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 ]

In Hampton Roads, Virginia we have been seeing the Lord establish a network of Simple Churches. We recently updated the website and extended an invitation for others to join. Here is what was communicated:

New Addition to the HRSCN Website

One of the greatest needs within the body of Christ is communication, community and fellowship. In other words the genuine practice of koinonia. That is why we have added a tool to the HRSCN website for you and those you know involved in simple/organic/house church life. We have added a relational network page to the website (Ning) to help us bridge that gap. In no way does this fulfill real koinonia – but it’s a start. Take a few minutes and see how we can link together in order to bring the gospel of the Kingdom to our region in a greater measure!

Why does Hampton Roads Network need a Relational Site?

  1. Not to establish a hierarchy – BUT to create a venue to see relationships established that will cultivate genuine Christian community in our region.
  2. Not to promote any personalities or organizations – BUT to see what our Lord Jesus is doing in our midst as we encourage one another and watch HIM build his Church.
  3. To provide a safe place where we can dialogue, network, partner and provoke one another to good works.
  4. To get to know one another and see who else is on this journey of simple church.

This addition to the website will allow for us to connect in the same way that many of you do on Facebook, but focusing strictly on the region of Hampton Roads and simple church life and mission.

Take a few moments and visit the website at http://www.hrscn.org and check out the Network Relationship page (at http://hamptonroadssimplechurchnetwork.ning.com ).

Here is how this site can be a blessing:

  • Forums – This part of the site is provided to allow us to dialogue around specific issues. It is not for carnal debate, but Christ like discussion. Be sure to honor one another.
  • Events – You can list any events here that pertain to the needs of the network.
  • Groups – This is a tool for specific groups within the network to chat, discuss issues in a forum, make comments etc. This would be a great place to post what is happening in your group. It is also a tool to focus on specific areas of interests that is wider than the scope of a discussion forum.
  • Map – See where the simple church meeting places are in Hampton Roads.
  • Blog – Write a blog to the network and post it here for all to read.
  • Videos and Photos – post what would be of interest to the network.

When you go to the site, you can explore what’s there, but if you want to participate you will need to sign up.


A Reminder of Who Hampton Roads Simple Church Network is:

  • Hampton Roads Simple Church Network is a network of simple, organic, house churches in the Hampton Roads region of southeastern Virginia.
  • There is nothing to join, there are no dues to pay, and there is no personality to submit to but Christ. It is a simple voluntary relationship with one another expressed from congregation to congregation.
  • We are inclusive of all followers of Jesus Christ, who proclaim Him as their God, their King, and their Lord. Our only written creed is the Bible.
  • We are diverse from many different denominational and historical backgrounds.
  • We have no centralized governing body, but recognize the relationship we all have with one another being submitted to one another under Christ.
  • We welcome the gifts the Lord has given the church to equip her to do the works of the ministry (apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds and teachers) but do not see them as positions within a hierarchy but servants functioning in their gifting.
  • We have no clergy/laity divide, but honor the priesthood of every believer and their personal responsibility to grow in Christ.
  • We stay connected through our voluntary relationships with one another and serve, love and minister to one another based upon those relationships.
  • We desire to cooperate with other expressions of church in our region without being exclusive or judgmental, but expressing our love for one another in unity and truth.
  • We desire to serve our community in unity in order to bring about transformation, renewal and demonstrate the kingdom of God.


Hope to see you on the network!

What are you doing in your region to facilitate koinonia in the Body of Christ?

God Bless,

Don

In the past few months I have been taking a crash course in learning how to do websites. This is a matter of necessity since I am too cheap (or poor depending on how you look at it) to hire someone to do all the websites I am connected with. So I thought I would take a moment to let you know about them without being too self-promoting. But you know, that’s kinda what bogging is all about – right? In doing these sites, I have realized a few things about myself. First, let me share these websites with you:

This week I have been working on updating our website for Strategic Church Network. This site will be a great tool to help those who are doing simple/house church get involved in missions. We will be using this site to inform folks of different opportunities for training, short-term trips and the like.

As you may already know, I am also involved in the maintenance of the House2Harvest Network site. This site is totally flat, and belongs to all who join the network to share how we can help one another finish the task (Matthew 24:14). Strategic Church Network is one of those church networks that are available to serve the Body of Christ.

Another web site that I assist with is Hampton Roads Simple Church Network This is a site that serves all house/simple churches in the Hampton Roads, Virginia area.

One of my main interests is training cross cultural servants to the nations, specifically in the area of reaching Muslim unreached people groups. Therefore I have developed the site for South East Asia Institute of Intercultural Studies. I have the privilege of serving with some great servants of the Lord who are giving their lives for the cause of finishing the task.

There are a few more sites coming, I will soon be putting together a site for our business that is presently in the dream stage and hopefully become reality in 2009. I really need to start making some money!

Well – go surf a while and check out these sites – let me know what you think. And if you like them give me praise, if you don’t – careful, my ego bruises easily. I know these sites are not perfect by any means – but to be honest – I was not shooting for perfection – just function. That’s kinda fits my style.

That’s what have I learned about myself. I can really get bogged down in attempting perfection to the point that I become worthless, immovable and depressed. I would prefer to throw it out there and fix it as I go. Certainly avoiding funky mediocrity, but striving for functionality and practical value. I guess that’s really how we should approach life – especially life as a follower of Christ.

It is much more beneficial to get up, get moving and go with what you’ve got (and if you’ve got Christ in you – WOW!) and start doing what you think God wants you to do. He will correct you along the way so that you avoid mediocrity, and senseless attempts at perfection. That will come soon enough – if we get busy reaching the nations! Come Lord Jesus – but first go make disciples of all nations followers of Christ!

The second part of this post can be found at the other blog I manage: House2Harvest Missions Weblog

I talk about taking this seemingly comlicated process and keeping it simple.