Showing posts with label House2House. Show all posts
Showing posts with label House2House. Show all posts

23 May 2012

Little and large

We live in exciting times. In every part of the world Jesus is building his church in ways that are appropriate to local circumstances. For example house church networks are growing explosively in countries where there is persecution.

Cooperative handshakeIn the west, evidence is building that Jesus is moving small, organic groups and the more established church organisations to engage with one another in mutually helpful ways.

It has been all too easy to see the small and the large as somehow on opposite 'sides'. But they are not. Cooperation is both possible and essential. We should seek and embrace it.

I was prompted to write about this after a brief conversation with Donna and our friend Ash, and a comment on Neil Cole's blog this morning.

A conversation - Donna was talking about a series of meetings at the Kings Arms in Bedford (The 'Heaven Touches Earth' Conference), and was thinking she might book to attend some of the sessions. Ash expressed some interest too, but I was less enthusiastic. Then the conversation moved on to the need for structure and organisation for managing larger sizes of church or meetings like those in Bedford. On the other hand, really small groups can meet with little or no planning, just listening and responding to the Holy Spirit in the moment.

A blog article and a comment - In September 2011, Neil Cole posted an article about his forthcoming book, 'Church Transfusion'.  Here's his first paragraph.

My newest project is called Church Transfusion: Releasing Organic Life into Established Churches. We are offering a two day training, much like our Greenhouse, for those who lead an established church but would like to see more vital health and reproduction from organic church principles. There will also be a book forthcoming, published by Jossey-Bass in the Leadership Network series written by myself and Phil Helfer.

On 22nd May 2012 Kathleen wrote a comment.

I'm really excited to find a reference to your new book, "Church Transfusion", coming out later this year. I am currently writing a similar book, called "Church in a Circle." Of course, I don't know if they are similar at all - but my husband and I are passionate about seeing elements of organic church move into the established church, and change it from within.

Why does this excite me? - It's exciting because this is so much what Father has been showing me recently. I kicked over the traces of 'big church' back in the late 1970s. I wasn't always wise or careful in the way I went about it. For much of my life I was in or out of small meetings, but always wishing to be in. Sometimes there was no opportunity.

In 1998 I joined Open Door Church here in St Neots where we live. I joined because I thought it was a good idea, not because Father led me to do so. That was a mistake and a few years later I had to ask to be released (which the leaders graciously did).

Today I am glad to be part of Donna's Small Group, itself a part of Open Door. But I am not officially a member of the church and I'm still much involved with others following Jesus in the area where we live.

Here are some other articles from my blog that relate to this.


Some of those links cover several articles. Even so, it's not an exhaustive list and you will find many older articles here on related themes, oneness in the body has long been a central hunger in my heart.

Let me share a heart-warming story from the House2House conference in 2009. Just before the conference was to start, the person responsible for the audio and video equipment was called away for the unexpectedly premature birth of his child. How was the gap to be filled?

A local megachurch heard about the problem and sent their audio-visual unit with all the necessary equipment and the people to operate it, all at no cost to House2House. This is love at work. This is cooperation at its finest. The small has good things to offer the large - and vice versa.

Loving one another - In the end, it all boils down to love. The Father loves the Son and the Son loves the Father. We are drawn into their love and become part of their community. We are the body of Christ!

Therefore it follows (and Jesus commands) that we love the Father, we love one another, we love the lost and those who suffer and struggle, and we even love our enemies.

So reach out across the divide in your own town or city. You may have much to offer to your brothers and sisters who are doing things differently.

10 October 2010

NEWS - Simplechurch.co.uk and more

This time there's an item about a new UK website for those interested in simple, organic forms of church, as well as the usual roundup of other items of news.A megaphone
  • Simplechurch.co.uk - This new website takes over from Alex Campbell's earlier version using the same URL. It also acts as the replacement for the Newforms site which is no longer in use. Visit the site for news, articles, and a growing list of groups and contacts in the UK.

