Our Role in Finishing the Task (Matthew 24:14)

Our fifth question to discuss is:

What role will the House/Simple Church networks have in fulfilling Matthew 24:14?

“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations (ethnic groups), and then the end shall come.” (Matt 24:14)

Specifically what do you think house/simple church networks can do to see the unreached nations/ people groups reached? Let’s keep in mind the idea of networks as well as what we can do as it relates to the rest of the Body of Christ.

Share your ideas – thoughts – plans – etc. We are looking forward to more discussion.

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11 responses to “Our Role in Finishing the Task (Matthew 24:14)

  1. Wilfred Tejano

    I had been doing the Condensed World Mission Course (condesned version of the Perspectives of the World Christian Mov’t), when I came across with Wolfgang Simson’s Houses that Changed the World. It fanned the more the flame of my passion for mission. I saw in the hc/sc/oc mov’t. the greates potential to bring closure to the great commission in our generation.

    One of the greatest challenges of mission is the “Great Imbalance” matter of fact situation. Tranlation: In terms of personnel, material, financial, efforts, priorities, etc., at least, 85% are being deployed and used in countries and peoples that had multiple and multi-generational opportunities to hear and respond to the gospel. Some countries in this category are already now considered in a “post-Christian” era. These countries now have a new generation that needs to be given opportunity to respond to the Person and claims of Christ in their lives.

    The question that I always make every time I am given the opportunity to make is this: “Why should anyone hear the gospel a 100x more when someone has never heard it once?”

    The “Great Imbalance” cannot be reversed simply by going to the established and traditional churches and tell them what they can do about it. I wish it is that simple.

    Let me share some of my heart and thoughts. This movement must bring into the open the issue of the truly biblical identity of God’s people. Focusing on the “church” metaphor is too limiting. For example, there are so many other descriptions: We are God’s vineyard, We are His Body, His Temple, We are the Bride, We are Kingdom of Priests, we are His Sheep, He is the Vine, We are God’s House, etc. What does it really mean to be “the people of God?”

    I suggest that we need to engage many men and women of God in the established tradtions who are seeking the fresh and mighty move of God in our generation. I believe this movement has forcefully brought into the open the issue of ecclesiology. This is the core issue. Everything we do differently from the “typical” or “tradtional” churches can be mainly described as “methodolgy” issues. One’s theology shapes his methodology. They are two sides of the coin. But you get it wrong when you make your methodolgy defines your theology.

    I believe we can engage more godly men and women from every tradition if they see that we are getting to the core issues and not on those that are peripheral.

    The second thing I like to talk about is the area of discipleship. Chuck Colson once described the churches here in America as 3 miles wide and 1 inch deep. I believe this is representative of most churches.

    (I’m sorry I have to stop for now, I’m taking my 3 year old son for a walk in the park. I’ll be back…)

  2. Wilfred Tejano

    Discipleship is not a perpetual accumulation and abstractions of biblical knowledge but a radical life transformation, a mark of one’s love obedience to Christ. The ultimate goal of any Christian communication is a deep behavioral and lasting life transformation. Whether it be by preaching in a large group setting, teaching in a medium group or “life involvement” in a small group setting. Charles Kraft, in his book, Communicate with Power, suggests that transformation is most likely to happen in a small group setting. “Life involvement” is best faciltated in a more relational and informal context which is possible only in a small group.

    The hc/sc/oc movement’s size, set up and relational context of gathering is a fertile ground for disciple-making. It’s open, participative and inter-active meetings must result in producing disciples who are able to make disciples, and on… However, for this to happen, there needs to be a level of commitment between a mature and younger believer(s). Mutual accountability must exist in the equation. At least, a common benchmark for younger believer(s)’ progress is also established. At a certain point, a mature believer must take the leadership, initiative and be intentional in making disciples, and then gradually releases a growing disciple on his/her own to perpetuate disciplemaking. That’s what we parents do to our children. Up to a point, someone has to take personal discipleship responsibility of someone until he/she is mature enough to take his/her first steps and watch him/her progresses day by day. The discipler’s assuring presence and accessibility, provide encouragement for a growing believer who sharpens his/her skills and gains confidence to launch his/her own exploits for the kingdom.

