Showing posts with label multiplication. Show all posts
Showing posts with label multiplication. Show all posts

20 August 2012

The Tall Skinny Kiwi in Asia

People following Jesus in Asian countries don't necessarily become part of churches in our Western sense. Sometimes they simply follow Yahshua in community as part of their everyday lives. The difference between the two approaches is a challenge to us.

A map of Asia
Andrew Jones is a church planter and a blogger - his blog is called 'Tall Skinny Kiwi'.

In 2011 he wrote an article for Lausanne Global Conversation following his visit to some Asian churches.

It's well worth reading again even if you've already seen it. Andrew's article simply lists eleven practices that he considered to be at the root of  the Asian believers' success.

The article is in two pages, make sure you don't miss the second page.

Here's his introduction.

I visited a number of Asian countries in 2011 and was amazed at the dynamism and commitment of the young Jesus followers.

One network, in a country that I will not mention, stuck out to me as an outstanding example. They have started almost a thousand new communities, many of them multiplying into the second and third generation. And like many new movements in the non-Western world, a Sunday worship service as an evangelistic entry point for potential members has not been part of their ministry portfolio.

So if they didn’t start worship services, how did they start a replicating movement of Christian communities and how do they maintain such a high level of spiritual growth?

Of course it’s hard and a little presumptuous to claim which elements of their ministry are the most important but . . . here are 11 practices that I think have contributed to their success:

Andrew then writes a little under each of the following headings - Bible study, open houses, fringe focus, simple habits, good business products, system for rehabilitation, native flavour, daily rhythms, not outreach to but outreach with others, something for the whole family, prayer.

Here's another taster, Andrew's sections on open houses and fringe focus.

The people were hospitable to visitors who seemed to come at any time of the day or night. Their houses were full of young people living there while their lives were being transformed. I did not see any buildings used for worship or church functions. Bible studies and events took place in the houses, with young people sitting on carpets and mattresses, but I would not classify it as a house church movement, since there was no regular worship service to invite neighbours into.

The primary influx was young people from the margins, the underbelly of society and those discarded by it, drug addicts, and postmodern sub-cultures rather than mainstream folk. I have seen this trend all over Asia including Japan. Most of the leaders I met had come from these backgrounds also.

There's a desperate need for change like this in other parts of the world. But perhaps there's just as much need for it here in Britain. Some people in the West are doing similar things, here in the UK and elsewhere, but so far perhaps especially in the USA.

Can we learn from this Asian approach? Is everything they do appropriate in the UK, just some of it, or none of it? Are there particular features Andrew describes that you might try in your own life with Jesus? Are you already doing some of these things? If not, why not? Could you engage in similar approaches with your friends? Could you reach your neighbours?

Leave a comment. Let's have a conversation.

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.

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