Wednesday, June 27

What do we mean by 'simple church?'

House2House offers the following description for 'simple church.'

Some call them house churches. Some call them organic churches. Some call them simple churches. We prefer to just call them churches.

They are rapidly multiplying, simple communities of believers, meeting in homes, offices, campuses, wherever God is moving. This is the pattern common to many parts of the globe, and is now becoming more and more common in the U.S. as well.

Where are two or more are gathered in His name, there is church.

Where "DNA" is present among people, there is church.

"D" stands for Divine Truth (loving God/Jesus)
"N" stands for Nurturing Relationships (loving one another deeply)
"A" stands for Apostolic Mission (being on Jesus' mission to the world)

Buildings, programs, and professional clergy are not essential elements of a church.

By 'simple church', we mean a way of doing and being church that is so simple that any believer would respond by saying, "I could do that!"

By 'simple church', we mean the kind of church that is described in the New Testament. Not constrained by structure but by the needs of the extended family, and a desire to extend the Kingdom of God.

By 'simple church', we mean a church that listens to God, follows His leading and obeys His commands.

By 'simple church', we mean spiritual parents raising spiritual sons and daughters to establish their own families.

House Church

House Church is a term sometimes used in the way we use the term Simple Church. It can be confusing in that: A Simple Church may or may not meet in a house (it can meet anywhere).

Church Planting Movements

Church Planting Movements occur when simple churches multiply rapidly.

This is a Very Old "New" Idea

Churches in the New Testament were most often small gatherings that met in homes.

"Greet Priscilla & Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus. They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful for the. Greet also the church that meets at their house." Romans 16:3-4

"But when the Jews opposed Paul and became abusive, he shook out his clothes in protest and said to them, 'Your blood be on your own heads! I am clear of my responsibility. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.' Then Paul left the synagogue and went next door to the house of Titius Justus, a worshiper of God." Acts 18:6-7

Does 'simple' mean lower quality?

Absolutely not! While no structure or format can guarantee quality, we believe that the small, participatory, family-like environment of a simple church is ideally suited to the goal of helping people become passionate disciples of Jesus Christ.

2 comments:

Ken said...

Guy,

I think I'm back online now.

I like the idea of making church less complicated and less program driven. I like the idea of the church being incarnational and less attractional. I would like to see "worship services" be just that worship for believers rather than evangelistic pleas to the few without Christ in attendance. So, I just wanted to say that I'm not against this view of church in principle.

At the same time, I have one struggle and that is using the Matthew 18:20 verse as a definition for church. This verse fall within the context of church discipline and forgiveness for me, at least, relates back to verse 16 when it speaks of the number of witnesses needed to confront a brother or sister in unrepentant sin.

I'm not saying that we can't claim the promise of "where two or three have gathered", but does this mean that if I'm alone, God is not present?

I just think that we are on shaky ground if this verse is the foundation of our definition of church. Being church is both, who we are and what we do.

GuyMuse said...

Ken,

So glad to have you back. I read on your own blog some of the trials you have been going through of late and can certainly understand your taking some time away from the internet.

The whole "definition of church" subject is something we have been dealing with for several ongoing years now. It is not easy to come up with a satisfactory definition that everyone feels is Biblical.

I just received in the mail yesterday my long awaited copy of Rad Zdero's new book, "NEXUS: The World House Church Movement Reader". In the Foreword, Ralph Neighbor offers yet another definition for church: "Christ's Basic body is a community selected and baptized by the Holy Spirit. They are led by the embodied Christ, who edifies and reveals His presence and power through them."

No matter whose definition we use, it will not align with everybody's feelings about what a NT church is or should be. So, we keep looking for consensus...

Another expression found in Acts that speaks to the matter is what they cried out, "God is certainly among you!" When the world sees Christ in the midst of a group of believers, there is church.

Anyway, thanks for your thoughts on the matter. I look forward to reading your forthcoming posts over at RTBM.