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!

[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.

[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.

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 ]