new home.

• Moving to Region of the Unreached.
When this phase of training is finally complete, the apostolic team then moves to the region where the unreached live. This is now the beginning of a new phase for the network. The apostolic team has entered the process of ministry leading toward facilitating a church planting movement among the people group. (See www.house2harvest.org/docs/ChurchPlantingMovementsBk.pdf for more information)
The first order of business is to arrange for the teams language learning. It is imperative that they begin learning the language of the people they will be ministering to as well as the “trade” language of the region. After more time of study and observation, the apostolic team should then begin to form their strategy that sees a “Disciple Making Movement” among their people group. It is important to note that their strategic plan should not be finalized until after they have spent some time living among the culture. In fact, it may always be modified as understanding of the culture increases. It is important to remember that the church that is birthed among any people group must be grounded in the process of making disciples. Many times the term “church” paints an erroneous picture not only in the world of Christianity, but in other religions as well. That is why I prefer “Disciple Making Movement” over “Church Planting Movement.” The apostolic team should learn as much as they can about other Church Planting Movements and develop a specific plan for reaching their group. This will only come after many days of prayer, fasting and research.

• Disciple Making Begins.
After learning the basics of language to the point that the team can share their testimony and some simple Bible stories they can now locate some people and find that “person of peace” (Luke 10) and “partner” with them. The apostolic team will then initiate their disciple making movement strategic plan and continue to learn the language. The apostolic team should regularly communicate with the network to let them know their plans. This allows for the network to know the necessary resources that are needed to assist the apostolic team to accomplish their strategic plan. The network also should contact other networks to see where they can partner and assist the team.

After several months the apostolic team should be able to develop relationships with a few men and women of peace (see Kevin Greeson, Camel Training Manual Bangalore, India: WIGTake Resources, 2004, pgs 35-41.). The apostolic team then begins to meet on a regular basis with these new disciples in order to prepare them to be disciple makers among their own people. It is not long before these new believers are sent out to reach their own people and quickly led many to the Lord, disciple them and see churches planted among their own people group. These new churches will be discipling apostolic leaders to make disciples thus planting house churches. Throughout this process the disciple making movement begins with no control or personal involvement of the apostolic team or network from the USA. To do otherwise would stifle the growth of the churches.

• Don’t Rush the Process.
This process may take several years to accomplish, and it is time well spent. There will be churches being planted among the unreached people group who will be rapidly reproducing across their region wherever the unreached are found. The apostolic team needs to stay out of the way and serve as coaches to these new churches amongst this people group.

Conclusion: What can we learn from this?

A house church network can successfully do missions, not just any missions, but strategic missions reaching unreached people groups. Remember, “An unreached people group is a people group within which there is no viable indigenous church planting movement with sufficient strength, resources, and commitment to sustain and ensure the continuous multiplication of churches.”

Would you like to see to see a missions movement started and maintained to the point that they not only reach their “Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and ends of the earth” but that they also become a model for other churches assisting them to do the same even to the point of providing a network of apostolic sending churches working together to reach the unreached? Can your house church be a mobilized apostolic church which has birthed a missions movement such as this?

How does this happen? Can this be done? Is the process I have described above impossible for the house church? Is it unrealistic to think that simple, organic, house churches can do this? It is God’s desire that every tribe, nation and tongue become part of his Church. If the house church movement is to be more than a movement or more than a method, it is to be at the center of what God is doing in His Church today. The house church movement will then be at the forefront in reaching the unreached fulfilling her apostolic mission.

Now, what are you going to do?

[Don is available to come to your area and share with your group or network to assist your church to reach the unreached. dondavis@house2harvest.org ]

Works Cited (Parts 1-10)
Accelerating International Missions Strategies. Steps Towards a Mature Missions Movement in the Local Church Seminar. Virginia Beach, VA: AIMS, 2007.
Accelerating International Missions Strategies. Harvest Connection Seminar. Virginia Beach, VA: AIMS, 2007.
Garrison, David. Church Planting Movements – How God is Redeeming a Lost World. Midlothian, VA: WIGTake Resources, 2004
Greeson, Kevin. Camel Training Manual. Bangalore, India: WIGTake Resources, 2004.
Hirsch, Allen. The Forgotten Ways, Reactivating the Missional Church. Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2006.

