Church? Spectators vs Participants

baseball-stadium

Dear Church,

Are you a spectator or a participant in building God’s kingdom?

Years of sitting in traditional church has not prepared us to be the church in the manner described in the New Testament.

We have been taught to come.

To sit.

To watch and listen to what others have prepared.

(Someone described it as “sit, soak and sour”.)

This is Spectator Church. And it is no way to train believers to be priests.

By contrast, the churches described in the Bible engaged in Participatory Church. This kind of church requires preparation on the part of all of it’s members.

This is new.

We haven’t been taught how to do this.

Therefore, some retraining is in order.

Read: John White’s article –  How to Prepare for Simple Church

The Prayer of St Patrick

shamrockThis morning on St Paddy’s day, my family and I gathered for communion and then reflected on a portion of his famously penned prayer…

I arise today, through God’s strength to pilot me,
God’s might to uphold me, God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me, God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me, God’s hand to guard me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptation of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill, afar and near.

Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me, Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

Then, we did a little reflection together…

What follows is a reflection based on the second half of St Patrick’s Breastplate (Prayer). We may not wear combat gear in our daily lives but this prayer/reflection on St. Patrick’s Breastplate may function as divine armour to protect against the difficulties we may face in life.

Silently, become aware of what is going on around you. Close your eyes and sit in a comfortable upright position in their chair. Become aware of your breathing. Once you are in a prayerful state, keep your eyes closed and listen openly to the reflection.

Christ with me – Invite Christ quietly into your heart.

Christ before me – Think about events or things coming up over the next few days/weeks that you may be worried about. Ask Christ to help you face these challenges that lie ahead.

Christ behind me – Consider moments in your past that you may have found difficult. Spend a few minutes thinking about how Christ was present in these moments.

Christ in me – Do you spend quiet time in the day deepening your relationship with Christ? Make a commitment to set aside some time each day to talk and listen to God who is always with you.

Christ beneath me – All of us need help at points in our lives. It is at the lowest points that Christ is there carrying us through. Ask God now if there is anything you need help with.

Christ above me- Just as an umbrella protects us from the rain, Christ protects all of us. Think about somebodyclose to you that needs God’s protective care at thismoment. Ask God to help them.

Christ on my right hand – Christ uses your hands to helpand comfort others in today’s world. How can you use your hands to further God’s kingdom here on earth?

Christ on my left hand – God is always by your side even though you might not realise it. Thank God for never giving up on you even during those moments when you have turned away from him.

Christ when I lie down – Even when we sleep God is there watching over us and protecting us. Thank God quietly for his loving protective presence in your life.

Christ when I arise – When you wake up in the morning do you notice the beauty of the world around you? Thank God for his beautiful gift of creation.

Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me –

Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me – If someone who knows you really well were to give an honest answer to the question – What is the best thing about your friend? What do you think their answer would be? Would others say the same about you?

Christ in every eye that sees me – Imagine that somebody took a photograph of you this morning interacting with your family/friends without you realising it. Do you think you would be happy with what the image captured? Did you speak kind or harsh words to a loved one? Did you help your family member/friend or were you angry with them?

Christ in every ear that hears me – Think back over the conversations you have had with others this week. Have you been kind and thoughtful in what you have said or have your words been hurtful or damaging to others?

Dear God,

St. Patrick came to Ireland to help people discover your loving presence. May I take comfort from the fact that whatever challenges I may face in life you will always be there at my side to help and guide me through. Help me to be your witness in the world, showing others your loving presence through my words and actions.

Amen

 

 

Source: https://decandsusan.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/st-patricks-breastplate.pdf

A Culture of Honour – Men and Women

honour
Photo credit: YWAM

Tears of healing began to roll down my face. I didn’t know what was happening in me at the time, but I found myself in a culture of honour – observing and experiencing men honouring women and vice versa. It was so powerful JUST WITNESSING IT.

I wept deeply… healing much of the diagnosed psychological, emotional, and spiritual abuse I had experienced with certain male leaders in my church that led to my health crash years ago. My doctor ordered me to leave the church leadership situation immediately and my church conference insurance paid me for two years of resting.*

When I left that church environment several years ago, I entered a time of rest and detox.

