Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Two good articles

Sorry, seems like I am in posting overload, kind of bloggin frenzy, but I wanted to pass these on and then I'll slow down.

According to Barna in Revolution, a new group of Revolutionaries is changing the landscape of Christianity in America. "They are not willing to play religious games and aren't interested in being part of a religious community that is not intentionally and aggressively advancing God's Kingdom." This group is faithfully serving God, but many of them are giving up on congregational expressions of church.

I really like this quote...

The real issue for many clergy is that the Revolution is potentially career-threatening. "A declining number of professional clergy will receive a livable salary from their churches...To some, this will sound like the Great Fall of the Church. To Revolutionaries, it will be the Great Reawakening of the Church." It will be disruptive, but Barna hopes it will be "a new day in which the Church can truly be the Church - different from what we know today, but more responsive to and reflective of God."

This is what I (we) have been experiencing and Tapestry is right at the forefront of this revolution, independent of Barna and Emergent, God is awakening people where they are located.

Full article is here...

The other article is

In our first year, we began ten new churches. In our second year, Church Multiplication Associates (CMA) started 18 churches. The next year, we added 52 new starts. The momentum was beyond our expectations. In 2002, we averaged two churches a week being started and had 106 starts. The following year, we saw around 200 starts in a single year. We estimate that close to 400 churches were started in 2004, but counting the churches has become a daunting task. At the time of this writing, there have been close to 800 churches started in thirty-two states and twenty three nations around the world, in only six years.

Full article here...

This is what lies behind the vision we have and which I will be unfolding this Sunday, again this was on our hearts way before this was known - we were looking at Paul's mission to Macedonia...man I am so excited and expectant of what the Lord is doing.....!!!!!!

7 comments:

Gillian said...

That's pretty amazing, 400 churches in 2004. I mean it's great, fantastic - but who's leading them? It sounds like they must have an incredible amount of planters, leaders.

Who teaches them? What do they get taught?

Does God get a look in?

Is this kind of rapid growth healthy? How many of the churches that are started are still on the go after a year?

Dave said...

You do not need planters or leaders, you need people who know Jesus, and are deeply passionate...'one shall tell another' - the one baptised becomes the baptiser of the next one, and so on.

As for who teaches them, leads them, does God get a look in, is it healthy, how many left after a year, what do they get taught questions....

Read Acts 17:1-9 and then 1 Thess 1:1-10 (especially verse 8), Luke and Paul can answer a lot better than I can.

Let me know what you think

Gillian said...

I was being sincere when i said that it was pretty amazing, 400 churched in 2004. It really is fantastic that Gods word is being brought to all of these people.

But how do you know if these people are simply setting up 'churches' based on text book examples of their previous experience and how many are actually being led by God?

The passages are great, but this isn't Thessalonica we're talking about. Did the Thessalonians go on out and start 400 churches in a year?

I don't think Mega churches are the best way to worship? Yet i've heard that within them are loads of pastors that run kind of house group things. I just can't see where the Lord plays His part in a Mega church?

Similarly, if you are producing so many churches, how often is God actually listened to?

For example, say you've set up a church in Dingwall, Maryburgh, Conon, Marybank, Contin, Fodderty, they're all a great success, it would be fairly logical to set one up in Strathpeffer. I mean it's foolproof. You just do the same as you did everywhere else in the same area and yipee another success. But say God doesn't want you to. At what point do you think people stop listening to God? And what happens to people, members of the congregation, if indeed the leaders or whoever do stop listening?

It just all sounds a bit too easy and too good to be true.

Shieldsy said...

I'm genuinely pleased at this success story. But aren't these churches called cell groups in other places? (I mean cell groups in the proper sense of the word ... not just re-branded home-groups)! There are lots of churches who are having success with cell groups.

Question is ... are these churches growing/reproducing because the lost are getting saved or is it like minded Christian 'home groups' setting themselves up as churches? Genuine question?

Dave said...

Shieldsy....

But aren't these churches called cell groups in other places?

I think cell groups are more attached to a single church, but really it doesn't matter whether you call it cell or what, church is church, the 'called out' ones.

Question is ... are these churches growing/reproducing because the lost are getting saved or is it like minded Christian 'home groups' setting themselves up as churches? Genuine question?

My hope is that it is people from outside God's Kingdom coming in, and not just migration growth, I think it is the former, but there are many 'unconverted' people in churches as well, so it is difficult to quantify really.

dinsy said...

I think, before you get into questions of whether people are listening to God, whether there are enough pastors, leaders, teachers whatever, and who is making up the body of these church plants, I would want to look more closely at what is meant by "agressively advancing God's Kingdom".

I don't think agression, in any way, shape or form, intentional or otherwise, should have anything to do with God's Kingdom. It sounds too much like they are wandering around waving their two edged swords in their hands!

Why do so many christians get all fired up with warlike metaphors (victory, conquest, battle, agression etc) when Jesus called his disciples simply to love and to serve?

Dave said...

I have included some verses below and hope they bring some clarity. I think the people that Barna is opposed to is those with non committal faith. The kind of faith that has become an obstruction to the cause of Christ.

I myself view the spreading of the Kindom in the same way possibly as Barna. I think these verses show the power of the gospel in active mode advancing against the kingdom of darkness.

That is the key though, when Paul speaks of 'armour' in Ephesians 6, the warlike metaphors he uses (and my context as well) is against the unseen forces of evil that rage against this already beleagured creation.

Sadly no matter how strongly Paul warned against not battling 'flesh and blood', the tendency is to do that very thing.

We see it in the church as denominations war against each other through competitive 'outreach' programmes. Do they want to serve the community as God's ambassadors, or do they want to be known as the most successful church.

So how do we exhibit that violence against the kingdom of darkness? Well for me it is done by loving and serving.

I want to love and serve, not simply to 'heap coals', but by the action of loving and serving, of bringing light into dark, we automatically engage the powers in combat.

Yet even here, (because we are in our good works exhibiting Jesus in us) it is Jesus who engages the powers and principalities, of whom he has already made an open show.

Is this what Barna is saying? Who knows, maybe the last word should go to John Lennon on the 25th anniv of his death, he wrote "You say you want a revolution", well John, I sure do!!


Matt 11:11

“Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. 13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.

Matt 16:17

Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. 18And I tell you that you are Peter,and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."

Acts 16:18

She continued doing this for many days. But Paul was greatly annoyed, and turned and said to the spirit, "I command you (A)in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her!" And it came out at that very moment.

 

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