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This extended quote summarises the thrust of Organic Church by Neil Cole.

Recently I was asked to describe what I would do differently if I were to start again, knowing what I know now. Here was my response.

First, I would begin in the harvest and start small. Don’t start with a team of already-saved Christians. We think that having a bigger and better team will accelerate the work, but it doesn’t. In fact, it has the opposite effect. It is better to have a team of two, since the right two makes the work even better: an apostle and prophet together will lay the foundation of a movement. The churches birthed out of transformed lives are healthier, reproductive, and growing faster. It is about this: a life changed, not about the model. Never forget that.

Second, I would allow God to build around others. Don’t start in your own home; find a person of peace and start in that home. Read Matthew 10 and Luke 10, and do it.

Third, I would empower others from the start. Don’t lead too much. Let the new believers do the work of the ministry without your imposed control. Let the excitement of a new life carry the movement rather than your intelligence and persuasiveness.

Fourth, Read the rest of this entry »

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I’ve just read this in one of the Porterbrook modules. Quite challenging…

“Disciples Church in Durres (Albania) has planted a church in the nearby village of Sukth. There are now about a dozen believers there, and they have a burden for Jub, a few kilometres up the road, where one lady is a follower of Christ. So they’re spear-heading this work.

I love it. A young, fragile, impoverished church who meet in a dire little concrete building with no electricity decide it’s time to be church planting. Meanwhile rich-world churches of hundreds and thousands wonder if they can “afford” to lose the people or the income and declare themselves not ready to church plant — or don’t even think of it at all.”

[Just read this here. Great reminder of what it’s all about…]

(This post is a reflection on several of the teaching themes Joe has been running in different training environments of NieuCommunities in Pretoria over the last month).

There’s a constant inner battle that wages the inner life in ministry.  It’s the battle of the important.  Dollars tend to follow results, so we spend most (or if we are really honest, all) of our time focusing on yielding more results.

More results = more dollars = more influence = death from overwork.

This cycle crushes sustainable, Christ-centered mission.  I know this, but something sick inside my being doesn’t care.  I know chocolate is bad for my health, but I confess to eating a bowl of chocolate no-bake cookies for dinner.  Three times last week.  Same problem, different flavor.

What makes this even more difficult is that other people deal with the same problem and now we help each other escalate our disease.  “Our ministry did ___, what’d you guys get done?”  Or in the church lingo “whatcha runnin’” (in reference to number of attenders).

Wrong central theme.  Wrong questions.

John 5.19 “So Jesus explained himself at length. “I’m telling you this straight. The Son can’t independently do a thing, only what he sees the Father doing. What the Father does, the Son does.”  Mission must flow from THIS space, not my monthly newsletter, my annual report, or my whatever.

Obedience.

Obedience requires listening.  Listening requires stopping.  Stop talking.  Stop planning.  Stop making agendas.

So I recently looked back over my calendar from the month and I need to go have some time of confession.  It’s not that I’ve neglected prayer, but it’s not the first thing, or the most important thing.  I want to be obedient, not important.  I’ve been alive long enough to figure out that’s all that really matters anyway.

Let me start out by saying, I don’t think God has failed… But the way some people talk about ecunenicalism I’m starting to wonder.

This may seen controversial but I’m not too bothered that there are lots of denominations and movements. If God had intended for there to be only one ‘church’ (that is denomination) then things have gone really wrong.

But I’m not sure that is what God intended. As with many things I think the bog issue is pride. There is in fact one church, one bride, one nation. The problem comes when I think only my denomination is that bride. However what having a number of movements, with different ideas (i do think there is limit to how wide these ideas can be for it to be Christian!) Does is to keep us humble.

In fact I’d go so far as to say I think it is God’s intention that there should be differences. Because on that great day we’ll all be standing together, praising God for how he used us in his plans and purposes, in the things we got right and the things we got wrong. And we’ll marvell at how he did this and brought such glory to his Son and his name.

What I think we need to do is fight against pride, to celebrate God’s work in and through people with whom we disagree, to pray thankfully for that work and to enjoy the freedom of conscience our Father gives us.

Last night Jo and I watched ‘Invictus’ – the latest film by Clint Eastwood, chronicling the early days of the Mandela presidency in South Africa leading up to the Rugby World Cup in 1995.

Quite a film. For starters it was nice to hear an american do an accent other than american in a convincing way. Matt Damon (at least to my ears) did a great job of perfecting an Afrikaaner accent. It was also beautifully shot (just makes me want to be in South Africa again) and powerfully done – especially the scene when the team go to a township, for what could well have been the first time for many of them, and they discover that ‘the other side’ are not so bad – though their living conditions certainly are.

On a more ‘theological’ note, it was quite challenging film. We’re about to have some new ‘Gospel Trainee’s’ start next week at our church, and we’re going to be going through John Piper’s book ‘Don’t Waste Your Life’… and Mandela is certainly someone who, on one level at least, has not wasted his life. He was in prison for 27 years. And as Matt Damon says in the film ‘I was thinking about how you spend 30 years in a tiny cell, and come out ready to forgive the people who put you there.’ Read the rest of this entry »

The Crowded House have a new website… Take a look… there’s various new resources and it also gives you a better glimpse of TCH as a group of networks…

www.thecrowdedhouse.org

Also check out the Gospel Priority Areas page and maybe come plant with us?

Michael Tinker is a professional musician and part of the Crowded House which is a church planting initiative in Sheffield and around the world. He's a follower of Jesus, Husband, Father, member of a Gospel Community, Musician and avid follower of fashion...

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