My time of rest included a visit to a different church – one with a culture of honour. It was there, tears rolled down my face when I saw it was indeed possible for men to honour women in leadership. I sensed Jesus smiling over it all. My heart, my mind, and my spirit began to welcome the healing.

Today! Years later, after some incredible healing rest… I get to walk pastors, ministry leaders, and lay people (both male and female) through healing of unfortunate abusive ‘church’ experiences.

When we try to ‘do’ church led by fear, instead of ‘being’ the church led by Holy Spirit, the damage is painful. When we walk in fear, rather than Christ-like love, we unknowingly or knowingly cause damage.

When a church is led by fear, the fruit is damage.

Thankfully, Jesus loves to restore and heal – revealing to those who are wounded and doing the wounding, that He has so much more!

Men who honour women, and women who honour men – is what Christ calls us to!

Let’s choose to walk in love and honour…

Recently, I was blessed with this…

Honor All People

Transcript:

Hi, this is Bill Vanderbush. I pastor Community Presbyterian Church in Celebration, Florida. I want to talk to you a little bit about honor. When you think of honor, people think about academia, or academic achievement. The honor roll, honors society, or maybe you are one of those people where the closest thing you ever got ot honor was, “Yes, your Honor, no, your Honor.”

I want to define it a little bit differently today. Honor is where you live to make somebody else like a genius. It is where you actually treat somebody as if they were Jesus. You may think, “That sounds kind of blasphemous. I can’t treat anybody like that.” We are all image-bearers. We are all made in the image and likeness of God. I believe God is calling us to be a culture of honor, to release honor everywhere we go.

1 Peter 2:17 says, “Honor all men.” Honor all people, actually it means. That is actually where he stops. He finishes that thought. Honor everybody without reservation. Honor is not to be given as a reward, it is given as a gift. Think of it like this, God doesn’t honor us because we are good. He honors us because He is good. He doesn’t love us because we are good, He loves us because He is good. He releases love, and honor, and grace because that is what He is like. That is what He has called us to do. He has called us to release honor because we are an honorable people.

How do you release honor over somebody that is dishonorable? That might be a difficult thing to do, but the reality is that when you release honor, you are actually digging for the treasure that is inside of a person. You are seeing them from Heaven’s perspective. In Matthew 13, Jesus goes home to His hometown – the Son of God. He tries to perform miracles and people get offended at Him. It says they became intellectually offended at Him. They said, “We know His mom, we know His brothers, we know His sisters.” They said, “How is this guy doing what He is doing?” They became offended at Him. Jesus responds and says, “A prophet is not without honor except in His home country, in His own town.”

I think a lot of times God calls us to begin ministry at home because He wants us to learn to do it without honor. He doesn’t want us to stay in a place of dishonor. The result of that is He could do no mighty work there because of their unbelief. Here is the thing about dishonor. Dishonor shuts down the anointing every time. In 25 years of pastoring, I have never seen a revival birthed in a culture of dishonor. Dishonor often times shows up in the middle of a revival and we wonder why the revival shut down. God is calling us to protect one another, to speak encouragement over one another.

There is a thin line between honor and flattery. We don’t want to get into flattery. Honor is calling out the gold in a person. It is coming into agreement with how God sees a person and shifting our perspective to Heaven’s perspective. Beginning to speak honor over their life. In doing that, we suddenly become a culture where from the outside looking in, there are people who are orphaned in their mind and their heart. They look at the Body of Christ and say, “I want to be loved just like that.” If we grab a hold of the culture of honor like this we would see the nations shaped and changed. In a generation or two there would be people that would once again know that God is to be famous for love.

I pray that you would become a person of honor. You would release honor in your words and your declarations. In everything you do, you would demonstrate the honor of Heaven. From a prophetic standpoint you would put Heaven on display in all that you do. I believe we will see revival breaking out all over our nation. Amen.

