Category Archives: 1.2 Planning

Update – Discussions are up and running!

It has been about ten days since we updated the website adding the new social network component. The network seems to be shaping up very well. I appreciate all of you that have joined and taken the initiative to begin networking and dialoging together. There are some great discussions going on – this is great! But it doesn’t stop there.

There are many ways that we can visit and socialize online; with the popularity of Facebook and several great specific sites such as Simplechurch.com, Lk10.com, MissionsPlex, MissionalTribe, Missional Outreach Network, Shapevine where we can spend many hours networking together. But if you are like me – you just don’t have that much time. So what makes House2Harvest Network unique? Why do we need another social network? To be honest, we don’t need another social network. What we do need is a tool or a service for two very specific groups of people that are converging together to accomplish specific things in God’s Kingdom beyond just a social network. That is why we have started House2Harvest Network, and recently added the social networking component. These two groups that House2Harvest serves are:

  • Those involved in simple/house churches and networks.
  • Those involved or want to be involved to missions.

This will mean that as simple/house church folks begin to venture into missions, they will have some unique opportunities, solutions, problems, ideas, perspectives, discoveries, prayer needs and reports. That is where House2Harvest Network comes in. So keep up the good work! Let’s see what the Lord will do as we continue to network together.

One of the unique qualities of this network is that you can share with the network the many in which we can network or partner together in actual mission – not just theory or talking about it. What are some of those practical areas?

• Inviting those on the network to join together in short-term trips, projects, reaching specific unreached people groups and the list goes on.

  • Holding specific trainings centered on missions and cross-cultural ministry and inviting those in the network to participate.
  • Announce projects where we can partner together with human and financial resources.

This is an exciting development. As the days go by you will see new groups started around some of these specific practical areas. If you want to start one – by all means start one, that’s what the network is for. While you are at the site, explore the web site side as well as the networking site side to see all the features and articles that are there for your use. Also, be sure to invite your colleagues that have an interest in house/simple church and missions. Spread the word and ask them to come and join.

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Web Site Updated with Networking Application

Greetings!

How do you like our new banner? Thanks to Wendy for putting this together for us – it looks MUCH better than my lame attempt!

The network has been growing, and we thank the Lord for that. Unfortunately it became very labor intensive. So to facilitate more activity on the network we have made some changes. We came up with a solution, but it will cause you to have to work a little bit – hope you don’t mind.

We need those who want to be part of the network to join through the new networking application that is now integrated into the web site. So all you need to do is

1. Go to the website at http://www.house2harvest.org/

2. Click on “Enter the Network” tab and follow the instructions, or if you need more information, click on the “Need Help? Start Here” Button.

3. This will take you to a button to join, fill out the Profile Information and that’s it!

4. This should not take you but 5-10 minutes.

If you have any questions or if you see any problems on the site, let me know. I am sure I may have missed some things. I cannot add you, so you need to do this yourself.

Take some time to explore the site and you can see the potential of the new networking application will have on our ability to serve the nations!

Thank you for your patience,

How Will This Work?

I just got an email from Shawn (take a look at his blog ) and he asked a very important question – so I will put it out for all of you to chime in and see what you all have to say.

His question was:

I am curious as to know how this (House2Harvest Network) could work. Is the intention that through the networking, a house church might find a way to serve a “foreign” group/pastor/church planter/evangelist/house church group to reach people in another country?

If so, would they do that through financial support, prayer support, short term missions, potentially sending long-term missions to start a new house church or house church network?

Would there be any other ways?

So how would you answer Shawn? I am looking forward to hearing some great insights from all of you.

Don

Simple Churches Doing Missions Part 2 – Keeping Missions Simple

In my previous post I discussed a very involved process regarding doing missions, specifically when reaching into the least reached regions, among the unreached peoples that still need to know about Jesus. After posting it I realized that “man, that’s not very simple is it!” (Thanks to a few comments from some folks.) But really it is. Here are a few ways we can keep missions simple;

1.       Only do what you see the Lord doing. The process takes time (the chart in my last post could take 5-20 years to accomplish reaching a people group). So go slow and listen to the Lord as you go doing what He is doing and not being driven by a program or plan.

2.       Network with other simple churches. It’s not all your or your house church’s responsibility to know and do everything. This is why we need to network.  It may be that your house church may take on just one element of long list of what would need to be done.

3.       Take personal responsibility. Simple churches are fluid. They may meet together for a short period of time or for years. Take what the Lord has revealed to you to accomplish with you wherever you go. Be a champion for reaching that unreached, least reached people group.

