Showing posts with label Tony Dale. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tony Dale. Show all posts

19 April 2012

Nomad with the Dales

Here are some of the main points made by Tony and Felicity Dale during their recent interview by Nomad. It's all good stuff; Tim and Dave head home with some highlights still buzzing in their minds.

Nomad's blog post about the interviewTim and Dave run the Nomad Podcast. If you haven't heard any of their monthly interviews, you've been missing a treat!

The latest interview is with Tony and Felicity Dale from Texas, recorded when they were in the UK recently. Tim and Dave travelled to Cheltenham to meet them for the interview. After five minutes of mirth and banter in the car they finally get to the point and the interview begins.

We hear the background story of the Dale's early days in medical school with patients coming to the Lord and many small, home-based communities. They moved to the USA in 1987, clearly led by the Spirit, but once they arrived they were at a loss for direction.

After nine years they gave Father an ultimatum, and things began to move again. They led a discussion with businessmen based on Proverbs and over the next year all of them became believers. They also started a breakfast Bible club for their children's friends. The children and then their families began to follow Jesus too. With the business people and the new families they decided to try to multiply the small rather than just growing bigger.

They learned that success in Father's eyes is not about what we do but much more about what we become because of Jesus. Even before they left the UK they learned not to build something that can survive with or without the Lord. But simple church is not a panacea for all ills, preconceived ideas can mean that house church just becomes big church shrunk smaller.

Felicity describes a simple church in an underprivileged area. It was messy and based very much on present needs, but that is what Jesus loves to do amongst his people. Life brings us into church as a lifestyle, not an event. We need to understand that we don't need experts, anyone can start a church. People gather in every context, the person of peace may be a Cornelius or a woman at the well. But regardless of the kind of person, such people have circles of influence and they have the ability to lead built into them.

Simplicity implies reproducibility, complexity slows down multiplication. We need to find simple patterns that the Lord can work through. Simple food is better than complex food, for example. Pot luck or pizza is just fine. The same applies for prayer for one another. Tony explains that they determined never to make things complicated or difficult. Prayer is just chatting naturally with Father.

The person of peace concept is missional, moving out into that person's context. Sequentialism is a barrier to multiplication - 'I need to do this before I start to do that'. Local community worked in the East End of London, but it doesn't work for the Dales in Austin. However, people are very mobile in the USA and they have community with visitors, at work, at the gym, or Starbucks. They are therefore living the presence of the Lord wherever they can.

We are called to make disciples, Jesus will build the church with those disciples any way he wishes. Tony explains how this happens in the business he runs, it's not a Christian company but discipling takes place there very naturally and easily.

Disciples need to learn the key skills of hearing from the Holy Spirit for themselves and being obedient.

After the interview, Tim and Dave discuss the session. Tim is particularly struck by the idea that making disciples is our call and Jesus will build the church. Dave is engaged by the thought that disciples are primarily people who hear and obey the Lord. There is some more amusing banter before the recording ends.

See also: Felicity's blog 'Simply Church' and the 'House2House' organisation they set up.

11 December 2011

The way forward

Something is going on, tectonic activity in the foundations of church. Yahshua is moving his people into something new again. He is leading me, I think, to collect material, collate it and make it available.

A new day dawningFor some time I've been aware of the Holy Spirit nudging me in a particular direction. It's as if he's been urging me to move but I haven't always known what to do about it. But now things are becoming clearer for me and I feel I can share them a little more widely.

Back in the late summer, Tony and Felicity Dale were visiting Nettle Hill in the UK (see also the afternoon session and a meeting in Coventry). I contacted them beforehand to see if we could meet up and we were able to spend an afternoon together in the Cotswolds. We had a pub lunch and spent some time chatting.

I explained what I was experiencing. I told them that I felt there was a new move of the Holy Spirit coming, that we were at the beginning of a new phase. Over the last decade or so there's been a great move towards simplicity and organic growth in the church. In particular the CO2 and Luke 10:2 ideas, and a sense of the value of listening and hearing seem to be centrally important. Also I have felt more and more convinced that there'll be a major return of the gifts and fruit of the Spirit in every aspect of church life.

I was encouraged and excited to discover that they felt much the same. I don't mean to put words into their mouths, and they will speak for themselves, but I can tell you what I am hearing from the Lord.

After they returned to the USA I've had some correspondence, mainly with Felicity. They have been led to prayerfully examine the book of Haggai, and Felicity has blogged on that topic several times. I have been feeling the need to delve into Ezekiel. All three of us have been impacted by Roy Godwin's book The Grace Outpouring - the publishers have kindly allowed me to publish extracts from the first chapter.

One need I feel acutely is to create a space on the web for discussion around these things. I set up Organic Wine, a wiki, for that purpose. But it has never felt quite the right thing. And just a few days ago I visited Coventry Cathedral and the Spirit poured out more for me to ponder.