Source: God Today – http://www.getgodtoday.com

Post note:

*My medical team and insurance ordered me to rest for 2 years. My doctor wept when I initially answered her intake questions.

Clearly, I had endured more than I thought.

I had been putting up with abuse, giving grace to the men over and over around their behaviours with women. I had loved my brothers in leadership. Looking back, I saw the potential in the men and kept forgiving them – until it caused my health to crash when I witnessed their treatment of another woman.

Seeing how they treated another woman with public dishonour was a shock to my system; literally.

I was assigned a medical team to interview me. Learning that the behaviour was abusive was a wake up. My brothers had started off so encouraging in the beginning but, over the years, looking back I now see how their fear of man replaced their fear of God and this turned their behaviour into control, manipulation, and abuse of women. The Conference Minister asked what I learned about myself. Apparently, I can endure abuse but when I see other women experience mistreatment, that’s the last straw.

Thankfully, God has a way of turning painful situations into redeeming ones. As mentioned above, having gone through my experience and falling in love with Jesus because He showed me more of who He is outside of the box, I now am a life coach and spiritual director for pastors, ministry leaders and lay people as they walk their way out of church abuse, burnout and depression. God indeed raises the dead! Then, he teaches them to share new life! 😀

Countdown to the Cross and Open Grave! (Lent 2019)

cross-sunset-sunrise-hill-70847.jpeg
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I love the Lenten season! 🙂

Passover (some call it ‘Easter’) is the most important event in our world history, and yet it can sneak up on us. We often spend so much time focusing on Christmas, that we forget Part 2, …the dying to self-part and receiving new life in Christ! Christmas is receiving God’s gift under the tree and Passover / Easter is opening it!

It is a season, not just a week or a day, and it all starts on a Wednesday. The countdown to Easter Sunday is called “Lent” referring to a lengthening of days as the days get longer with Springtime! Lent is a time that we remember to die to our selfishness, and to choose to live free in Christ!

This year I look forward to using the daily verses (see Year C below) and the Divine Reading template. Come and allow Jesus to bring you new life through these daily readings…

1. List of Scriptures – Year C – Lent : Revised Common Lectionary

2. Your Guide – Reflective Reading Template (Lectio Divina) 

Theology: Are you a Settler or Pioneer?

pioneer wagon

This is from Brennan Manning’s book Lion and Lamb: the Relentless Tenderness of Jesus. (As read in class by Murray Dueck of Samuel’s Mantle)

There are two visions of life, two kinds of people. The first see life as a possession to be carefully guarded. They are called settlers. The second see life as a wild, fantastic, explosive gift. They are called pioneers.

These two types give rise to two kinds of theology: Settler Theology and Pioneer Theology. According to Wes Seeliger in his book, Western Theology, the first kind, Settler Theology, is an attempt to answer all the questions, define and housebreak some sort of Supreme Being, establish the status quo on golden tablets in cinemascope. Pioneer Theology is an attempt to talk about what it means to receive the strange gift of life. The Wild West is the setting for both theologies.

In Settler Theology, the church is the courthouse. It is the center of town life. The old stone structure dominates the town square. Its windows are small and this makes things dark inside. Within the courthouse walls, records are kept, taxes collected, trials held for bad guys. The courthouse is the settler’s symbol of law, order, stability, and—most importantly—security. The mayor’s office is on the top floor. His eagle eye ferrets out the smallest details of town life.

In Pioneer Theology, the church is the covered wagon. It’s a house on wheels, always on the move. The covered wagon is where the pioneers eat, sleep, fight, love and die. It bears the marks of life and movement—it creaks, is scarred with arrows, bandaged with baling wire. The covered wagon is always where the action is. It moves toward the future and doesn’t bother to glorify its own ruts. The old wagon isn’t comfortable, but the pioneers don’t mind. They are more into adventure than comfort.

In Settler Theology, God is the mayor. He is a sight to behold. Dressed like a dude from back East, he lounges in an over-stuffed chair in his courthouse office. He keeps the blinds drawn. No one sees him or knows him directly, but since there is order in town, who can deny that he is there? The mayor is predictable and always on schedule. The settlers fear the mayor, but look to him to clear the payroll and keep things going. Peace and quiet are the mayor’s main concerns. That’s why he sends the sheriff to check on the pioneers who ride into town.

