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  • Why was this site started?

    slide06.jpgLet us begin with a very important fact. The goal of the site is not to criticize traditional or institutional churches. Yes, some of the articles make comparisons and some of the writers do strongly question traditional practices. However, those of us who have created this site did so for several reasons:

  • Our Best Articles

    bestartikle.jWe have over one hundred articles available on our site, so if you are a new visitor, you may be overwhelmed. Where should you start? Here you will find some of our best articles that we have posted since the s...

  • Incarnational Practices

    slide05.jpgYou are church before you do church. This is one of the fueling insights of the missional church movement. This isn't a new idea...but it is pretty provocative, especially when one considers its implications. If we take Jesus at his word when he says (as recorded in John 20:21) "as the Father has sent me, I am sending you," then we realize that our being sent is the basis of our "doing" church. In oth...

  • What is an Organic Church?

    slide04.jpg Organic Church. I've been using this term for around fifteen years now. Today it's become somewhat of a clay word, being molded and shaped to mean a variety of different things by a variety of different people.

    T. Austin-Sparks is the man who deserves credit for this term. Here's his definition:


Principles of Simple Church
CONTRADICTORY PORTRAITS? PDF Print Write e-mail
Friday, 11 December 2015 20:46

Scripture seems to paint two contradictory portraits of the Living God—a terrible judge and a loving Father. Which is it? Can he be both?

 We read not only that God has prepared hell for the unbe­lieving, but also that he commanded Joshua to practice ethnic cleansing in Canaan, poured out fire from heaven to consume Sodom and Gomorrah and opened the earth to swallow those who opposed Moses. Unapproachable in his purity, even the most righteous fell on their faces near his presence paralyzed by their unworthiness. He demanded unquestioning obedience and punished with unspeakable anguish those who did not comply.

 No wonder we’re at least a little confused when he appears in the New Testament telling us how much he loves us and inviting us to be his children. We see Jesus healing the sick, forgiving prostitutes and murderers, going into the houses of sinners. He invited children in his lap and portrayed his Father as so tender that the most wayward sinner could run to his side in absolute safety.

 So what happened to God? Did he get saved somewhere between Malachi and Matthew? Had he reinvented himself into a nicer, gentler God? Of course not! He is unchanging, the same throughout all eternity.

 
Conference in Rovna-September 4th-6th PDF Print Write e-mail
Monday, 13 July 2015 13:45

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

We trust and pray that you are rejoicing in the hope that you have in Christ. You are receiving this letter because over the last eight years you have taken part in a simple church conference or training event or you have been a visitor to the simple church website.

Certainly there is a wide array of people who will read this letter. Some of you have a strong interest in what is happening and what is planned among simple churches. Others of you may have little to no interest. Regardless we greet you with the love, grace, peace, and hope that we share in Christ.From the time we started the website, offered our first training event, and published our first book there has been an underlying desire to stay true to what Paul expressed so clearly to the church in Phillipi:

 
When a new wineskin is not enough PDF Print Write e-mail
Tuesday, 17 March 2015 21:39

Jesus said that new wine needs new wineskins (Luke 5:36-40). A new wineskin is only needed if there is new wine. If simple/organic church is like a new wineskin, what is the new wine? Is there something about the life we have together in Christ that needs a new container, that would burst an old wineskin?

This is part of a series on how to start simple/organic/house churches.  Changing the structure of church gains nothing unless it is a response to something that Jesus is doing which wouldn't be easy to contain within the old structures. (If you read the story in Luke 5 carefully, it is obvious that Jesus cares about the old structures and the old wine too.) There's no point in doing church as we've always known it within the four walls of our homes rather than in a special building.

Many people take Matthew 18:18-20 as the basic building block of church.

 
What Jesus’ Disciples Didn’t Know PDF Print Write e-mail
Friday, 19 September 2014 19:57

God is not mute: the Word spoke, not out of a whirlwind, but out of the human larynx of a Palestinian Jew. 

Philip Yancey, The Jesus I Never Knew

Can you imagine what it must have been like for Jesus the first moment he sat around with the circle of his disciples after they had finally become friends?

We all know what it is to get acquainted with new people, the awkward pauses and measured words as people get to know each other. Certainly the disciples went through that with Jesus. Just who was this Teacher and Miracle-worker and who were these other men who decided to follow him?

It might have happened during a conversation after a meal, or walking together on a road, but at some point they found themselves safe enough with him and each other to let down their guard. No longer measuring words or trying to impress each other, they slipped into the fruits of their burgeoning friendship—the freedom to be honest, to laugh, to ask the seem­ingly stupid question, and to relax in each other’s presence.