  • Interview with Paul Young - Premier Christian Radio interviews the author of 'The Shack'. The session is interspersed with phone in comments from listeners with stories of how the book has affected them. If you want more detail listen to the fourth item listed in my post about Drew Marshall a couple of years ago.

  • Spring of Hope - This charity working with children and parents in Uganda is doing a wonderful job. I know the young woman who started and continues with this work, and I know her parents who support her from the UK. They are making a real difference. Catch up with their news and find out more about what they do.

  • House2House - This time Tony and Felicity write about church as they found it in Myanmar and Nepal. There are also short items and links about structure, resources and stories.

20 August 2010

NEWS - Updates from around the world

Here's a mixed bag of recent updates from around and about. They're all well worth a look.A megaphone
  • House2House Newsletter - Financing the infrastructure - Tony and Felicity Dale discuss the financial support of mission. This is such an important topic, itinerant workers cannot always support themselves and will need some form of help. The article is rich with links to other relevant sources on line.

  • Harvest Now - Why we do what we do - Steve and Marilyn Hill report from Kyrgyzstan, the scene of violent clashes recently between Kyrgyze and Uzbek people. Many have died and huge numbers been displaced during this Muslim on Muslim ethnic violence, but out of the ruins and pain something wonderful is happening. The love of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, is impacting more people than ever before.

  • Stories from the Revolution - Brief interview with JoEtta Deaton - Have you ever wondered about your own paradigm of church? How do we grow? How should we encourage one another? JoEtta was surprised and excited at what she discovered. Visiting a meeting she found that instead of just being an observer, she herself was drawn into listening to Jesus and hearing his direction for her. (This is the third part of a series on church planting, see also parts 1 and 2.)

  • Nomad Podcast - Interview with Terry Virgo - Tim interviews the man behind New Frontiers and we hear about church and the new forms it may take.

  • SimpleChurch.eu - Nine best simple church books - This is a fine collection of titles. I haven't read them all, but those I have are outstanding. My personal favourites are 'You see bones, I see an army' and 'An army of ordinary people'. Would that be the same army? Yes!

17 May 2010

News - Internet postings, interviews and more

I have five items for you this week. Dip into these and follow up any individual items that catch your attention, the Holy Spirit will lead you to the things you need to see.A megaphone
  • My friend and accomplice in Christ, Sean, greatly enjoys David Wilkerson's Blog. And with good reason. For a taste of his writing read 'He brought us out to bring us in' or 'The spirit and power of Elijah'. Great stuff! His posts are challenging, exciting, and thought-provoking.

  • More on Felicity Dale's book, 'An Army of Ordinary People'. This time she's interviewed by Roger Thoman.

  • Frank Viola responds to someone who is troubled by the confusion over the term 'organic church'. This is a useful response because it points out very clearly the difference between allowing Jesus to take control and merely going through the motions to the best of our own ability.

  • The House2House e-letter contains some clear but necessary thoughts on spiritual warfare. Spiritual oppression on our lives can easily be mistaken for no more than a series of coincidences or 'just bad luck'. Don't believe it for a moment! Tony Dale reminds us that if we can identify the enemy's interference then we can (and should) resist. The e-letter also contains some useful links to various resources.
  • Simplechurch.eu links to a series of helpful stories from the church in Europe.

30 April 2010

MISSION - The Kingdom

This evening we watched the DVD of Wolfgang Simson speaking to the House2House Conference in September 2008. An imperial crownHis theme was the Kingdom of Heaven, and how we can't live in the Kingdom without obeying the King.

We discussed what this means to us. The Kingdom stuff surely can't be ignored - are we going to live as people under the King's command or are we going to do our own thing? Only obedience brings blessing!

We thought that next week we should spend our time in prayer and listening.

08 April 2010

NEWS - The latest House2House Newsletter

The latest House2House newsletter from Tony and Felicity Dale is now available. The House to House logoThis issue covers some important topics.