In Pioneer Theology, God is the trail boss. He is rough and rugged, full of life. He chews tobacco, drinks straight whiskey. The trail boss lives, eats, sleeps, fights with his people. Their sell-being is his concern. Without him the wagon wouldn’t move; living as a free man would be impossible. The trail boss often gets down in the mud with the pioneers to help push the wagon, which often gets stuck. He prods the pioneers when they get soft and want to turn back. His fist is an expression of his concern.

In Settler Theology, Jesus is the sheriff. He’s the guy who is sent by the mayor to enforce the rules. He wears a white hat, drinks milk, outdraws the bad guys. The sheriff decides who is thrown into jail. There is a saying in town that goes: those who believe the mayor sent the sheriff, and follow the rules, they won’t stay in Boothill when it comes their time.

In Pioneer Theology, Jesus is the scout. He rides out ahead to find our which way the pioneers should go. He lives all the dangers of the trail. The scout suffers every hardship, is attacked by the Indians. Through his words and actions he reveals the true intentions of the trail boss. By looking at the scout, those on the trail learn what it means to be a pioneer.

In Settler Theology, the Holy Spirit is the saloon girl. Her job is to comfort the settlers. They come to her when they feel lonely, or when life gets dull or dangerous. She tickles them under the chin and makes everything okay again. The saloon girl squeals to the sheriff when someone starts disturbing the peace.

In Pioneer Theology, the Holy Spirit is the buffalo hunter. He rides along with the covered wagon and furnishes fresh meat for the pioneers. Without it they would die. The buffalo hunter is a strange character—sort of a wild man. The pioneers can never tell what he will do next.

He scares the hell out of the settlers. He has a big black gun that goes off like a cannon. He rides into town on Sunday to shake up the settlers. You see, every Sunday morning, the settlers have a little ice cream party in the courthouse. With his gun in hand the buffalo hunter sneaks up to one of the courthouse windows. He fires a tremendous blast that rattles the whole courthouse. Men jump out of their skin, women scream, dogs bark. Chuckling to himself, the buffalo hunter rides back to the wagon train shooting up the town as he goes.

In Settler Theology, the Christian is the settler. He fears the open, unknown frontier. His concern is to stay on good terms with the mayor and keep out of the sheriff’s way. “Safety first” is his motto. To him the courthouse is a symbol of security, peace, order, and happiness. He keeps his money in the bank. The banker is his best friend. The settler never misses an ice cream party.

In Pioneer Theology, the Christian is the pioneer. He is a man of daring, hungry for a new life. He rides hard, knows how to use a gun when necessary. The pioneer feels sorry for the settlers and tries to tell them of the joy and fulfillment of life on the trail. He dies with his boots on.

In Settler Theology, the clergyman is the banker. Within his vault are locked the values of the town. He is a highly respected man. He has a gun, but keeps it hidden in his desk. He feels that he and the sheriff have a lot in common. After all, they both protect the bank.

In Pioneer Theology, the clergyman is the cook. He doesn’t furnish the meat. He just dishes up what the buffalo hunter provides. This is how he supports the movement of the wagon. He never confuses his job with that of the trail boss, scout, or the buffalo hunter. He sees himself as just another pioneer who has learned how to cook. The cook’s job is to help the pioneers pioneer.

In Settler Theology, faith is trusting in the safety of the town: obeying the laws, keeping your nose clean, believing the mayor is in the courthouse.

In Pioneer Theology, faith is the spirit of adventure: the readiness to move out, to risk everything on the trail. Faith is obedience to the restless voice of the trail boss.

In Settler Theology, sin is breaking one of the town’s ordinances.

In Pioneer Theology, sin is wanting to turn back.

In Settler Theology, salvation is living close to home and hanging around the courthouse.