    In my own observation (admittedly limited), however, there seems to be a reluctance among the members to submit and to be accountable to a more mature believer. May be it is because of the voluntary and perpetually open nature of the movement’s gatherings. Or, may be because of the trauma from the past experiences under the controlling, manipulating and abusive leadership and group that a believer once belonged. There could be many other reasons. But if we are to contribute to the fulfilment of Mt. 24:14, then we must do Mt 28:18-20. We must explore and adapt discipleship models such as of Paul-Barnabas, Paul-Timothy, Elijah-Elisha, etc. Our gatherings must be fertile grounds for disciplemaking. Our communities are to be great encubators of disciples and future leaders.

    It seems that developing cohesiveness among the members is a major obstacle in the movement. The voluntary and perpetually open nature of the gatherings inhibit a development of a level of commitment necessary for discipleship. Reluctance to lead and willingness to recognize and submit to someone’s leadership is a major challenge, too. Also, there is a leader’s constant challenge as to when to stay at the front end of the pack and when to move at the back seat. The excitement of a “new wine” experience could intoxicate us and enjoy the glamor and limelight of being at the front. In time, unwittingly, we have become “ceo” type leaders or the “experts” that set ourselves above the people whom God called us to lift up. Then, we reproduce ones of our own kind.

    The third thing I like to talk about is the incredible financial resources that could be released by the movement to bring the light of the gospel to the world’s remaining unreached peoples. Its disinterest for maintaining high cost/maintenance buildings, properties and other programs, etc., could redirect the much needed resources to reach the unreached. Of course, we still have to witness to the “unsaved” around us. But we cannot wait until everyone in our community and country becomes a believer before we commit ourselves to reach the unreached. This kind of mind-set could be the reason why after 2,000 years, we are still far from completing the job the Lord Jesus has given us. There are still about 11,000 unreached peoples of the world today. How about splitting the resources 50-50? Fifty percent goes to the community’s outreach and fifty percent for the unreached. Just imagine if every housechurch group would do that, we could send and support thousands of frontier missionaries, frontier mission projects and anything that is a frontier-oriented mission effort. In my own experience in mission mobilization, only the crumbs from the table are allocated for frontier mission. It is so dishearteninng to see those who are willing to go to the “frontier” settle for the “regular” mission field because of the unavailability of the resources. The movement has an unprecedented opportunity to at least begin to reverse the “Great Imbalance” in mission.

    The fourth thing, we could do is beginning to focus on intentionally building missional communities among the ethnic minorities in our community and country. This could be a great cross-cultural communications exposure for those who would be engaged. There is a great source of information available for us about the movement of peoples from one country to another. Where they are concentrated and what “peoples” they represented are helpful to our mission efforts to reach them for Christ.

    Lastly, we can identify, connect and coordinate with other movements across the world who are taking indigeneous initiatives to reach the “unreached peoples.” Admittedly, we have much to learn from them. We can support, encouraged and partner with them in bringing closure to the great commission, posssibly in our generation.

  3. Wilfred – great post!

    I agree that the “greatest potential to bring closure to the great commission in our generation” is the house church movement.

    Your inclusion of the facts regarding the “great imbalance” illustrates the error of our ways in the past and the need to do something different now. I agree that our perspective of the church needs to widen/deepen, or ecclesiology can certainly hinder God’s purpose for our existence. I think that if we would take a more Kingdom of God perspective rather than only focusing on our sphere we would be able to accomplish what is needed. This would open us up to being more cooperative, and less competitive. It also causes us to release control to the King rather than promoting a local leader to an unhealthy role of similar to a CEO or pope.

    When we surrender to the King of the Kingdom of God and one another in Christ – resources are released, discipleship happens, we open our eyes to the fields that are ripe – in our backyards as well as far off places. The task before us to reach the unreached is great – but it is not so great that it cannot be done. We have the call, the mandate, the resources and the message. Let’s do it!

    We have so much to learn! Yes – let’s not forget to learn from those that have a burden to reach the unreached that have gone before us.

    Any more thoughts out there?

  4. Wilfred Tejano

    Don – great to interact with you and others with same passion!

    Yes, I fully agree with you. The Kingdom of God is the overarching reality that would guide us in bringing the gospel to all nations (= all peoples).

    Any wall or barrier that stands in the way of the Kingdom must come down. Every Kingdom person must transcend non-essential and peripheral issues that often divide us. It’s a tragic reality that while we are still figuring out how we can bring ourselves together to finish the task…50,000 people are dying everyday without having the opportunity to hear the gospel.