The main item is about women in the church and things we can all do to encourage and release women to serve in the church more fully. Tony recommends two books, a post from Katie Driver's blog, and a link to Hosanna Freedom.

He also mentions the Newforms meeting at Nottingham here in the UK, as well as some meetings in the USA including the Labour Day weekend H2H Conference in Dallas. I went to the H2H Conference last year - it was brilliant! Highly recommended.

22 February 2010

NEWS - Latest H2H e-letter

The latest issue of the House2House (H2H) e-letter dropped into my inbox this morning. The House2House LogoI always look forward to these arriving!

In this issue Tony and Felicity Dale take a look at the underlying characteristics that result in rapidly growing, self-replicating churches. They mention simplicity, truth, relationships, and mission as essential elements. The e-letter links to other useful resources from David Garrison, David Watson, Wolfgang Simson, and the Mather family.

If you've never sampled an H2H e-letter before, now would be a great time to take a look. They're published every week or two, are always worth reading, and are kept deliberately brief to make them easy to read and absorb.

You can always find a link to H2H in the sidebar of 'All About Jesus'. It's a great resource so I like to make sure everyone can browse to it easily. Hint: you can sign up to receive the e-letters by email too, so you always see new ones right away without checking the website.

10 September 2009

Finishing up the H2H Conference

Well, I never did manage to make any more notes on the conference sessions. There just wasn't time for that. So this final post, days after the conference finished, is just to give you some final thoughts and impressions.

I'm writing this in Florida, sitting in the dining room of a friend's house, A session at the House2House Conference, 2009a far more homely and enjoyable experience than the Grand Hyatt in Dallas. Not that I'm complaining, the hotel was comfortable and the company was good.

I wouldn't have missed the conference for the world. As well as the general sessions which were all good, I chose the 'Marketplace' track. This was run by Robert Ricciardelli who presented, facilitated, and encouraged everyone to contribute. In the final session of this track we became church in the fullest sense, sharing life in Christ together with one another. How is this possible? Only through his grace and favour poured out on us as we express his life to one another. He can build us together in just a few minutes, whenever he chooses, with people we hardly know. That in itself was a valuable take-home message, one I'll always remember!

The overall impressions I have are that the House2House Conference 2009 was a time of growth and advancement for us all, a time to make new friends and contacts, and a time to hear the Spirit calling us on to new revelation and fresh insights.

There was a lot of fun and excitement and plenty of encouragement. There were new ideas to ponder and challenges for the future. Now I'm looking forward to the 2010 Conference!

04 September 2009

H2H Conf General Session 1

After a warm welcome and our evening meal, the conference got underway with praise and worship, a time to open ourselves in small groups, and addresses by first Felicity and then Tony Dale.

John White demonstrated the SASHET technique for us and led us into using it in small groups. For a short time the conference was transformed into dozens of small churches of three, four or five. SASHET involves talking about our current heart feelings under the headings Sad, Angry, Scared, Happy, Excited, and Tender. It was a quick way of moving to a place of understanding one another better and beginning to feel ourselves to be a team, a unit, a church!

Felicity Dale opened the proceedings by sharing with us how she recently became an American citizen, and how the ceremony had been solemn, emotional, and exciting - all at the same time. Some of the people going through this step with her were from backgrounds of severe repression and for them it was a step into freedom and democracy.

She then talked about how she had also once been accepted as a citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven, and how Jesus himself had stood in her place to make that possible. We have been adopted as members of the royal family, we have access to the King even in his throneroom.

Felicity reminded us that the world sees Jesus through his people. If we are not representing his love and grace and favour to the world, how will they ever be able to see him?

Tony Dale told us that when we wake up in the morning, we wake up at war. He spoke about the kingdoms of darkness and of light that are both involved in our daily lives. If we do not focus on the things of the Kingdom of Light, darkness is already ready and eager to fill the void.