In Pioneer Theology, salvation is being more afraid of sterile town life than death on the trail. Salvation is joy at the thought of another day to push on into the unknown. It is trusting the trail boss and following his scout while living on the meat furnished by the buffalo hunter.

However, this image below is key…

“Some people want to be slaves…”

…and what it means if we are not yet experiencing freedom…!

(Read the whole page below…)

IMG_7226

______

 

Lion and Lamb: the Relentless Tenderness of Jesus, Brennan Manning, Chapter 3, Fleming H. Revell Company, Old Tappan, NJ, 1986.3

Letters to the Church – Francis Chan

Francis Chan – Letters to the Church ( #paradigmshift )

letterstothechurch.francischanA few quotes from Francis Chan that will get you thinking…!

“God designed the Church to be much more than what the majority of us experience in America. There are many of us who believe this and want change. The good news is that God wants this change even more than we do.

The early church didn’t need the energetic music, great videos, attractive leaders, or elaborate lighting to be excited about being a part of God’s body. The pure gospel was enough to put them in a place of awe.

If you think that sitting back and letting the church staff feed you will bring you the most fulfillment, you are so wrong. God promised that those who give will be most blessed (Acts 20:35).

When the Bible describes the power available to you, doesn’t it sound like hyperbole? It seems so extreme, yet we see so little of this in our own lives and in the Church. The discrepancy could challenge your faith in the Scriptures—how can the Bible promise things we never experience in real life? But are you willing to consider that the Bible is accurate and the Church has domesticated us to the point where we doubt our power?

Church, the answer is not to build bigger and nicer cages. Nor is it to renovate the cages so they look more like the wild. It’s time to open the cages, remind the animals of their God-given instincts and capabilities, and release them into the wild.

Alan Hirsch said, “In so many churches the mission of the church has actually become the maintenance of the institution itself.”

It’s time to train people to live in the wild again.

There are elements of modern churches that on the surface seem like good ideas, but they can actually keep us from the biblical vision of unity, true fellowship, mutual love, and pursuit of the mission. Too many look at these elements and insist you can’t have a church without them.

I believe God is leading a movement in this country toward simple, smaller gatherings, and I long to see this movement gain greater traction. I get so excited when I dream about the Church spreading in small, invigorating expressions that look and feel like the early church. My goal is to get you dreaming about this as well.

My hope is simply to convince you that there are compelling ways of living as the Church that look nothing like our traditional models. My goal is to get you dreaming, to keep you from settling, to affirm that nagging sense you can’t shake that God wants something more for His Church than what you’re experiencing.”

Learn more about the book: ‘Letters to the Church’ by Francis Chan

What does freedom look like?

worship

I recently asked Jesus this question: “What does freedom look like?”

He immediately brought to mind the picture of the Israelites walking through the Red Sea escaping slavery… BUT … NOT grumbling and complaining in the wilderness wanting to go back to slavery …which, sadly, is what the Israelites did …and as a result died in the wilderness, not entering the promised land. It was only the next generation who were allowed to enter the Promised Land.

Today, I reflect on this promise: “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”
– 2 Corinthians 3:17

And I read this from Nicky Gumbel…from his ‘Bible in One Year’ readings…

Love and unity go hand in hand. The Tower of Babel is the symbol of disunity (Genesis 11:1–9). The people said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves’ (v.4). This act of pride and power-seeking led to disunity, symbolised in the confusion of different languages in the world. ‘The Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth’ (v.9).

The day of Pentecost was the reversal of Babel. The Holy Spirit enables people to say: ‘each of us hears them [speaking] in our native language’ (Acts 2:8). The gift of tongues symbolises the fact that the Holy Spirit reverses the disunity of Babel and unites all peoples and languages.

This is a common experience today as we see the Holy Spirit bringing love and unity across churches, languages and nations.

Lord, may we never seek to make a name for ourselves or our own church, denomination or movement. Rather, may we seek to glorify your name. Pour out your Spirit, O Lord, on the church as on the day of Pentecost. May there be a reversal of Babel. May there be an end to disunity. May your Spirit and the values of the kingdom of God bring love, joy, peace, true happiness and unity.