My mind is more settled now, things are becoming clearer. It's like a new day dawning out of the mist. Partly as a result of Coventry I now think that Organic Wine is not the way forward. Instead I'm going to move that information here, onto All About Jesus. It won't be open to editing here, but it will form a repository of material on the internet that I believe will be fundamental and important.

There are other voices saying similar or related things and I'll point you to them whenever I can. The discussion will take place, not on a special wiki site, but in the to and fro of comments on many of the blogs out there, at meetings, and via other internet facilities. This is already happening and I don't think another website is either necessary or helpful at this stage.

The next step (at least for me) is to reorganise the CO2 tab on this blog so that it becomes much wider and more general in nature. Watch this space!

25 September 2011

Coventry (Ricoh Arena) - Open to change

< 24th September 2011 | Index | 10th October 2011 >

This was an encouraging meeting where a number of small groups meeting in Coventry and Market Harborough came together and Tony and Felicity Dale had been invited to speak.

The small, organic meetings in the area come together like this every other month in a room at the Ricoh Arena.
Meeting at the Ricoh Arena
Today we began with Psalm 40:5 'Many are your wonders, too many to recall' and Psalm 139. The Lord knows us intimately and he has clear plans for our lives. Mark shared that he and Becca will be emigrating to St Louis in the USA in the next few days and although they have mixed feelings, they sense that this is part of Father's plan for them.

Giles reminded us that despite the distractions life brings, we can train ourselves to tune in to the Holy Spirit.

Felicity and Tony told us they've been on the organic church road for ten or fifteen years now whereas in the UK we are just beginning the journey. They explained the background to their going, how abandoned they had felt for nine years after arriving, and how things had started to change with a study of business principles in Proverbs and some breakfast meetings for children.

They also explained that truth has been restored in wave after wave of change in church life down the ages. The wave of organic church, making disciples and reproducing families of believers has been (and continues to be) absolutely huge. Especially in India, China and the Middle East but also now in America growth has become very rapid.

In the Reformation period the Bible was put into the hands of ordinary people. But today the church is being put in the hands of ordinary people! We need to be 'looking outside our walls', meeting in Starbucks for example. We heard stories about people who had done extraordinary things resulting in abundant new followers of Jesus. Sometimes just turning something around can make a big difference. Instead of trying to tell my story I could invite people to tell me their stories. The greatest need is for ordinary people to get out there, not just 'special' people.

Movements are far more effective than individual programmes. Why? Because movements contain the seed of the next generation within the current generation. They are self-propagating. But we need to lay the right foundations with an emphasis on ordinary people and relationships. 'No empire building, no control, no glory' captures the mood. We can put money behind building on godly principles. Getting to know one another is essential. Much of the church thinks we're crazy and the world has no idea what's going on.

It's really not about 'simple church', it's about the Kingdom. The Spirit will speak to us in the UK, but we need to get people together and agree on the foundations. The world won't just come to our churches or to our homes - that's why we need to go out!

Please note - this article is only a superficial account. But the meeting was recorded and you can hear what Tony and Felicity said for yourself (recording provided by simplechurch.co.uk).

< 24th September 2011 | Index | 10th October 2011 >

24 September 2011

Nettle Hill - Church planting, afternoon

< 24th September 2001 | Index | 25th September 2011 >

More from Tony and Felicity Dale during the afternoon session at Nettle Hill. This time the emphasis was more focussed on issues around church and church multiplication.

The Last SupperTony and Felicity again took turns to speak to us. Tony began by contrasting addition and multiplication. In the 1960s and 70s many new, small churches were formed in homes in the UK. Some gifted leaders began to build larger and larger churches from these beginnings and in many cases there were hubs with new groups planted out from them. This is addition, and one of the problems is that it requires the training of more leaders.

Multiplication is very different and focusses instead on planting churches that plant churches that plant churches. To do this we need to find people of peace and influence among their own circles of friends, family or colleagues (for example). We don't need to find new leaders because the person of peace is the labourer. We only need to help them.

The acronym MAWL was explained. In the first generation we Model church, but in the new groum in daily life.p gathered around a person of peace we Assist. We do not attempt to draw the newcomers into our own existing group. Members of the new group are encouraged to go out to find further people of peace.

In the third generation we Watch them work independently although we're still there to answer questions and provide feedback. And in the fourth generation we Leave. Meanwhile the person of peace we originally found will be modelling church in the second generation, assisting the third generation, watching the fourth and leaving the fifth.

This process can be hugely successful. In South Korea, for example, if we counted networks of small meetings as 'a church', the nineteen largest churches would all be such networks while the twentieth would be Jonggi Cho's Full Gospel Church.