    A new Chinese believer once asked Hudson Taylor, “How long has it been since you had the gospel in your land?” Shaken by the question and probably with a sense of guilt and shame, he answered, “Probably, several hundreds of years.” The new believer answered, “Several hundreds of years? My father died searching for the truth. Why then only now that the gospel is brought to us?” Eventually, Hudson Taylor founded the China Inland Mission because no church body would even facilitate those who responded to his challenge.

  5. Brian Wheaton

    Those overseeing HC Networks need to understand missions perspectives and the “Great Imbalance” discussed. Upon catching the vision for strategically allocating resources toward completing the Great Commision, they could then disseminate this information to their network house churches.

    The Network could also be instrumental in setting up allegiences with mission agencies that could facilitate their connection to unreached people groups and indigenous partners that are strategically close to the UPG’s.

    I believe that one of the reasons God is raising up the HC movement is for it’s potential to release much more resouces to the front battle lines. I am very excited about what you are doing to spearhead this movement and looking forward to more dialogue on the subject.

  6. Wilfred Tejano

    I had the opportunity to be involved in mission mobilization back in my home country (Philippines) until I relocate here a year ago with my family here in Southern California.

    I am very much aware of the challenges/difficulties for establishing a working and strategic relationships for mission between the western and non-western churches, groups, etc.

    I believe fulfilling the mission is for the whole church. The guiding spirit of Lausanne II, “The Whole Gospel to the Whole World by the Whole Church,” would provide as a framework in forging partnerships and alliances.

    Whatever differences or preferences could be dealt with by our common vision. Our commitment to obey the Lord’s command transcends whatever stands between us. I hope to be of service to the movement in a way God enables me.

  7. Brian Wheaton

    Wilfred – I see the finishing work of the Great Commission as a uniting vision for the church that can transcend many of our church differences.

    As the vision is planted, we recognize the need to work strategically in unison with others.

    It is important for HC’s not to get so enthrawed with their structure that they develop an atititude that would preclude their working with what God is doing through the traditional church and mission agencies.

  8. Brian this will certainly be a challenge. We want to stay “kingdom” focused rather than our own personal ministries and projects. The more we can network with the rest of the body, the richer we will be.
    That being said, it is not our structure that we need to be enthralled with – but our relationship with Jesus! If we think that our success is a matter of structure, we are just as mistaken as those who are in the institutional church serving their structures.
    Thanks for provoking us to GOOD works Brian!

  9. Steve Lyzenga

    Brian said: I believe that one of the reasons God is raising up the HC movement is for its potential to release much more resources to the front battle lines. I couldn’t agree more Brian! In fact, I’m currently working on a doctoral dissertation that is addressing this very issue. I propose that the bottleneck to reaping the harvest is not sending enough laborers (whether foreign or indigenous), and the bottleneck to not enough laborers is the old institutional wineskin. This bureaucratic man-designed wineskin consumes up to 95% of its resources on itself, withholding the necessary resources (manpower and money) to send the Mt 9:38 laborers/workers to the ripest harvest fields of the earth, UPGs –let’s brainstorm how to help the simple church movement (which consumes maybe 5% of its resources on itself) mobilize its potential huge resource base (manpower and money) to reached the remaining unreached peoples!

  10. Wilfred Tejano

    Steve – I look forward to see your dissertation. I hope we have a more accurate updates on the world mision figures. I like to see if there is any significant and encouraging changes. When I started getting involved in mobilization, the UPGs figure was about 12,000. About 7 years later, after the Lausanne sponsored event in Thailand, the figure became 8,000.

    Don – I’m really excited of the direction for mission that you guys are taking to lead the HC movement. It’s unfortunate to miss this conference. I’m moving to Oxnard, Ventura this month. I’ll be following closely the developments and be with you in prayer.

  11. Samuel Wright

    This is fantastic! I believe that this movement has the potential to redirect believers from being served to serving and doing what we see the Father doing. The Father has a passion for those who are yet to be reconciled to Himself through Christ. If we grasp this passion of the Father, then nothing can stop us.
    1- we have the intimacy/relational aspect of doing what we see the Father doing.

    2. Awareness. Without an awareness of the “Great Imbalance” we will not likely move towards engaging in the fulfillment of of Mt 24:14.
    3-This awareness must take happen in the context of what the Father is saying. So often statistics are thrown around without allowing the heart of the Father for those yet unreconciled to Himself.

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