 
Discovering Participatory Church Meetings PDF Print Write e-mail
Monday, 08 September 2014 21:02

By Brian Anderson

The traditional Protestant worship service today strongly resembles a show business performance. In both we find ushers, programs, music, costumes, lighting, a chorus, a stage, a script, an audience, and a master of ceremonies. (Christian Smith, Going To The Root, Herald Press, p.88.) The congregation sits passively as the audience while the pastor performs. When the congregation is permitted to participate in the meeting, they are restricted to singing in unison, antiphonal readings, dropping money into the offering plate, and taking notes during the sermon. The ordained clergy are expected to perform all significant ministry. Meanwhile, ninety-nine percent of God's people attend worship services Sunday after Sunday for years on end, without ever contributing any true spiritual ministry to the body of gathered believers.

 
Why House Church Isn't the Answer PDF Print Write e-mail
Saturday, 26 July 2014 19:37

Editors Note:
Every day new visitors are coming to our site. In order to expose them to some of our best articles, and to create fresh discussion among those of us who have been active on the site a long time, we will from time to time repost an past article like this one. This article has been a favorite of many people. We invite you to read it for the first time or read it again. Take a moment to add your thoughts and commentary and let's learn together how we can honor and magnify Jesus and join Him in building His kingdom.

 
Your Christ Is Too Small PDF Print Write e-mail
Thursday, 19 December 2013 15:39

The promise of the New Covenant is this: “„I will put My laws into their minds, I will write them upon their hearts. I will be their God and they shall be My people. And they shall not teach every one his fellow-citizen, and everyone his brother saying, „Know the Lord,‟ for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. I will be merciful to their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.‟”

 “All shall know Me” . . . this is the beating heart of God. I‟ll be blunt: Either you and I can  know God intimately, or the gospel is a sham. One of the rewards of our Lord’s suffering is that we all shall know Him . . . “from the least to the greatest.”

 Living in organic Body life for many years has taught me the reality of a major teaching in the New Testament. Namely, the Lord dwells in all of us, and He is a speaking God. But the primary vehicle He uses as His mouthpiece is His Body.

 
Theatrical Christianity PDF Print Write e-mail
Tuesday, 26 November 2013 09:44

Hypocrisy Defined

A woman once asked me, "What do they call you at your church?" I told her, "Earle." But," she replied, "shouldn't they show you more respect as a minister?" I answered, "Respect? In our church? Are you kidding?" She didn't quite catch the joke, but I explained to her that someone's using a title to address me does not really give me respect. Rather it is the condition of their heart that is the issue. In Luke 12, Jesus clearly warns his disciples about the tendency to believe that our outward behavior alone determines the quality of our righteousness and the authenticity of our Christianity. He points out to them a subtle yet important difference between authentic Christianity and Theatrical Christianity . Luke 12:1 reads:

Under these circumstances, after so many thousands of the multitude had gathered together that they were stepping on one another, he began saying to his disciples first of all, "Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy."

 
House Church Networks vs. The Cell / Small-Group Church PDF Print Write e-mail
Saturday, 07 September 2013 03:23

It is vital to understand that house church networks are not the same thing, in any way, as churches with small groups (even if those small groups are called “house churches.”

The cell church (I will adopt the term “cell” church to refer to all types of small-group-based churches) has been a strong movement in North America over the past 30 years while the house church network is only just beginning to emerge.

Nevertheless, in order to evaluate what God is doing in both of these streams it is very useful to recognize the differences:

1. Within the house church network, each house church is fully, and completely real church. The attitude of the member comes out of an awareness that “I am the church.”

The cell church is an extension of a larger church. It is a smaller piece, a ministry of, the larger, real church. The cell member tends to regard himself as one who “belongs to” the small group and is a “member of” the larger church.

 
The Kingdom, the Church, and Culture PDF Print Write e-mail
Sunday, 04 August 2013 13:23

The Kingdom of God is the rule of God. And it rests upon the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The Kingdom of God produces the church . . . the community of the King.  The church, in turn, submits to the sway or rule of the Kingdom. As it does, the church expresses, represents, and advances God’s Kingdom on the earth.

Properly conceived, the church is the community of believers who possess Divine life. This community joyfully enthrones Jesus Christ, expresses His sovereign rule in the world, and as a result, enjoys the blessings of the future age here-and-now (Rom. 14:17; Heb. 6:5).

According to the New Testament, the church is not a building. Neither is it a denomination, a religious service, nor a non-denominational organization. The church is a living organism. It is simply this: A community of people who possess the life of God’s Kingdom and who express it together.

