Showing posts with label organic church. Show all posts
Showing posts with label organic church. Show all posts

25 February 2013

Simple church with children

Donna lives in Nottingham and is meeting children on the streets and simply involving them in church life. There is a pattern to what she is doing, a simple process at work. Watch the video and see for yourself. This is exciting. This is church at its simplest and best. This is Jesus doing his stuff.


My friend Donna is doing simple, organic church with children from her area.

You can watch a video of her with three of them and hear what she has to say about it.

Watch below or on the Simple Stories website. Either way be sure to visit the Simple Stories homepage afterwards, there is much more there to see and read.

Come back here after you've seen the video and let's think about this for a moment. There's a very simple process at work here, can you spot it? It has nothing to do with taking children to church. It has everything to do with being church. And it has a lot to do with making disciples just as Jesus told us to do (Matthew 28:18-20).

The Pattern - Here's an outline of the simple process Donna is following.
  1. Donna has met children on the street near her home.
  2. She has told them the good news that Jesus loves them.
  3. She is meeting with them regularly and showing them that they can pray for one another and have a lot of fun together and read the Bible together.
  4. She is getting to know the parents as well.
  5. She's encouraging the children to pray for their friends and to start their own, new simple churches with them.
These children are doing much more than most of us adults ever do. They are planting churches!


Papa, bless Donna and the children in Nottingham as well as their friends and families. Keep them close to you, Jesus. Help them walk with you every day and listen to what you are saying to them.

Oh, and teach us to be obedient just like they are!

Go! Go! Donna!

Thank you, Jesus. HalleluYah!


Questions:

  • Do you see how easy this is? Anyone could do it!
  • Can you see how you could use the same approach with the people you meet in daily life?
  • What is stopping you making a start today?

See also:

15 February 2013

Noted from the web (1 - Feb 2013)

The blogosphere is full of interesting things to read. Here are some items I spotted recently that are well worth passing on. Chris writes about not compromising, Jim about organic church, and Kelly about kindness in love. Three great writers, three great topics, three great articles.


It's not always about finding the middle ground - Here's a great article from 'Life with Da Man CD' in which he explains that finding holy ground and finding middle ground are by no means compatible.

Da Man CD (aka Chris Dryden) suggests that compromise is not always the way to go. He points out that society approves of compromise until its assumptions are challenged (a very good point and one worth remembering).

But in following Jesus we go way beyond any middle ground! By living the truth in love we challenge society in ways it cannot accept or tolerate.

Read the original article...


Finding organic health - Jim Wright at 'Crossroad Junction' has posted an excellent article about the current state of organic church in the West. In my view he expresses it just right.

He says organic church is beginning to come out of a time of serious difficulty and is catching up with the rest of the world. He adds that we are leaving behind some really weird stuff that was unhealthy and that we are networking better than before. There is much about good, local, unpretentious leadership, and much about community, fellowship and accountability. All Jim's observations are helpful and he is encouraged by what he sees as a growing outward focus, touching and learning from one another.

Read the original article...


Why good enough love is better than amazing love - Kelly Flanagan writes at 'UnTangled' and wrote about the need to accept one another without expecting perfection. Real love accepts me just as I am.

He uses Valentine's Day as a springboard to get us thinking about the bondage of expectation from others and the freedom of acceptance. As he says, somewhere inside we all know that we fall short, we all know we are broken.

To be accepted, brokenness and all, by those who love us is therefore a great gift. Pressure to be amazing will only damage us, but permission to be broken releases us.
Kelly focusses on acceptance within marriage, but the principle applies across every aspect of life and relationship.

Read the original article...

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.

21 January 2012

Circles of friends

Help doesn't always come from the places we expect. Community may not be the shape we design it to be. Church structure is better recognised than defined. Practice and experience are very likely to differ from theory.

Mallow on the beach, messy but vibrantAll of us need a little help from time to time, or someone to listen or encourage. And if we're involved in local church life we expect to find that support from church friends as well as from family members and others. In particular, if we are in a cell or home group we expect the members to provide the help we need. It's often claimed to be one of several reasons for meeting in smaller, more intimate groups.

But what happens in practice?

When a friend recently told me that he was not getting the help he needed from his home group, I was able to identify a number of people who were providing help. It was coming from a rich combination of close friends, some involved in other home groups, some in entirely different churches. Most of these people had not been 'designated' as his close church family, yet they were there when he needed them.

And this made me wonder whether we have things 'back to front' in some sense.

Rather than organise people into groups, why not recognise that most people already have circles of friends around them? Does it matter if these circles overlap with one another and don't fit into a tidy pattern?

