Sunday, April 1

Training house church planters

Two weeks ago we began a new round of training for church planters. All those coming to the training are so-called "lay leaders" coming out of the evangelical churches scattered around the city.

From past experience, we know what is taught and modelled in the few weeks of training is critical. Those first few training session will make a huge difference in the kind of church that gets planted.

Most trainees come in with preconceived ideas about the church and what their role is in church planting. We are very careful to model in word and action those desired attitudes, concepts, and practices that are essential for a servant-leader planting a new work with new converts.

Our basic C.O.S.E.C.H.A. training manual is a 50-page, 20 step-by-step guide to starting a church from scratch with newly won believers. Our vision and strategy is described in our first training session of COSECHA and sets the stage for all that follows.

FAQ for house church planting in Guayaquil covers many of the common questions we get.

What a Guayaquil house church looks like in action can be read here. And for those interested in a case study there is a lot more of the background and a critical evaluation of "Starting house churches in Guayaquil."

The church in your house is a list of 13 values that continue to guide us as a church planting team.

This past year, I have benefitted greatly from the writing and personal teaching of Aussie Alan Hirsch. Recently he posted on his blog a YouTube video that really caught my attention.

This 1:00 video is an experiment done with fleas, but has a HUGE LESSON for all of us involved in any kind of training. I especially found this experiment relevant to our training of house church planters.

Please watch and then feel free to share your observations and applications to ministry.


Tim Patterson said...


Excellent video/illustration about modeling...

another lesson from this... the jar represents the structure and/or parameters that we set for church. This will either allow for multiplication and expansion, or seriously limit growth and reproduction.

GuyMuse said...


In a sense the issue you observe about the jar representing structure and/or parameters we set for church, is one of the biggest obstacles we have for seeing a church planting movement in our own context. The "jar" has so trained us and set the pattern, that it is nearly impossible to get us "fleas" to jump any higher, or do anything outside of the parameters set by the jar.

That is why in all our new training, part of what we have to do is "untrain" or "detox" those coming from a "jar" background. The question for me remains, what is the best way to accomplish this?

Philip said...

good video. We call it wash braining, in regards to getting people to rethink church. We did wash braining with IMB in Singapore in 2004.

GuyMuse said...


Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I checked out your website and will add you to my Omea Blog Reader to keep up with your work there in NZ. We have good friends there who used to be on our CP team here, and would love to come visit sometime!

Just for clarification, what do you mean when you say, "We did wash braining with IMB in Singapore in 2004"? What did this entail? I'd be interested in a bit more background to better understand what you are saying.

S.A.M. said...

I remember I tried to put my own limitations on what God wanted in my life. I was at a crossroads at one point not knowing if I was able to go into the mission field. I finally said to myself that I would not put mine or anyone else's limitations on God's plan for me. I feel that many others are like that. They feel unworthy and unqualified to do what God is calling them to do. Much like the fleas, they are limited and do not know that they can jump out of the jar or box they've been caught in. They can jump out, they just have to be willing to jump out. God uses a willing heart and spirit. Incredible video. I lived in a house one time that seemed to have that many fleas!


GuyMuse said...


When I began to sense that God was calling me to serve Him, I too felt unworthy and unqualified. Thirty years later, I still feel the same way! With so many others more qualified and gifted, it's a mystery why He called someone like me with so many faults and weaknesses. But like you say, we must be careful to not put limitations on what God would want to do with our lives.

As for all the fleas in the house where you used to live, maybe God was just preparing you for something further down the road! :)

Kevin, Somewhere in South America said...

Put the video on the CPF, dude! It's effective.

S.A.M. said...

Guy, we can be encouraged to know that the 12 apostles Jesus chose were not qualified either, and they were whom Jesus chose to lay the foundation for His church. McArthur's book "12 Ordinary Men" is a great read about their calling. I am trying to put this into teaching and story form for our trip to S.A. in a few weeks at a training seminar. The more I read, the more I am encouraged. It's great to see that after the many years on the field, you are still humble, even though you have much knowledge to share with the rest of us. Thanks.


Burkhalter Ministry said...

We are totally excited about getting a glimpse of what God is doing in your neck of the woods and learning from ya'll!

GuyMuse said...


I'll see what I can do about putting it on the forum.


Would be interested in hearing how you go about putting these ideas into story form for the training. Keep us posted on how it goes.


Thanks for stopping by, we too are looking forward to your coming down to be with us this summer.

S.A.M. said...

Guy, it is proving to be a challenge, but it is better to teach in story form as much as possible so that they can understand. So much of their culture is oral, and sometimes many of them may be unable to read well. Putting the stories of the bible into a form that is more understandable helps very much. Standard teaching sometimes does not translate. I'll let you know how it goes.

OC Hands said...

Great post!!! Thanks for sharing so openly about your work there--about your approach to cpm, your successes and failures. These are extremely valuable for those who are committed (even retired M's living in the US) to find ways to start churches that start churches.
I continue to post excerpts from your blog on my blog Voices of Praise. Also I try to maintain some element of security, so I do not list your city. If I can do so, please let me know.
Keep up the good work

Darrell said...

Americans are among the approximately 2 percent of the world’s population who move from place to place, while the other 98 percent live and die within 50 miles of where they were born. (

Half of all Americans live within 50 miles of their birthplace. (

Salmon find their way back to the same steam they were born in to spawn.

Then there is Newton's first law of motion: An object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion tends to stay in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.

All these examples further support the concept in your post.

So given the reality that we have a built in need to stay the way we are; what can keep us from living and dieing in the same rut? Dr. Henry Blackaby says you can’t go with God and remain where you are. Jesus said to seek first the Kingdom of God.

Thanks for the great reminder Guy!

El Perro said...

Este video me gustó desde que lo vi... e ilustra algunas de las limitaciones con las que aprendemos a vivir como iglesia...

Excelente como recurso!

Strider said...

I have bumped up against that fake ceiling myself. This is a good post and a good reminder to let God be God. History should be used to propel us into the future, not chain us to the past. Let us keep redefining church until we are somewhere close to what Jesus intended.
By the way, I wrote a brilliant definitive comment on the last post but blogger ate it.

GuyMuse said...


Storying is widely used in our region of the world as well. I personally do not use CBS but many of our colleagues in other parts of the country and continent do.

OC Hands,

Thanks for the good prayer updates you provide on your VOP blog. No problem using our location of Guayaquil if/when you decide to share something from our neck of the woods.


Some interesting facts, and good questions you ask. Sounds like the topic of a blog post that could be done. The key is, "...unless acted upon by an unbalanced force..." I guess one of our functions is to be those "unbalanced forces" of change!

El Perro,

Ciertamente, muchas de nuestras iglesias ponen "tapas" en cuanto a los limites permitidos llegar de los hermanos. Creo que la iglesia fue creada por Dios para hacer mucho mas de lo que hoy vemos.


Sorry about losing all those pearls of wisdom to the unappreciative blogger! The same has happened to me so many times that I have finally learned to before sending, first, right click, select all, copy, and then try to send the message. If something goes wrong, I can paste the written text back in for a second try. You are right in our needing to let God be God. We try to place a "jar" and "lid" around Him so that He is conformed to our image--in essence idolotry, rather than allowing Him full reign to be and do whatever He would like in our midst.