4.       It’s not our work; it’s the King’s work. Continually remind yourself that it is the Lord’s work. There is a delicate balance between being sensitive to the Lord’s leading, carefully following Him, and taking the “bull by the horns” and making it happen. It boils down to obedience, not ambition or strategies.

This may not be exhaustive – if I continue with the list, it starts to get too complicated.

We need to know what we are doing, and the scope of the “big picture”, but we also must keep it simple.

Simple Churches Doing Missions

As we begin to dialogue regarding simple churches doing missions, I would like to share a few things to lay a foundation for our discussions in the future. Recently at the 2008 National House Church Conference we held three sessions of the Missions Track. In our first session we discussed some foundation issues. Here is a summary of those sessions:

Session One: Why are Simple Churches suited for pioneer missions amongst the unreached and why is this the time?

We start with the assumption that simple churches as best suited for pioneer, frontier missions (the unreached) therefore now is the time to do it!

First, let me lay some foundation:

  • House/Simple/Organic Church: It is not about the gathering but our understanding of being the Church: relational, organic, and simple.
  • Unreached/Least Reached People Groups: A people group within which there is no viable indigenous church movement with sufficient strength, resources, and commitment to sustain and ensure the continuous multiplication of churches. To reach them is pioneer/frontier missions.
    • The world’s 6.3 billion people are made up of 11,259 people groups. 55% of them are unreached! (source: IMB) Note the chart below representing numbers of people groups, not individual populations. In regards to population less than 1/3 of the world’s population is unreached.

  • 10% Committed Christians
  • 20% Nominal Christians
  • 15% Non-Christians within reach of Christians
  • Unreached peoples – Out of reach
  • o   How many unreached people groups exist? There are 11,259 people groups in the world today. 4,729 are reached. 6530 of these people groups are unreached. (Source: IMB). These unreached groups have no viable, self reproducing indigenous church able to reach their own population.

    o   Where do these unreached peoples live? 97% of all unreached peoples live in what is referred to as the 10/40 window. 82% of the poorest of the poor live in this region,

    • Where do we (the Church) use our resources? Christians give $15 Billion a year to missions. How is that $15 billion distributed? (Source: David Barrett & Todd Johnson. 2000)

    • Where do we send Missionaries? According to Mission Frontiers Magazine (June, 2000) we see that most missionaries are going to the Christian world.

    Cross-cultural Missionaries per Million in major blocks:

    • Strategic Missions: Strategic missions is when the Church is following the biblical mandate that is summarized in these two verses:

    Matthew 24:14

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

    James 1:27

    “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress . .”

    • Closure: Closure is finishing the task. What will happen?
      • All nations will hear to the point that the gospel of the Kingdom will be preached to the entire world as a testimony in all nations (ethne) and then the end will come.
      • The Bride makes herself ready. This is referring to the prophetic promise in Revelation 7:9-10 where we discover that great multitude consisting of all nations (ethne), tribes (phule), people (laos), and languages (glossa) standing before the throne in front of the Lamb.
    • What makes simple church the best tool in God’s hand to finish the task? In our recent discussion in Dallas at the National House Church Conference Missions track we came up with the following reasons during a brainstorming session:
      • Less baggage – not bound to traditional, denominational, institutional models
      • Able to move and respond faster.
      • Understands Simple Church life – since the churches planted in unreached areas are simple house churches who better to plant these churches than those who are already doing it?
      • More Appealing to Post-Modern and post-church cultures.
      • No Denominational administration – free of sterile policies and procedure, but organic.
      • Apostolic (DNA) – Workers sent with a message.
      • Makes Disciples rather than plants churches – When we make disciples, church happens.
      • Financial Ability and Flexibility
      • Realistic Accountability – relational not policy driven
      • No Overhead
      • Kingdom focused – not organization focused. Not “planting any flags” for a denomination or Missions organization. Plus the message is focused on the gospel of the Kingdom, and not a theological grid.
      • No Bottlenecks – Able to be more spontaneous and able to respond to God’s provenience.
      • Relational like other cultures
      • Reproducible – church is simple, and able to be done by anyone regardless of the amount of education. No seminary experts, big budgets, real estate deals needed.
      • Economical – less money is needed.
      • Open to Creative ideas
      • Team driven
      • No Clergy
      • Indigenous believers are empowered and released in their callings and giftings
    • We can Speed the Coming of the Lord! In 2 Peter 3:11-12 we read:

    “Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. . .”

    As the Lord fulfills Matthew 24:14 with us in partnership with Him, we speed the coming of the Lord!