Wow…

As I continue to reflect on …what God is calling us to BE as the church …building God’s kingdom, rather than our own little kingdoms, this rings so beautifully.

Questions to Reflect on:

Where have we been trying to make a name for ourselves? (Rather than lifting up the name of Jesus?)

Where have we settled, perhaps becoming complacent, becoming stuck in ruts?

Where have we been looking backwards to the past?

Have we perhaps been controlling or manipulating a ‘move of God’ without asking for more of Holy Spirit?

Are we open to God moving outside the box in the future, no matter what He brings?

Ask the Lord, “What do you have next?”

Invite Holy Spirit to fall on your family, your friendships, your gatherings and be ready for anything that looks different than what you’re used to.

Be prepared to fast and pray for days… God longs to invite us into friendship with Him rather than just giving us marching orders.

Did you know that in world history, all the Revivals look differently? They each look like Jesus but not like each other. People may reject Jesus’ move of Holy Spirit when He doesn’t fit their box. Let us not be people who reject God’s Spirit because He doesn’t fit our traditions.

My Prayer:

“Holy Spirit lead us to be ready for each new day of what you are doing. Thank you for your move in the past, but let us not settle and build our own little kingdoms around your movements. Let us instead, build your Kingdom by following your every move! Yes & Amen! 💗🙌

Quote Source: https://www.bibleinoneyear.org/bioy/commentary/3171

Are you ready for new wine?

What does it cost for new wine and new wine skins?

So often we want God to move but when He moves differently than we want, we shut the door on Him. Let’s not be stuck, but hungry for more of Him. You can’t see the new thing unless you let go of the old. God is on the move.
 
I enjoyed a delightful conversation this morning over coffee as a faithful friend and I reflected on all the changes we’ve experienced together. I found this video afterwards thanks to my friend and it reflects MUCH of our conversation. My friend and I both agree we are in better places today and yet grateful for the hell we both walked through together – feeling like we were ripped out of an old wine skin. (Definitely, we experienced the ‘tension in transition’ as Craig speaks of below…) Yet, today, we are hungry for more of what God has next! And what we’re experiencing today is thanks to being open to more of Him outside of any box we unknowingly put Him in.
 
God, what do you have next for us in this new year?

I’ve enjoyed reading Craig’s words on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/daily.prophetic/

and on Twitter…

Making Disciples WHO MAKE Disciples

I was recently sent an interview with Roy Moran on disciple making movements.

Some of the quotes…

In order to make disciples who make disciples, you need to learn a new language. In a churched world, we have to tear down a lot of concepts.

It’s not about making disciples, but about making disciples who make disciples.

Making disciples who make disciples is a lifestyle.

Start with a group, rather than individuals…

Learn the space you are in. Where do people have relationships and activities there? Begin prayer walks there in order to learn it. Pray for God to lead you to people who are spiritually interested.

Below, I lined up all 3 parts of the interview for easy viewing… (each video has a short duplicated intro but each has new content.) Also, you’ll see below and after the videos, I share the resources he refers to.

 

Resources mentioned:

The Father Glorified: True Stories of God’s Power Through Ordinary People

Contagious Disciplemaking

Spent Matches – Roy’s book on being apart of an institutional church but with a missional focus.

Multipliers

Multipliers for Educators (I couldn’t find it but found this: http://multipliersbooks.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Multipliers-Minimizing-Accidental-Diminisher-Tendencies-May-2017.pdf

Teaching as a Subversive Activity – Neil Postma

Seth Godin’s blog – often relates to DMM – (missional thinking)

Discover DMM

DMM Learning Lab

Hermie Smit on DMM – YouTube

DMM City Team – Now NewGenerations

Read Roy’s: “Hybrid Church” here… (free resource)

 

 

Why not Canada?

Originally posted by Light Magazine Canada (but blocked by security browsers).

why-not-canada

by Don Klassen

“Why not here?” is the question that pesters me when I see the growth of the church in many parts of the world. What is it that makes the gospel so appealing elsewhere?  Is there something that Canadian Christians are missing? Have we adopted habits that are hindering us? 