Can a simple, organic, house church do missions? Can our Lord raise up apostolic teams and send them to the nations out of our house churches and networks? The answer is yes! But, there needs to be some changes in the way we think and approach missions or we will fall into the same traps that plague the institutional missions effort. This is the reason for the series of articles. Hopefully it will spawn some discussion, but most of all spur us all to take the gospel of the Kingdom into the regions of our world where there is no witness, no preaching and no church. Basically to those who are out of reach. “How will they hear unless someone is sent?” (Romans 10:14-15)

A SIMPLE PROCESS:
• Study God’s Word (see Part 2)
• Pray for the Nations (see Part 3)
• Find a “Champion” (see Part 3)
• Pray for harvest, and opportunity for all to participate in that harvest (see Part 3)
• Seek the Lord for His Plan (see Part 4)
Follow the Plan (See Parts 5-10)

Follow the Plan – Continued . . .

Bridge Builders in Your Network. The network needs to become a blessing to the nations (Genesis 12) that God has brought to your doorstep. For this to happen, you need to break out of your “mono-cultural” world view. This was done several ways. Learn about the culture of those in your city by inviting folks from other cultures to your homes for a meal or some appropriate house church function. After you do this, you may find out how difficult it is for your international friends to relate to what is happening at the different functions. The reality of how to be “other culture” friendly becomes a valuable point of learning. The best resource for how you can be friendly and hospitable to people of other cultures are the people of other cultures! Your church will discover that it is best to just spend time with them, learn from them, and be friends with them.

Another way you can break out of that “mono-cultural” world view is to attend events sponsored by other cultures. The simplest of all solutions is to visit the ethnic restaurants in your area. Sample new foods, taste some new spices, and bring someone of another culture with you and share the experience. Another opportunity is to sponsor students from a student exchange program. This is an excellent way for the network to get comfortable with people from other cultures. They set up a team of families who are willing to open their homes each year for these students. Before long you began to build bridges to the cultures around you as well as to the nations that these students came from.

The church can build bridges to other cultures in your community in many other practical ways. One of the most obvious bridge builders is for the church to offer English conversation tutoring. All you need is some volunteers who were willing to talk to people who struggle with their English. They would help them learn how to communicate in English more effectively. Later you may find someone in the church who was qualified to teach English so they set up more formal English classes.

Another bridge builder is to welcome a friend from another culture when they moved into the community. Your church would show these new comers where the best places are to shop, or have their car repaired and many other practical ways to serve them. Contact the local university and offer to be a helper to newly arriving international students. Many students who come to the USA have never learned how to do simple tasks. They are usually from wealthy families who have servants who take care of them and do most of the menial tasks that we do everyday. The church not only provides help to a young person and become friends for life, but these students will one day return to their country as a person of great influence and responsibility. What a blessing a church would be if they revealed to them the love of Christ through the gospel! From these efforts, several house churches can be established among these ethnic groups.
In my next blog (part 7) I will be discuss more about specific strategic plans to consider that will help your house church successfully reach the unreached – those out of reach. Link to parts 7-10

[Don is available to come to your area and share with your group or network to assist your church to reach the unreached. dondavis@house2harvest.org ]

Can a simple, organic, house church do missions? Can our Lord raise up apostolic teams and send them to the nations out of our house churches and networks? The answer is yes! But, there needs to be some changes in the way we think and approach missions or we will fall into the same traps that plague the institutional missions effort. This is the reason for the series of articles. Hopefully it will spawn some discussion, but most of all spur us all to take the gospel of the Kingdom into the regions of our world where there is no witness, no preaching and no church. Basically to those who are out of reach. “How will they hear unless someone is sent?” (Romans 10:14-15)

A SIMPLE PROCESS:
• Study God’s Word (see Part 2)
• Pray for the Nations (see Part 3)
• Find a “Champion” (see Part 3)
• Pray for harvest, and opportunity for all to participate in that harvest (see Part 3)
• Seek the Lord for His Plan (see Part 4)
• Follow the Plan (See Parts 5-10)

Follow the Plan – Continued . . .
So far we have discussed adopting a people group and funding the work to reach an unreached people group. Here are a few more points of a strategic plan for you to consider.

