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 ]

Dear Friends and Partners,                                                   December, 2009

It has been a while since I sent out a newsletter – please forgive me for being so late! We have had an eventful last few months. A trip to India and an opportunity to teach a class on missions and much more. Thank you for your prayers and financial support. We continue to walk by faith as we are led by the Lord’s provision.

INDIA TRIP

This past month I had the opportunity travel to India (New Delhi) and attend the “Global House Church Summit” as well as a three day training on making disciples and planting churches rapidly. I was so encouraged by what I witnessed.

Over 200 leaders from 40 nations gathered to discuss the significance of the worldwide house church movement. Throughout the summit there were reports of how these discipling communities were multiplying and bringing change to their regions.

It was reported that there are now over 10,000 house churches in Europe, 10,000 in Australia and 6,000 in New Zealand. In the USA there are up to 12 million who attend house churches. In Bangladesh and India it was discovered that house churches have become the largest Christian movement. In Myanmar over 6,000 house churches have been started in less than five years in just one movement. The reports continued from Africa, South America and of course the phenomenal growth of the church in China. The Kingdom of God is truly expanding and the “glory of the Lord is covering the earth as the waters cover the sea!”

Dr. V.C. one of the main conveners of the summit brought these encouraging words; “It is not about setting up house based worship communities alone . . . many house churches are beginning to change not only the spiritual climate, but begin to model the wholistic life in the Kingdom of God at the village level, demonstrating Gods ability to restore families, health and even heal the land.” He added; “For example, constant prayer walking and breaking of curses placed on the land has, in a number of areas resulted in unprecedented harvests and other agricultural breakthroughs, thus demonstrating tangibly the blessing by which God is able and willing to upgrade and empower everyday life.” Truly, what is happening has more to do with transformation of communities that a mere method of doing church or conducting meetings.

Many participants in the summit agreed with the assessment that the house church movement is growing up. She is now making becoming fully involved in the Great Commission to disciple all people groups in the world. There was also a continued emphasis on being focused on the Kingdom of God rather than the organizations of men. There was a clear challenge to finish the task (Matthew 24:14) and take the gospel to the unreached and make disciples. As a result, the summit agreed to take more initiative to reach the world by working together and seeing multiplication of discipling communities happen in all nations.

MISSIONS CLASS

Immediately after my trip to India I stopped over in St. Joseph’s, Michigan and taught a group of students at Master’s Commission where our son-in-law serves as director. We then stayed through Thanksgiving where the rest of the family joined me and we had a great time with our daughters, sons-in-law and grandchildren. It we a great Thanksgiving! (see picture of the family)

THANK YOU

I thank you for your prayers and financial support. Those who have supported financially have provided funds so that I could take my recent trip to India as well as trips planned in the future. You support also allows me to continue to devote my time to missional projects here where we live such as the development of an aquaponics prototype in Hampton Roads, a community center in our neighborhood and helping to mobilize simple churches to reach the nations. Although our support is much less than previous years, the Lord has been faithful and provided all that we need.

God Bless You & Merry Christmas!!

Don & Jeannie

Do we need a new definition for the people groups that are unreached? Has this term been so misused that it must be redefined? Should the shift in our understanding of church, ecclesiology and mission reflect in this definition, not to mention our actual practice when reaching the unreached?

Here is the classic definition that many as well as I have been using: “An unreached people group is 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.”

Here is my proposed new definition –

“An unreached people group (nation/ethnos) is any people group where there are no followers of Jesus who are making disciples within their own people group.”

I think it is time to change this definition. My reasons for this is that this new definition . . .: [See the remainder of this post at – House2Harvest WebLog]

I just posted our December 2008 newsletter called “The Davis Report” on the Strategic Church Network site. Click here and give it a read!

I talk about:

  • Being Friends with Refugees
  • Making Inroads to the Unreached
  • Websites Up and Running
  • Looking Ahead to 2009

God Bless!