As usual, organic life is messy but vibrant and abundant. Let it be what it is. If I can see vibrant and abundant I'm willing to overlook messy, or even rejoice over messy! Far better messy, abundant life than organised sterility. Yahshua said, 'I came so they may have life, and have it more abundantly.' (John 10:10)

So may I suggest that the people Father has placed around us are more likely to be there when we need them than the people that even the best organised church has defined as 'our' group? (The two are not mutually exclusive, or course.)

The corollary of this is that 'church'  is a shifting network of unique yet overlapping circles around all the individuals. True community comes, not from human-defined groups, but from the Father himself guiding his people in loving one another. And if we saw church in this way we would lose our need to identify ourselves as members of this fellowship or that denomination. We would let all the buildings and programs go (we wouldn't need them any more) and we could focus on life as the church that meets at Jane and John's house or the church in St Neots. Wouldn't that be grand!

20 December 2011

Topics

Organic Wine - [ Home | Bible | Resources | CO2 | Topics | About ]

This page attempts to track blog posts and articles grouped by topic. The lists will help you read material from multiple sources on the same theme, all focussed on the 'Organic Wine' topic of exciting change as Jesus builds his church.

A selection of words from this pageHere are some blog posts and articles grouped by topic (most recent at the top within each topic). Articles are included in more than one place when appropriate.

You can treat these as reading lists if you start at the bottom of a topic, or news updates if you start at the top. Dates of publication and blog authors are included.

Authority

Building the church



Hearing, revelation

Outreach


Problems


Spiritual outpouring


Yahweh's presence

    12 December 2011

    What is the Organic Wine tab?

    Organic Wine - [ Home | Bible | Resources | CO2 | Topics | About ]

    No, we're not trying to sell you a bottle to accompany a fine meal - it's just a name. We look at wineskins and wine in terms of church life.

    Red wineWhat's the Organic Wine tab all about? - There are early signs of a major change in organic church, not in the way it's organised or the principles behind it (person of peace, oikos, new church, networks) but in what happens as we meet. Only Father knows where he is leading us, our place is to enjoy the journey and give him all the glory for whatever he may do. This 'Organic Wine' tab is here to facilitate sharing about these things.

    Wineskins and Wine - Let's define 'organic' church very loosely, generally we have in mind something small with the feel of family about it - friends in close community, brothers and sisters caring for one another. We also see organic church as something alive, its members going out into the world actively looking to share the good news, make disciples, and encourage them to gather as further, new, living expressions of church.

    It may help to think of church as a container. The most precious thing it can contain is the life of Christ amongst his people. If we see it as merely containing people we will have made a social club. If we see it as containing Christ we will see that he is building a part of his church, his bride to be. Church should be a place where Jesus is at the centre, his Spirit is active amongst the people, the Living Water is flowing through and out, there is growing hope and joy and peace and above all love, and there is a sense of purpose and excitement and of the presence of the King.

    The structures and mechanisms of organic church are like bottles or wineskins, the abundant and bubbling life within is the new wine. The bottles are church in the world, the wine they contain is church in Heaven.

    What I am not saying - It's important to be clear about two things. The fruit of the Spirit is more fundamental than the gifts; in other words character trumps activity. We are not expecting an experience of Holy Spirit power alone, but for that power mediated by gentleness, self control, peace, kindness, and above all joy and love. And secondly we are not suggesting that an outpouring of spiritual power and freedom will be confined to just organic church, we are convinced that Father longs to see all his people using every gift he has made available.

    In some ways we are second guessing what Father will do. The only things we can see clearly are those things that have already happened. And we can surely expect him to surprise us and exceed the bounds of our imagination. HalleluYah!

    And finally - Pages under the Organic Wine tab are not like other articles on this blog. Most articles, once posted, are unlikely to change. But the Organic Wine posts will change as often as necessary to keep the contents (and especially the links) up to date.

    10 October 2011

    THOUGHT - Building the church

    < No earlier items | Missing the best >

    I need to share a picture with you, a picture Jesus poured into my heart many, many years ago. This is the right time to share it again, it's been on my mind a lot recently and an item on Ben and Catherine's blog makes me think now is the time.

    BricksSome history - Back in the early days, in the mid to late 1970s, Judy and I were particularly close to a couple who lived in the next street, Tony and Faith. We had young children at the time and so did they, it wasn't always easy to get baby sitters, so we worked around it.

    I forget how often we met, but it was pretty frequently. One evening Judy would stay at home and I'd walk down to Tony and Faith's for tea or coffee, a chat, and prayer. Next time either Tony or Faith would come to us, then Judy would go to their place and I'd hold the fort at home. Then one of them would come to us. And so it went on.