There are huge numbers of small, organic churches in the USA now, involving more people than the Southern Baptists.

An important point is that foundations can be laid only once, so they need to be laid right. This is likely to involve letting go of all kinds of things we might prefer to keep.

We did an exercise in thinking about a variety of biblical examples of people of peace, for example Lydia, the proconsul in Acts 13:7, and the Samaritan woman at the well. We were encouraged to ask ourselves what exactly it was that made those individuals people of peace. No two are the same and we need to learn to recognise them when we come across them in daily life.

We are 'fishers of men' and should think of ourselves like some of the disciples - commercial fishermen, not rod and line enthusiasts. We are not in the business of taking fish one at a time, but should be thinking in terms of netting large numbers. If we learn to live like Jesus in our everyday lives it will be transformational!

We also watched the video 'Upside-Down Leadership'. Very good and well worth viewing, I'd recommend this to anyone.

Please note - this article is only a superficial account. When the recordings become available I'll add a link to them here so that you can hear what was said for yourself.

< 24th September 2001 | Index | 25th September 2011 >

Nettle Hill - Church planting, morning

< 23rd September 2011 | Index | 24th September 2011 >

This was a great day. The Dales were visiting from the USA and were sharing about aspects of church planting. It wasn't training in the way we normally view it. It was a sharing of real life stories and it was much more about people than the things we plan and do.

Giles introduced the day by reminding us that we're looking for organic growth. He referred to Romans 15 where Paul explains that he speaks of what he has seen and heard. Stories are good.

A North American IndianTony Dale continued this theme. He pointed out that speaking from the front was almost unknown in New Testament times. When Eutychus fell from the window, the word used for 'talking' is not 'monologue' but 'dialogue'. They were having a conversation.

The first story we heard was about Tony and Felicity's journey to America and how when they arrived they felt abandoned by the Lord. They'd come from such exciting times in Britain during the outpouring of the Spirit in the 70s and 80s, and now they didn't fit in to the church scene in the USA, work plans failed, and life became very difficult. It's often a struggle to listen and obey in such circumstances, but this is key in the journey.

Felicity took us through a listening exercise called Virkler, it involves four steps.
  1. Becoming free from distraction
  2. Focussing on Jesus
  3. Listening to the flow of spontaneous thoughts
  4. Writing them down (they can be weighed later)
Virkler is more fully described on the CO2 page (about half way down). We spent a few minutes on this exercise, then reported back with things that had seemed significant. There was a clear pattern and we were encouraged by that.

We heard how Tony and Felicity set aside several times each year just for listening together with friends. She described one of these times on a mountain around a campfire when someone saw in their mind an Indian on a hill surrounded by a ring of fire and also a bungalow with two basements. It later turned out that this was very accurate and the key to resolving some difficult situations.

Tony and Felicity continued to take turns at leading out thoughts right through the day. They told us about times in the 1970s and 80s when everyone would share openly in the meeting and how these were times clearly arranged by the Spirit. They have no doubt that Jesus want to lead his people and transform our situations.

We (plural, jointly) have the mind of Christ. We need to hear the quietest people and encourage them to share, this is treating the weaker parts of the body with greater honour. As the Charismatic Renewal developed and matured we stopped hearing through everyone. Some became famous or led large movements, many others were left out. Eventually we were left communicating head to head instead of heart to heart.

Change doesn't happen naturally, we need to plan and act to make space for the 'little' people. Our job is to make disciples, Jesus said he'd build the church himself.

It's useful to bring groups of unbelievers under the influence of the word. If we can do that their lives will change. It's a process of coming under the rule and lordship of Christ. We should ask people to follow Jesus, not join what we're doing. Follow simple patterns, eating together is important. Getting people talking is essential because we remember much more of what we express than what we hear or read. Multiplication generally happens outside our existing context; it's at the fringes and with unbelievers.

Success is not measured in terms of size; it's about multiplying the small. We need to lay down our view of success and look for transformed lives instead.

Please note - this article is only a superficial account. When the recordings become available I'll add a link to them here so that you can hear what was said for yourself.

< 23rd September 2011 | Index | 24th September 2011 >

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.

10 May 2010

NEWS - Jon Zens, Tony Dale, Neil Cole

This week's news roundup contains four items.A megaphone
  • Frank Viola interviews Jon Zens about his book on the place of women in the church. He expresses some interesting views and backs them up with detailed Biblical scholarship.
  • Felicity Dale interviews her husband Tony on women in the church. Obviously the subject is topical with two mentions in this week's news!


  • Neil Cole responds to Brian Hofmeister's report of having difficulties making organic church work. Part two of Neil's response is still to follow. (See also my recent post.)
  • The latest Nomad Podcast brings you an interview with Stuart Murray of the Anabaptist Network.

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