Tuesday, January 23

Simple churches need simple plans

What are some of the things you sense God is leading you to undertake this year? Our small band of simple churches has determined to stick to our five-year plan of working towards seeing 500,000 come to know the Lord in our province of Guayas.

The simple churches we work with need a simple plan of action.

There are four things we are constantly focusing upon to accomplish this task:

1) Praying the Lord of the Harvest to send laborers.


This one is interesting because continually we see God answering this prayer request. I could share scores of examples, but will give you a recent one: This past Tuesday night we were coming out of an Associational Meeting with the President of the BWA, David Coffey. I was standing around greeting folks, when a couple approached me and directly asked when we could get together to go over ways they could start a church in a town they were visiting weekends. Earlier that same evening a man sat down next to me and just started telling me that a home had opened up and he was going to begin a new church there this coming week. Just like that--simple--out of the blue!

2) Every church plant a church every year.

Can you imagine what would happen if every one of our churches simply reproduced itself once per year? How hard can this be, and yet year after year our churches get involved in all kinds of programs and another year goes by without planting new works. Our team feels that we need to use all our influence, every opportunity given us to get across to our pastors, churches, leaders to start new works. We aren't talking about planting hundreds of churches; just start ONE this year. Multiplication will take care of itself if we will do our part of working towards one new church plant each.

3) Every believer winning/discipling four others to Christ in a year's time.


Part of the difficulty we encounter here in Guayaquil is fierce competition from many good and noble emphasis going on all the time. There is a continuous stream of programs, conferences, concerts, etc. All these are good, but they have a way of terribly distracting us from the "main thing." What our team is saying to our people is FOCUS ON ONE THING and that is winning four people to the Lord this year and discipling them so that they become reproducing disciples themselves. Like #2 above, if we will do this faithfully, multiplication will get us to our goal of 500,000 in less than five years.

4) Repeat the above until we reach our goal of 500,000.

We feel the need to concentrate on a few things and do a few things well. We are trying not to be reactionary to what comes along, but be pro-active in a few things. Focus on the above three goals, repeat them over and over, and leave the results up to God.

What kinds of things is the Lord impressing upon you, or your ministry this new year?

10 comments:

Maël said...

Guy,

I have a question that I have been asking myself and your post made me think of it.

Where is the fine line between planning and total dependence of the Holy Spirit?

It seems that in 1) Praying the ... you are definitely seeing the results of depending on the Spirit. It also seems that in 3) Every believer ... you are seeing the frustrations with over planning (that is what I call too many programs).
It seems that this question has so many implications in our lives, in how we do ministry, etc. I'd love to hear what balance you have struck in the last 20 years.

In Christ,

Mae:l

Ken Sorrell said...

Guy,

It is apparent, that around the world today the simple idea of church's reproducing themselves through another new church start is impeded by the fact that we have allowed so many "extra-biblical" elements to invade our understanding and practice the New Testament church model. To reproduce what we tend to describe as church today is either too complicated, too complex, or too expensive to reproduce.

For many, the concept of "less is more" is such a foreign way of thinking. If it is not big and brash, then it can't be effective can it?

To really reach our goal of taking the Gospel to all who need to hear, it would do us well to put into practice Jesus' words, "Not my will but Your will be done."

Darrell said...

Oh Ken,

What you write is so true. It is true not only when targeting unreached people, but also here in North America. I don't know what it is going to take to wake up the average Christian, Pastor, Church, to the reality of the sinking ship. Right now folks just do not want to hear that what is being done is not working, and that there is another choice.

Guy it is so simple. How did we get so far from being about obeying the King. Being a small reproducable church focused on obeying what Jesus commanded has awakened within me a real sence of the Kingdom of God.

I am so thankful for you and Ken and others who have been out in the front of this.

GuyMuse said...

Thanks guys for stopping by. I am currently at a training conference and won't be back for a week, but will answer your questions then. I am paying 25-cents/minute for internet access so can't spend much time on-line! Welcome back to life in the USA!

OCHands said...

Guy, et al:
You are all right on target. I tried to share with our pastor and minister of education about a training class for small group leaders, and found it very difficult. They wanted to incorporate the training into what was already going on or being planned for the church.