James wrote that the wisdom from below is first natural, then unspiritual, then demonic. There is a sequence here. The wisdom of this world will move in on anything we have built once the wisdom of heaven is not active within it. We may create something good, but if spiritual leadership is removed it soon becomes a merely natural effort. And in time it has the potential to take the next step and become demonic.

We need to guard our hearts. We are not to criticise one another and pull one another apart. Tony went on to look at the ways mega church and house church can help, encourage, and guide one another. How much better to do that than to judge one another. There is only one church! Large or small, there should never be so much structure that the Holy Spirit is no longer necessary.

Finally Tony showed us some examples of the way we can do practical things to help one another, mentioning in particular, Samaritan Minitries, a medical scheme that really works.

H2H Pre-Conf 4 - Mega/micro co-operation

This was a fascinating presentation by a group of mega-church members who, in a variety of ways, have been working with house churches. Northland (Orlando), Apex Community Church (Dayton), and Austin Stone (Austin) were represented.

Stew explained how Austin Stone has been planting house churches amongst the Turkish and Muslim communities in Austin. Now 100 of these are going on to Turkey to continue the process there. This is a situation where traditional, Western-style church could not have succeeded as it would not have been acceptable to the culture. They are also working amongst students on the University of Texas campus, and amongst the homeless poor and seeing real transformation.

Chris Cardiff from Apex in Dayton has been focusing on getting members to do far more than just turn up on a Sunday. 50% to 60% of their people are now meeting in house churches. (This sounded to me very like the cell-church model.)

Rennes, also from Apex, explained that they are trying hard to hear what the Spirit is saying to the church. Jesus is the head. It's about relationship, we are in relationship with the Spirit (who is the Spirit of Christ). We are all led differently but by the one Spirit!

Craig addressed the topic of healing. We sometimes get injured in church and big church is more anonymous so that we can remain hidden in our pain. Jesus healed people, and sometime people may need to move from mega to micro or vice versa to aid that healing.

Dan from Northland spoke about resourcing the small. He made everyone laugh with his unforgettable remark that 'rabbits have teeth, please don't bite the elephant'! We need to reconnect and work together even if we have differences.

They have a goal of facilitating a million house churches. They are putting useful children's ministry material online free of charge, making it available for all to use and adapt. They have the resources to do this and feel it is a useful contribution.

They also run about 30 cross-cultural mission trips annually and invite anyone to join these teams. Their worship webcasts to Seminole Prison are another move of this kind. They want to connect to house churches to facilitate further networking efforts. And with Global Media Outreach (GMO) which involves Campus Crusade they invite house church volunteers to become daily prayer and email partners to help a new believer in, say, Algeria get stated with simple forms of church.

Dan mentioned that we need grace towards one another, we need to accept that all of us are doing what we believe the Spirit is telling us to do.

We broke into small groups to consider our presuppositions and ask whether any of them prevents us from pursuing unity. And leading on from that, to consider possible ways of pursuing unity.

H2H Pre-Conf 3 - Regional network development

Neil Cole spoke about this topic. He has asked himself the question, 'What kind of leadership will enable movements to develop?' He understood that multiplication requires simplification and this will be covered in detail in a new book not yet released, 'Church 3.0'. He mentioned 'Church Multiplication Associates' (CMA).

Then he covered some maths! He pointed out maths involves addition, multiplication, subtraction, and division. The church does all four of these things

We'd really like to multiply but often we only add. We're really good at subtraction, taking people from an existing group to add them to our own) and we're also pretty good at division (we are easily offended).

How can we handle big numbers of new believers? Ten or a hundred we can manage, but how would we cope with a million? The church needs to be self-perpetuating and self-propagating. It begins witth transformed disciples and ends with transformed churches and even movements. The Bible never tells us to plant churches, it tells us to make disciples. Jesus himself will build his church.

Chain networks and hub networks are the two kinds that we are concerned with, and they have different strengths and weaknesses. Neil doesn't say that one is right and the other wrong, just that they are different. Chains can reproduce fast and have a global impact.