• Discover Other Cultures in Your
Area Another part of the plan could be to take outings into some of the areas of your city that are outside of your own culture. You could take a trip to Chinatown in a large city to observe what the Lord is doing there, eat there food and learn to appreciate their culture. You could walk through these areas and pray and seek the Lord to see what He may have you do. This is best done in conjunction with several churches in your network. If your unreached people group is Muslim (most of them are) you could take a short term trip to Dearborn, Michigan and partner with several other groups who are attempting to reach and plant churches among the large Muslim population in Michigan.

• Hear What Others are Doing.
In your church gathering, invite a missionary guest to come and share regarding their experiences on the mission field. When the opportunities arise, have several churches in your network gather together for a special meeting to hear the stories and learn from one another. You could eat together serving the food and pray for the unreached people group you are called to reach.

• Extend the Vision Throughout Your Network and Beyond
Those in your network will catch the vision to reach the unreached and begin to learn from you. Everyone will get excited that they can do missions to the unreached as well. Many of these churches begin to develop their own strategic plan which includes adopting an unreached people group or joining together with other churches to partner together.

• See The Vision for the Unreached Grow
As your network begins to recognize those who have sensed a call to reach out cross-culturally; provide books, videos and trainings to equip one another to communicate the gospel cross-culturally. (Contact info@house2harvest.org for recommended resources.) Those who are called cross-culturally may begin to meet from time to time to pray, learn and share their experiences with one another.

The church may begin to make efforts to reach into other communities within their city. This will allow your church to successfully make disciples in these other areas. (See the videos “Planting Simple Churches IS Making Disciples” at https://dondavis.wordpress.com/2010/06/28/planting-simple-churches-is-making-disciples/) Therefore, you may see several house churches started among different cultures in their region. The network will now expand beyond your Jerusalem to your Samaria! How does this happen?

A network may realize that they should never neglect the opportunities they have to reach out in their own local area. They came to the conclusion that the local church should be engaged in the discipling of new believers in “Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth.” Therefore they also need a strategic plan to reach out into their local area. They may consider those who are immediate friends and family of those in the church as well as the many internationals that moved into their region. They may also realize that one of the greatest needs evident in the church today is the ability to prepare the congregation to reach the multitude of ethnic groups within their own community. This goes hand and hand with the need to kindle within the hearts of the congregation a godly burden to go to the nations who are unreached. The opportunities that the Lord gives us to reach out into these ethnic communities will cause this burden to become a reality.

There were many opportunities for the church to be a blessing to those in your neighborhoods and communities. As in many regions, you may see an increase of diverse ethnic groups. These groups talk different, they eat different, and some even worship a different god. The Lord has brought the mission field to your doorstep!

In my next blog (part 6) we will be discussing being a “bridge builder.” Link to Part six.

[Don is available to come to your area and share with your group or network to assist your church to reach the unreached. dondavis@house2harvest.org ]

Can a simple, organic, house church do missions? Can our Lord raise up apostolic teams and send them to the nations out of our house churches and networks? The answer is yes! But, there needs to be some changes in the way we think and approach missions or we will fall into the same traps that plague the institutional missions effort. This is the reason for the series of articles. Hopefully it will spawn some discussion, but most of all spur us all to take the gospel of the Kingdom into the regions of our world where there is no witness, no preaching and no church. Basically to those who are out of reach. “How will they hear unless someone is sent?” (Romans 10:14-15)

A SIMPLE PROCESS:
• Study God’s Word (see Part 2)
• Pray for the Nations (see Part 3)
• Find a “Champion” (see Part 3)
• Pray for harvest, and opportunity for all to participate in that harvest (see Part 3)
Seek the Lord for His Plan
• Follow the Plan

Seek the Lord for His Plan

Out of your times of seeking the Lord’s will, you will develop a clear strategic plan for your church. This plan could also easily incorporate other congregations who desire to be mobilized apostolic house churches, or a network of house churches. The plan may include several different strategic decisions that will lead you towards being truly apostolic in mission. Here are several things to consider:

Adopt a People Group. You may decide that you need to target one specific people group that is unreached (out of reach). If you remain focused on all people groups in general, it would be hard to have a real impact on reaching them. Therefore it is best to narrow your focus to one people group at a time. This process has been called by some “adopting a people group”.(For more information on adopting a people group contact House2Harvest Network at http://www.house2harvest.org/research_upg.html) The term adoption is used because it communicates the seriousness of the commitment. In other words, the church will not let go of their responsibility to see a viable network of house churches planted in the midst of a specific people group. They are committed to stay the course until this becomes a reality. They will not abandon the unreached people group for some new thing, new fad or easier task, but they will be committed to see it through until a church is established in the people group they have adopted, and that church is reaching their own people with the gospel of the kingdom. The churches involvement may only be prayer or it could go as far as sending a team, but they are committed until the promise of Matthew 24:14 is fulfilled in their nation (people group).

Funding the Work. How will those you have been called to go get to the field? What will it take to prepare them, train them, and finance them to go? The church needs to search the scriptures together and devised a plan to finance their call to go and reach the unreached people group you are called to reach. One way is by supporting the team or individuals that have been called to go. This plan is based on 1 Corinthians 9. This is sometimes called “Faith Promise Giving.” (For more information about Faith Promise Giving read: “Faith Promise: Why and How?/ Priority One; What God Wants” by Norm Lewis, OM Literature) Faith promise is an amount of money that an individual trusts God to provide through them for strategic missions. When a Faith Promise is made, the individual will pray that God will show them what the amount should be. They then commit to that amount and trust God to channel that money through them to the needs on the mission field. This is simply a step of faith trusting God to provide. One of the benefits of Faith Promise Giving is that it helps people identify with the step of faith that missionaries take as they raise support. The church can join their faith with the missionary team believing God for their needs. Faith Promise is a commitment only between the individual and God, it is not a commitment to the missionary, the church or any organization. It is not a pledge.
Another way of support is through business ventures that the team would establish while on the field. This is much more complicated and deserves a more lengthy discussion that what I am sharing here. It can also be a combination of both support and business ventures. The key is praying and finding out from the Lord how he wants you to fund the work to reach this unreached people group.

In my next blog I will be sharing about more ways in which we can develop and follow a plan to reach the unreached Link to Part Five

[Don is available to come to your area and share with your group or network to assist your church to reach the unreached. dondavis@house2harvest.org ]

Can a simple, organic, house church do missions? Can our Lord raise up apostolic teams and send them to the nations out of our house churches and networks? The answer is yes! But, there needs to be some changes in the way we think and approach missions or we will fall into the same traps that plague the institutional missions effort. This is the reason for this series of articles. Hopefully it will spawn some discussion, but most of all spur us all to take the gospel of the Kingdom into the regions of our world where there is no witness, no preaching and no church. Basically to those who are out of reach. “How will they hear unless someone is sent?” (Romans 10:14-15)

A SIMPLE PROCESS:
• Study God’s Word (see Part 2)
Pray for the Nations
• Find a “Champion”
• Pray for harvest, and opportunity for all to participate in that harvest

• Seek the Lord for His Plan
• Follow the Plan

Apostolic Missions Begins with Prayer for the Nations

Once your local church grasps this call from your King, you will incorporate into your gatherings a time of prayer for the nations and seek the Lord’s direction regarding what to do. This is done for several reasons; you need to find out from the Lord how you are going to participate first hand in reaching the unreached. The Lord will give you a plan that you will not only initiate amongst yourselves, but share with the other house churches in your network (If you are not part of a network, join with one in your region. If there is not one, start one!) This plan consists of several simple steps that would prepare your church to reach the unreached.

Find God’s Champion

A major strategic step is to recognize someone within your church that would serve as a “champion” for the cause of reaching the unreached. This person would remind everyone of the needs of the unreached, to be sure prayer was initiated, and that they were progressing towards their goal of taking the gospel of the kingdom to an unreached people group. This advocate or champion would be sure that the apostolic mission the Lord has birthed in your midst remains in the forefront of the hearts of each person in your church.