Your New Testament contains the epic saga of the early church. That saga centers on how God the Father has made Jesus of Nazareth both Lord and King of the universe. According to the Gospels, the master thought of Jesus was the Kingdom of God which is "at hand." The book of Acts continues this thought and tells the story of how the Kingdom made its introduction in Jerusalem and spread to Rome.

 
Meeting the Needs of Children in House Churches PDF Print Write e-mail
Wednesday, 19 June 2013 14:55

Editors Note:

The simple (or organic) church movement is made of all kinds of people from all kinds of denominations and backgrounds. We have tried to primarily present articles that are written from a positive viewpoint. Some writers(and also bloggers, and other participants of our site), however, present their ideas in a strong contrast to more traditional views of church. We do not want to offend our readers. It would, however, not be appropriate for us to edit these articles, so instead we present them in their entirety so that each reader can get a full understanding of what different people are saying and decide for himself how these principles and thoughts apply to their own situation.

We don’t expect you to agree with every word you read here, and neither do we. However, it is important that we join this global dialogue that is occurring, so that we can discern what God is speaking to us both as individuals and as churches. Read, pray, dialogue, and may God speak to us all about how we can be the disciples and bride He has called us to be

How did the early church teach their children? Did it involve Sunday school, children's church, or nurseries?

 
Letter to Nickolay # 18 PDF Print Write e-mail
Thursday, 23 May 2013 21:58

Dear Nickolai,

Throughout my time as a missionary, I have often been asked, “How is it working? What are the results?” Also, I have highlighted results to show others that we were doing good stuff whether it be church planting, training, Next Generation, Simple Churches, or Drug Rehab Homes. In truth, I have been one who focuses on pragmatism and methodology. When there were results, the world was right side up. When there were disappointments with progress, there was most often a change in methods or a sense of discouragement, sometimes to the point of doubting Christ’s promises to complete His mission.

 
Moving Toward Simple Reproducing Churches PDF Print Write e-mail
Friday, 01 March 2013 22:37

I was recently moved by this quotation by a Brazilian theologian, J.B. Lebanio.  Simple reproducing churches…”are not a movement, an association, or a religious congregation…  They are not a method (or the only method) of building up the church:  They are THE CHURCH itself…  They are THE CHURCH committed to the ordinary person, to the poor, to those who suffer injustice.”

 Simple reproducing churches (organic churches, home churches) are absolutely theologically necessary.  They are the foundational level of the church for the church to be THE CHURCH, the first level at which the church is to exist.  The second level is the regular coming together of these basic communities to worship and fellowship together.  A third level is the periodic coming together of all congregations to express Christ to the city.  Are we focusing on the second level of church meetings while short changing the absolutely necessary foundational level?  I think so!

 
It's So Worth It! PDF Print Write e-mail
Monday, 07 January 2013 13:22

Life in Christ is all that he promised! Just don't stop short on your way there!

Sara and I heard it over and over again as we struggled up the trail to Hanging Lake outside Glenwood Spring, Colorado. The trail winds uphill 1,000 feet in about a little over a mile. It’s a tough climb with so little oxygen at 7,000 feet. But hikers who passed us going back down the hill kept encouraging us.


"Keep going."

"You’re getting close."

"It’s so worth it."

And it was!

Each word of encouragement lifted our spirits and lightened our steps as we traversed the rocky ground steadily climbing to the top of the cliff until we arrived at the waterfalls spilling into Hanging Lake and looked back out over the canyon we had scaled.

Learning to live relationally in an age where most of our perception of Christianity is based on religious thinking also takes even more encouragement. The writer of Hebrews says that ‘daily’ isn’t too often to help others break free from their own efforts and the distractions that so easily entangle them to discover just how awesome living daily in the Father’s love can be.


 
Church Is Not An Institution! PDF Print Write e-mail
Monday, 22 October 2012 08:52

What immediately comes to mind when you hear the word ‘church’?

If you are anything like me, a whole bag of things – some wonderful, some neutral and some unhealthy.

Unfortunately the unhealthy and negative connotations have some elements of truth to them.  For instance, how often have you talked with someone who is open to following Jesus, but who is not interested in being part of a church (usually driven by their previous experiences)?

For the first Christians, church meant a Jesus-centered community on a common mission. Built around the oikos – or extended household – these were flexible, vibrant communities of faith, where Jesus was followed and glorified in the everyday realities of life.  The key glue was Holy Spirit infused relationships with one another.  This meant that friends, neighbors, colleagues and family could easily be folded in, as they experienced for themselves the Kingdom of God in their local context.

The problem came with the institutionalization of the church.  Dynamic body-life was increasingly exchanged for (clerical) control, centralization and complacency.  Jim Palmer has produced a fantastic summary list of 10 Implied Messages of Institutional Church – quick to read, far longer to transform.

 
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