He also spoke about the different kinds of groups that work in the church (and in other aspects of human society). Groups of 2 or 3 are the best for intimacy and real, depp friendship. 12 to 15 are typical of family groups and house churches. They bring in more diversity. 25 to 75 are good for training, for mission, and for regional leadership equipping. 120 - 150 (12 to 15 small churches) are really the relational maximum that a person can deal with, a simple church network is a good example of this. 300 to 500 is good for a conference or some kind of special gathering. And the multitude is impersonal but can be good for teaching content and for healing.

Larger groups can be composed of groupings of the smaller units. Jesus used groups of all these sizes, each where appropriate.

Groups of 4 to 7 also appear and are a good size for leadership (think in terms of the five-fold ministry - apostle, prophet, pastor, teacher, evangelist)

Neil suggests we start building groups of two or three and then let these assemble into the larger entities.

H2H Pre-Conf 2 - Tools for meeting

John, Tod and Kent are part of the small team that manages the LK10 community of practice website.

Tod began by describing SASHET (Sad Angry Scared Happy Excited Tender). Originally designed as a method of therapy, Tod and others have adopted the principles to form a simple technique, easily learned and easily passed on. It helps a small group of people communicate to one another how they feel and can open up a deeper discussion once they understand one another from going through the SASHET exercise.

We tried this out by dividing into groups of four, and listened as each one spoke about any of these feelings in their hearts right now. We found it brought us together and helped team building. Some people found it cleared the decks in the sense that once these things have been aired, it becomes possible to set them on one side and move forward. It helped us accept one another as we truly are, one person summed it up by saying, 'It helps us be human beings rather than human doings'.

John White pointed out that in Matthew 10 the disciples are listed, not singly but in pairs. It's easy not to notice this. He also later sent them out in pairs. So it seems Jesus has a 'church of twelve' around him, but the group was made up of a collection of 'churches of two' (CO2).

There are considerable advantages to groups of two and they are noted in the Bible. Two are better than one, we stand together. Two is also the smallest possible expression of church. With two we can encourage one another.

Kent described how this can work in practice and pointed out that a CO2 can be a husband and wife, two friends, parent and child. And it's not exclusive. In other words a person can be in more than one CO2 at any particular point in time. It works best if there's an intention to share together daily, even if it's just by phone. A larger group, a house church for example, cannot hope to meet daily.

03 September 2009

H2H Pre-Conf 1 - Tribes and leadership

The first session of this year's House2House Pre-Conference was interesting and raised a lot of questions. It was led by Tony Dale and he began by demonstrating with a show of hands that perhaps 10 or 15 percent of those in the room were from megachurch or medium size church organisations, with one or two in mission work and the remainder house church people.

We watched Seth Godin's video from the TED Conference, you can view it yourself below.



The pre-reading for the House2House network leaders meeting was Seth Godin's book 'Tribes' in which he goes into much more detail.

With this to set the scene, Tony led us through a series of thoughts based on Seth's analysis of what a leader does. He referred to Romans 15:18-21, Paul felt what Seth describes as 'I can't stand the status quo'.

Here are one or two of the key thoughts.

We need to be heretics. Jesus was a heretic. He had a lot of trouble with the establishment of his day. We change things by telling a new story, people are waiting for something new, we need to connect people who share the same vision. Jesus did all these things.

Here are some quotes from Seth's book.
  • Heretics are the new leaders, they get out in front of their tribes.
  • It's more fun to make the rules than to follow them!
  • It's profitable, powerful, and productive to make change.
  • Managers make widgets, leaders make change.
  • Great leaders embrace deviants by catching them doing something right.
  • Growth doesn't come from persuading the most loyal members of other tribes.
  • Tearing others down is never as helpful to your movement as building your members up.
We then did a number of exercises in small groups, testing some ideas out and commenting on them. Why wouldn't we do things the way Jesus did them? Should we focus on the masses or on the ones who stick out as different?

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