Last night while taking home our team leader from a training, Geovanny was sharing with me some of the things God is revealing to him these days. When he mentioned John 12:24, something clicked within as one of the lessons God is also teaching me these days.
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
The 'grain of wheat' that is falling into the earth and dying is my dream for a genuine church planting movement of simple/house churches here in Guayaquil. For nearly a decade we have labored, studied, prayed for, and dreamed of a movement of multiplying simple/house churches. But after ten years, we are still far from seeing this become a reality in our midst.
So, why am I saying our dream has to be put to death in order to bear fruit? Because that is what Jesus says. As long as it remains our dream, our vision, our passion, there will be little fruit to show from it all.
However, to truly allow it to fall to the earth and die, will ultimately bring about much fruit--maybe even the dreamed of CPM.
So, how is God bringing us to the point of surrendering our dream and allowing it to die?
I am a passionate student of all things related to ekklesia--a return to the concepts and principles of 1st Century Church and Christianity.
Today, many different terms are being used to describe this recapturing of the apostolic N.T. ekklesia: simple church, house church, organic church, emerging missional church, etc.
I devour materials/books by people like Neil Cole, Wolfgang Simson, Frank Viola, Alan Hirsch, and many others, too numerous to mention, who write in this fascinating genre.
David Garrison, Curtis Sergeant, David Watson are my CPM inspirations. I identify closely with House2House, DAWN, CMA, and NTRF. I have benefited from studies/writings/videos by George Patterson and associates, Steve Atkerson, Alan Knox, Jon Zens, Beresford Job, Gene Edwards, Watchman Nee, Rad Zdero and many others whose work has helped shape our understanding of the church and church planting over the years.
Our dream/vision has always been that this would happen as a movement of multiplying house/simple churches. What we are surrendering to the Lord is to allow Him to do things any way He chooses. Even if it means that the churches planted are of the contemporary/traditional kind with all the extra-biblical trappings that accompany them.
What trumps our passion for simple/house church is our desire to see this nation come to the feet of Jesus Christ--to see the Great Commission fulfilled in Ecuador. Are we willing to sacrifice our personal convictions about ekklesia in order for the greater Kingdom good to be realized?
What we are now coming to understand is that God may choose to do the very thing we have prayed for, but may use any number of models or manners of church planting to assemble the ingathering of new disciples:
-mother churches with daughter missions
-independent pioneer model
Surrendering the first on the list is what is difficult for me. It is almost like if we can't have it our way, then no way at all is acceptable. This is what God is gently showing us--it is not about us planting churches using the "correct biblical model", but His way. This is His church we are talking about, not our church. Once we surrender having things our way, then He will be free to do things any way He pleases.
So, what do you think about these things?