Pastor Roy Moran in his book Spent Matches confesses he is weary of putting increasing effort and finances into practises that result in diminishing returns. Over time we have become more and more dependant on attractional programing, professional leadership and expensive buildings. There are a few larger churches that are able to experience modest growth with this approach but most of that growth is at the expense of churches that can’t provide the same level of attraction. Many Christians now gravitate to churches that “meet their needs”. Non Christian Canadians seem largely unimpressed by the attractions the church offers. Television, sports leisure and the great outdoors here in BC are more attractive than church.

In the first centuries the church experienced rapid growth. The early disciples had no money, no power, no human leader and they were outcasts in their own society. How did they begin a disciple making movement? The disciples had a life changing encounter with Jesus, the willingness to obey, the power of the Holy Spirit and lots of contacts. 

Large movements to Christ on other continents today share similar characteristics. We have the same potential in our area. We need to take a closer look at how essential ingredient of Disciple Making Movements can once again take centre stage among Christians in British Columbia. If we do our part I am convinced that God will do the rest. 

Pastor Merri Ellen Giesbrecht was exposed to Disciple Making Movement (DMM) over two years ago. She says “In the first year of focusing on DMMs, I found myself discipling a dozen new people I had met just out on the town. There were so many divine appointments. I have a new passion and joy in disciple making, without the need to find volunteers for any programs. I love it!”

Learning from what is happening around the world I would  suggest the following practises take centre stage in BC:

Refocusing on intense sustained prayer for the lost and for transformed communities; Unleashing the potential of Christ followers to share their faith and to disciple their families, friends and neighbours; Modeling obedience to the voice of the Holy Spirit as Scripture is interpreted by ordinary people in the context of their culture and in the presence of friends or family; Focusing on multiplication rather than on addition.

Outreach Canada is promoting an event entitled “Disciple Making Movements: Why Not Canada?” Participants will take an exploratory journey into the steps of starting a movement in their own back yard.  

Ultimately a Disciple Making Movement is entirely dependent on God. The best we can do is begin praying and developing some of the same habits the early disciples had. Only God knows what will happen then!

(Posted originally here: https://lightmagazine.ca/2018/10/why-not-canada/ but many of you cannot access it because their site has not updated.)

My thoughts after going to this event listed above that happened on October 20 in Surrey entitled “Disciple Making Movements: Why Not Canada?” (outreach.ca/registration/dmm. ) :

Well, today was an incredible day!

We got to hear how disciple making movements are going in Canada, what prevents disciplemaking, and what key elements we need to remember. So many powerful stories! The key is to keep groups small 5-7 and no more, completely relying on Holy Spirit. Once you get bigger, you become formal and growth slows down.

A pastor I once worked with was there. He came over to me after lunch to say ‘hi’. I asked what he thought of it all. He said it is a big paradigm shift for him. One pastor shared how pastors need to work themselves out of a job in order to fulfill the Great Commission in Canada.

The question was asked: “What is the greatest source of error and false teaching?” The answer was revealed. Seminary trained leaders who want their own followers. Higher learning without reliance on Holy Spirit is the main source of error.

Oh my goodness, the day was incredible!! 60 people were packed in the basement. People were rocked with a new paradigm!!! But it was all well received! They got it! They saw the statistics of the decline of institutional churches in Canada and the high speed spreading of the Gospel in house church/disciple making movements.

We got to gather in groups of 3 to pray and to read the Word in such a way that we asked questions to allow Holy Spirit to teach us.

And we got to hear from Ray Moran who wrote: “Spent Matches” https://amzn.to/2J8ALIa for institutional churches to help them with implementing a hybrid strategy (kinda like a gas-electric car). I loved that book! In it he shared actual stories from his church who does this very thing of large gatherings BUT movements within. MUST read for any large church leader hungry for more of disciples who make disciples.

It felt like I was witnessing a shift in people’s minds perhaps how Peter felt when Jesus changed his perspective! New glasses.