    These were exciting times of revelation and learning; we moved in the newly discovered (by us) gifts of the Spirit, sharing pictures and tongues, interpretation and prophecy, we were earnest and enthusiastic and young.

    The picture - One evening when I was at Tony and Faith's I had a picture. I knew it was from the Holy Spirit and I shared it with them then and there. And I shared it with Judy when I returned home. Pictures were not unusual for us, but what I didn't expect was that this picture would remain with me for the rest of my life and that it would be foundational. To this day it still underlies much of my thinking (and doing) so far as church life is concerned.

    I became aware that I was a small child and I was with a number of other children on a building site. Looking around there were ruts and tyre marks in the earth, piles of sand and gravel, timber, machinery, scaffolding poles and connectors. These were all around and amongst them were half-built homes and partly made roads.

    We were on the building site for one reason only - to play. We collected some bricks from one of the stacks and made little houses with them, a brick for each of the four walls and another one or two for the roof.

    We were having fun, imagining tiny people living out their lives in our tiny houses.

    But then the builder arrived, I don't know how he came to be there, but in the picture one moment we were on our own and the next moment he was standing quietly looking at us. He wasn't angry, he smiled at us and spoke to us. I shall never forget what he said.

    'If you keep scattering the bricks around you will slow me down and get in the way. I am building a real house. You can help me by bringing the bricks to me, and I will build them in the places where they should go.'

    Building the church - The meaning is probably as clear to you as it was to me at the time. Our task is to bring people to the builder, living stones that he can use in the structure he is forming. His task is to do the work of building each one in right relationship with the rest.

    In other words our task is not to build, but to bring. (See also Ben and Catherine's blog on 'Living Stones').

    In the next post I'll explain what followed in the late 1970s. There were fundamental changes and developments that turned out to be part of the path that brought us to where we are today in terms of church life and structure.

    < No earlier items | Missing the best >

    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 >

    29 March 2011

    ANNOUNCEMENT - Moggerhanger gathering, 10th April

    The Moggerhanger meeting on 10th April will be a time for rejoicing in Jesus' presence, giving him all the glory, and listening to what he will tell us. Come in expectation!

    Bluebells at Moggerhanger ParkWe announced this meeting back in February and now, with only twelve days left, this is a final reminder.

    We've booked space at Moggerhanger Park between Bedford and Sandy. We plan to meet for lunch, then we'll spend the afternoon in open praise, worship, and sharing. There will be no prepared music and no invited speaker; we'll just meet in a circle (Jesus at the centre) and wait to see what he will do amongst us. We can be sure he will surprise us and delight us just as he always does.

    Here are the directions to Moggerhanger Park. The approximate schedule will be...
    • 13:30 - Optionally, meet at the front of the house for a walk (if dry).
    • 14:00 - Gather in the house for a simple meal.
    • 14:45 - Spend time together as the Spirit leads. We will finish when we finish.
    Jesus has told us he'll definitely be joining us provided at least two or three turn up.

    What we need to know - If you plan to join us please mail me names and contact details (email address and phone number).  If you are replying on behalf of several people please include names for all of them, and for under 16s include ages as well. We will provide some materials to occupy children but you will be responsible for supervision (you may be able to share this by taking turns with other parents).

    There will be no charge for the afternoon but we will provide a basket for contributions towards the costs.

    You may find notes on previous meetings useful, particularly if you haven't experienced one of these gatherings before. The notes include announcements sent out and a report on each meeting.

    11 February 2011

    ANNOUNCEMENT - Moggerhanger Celebration

    It's such a long time since we met in larger numbers to spend some time rejoicing in Jesus' presence, giving him all the glory, and listening to what he will tell us. High time to meet again.

    Bluebells at Moggerhanger ParkWe've picked Sunday 10th April as the date and booked some space at Moggerhanger Park between Bedford and Sandy. We plan to meet after lunch, take an afternoon stroll in the grounds if the weather's fine (or chat over a coffee if it's wet). Then we'll share a meal together and spend the evening in open praise, worship, and sharing. There will be no prepared music and no invited speaker; we'll just meet in a circle (Jesus at the centre) and wait to see what he will do amongst us. We can be sure he will surprise us and delight us just as he always does.

    Make a note in your diary for the afternoon and evening of 10th April. There'll be another announcement here on 'All About Jesus' as soon as the details are finalised and I'll circulate the details by email to everyone who expressed an interest at previous meetings.

    You may find notes on these earlier meetings useful, particularly if you haven't experienced one of these celebrations before. The notes include announcements sent out and a report on each meeting.

    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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