Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Good article about urban house church planting. Really great points, not just about church planting, but discipleship and mission as a whole:

- Recent studies of American Christianity have demonstrated the church in America talks about personal discipleship, but does not practice it (See George Barna, Growing Effective Disciples). In healthy home churches most of the members should either be trying to disciple others or be under discipleship by others.
- Leaders of an existing home church will look for ways to plant a new home church naturally, not artificially. By natural, we mean they will seek to keep young Christians together with those to whom they minister and with whom they have invested relationally.
- Our best church planting teams have regular times of prayer together for the mission of the church. A good prayer meeting should be based on a prayer list prepared in advance by one of the members. Praying for non-Christian friends by name as well as key goals in the home church will turn back the attacks of the evil one and unleash the power of God into the church.
- The refusal to plant a new church was usually based mainly on the fact that members didn't want to upset a situation they saw as very happy and wholesome. In our view, such groups are far from wholesome. They are desperately sick! The members have come to see the home church as something that exists for their well-being and happiness, not for accomplishing the will of God. A well-led home church sees itself as a team setting out to accomplish a mission, even at the expense of acute personal suffering. Members in a successful church-planting movement see themselves as participants in a vast, spiritual war. Both concern for the lost and excitement over the fact that we are going to win drive them forward to a position of self-sacrificial love.
- American church leaders tend to interpret the biblical picture of church planting in very superficial and non-demanding ways. Leadership in a home church is seen as something that must not significantly interfere with typical bourgeois American middle-class living. American culture already places heavy time demands on the modern family that may interfere with an adequate family life. (**Ouch, because its so true.)
- We have talked with quite a few churches who started a home group ministry, only to see the groups turn inward and lose evangelistic effectiveness. Such groups are mainly interested in blessing each other and have lost the excitement of evangelism. This pathology is desperate because it is extremely hard to turn around. If anything, we believe that groups who turn inward are in even worse shape than impatient or superficial groups.

Also, Xenos is also listed in Tom Telford's (from the ACMC) book Today's All Star Missions Churches.

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