Forming Simple Churches

Most people would never dream that they could be used by God to ‘plant a church’

With ‘successful churches’ being modelled as muti-million pound corporations with Business structures, hierarchical leadership and departments such as childrens ministry, youth ministry, poor ministries, outreach minist etc.

Only extremely gifted professional middle-class university trained business leaders could ever build such churches. And only those at the top of their game

But what if we radically rethought ‘church’, ‘mission’ and ‘church planting’ in the light of Scripture

Apostle Paul planted most churches in the space of between 3-6 months, then left them to move onto the next place

When he went to Philippi (a town in Macedonia/N. Greece) he met a few women at a river and spoke about Jesus. One of the ladies- Lydia, liked what she heard and invited Paul and his apostolic/church planting team (paul, silas + tim) to stay at her house

Her whole household accepted the message about Jesus and were baptized and the Church in Philippi began.

When a prison officer and his family heard the message, accepted it and were all baptized the church in Philippi met in at least two homes- Lydias (a business woman who sold expensive fabrics) and the Prison Officers!

When planting churches do we have in mind:

1. A complex business organization with hierarchical levels or

2. Simple communities of people with Jesus at the centre

What could Apostle Paul type church-planting look like today?

A Church-Planting team of 2-4 people are sent from their local simple church

They arrive in a town, meet a few people and share Jesus

2 or 3 people respond and get baptized, they start meeting regularly with the church-planting team who model Jesus-centred relationships, learning together, praying together and eating together.

The new believers invite the Church-Planting team to meet other members of their families or friendship networks.

The message spreads.

They meet in homes, cafes, workplaces.

The Church-Planting team shares their life and message and how to be church

As the life of Jesus and the church-planting team is transferred and modelled to the new local believers the church-planting team leave after encouraging them to continue firmly planted in love for Jesus, loving relationships with each other and multiplying- reaching widening circles of people and surrounding places

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike Redshaw May 18, 2014 at 1:47 pm

Excellent thinking and so spot on. Jesus built community not a mega-structure. His church is the world wide community of believers not a single denomination. I’m part of what the Methodist church describes as “Fresh Expressions” which is about establishing new ways of being church.

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admin May 19, 2014 at 9:04 am

Hi Mike. Great to hear from you! We have learn’t a lot from ‘Fresh Expressions’ and also been involved in training and coaching some of those involved in FX.

God is really doing some remarkable things in the UK through new forms (new wineskins) of church!

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admin February 13, 2015 at 11:45 am

Hey Mike! Thanks for your comment! I’ve learnt a lot over the years from the Fresh Expressions movement. Part of a move of God that has addressed the question ‘what is church’ and given permission for church to form out of the soil of the contextual culture!

I would love to see how Fresh Expressions/New Forms can meet multiplication movements

So a Fresh Expression of say, 20 people who meet in a bakery, cafe or skate park, each go and start another community/expression that meets in 20 other locations, whose disciples do the same down to 4th generation and beyond (2 Tim 2:2)

Imagine the Movementum that would come from that!

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