    This session ended with a testimony and discussion regarding doing missions locally and reaching unreached Muslim populations in the United States.

    Session Two and Three: How Simple Churches can do Missions.

    This session was mostly interactive starting with a brainstorming session talking about:

    1.       What do simple churches need to do in order to reach the unreached nations?

    2.       How do we accomplish these things?

    Here is a chart illustrating the results of this brainstorming session (each item does not necessarily correspond directly to the opposite item in the column):

    What We Need to Do: How we can Accomplish these things:
    • Cast Vision and maintain awareness.
    • Identify the people group to reach
    • Go/Send to make Disciples of all ethnic groups
    • Do research
    • Understand Cultures & cross-cultural communications
    • Mobilize our house churches
    • Pray for the unreached
    • Be led by the Spirit
    • Stay Informed
    • Do missions here cross culturally
    • Take short-term trips
    • Pray
    • Develop our simple churches into missional communities.
    • Hear God – Only do what we see the Father doing.
    • Network together with other simple churches
    • Get training – take “Perspectives” and the like.
    • Gather resources
    • Read missions books
    • Develop funding plans, collect $ and send to the need.
    • Develop Business as Mission opportunities
    • Train missionaries, or facilitate their training
    • Learn the Language
    • Develop Partnerships
    • Model simple church being missional
    • Prepare for Church Planting Movements at home.
    • Do research on the field via short term trips.
    • Learn and adopt successful strategies
    • Live simple lifestyles
    • Talk and get to know simple church missionaries

    We then heard several testimonies first from a missionary couple planning to go to Asia and their challenges in regards to securing a support network in a simple church network setting. We also heard more about a network of simple churches regarding how they were reaching the Muslim community in their city.

    The discussion carried over to the next day as we discussed the following process and how simple churches can develop into a missions movement reaching the unreached.

    Steps Towards A Mature Missions Movement in the Apostolic Simple/House Church Network

    Mobilization Stage

    Phase I. Training

    Phase I. Training
    1.       Provide training and learning experiences. Contact House2Harvest Network for more information.
    2. Begin to develop Strategic Components of an Acts 1:8 Church in your simple church and/or network. a. Prayer
    b. The Lord raises up a champion for the cause of reaching the unreached and fulfilling the desire to be an Acts 1:8 church.
    c.  Clear written strategic guidelines
    d.  Adopt a Least/Unreached People Group
    e.  Giving Plan, Funding Plan
    f.  Short-Term Trips
    g.  Events focused on serving the nations.
    h. Begin Servants to the Nations Preparation
    3. Develop Local Cross-Cultural Ministry/Outreach.
    4. House Church network sponsors further training, coaching and consulting in understanding missions. This can be provided by ministries such as House2Harvest Network.
    5. Key Leaders attend World Christian Perspectives Course offered through the U.S. Center for World Missions
    6. Constant reading of missions books and articles.
    7. Finish the development of the Strategic Components of an Acts 1:8 Church (see #2)
    8. Identify Servants to the nations in your House Church Network.

    Phase II: Planning

    Develop a plan to reach the UPG
    1. Identify other churches and networks that are targeting your adopted UPG.
    2. Develop a preliminary budget – measure your potential financial resources.
    3. Partner with other churches and organizations in the USA a. Conduct or attend a UPG consultation
    b. Coordinate prayer efforts and information
    c. Assess organizational capacity of partnering churches
    d. Determine level in which churches can partner
    e. Formalize partnerships and networks
    4. Identify National Churches that are potential partners
    5. Partner with key leaders in national churches
    6. Conduct a short-term research trip in a region where the UPG lives.
    7. Write out your plan to reach the UPG based on your research etc.

    Deployment Stage

    Phase III:Team & Partnership
    Phase III: Team, Partnership and Networking
    1. Develop a support mechanism for cross-cultural servants to the nations.
    2. Identify servants to the nations and missions organizations already targeting the UPG.
    3. Train Your Servants to the nations.
    4. Develop potential Apostolic teams (if this is part of your plan.)
    5. Identify strategic locations and partners working among the UPG.
    6. Get to know the Apostolic/CP teams you are going to support, partner and network with.
    7. Revise your missions policy statement if needed.
    8. Begin to develop your cross-cultural disciple making strategy.
    9. Evaluate the readiness of the apostolic team and/or servant to the nations you are sending
    10. Conduct a Pre-Field Orientation and then place the teams among the UPG

    Engagement Stage

    Phase IV: Making Disciples

    Phase IV: Making Disciples
    1. Apostolic Team finishes pre-field Orientation.
    2. