How To Be The Church

Successful house churches follow the example of Jesus and simply imitate the very natural progression of what He did

  • He prayed
  • He met people
  • He made disciples
  • He gathered those who were future leaders closer to Himself
  • He poured Himself into these future leaders to multiply the impact for the Kingdom

Let’s look at these five things briefly…

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand how house churches are to function

If you simply remember these five steps – pray, meet, make, gather, and multiply – you are well on your way to understanding how to be the church

Not “do” church – but, how to “be” the church

These steps work for any generation, any culture, any social strata

We don’t need to change the basic principles of “being the church” because the culture            is different, age difference, educational difference, occupational difference

The forms and structure may change as needed, BUT these five grounding principles               always are the same

STORY:

A businessman for the United States named William was making $350,000 a year and was bored with life and with church

To alleviate his boredom, Bill decided to go and serve the poor in the Indian sub-continent

During a time of prayer, Bill felt the Lord saying that he should invest his time in discipling a young man who was a paraplegic

After a couple of years spent in training him, Bill encouraged this man to start a church for his friends, many of whom were also in wheelchairs

These were people who nobody wanted – the outcasts (one of the lowest castes in                      Hindu society), the lepers, the homeless, and the disabled.

Bill, meanwhile, started businesses to employ the “unemployable,” giving life skills and training to people who otherwise had nothing going for them

If you attended their church called Beautiful Gate you would witness 200 people crammed into a small room for a celebration involving seven of their house churches around the city of Kathmandu

All the elders were sitting in the front, and all were wheelchair-bound

During the worship time, you would see people missing fingers raising their hands

Others had missing noses and ears – all due to leprosy

Despite their affliction, the joy of the Lord was there and the people were worshipping Him with all their hearts

It is always an absolutely moving and gorgeous scene to witness

Bill provides coaching and spiritual oversight from behind the scenes

He tells all who ask: “We pray every day, go to the poor, I disciple people and pour my              life into them, we encourage them to gather in small home groups, and, as soon as we                   can, we multiply.”

There it is…the five things they do to make it a success

  •             They prayed for those who were lost
  •             They met people who did not know Jesus and built relationships
  •             They discipled them on their journey to Jesus – and then with Jesus
  •             They gathered them into homes
  •             They multiplied

Don’t make it hard!

Church only takes five simply steps – not always easy steps – but simple and straightforward

1> PRAY

Why pray?

Because church, any form of church, is God’s way of reaching the unsaved and reclaiming lives for His Kingdom

We are building people up to be lovers of Jesus, and the enemy hates that

He will oppose us

If we don’t pray, we will lose touch with our Source of power for the battle

Prayer is also about intimacy

It is about being more in love with Jesus by spending time with Him

Hearing His heartbeat

Experiencing His love for the last, the least, the lost, and for ourselves

Discovering the doors He is opening for you daily to tell others about Him

When we don’t pray, our faith level goes down

When we pray, we hear from God

It is in those intimate times with Jesus that we get fresh revelation, not only for ourselves, but also for those we are reaching out to – those we are working to gather together and nurture

In prayer, the Lord puts love – His love – in our hearts for a few people we can pour our lives into and mentor – future leaders

Prayer is where we must gain compassion and the energy necessary to live out this two prong mission

It pays to pray and wait for the timing of the Lord in each relationship

 

2> MEET PEOPLE

Don’t hang out with Christians!

Strange as that may sound, this is so necessary if you want to start a new house church and grow (multiply) a network of lighthouses in the spiritual darkness

At least, don’t spend all of your time with Christians

Since micro-churches – house churches – do not have a lot of meetings to go to, programs to maintain or buildings to pay for – those involved have more time to engage their hearts and their lives with a few people in spiritual community and with a lot of people who don’t know Jesus

We must be intentional in order to develop friendships with non-Christians

There are many ways to engage people – and places where this readily happens

Gym – sports events – block parties – walking the dog

Story of Tomm and his 30th birthday party … and since

There are many great ways that we can develop friendships and relationships with people who don’t know or follow Jesus

And, as we hang out with non-Christians, we can pray for them / pray with them

We know God who made them, so we can ask Him to reveal His love for them                              to us as we pray and to show us ways specifically suited to them to reveal that                                love

Prayer allows us to see people differently as we go about meeting people after having prayed

So, a suggestion…

Make a list of five people and begin to pray for them

God wants to use you to birth house churches out of prayer (#1) and intentional time spent with people who don’t know Jesus (#2)

All it takes is one person to come to Christ from an unchurched background, and he or she will bring a whole host of other people who don’t know Jesus

Even Jesus evangelized in this way

He built friendships and His friends brought their friends to meet Him

The woman at the well – One woman whom Jesus befriended introduced Christ                            to the entire town!

 

3> MAKE DISCIPLES

Jesus prayed at the end of His life on Earth:

“The words you have given to Me I have given to the men you have given me.”                                                                                                                                       (John 17:8)

He invested Himself in others

He coached and encouraged them

Who are the men and women God has given to you?

He has people just for you to impact and influence

House church is about intentionally investing in other peoples lives

If we are meeting with those people, pouring into them, praying together, and growing                together, we don’t have to worry about our micro-churches turning into little selfish holy                        huddles

Instead, we will be growing, dynamic, Jesus-following, Jesus-obeying, Spirit-led                         communities

And, please realize that disciple making does not have to start AFTER people become Christians

If you really think about it, discipleship is taking a person forward into maturity with                      regard to their journey with Jesus

Well, that journey starts before their salvation experience – it starts when they                               become spiritually inquisitive

STORY:

This man was working in Amman, Jordan, with a church planting team

He also had a circle of Muslim friends

The church-planting team started meeting together at this man’s house to pray for their community

One day, one of this man’s friends who was a Muslim discovered that people were meeting regularly at this man’s house and he wondered why he was not invited

In his mind, they were “secret” meetings, and in Muslim culture, the home is always                    open and welcoming to friends

Friends don’t have secret meetings

So, his Muslim friend came and asked, “ Why haven’t you told me about this meeting in your home? May I attend?”

Now imagine, the church-planting team was meeting to strategize and pray about how they could reach the Muslim people in the community … and a Muslim man wanted to attend

So, he assured his friend that he could attend, meanwhile telling the church-planting team not to speak in “Christianeze” so that his friend would feel more at home.

At the first meeting his friend attended, the group met over a meal, and then had a short Bible study from the Sermon on the Mount

They sang together and talked about the words of Jesus

Afterwards, the Muslim friend said, “I really enjoyed that. May I come again?”

“Sure, and this time, you lead the discussion.”

“But what will I say?” The Muslim friend wondered

The host assured him, “I will meet with you before the meeting and we will discuss it. And I will give you some books to read beforehand.”

At the next meeting, a Muslim led a Christian church-planting team in a Bible study!

The next week, his Muslim friend said to him, “How did I do? I didn’t quite understand what Jesus meant where He said those words.”

It was an open door, and so he and his Muslim friend continued many months of studying the words of Jesus together.

Today, that Muslim friend is a leader in a small community of Jesus-followers … a house church

This Muslim was discipled before he came to Jesus – and after

 

Discipleship can start before people become Christians – because discipleship is really just a spiritual journey of sharing Jesus, of loving people, of planting a seed of faith and inviting people into a love relationship with Jesus

If our house churches are not highly religious, and if we speak a common language instead of Christianeze, people who are not yet Christians will be free to come and join us

They will feel at home with other normal people

If we gather primarily around food and fellowship, people from all walks of faith and life just naturally fit is

We are, at this point, too religious!!!

Pray

Meet people

Make disciples

 

4> GATHER

People like to eat – so it is important to always have food at a meeting

People feel safe with food and a coffee

People who would never step inside a traditional church will accept an invitation for a meal in your home

A picnic in the park

A coffee at a cafe

Church begins when we start to eat – not when we start to worship or share the Bible

Eating together is a very important part of church

That is why the New Testament church met from house to house and shared meals                     together (Acts 2:42-47)

They were experiencing true family and authentic Christian community – sharing meals and life together rather than sitting row behind row seeing the back of someone’s head once a week

 

We don’t have to PACKAGE the house-church meetings

There is no need to have three to five songs and a sermon

We are not working at reducing a traditional Sunday service into a smaller meeting on a weekday

If we are doing that – pointless!

Yes, we have a leader and often a teacher

But the leader’s job is to facilitate the meeting – guide and direct it

The teacher’s job is to guide and direct a “learning experience” or a time of discovery                where the Word of God comes alive and gets into people’s hearts and lives

So, we gather around food and hang out together, we DO lead, we DO teach, but as facilitators

We are not interested in getting a meeting established

We are interested in getting a movement started

 

Pray

Meet people

Make disciples

Gather

 

5> MULTIPLY

Everything in life will multiply – plants, rabbits, bacteria… and life-giving micro-churches

We must expect – expectation is important – right from the start that each house church will multiply

It is only through multiplying that we will see a movement birthed and the Great                            Commission fulfilled in our lifetime

So, we dream big and build small

We draw people into small gatherings, spot one or two people to train and then encourage those people to become leaders

House churches should be hot beds for leadership development as the next house churches we plant will need leaders

If we are willing to do our part – the Holy Spirit causes the churches to multiply

  1. Pray
  2. Meet people
  3. Make disciples
  4. Gather
  5. Multiply

Successful house churches follow the example of Jesus and intimate the natural progression of what He did

  •             He prayed
  •             He met people
  •             He made disciples
  •             He gathered certain ones closer to Himself – sharing life in depth
  •             He released these new leaders to multiply the impact of the Kingdom