Continual Prayer

What is meant by prayer in this context is that the church develops an integrated initiative to pray for harvest, to pray for opportunity, and to pray for the advancement of Christ’s kingdom through the ministry of every member of the church. The success of your mobilization to reach beyond yourselves begins with the success of the mobilization of prayer for the lost. Your prayers would be focused on praying for the unreached as well as seeking the Lord so that He would reveal to you His plan regarding how to reach the world around you in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the uttermost parts of the earth. As a result of much prayer and seeking the Lord’s will, you will come up with a God breathed strategic plan.

In part four we will begin to discuss some of the things that could be a part of that pan. Link to Part four

[Don is available to come to your area and share with your group or network to assist your church to reach the unreached. dondavis@house2harvest.org ]

Can a simple, organic, house church do missions? Can our Lord raise up apostolic teams and send them to the nations out of our house churches and networks? The answer is yes! But, there needs to be some changes in the way we think and approach missions or we will fall into the same traps that plague the institutional missions effort.

One of the greatest needs a church has is to grasp the scope and sequence of what is needed to bring her to a place where she is actually reaching the world around her. This would include local, regional and even to the point of reaching an unreached people group – those out of reach.

This is the reason for this series of articles. Hopefully it will spawn some discussion, but most of all spur us all to take the gospel of the Kingdom into the regions of our world where there is no witness, no preaching and no church. Basically to those who are out of reach. “How will they hear unless someone is sent?” (Romans 10:14-15)

A SIMPLE PROCESS:

  • Study God’s Word
  • Pray for the Nations
  • Find a “Champion”
  • Pray for harvest, and opportunity for all to participate in that harvest
  • Seek the Lord for His Plan
  • Follow the Plan

Study God’s Word Matthew 24:14 – 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).

Jesus is answering the question regarding the sign of his coming and the end of the age. This verse speaks prophetically of what must happen before “the end will come.” In fact, it could be viewed as a promise. That promise being that Jesus will be sure that the gospel of the kingdom is preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations. This verse also speaks prophetically of what must happen before “the end will come.”

But what does that mean? Jesus was not talking about reaching political, geographical nation states, but actual ethnic peoples. The Greek word for nations is where we get our word ethnic. It speaks of tribes, people groups rather than nations such as India, China or France.

We also discover that the gospel of the kingdom would be preached (or proclaimed). This is not a gospel that is centered on a specific doctrine or creed, but a gospel that will establish the Kingdom of God amongst a people group. In other words, that Christ would not merely be a political, historical, religious figurehead, but actually king over the lives of the people of that tribe who have expressed faith in him. God’s desire then is to establish his rule amongst every tribe, tongue and nation, and this is done by communicating the message of the gospel of the Kingdom.

But this is done by more than just basic communication. The gospel of the kingdom is not merely to be communicated by preaching a message via a missionary or evangelist, a TV or radio signal, nor even via booklets and tracts. But the gospel of the kingdom must to be preached as a testimony. That means that there would need to be a group of believers living out the teachings of Christ and his kingdom in the midst of that people group so that the preaching would not merely be in word, but also in deed. These followers of Jesus would be living examples of those who are under the rule of Jesus their king. The Gospel would be made real through first hand knowledge of how disciples of Jesus really live.

Once the preaching of the gospel as a testimony has happened amongst every people group in the world, then Jesus would return, and the end would come. Does this conclusion cause you to reevaluate your priorities and seriously seek God’s will on how you could be a part of God’s plan to reach the unreached nations? If so, commit yourself (you and your church) to be a mobilized, and become an apostolically motivated group of believers by becoming partners with Christ in bringing the gospel to the unreached nations. But how do we do this?

Study God’s Word – Acts 1:8  “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

As you desire to become an apostolic church you may realize that you have been missing out on what Jesus has called you to do. Most likely you are already active in being salt and light in your own city as well as different ethnic groups in your region (their Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria). From this verse we see that we need to receive the power of the Holy Spirit to reach the ends of the earth as well. We must remember that it is not Jerusalem first, and then go to Judea, and then to Samaria, and finally go to the uttermost parts of the earth; but they should be reaching all four areas simultaneously as the Lord would lead and open opportunities to be ministers of reconciliation.