As I went down the list of what I had planned, the goals of the training, and the benefit for the church itself, it became evident that we were not communicating. I suppose it could be that because we have so many traditions, that "simplifying" church growth by the use of small groups is too foreign to comprehend.

The approach currently is to "bring people into the church." This is not a bad strategy, simply not too effective. I am praying that the powers that be will at least give me an opportunity to take a dozen or less of our members who are really interested in learning about small groups, and provide several months of training for them.
Thanks Guy for sharing your strategy, and the rest of you for your commments.
Milton

Tim Patterson said...

Guy,

Did you read the book "Simple Church" by Thom Rainer & (can't remember the co-author's name)?
It is written from a stateside church growth perspective but I see some good principles that can be applied in a missions context. I see some correlation between what you write and what this book proposes.

The problem stateside is still a "if we build it, they will come" mentality. Evangelism still centers around a centralized believing community rather than decentralized believing presence among the lost community. The only churches doing anything with impact here are the ones transitioning to a different model that gets the church externally focused, or new churches that start that way from the beginning.

antonio said...

Guy, one of things we are going to ask of the convention churches in the area here are to find at least 2 people with the intentions of sharing Christ, seeing them to know Christ, and then diciple them and those two doing the same. Two does not sound much to many but honestly there is no telling how many people we will talk and work with until we come along those two and in the likings it may be more. I was giving an estimate of 7,000 members (out of a population of 1.3 million) but am awaiting last years stats. God bless in your goal of 500,000. I hope to have this more logically put together but of course I am awaiting the stats.

Dion said...

Guy it was a blessing to meet you in Long Beach. Guayaquil has a place in my heart unmatched by anywhere else on the globe. It's where I became a Latino (if one can change transverse between raices). I remain impact by what you said as we munched on Mexican American food. "Pray." That was your overall lesson learned and shared as we broke burgers/tortillas. I will endeavor to put it into practice more after having heard your challenge.
In Organic Church Neil called it the 10:2b virus. A challenge to pray everyday at 10:02 that the Lord of the harvest would send out workers into the fields as found in Luke 10:2b.
I did it for about a year and then quit. Why? I'm lazy. God forgive my complacent carne! I must begin again.
BTW I took your blog idea to heart too and am starting one at kafekakuma.blogspot.com I'd appreciate your tips to become more blogger savy (sp?)

GuyMuse said...

Friends,

Sorry for the delay in getting back to each of you and your good comments. I just got back from the Church Multiplication Associates conference held at Long Beach, CA. It was great and hope to be blogging a bit about some of what I learned in upcoming posts.

MAEL, KEN, DARRELL--To come up with the 500,000 goal, our group of church planters and leaders spent nearly a year praying and listening to the Lord for guidance in what He wanted us to take on. We studied the book of Nehemiah together and after a week of fasting and praying concluded as a Body that the Lord was leading us to take on this portion of the city to "rebuild the walls". While 500-k sounds like a large number, it really is acheivable with God empowering us to 1)pray, 2)plant one new church/year, 3)win/disciple four per year. By simplifying what it is each of us has to be responsible for, it is like Nehemiah assigning the portions of the wall to each of the family entities. Working together in this way the task was completed. I would strongly urge anyone to study Nehemiah in search of principles for winning a city to Christ.

MILTON--All I can say is "hang in there". It is a battle we are raging against the gates of hell. We are told by Christ that those gates will not prevail. We are on the offense and need not let up in our efforts to do what Christ commanded.

TIM--I purchased Rainer's "Simple Church" but haven't read it yet. I also picked up several other great books this past week at the CMA conference in Long Beach. I have already dipped in to a couple of them and can see they will be challenging reading. You are exactly right in saying the churches who will have an impact are those that, "gets the church externally focused, or new churches that start that way from the beginning."

ANTONIO--That's great about starting with 2. If we would do even two per year the multiplication would kick in to see a vast harvest take place. Just remember in your goal setting to KISS! (keep it simple stupid!)

GuyMuse said...

DION--I too enjoyed so much meeting you and Naty there in Long Beach, as well as the other Rosedale bunch. I checked out your "Kafe Kakuma" blog and love it! Keep up the good work. I especially enjoyed reading your "A New OS" entry as I too was greatly impacted by Wolfgang Simson's talk this past Sunday. I am adding you to my blog reader so that I can keep up with you guys as you make your way to Venezuela. Blessings!