I have been pondering this post on SimpleChurch Journal (www.simplechurchjournal.com) on “Rethinking House Church” for some time now, and it is a challenging one.  Simple churches (sometimes called house churches) are smaller groupings of believers who try to live out the gospel in every day life, without the extra trappings of “church buildings”, “church staff” etc.  It revolves around (or should, in its purest form) a lifestyle of Christianity, missional in focus – other-liness rather than self-centeredness and relationships with each other and the wider community that run deeper than sitting next to people in a pew.

Roger Thoman, author of this post, has this to say:

I have spoken and written about the following statement over and over in many different ways:

“Simple church is not about ‘doing church differently,’ rather it’s about a way of life, the Jesus way of life, and supporting that way of life through simple, organic gatherings.”

In other words, the “way of life” really is the primary focus while the structure, format, or type of gathering is completely secondary.  Our communities/gatherings must consist of people who are living or learning to live dynamic, purposeful, intimate, prophetic, missional Christian lifestyles rather than just being house-sized containers for passive Christians to gather in. (my emphasis)

That makes me think.  How can I encourage my church, which follows this format, to be more purposeful in living out this way of life?  How can I, as one of the people who is looked to for direction and leadership, model this more in my lifestyle?  Am I even doing it right?  These are more questions than answers, but I am challenged by this blog post.   What does it mean to live a life “that actually challenges my comfortable … lifestyle and propels me more often into the world of people’s hurt, pain, need, and lost-ness that Jesus engaged daily”?

I agree with Roger’s comment about building mission into the discipleship process:

However, I also sense the need to bring this type of ethos into the discipleship process so that I am being discipled into a radical, missional, Jesus-following life and discipling others in the same vein.  I believe a healthy, fathering/mentoring discipleship chain is essential to Christians living full-of-life, dynamic, intentional, intimate, purposeful, kingdom lives that propel us out of our cultural sloth.

All in all, I agree 100% with his conclusion:

I am re-imagining simple church that places a whole-life, missional, counter-cultural, Jesus-following ethos at the very center of its gathering and intentional discipleship processes.

May we all endeavour to this model – whatever stream of Christianity we are swimming with!


2 Responses

  1. Hello my brother!, I can see both sides in this, and mostly that God wants us to mingle with the crowd, and show and introduce HIM to others, some churches (home or corporate) do this, but on both sides I have found groups staying to their selves and spreading nothing.

    Myself, I prefer the small church with missions, both abroad and with in our own perimeters. Diveristy. God calls me to continually show this to my own church and sometimes its hard, and would be much easier to band together with like minded people. But I do learn from them, and they are learning from me. I have found that we can be hard on both sides…outreach but refusing the crowd that is inside, sometimes they are lost as the other. I have been teaching to look for the heart of God in the Word, not just read another story. Pray for HIS presence to be real to you. My Father God is a gentleman, HE won’t force his way in, but HE is very ready to reveal himself to a heart that is calling out, and requesting HIS presence. Honestly, I think HE loves to show off to those who thrill in HIS presence!! That is where I am at, and I strive to stay there. CHurch is a part of the discipling process, worship is all about my KING!

  2. I agree with that, Darla! We need to be outward looking and introducing him to others… I may even be hard on myself too much, but it’s just that I feel the responsibility to form Christ, not only in myself, but in the others that look up to me for leadership.

    About him loving to show off to those who thrill in his presence …. Oh yeah, don’t I know it…see one of my replies to one of your blog entries to see how God had me so overwhelmed by his presence that I was literally drunk in the Spirit… couldn’t write or walk – couldn’t even hold up my head straight lol

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