As you respond to God’s Word, you as a mobilized apostolic church will make a commitment to model what Jesus describes in Acts 1:8 and be challenged with a call to not only reach your own neighbors (your Jerusalem), but those who are out of reach of the gospel – the unreached as well.

In my next blog I will be discussing the importance of prayer and finding a “champion” in your midst. Link to Part Three

[Don is available to come to your area and share with your group or network to assist your church to reach the unreached. dondavis@house2harvest.org ]

Can a simple, organic, house church do missions? (When the term “house church” is used, I am speaking of a variety of expressions of the Body of Christ that gather together. Other terms such as simple church, organic church, small church, single cell church or home church could just as well be used here.) Can our Lord raise up apostolic teams and send them to the nations out of our house churches and networks? The answer is yes! But, there needs to be some changes in the way we think and approach missions or we will fall into the same traps that plague the institutional missions effort.

Over a year ago a couple in our house church (we’ll call them Al and Sarah) expressed their call to go to another country to reach an unreached people group and the need to begin to raise support for the work the Lord was calling them to do. All of us in the church confirmed their call and were excited about this possibility. A few weeks later during a time together Al and Sarah shared their concern that they may not be able to get the support they need in a house church context and were considering returning to the large institutional church that they used to attend in order to have a greater opportunity to raise support and acquire the needed care and advice.

We were now confronted with a situation where a member of our spiritual family wanted to fulfill their call but up to this point there was no real model to follow or “path” to assist them in knowing what they should do. We knew the option of returning to the institutional church was not a good one, but we also knew that we would need to make some clear efforts to be their support base. We are their family, and we did not want to ship them off to a group of strangers to provide the guidance and expertise needed to get to where they needed to go.

This is the reason for this series of ten articles. Hopefully it will spawn some discussion, but most of all spur us all to take the gospel of the Kingdom into the regions of our world where there is no witness, no preaching and no church. Basically to those who are out of reach. “How will they hear unless someone is sent?” (Romans 10:14-15)

One of the greatest needs a church has is to grasp the scope and sequence of what is needed to bring her to a place where she is actually reaching the world around her. This would include local, regional and even to the point of reaching an unreached people group (definition: A people group or ethnic group, within which there is no viable indigenous church or churches with sufficient strength, resources, and commitment to sustain and ensure the continuous multiplication of churches. In other words – they are “out of reach” of the church to bring the gospel to them! For more info go to www.house2harvest.org/research_upg.html)

This is based on the model that Jesus gave the church in Acts 1:8 when he said; “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Typically, the church understands its call to reach its “Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria” but has trouble accomplishing the mandate to go to the “ends of the earth.”

This understanding of the call to be missional can be extremely frustrating for the already established house church. Alan Hirsch states in his excellent book; “The Forgotten Ways” that we must first know Christ, and from that relationship we develop mission, and it is not until then that the church forms. (Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2006, pgs. 143-144.) This is the ideal. But what do we do if we are already functioning as a community of faith and discover our apostolic role to the world around us, even to the extent of reaching out to the ends of the earth?

It is at the ends of the earth that we find the unreached people groups who still do not have access to the gospel. They are out of reach! Up to this point in missions’ history, we have left this task to the institutional church and missions organizations. Certainly these organizations have developed great skills and tools that are invaluable to the missionary. But they bring with them a degree of baggage that continually disrupts the spontaneous expansion of the church.

What does a house church or house church network do? Is apostolic (pioneer, frontier) missions an option for the house church? I believe it must be. It is part of her DNA. How do we implement a clear missions vision in the midst of our churches and then follow through with the missions vision of sending teams to some of the most unreached peoples of the world?

In this 10 part series I will be sharing the simple process of:
• Study God’s Word
• Pray for the Nations
• Find a “Champion”
• Pray for harvest, and opportunity for all to participate in that harvest
• Seek the Lord for His Plan
• Follow the Plan

In my next blog I will be sharing about the simple process that begins with studying the word of God and prayer. Link to Part Two

[Don is available to come to your area and share with your group or network to assist your church to reach the unreached. dondavis@house2harvest.org ]

« Previous PageNext Page »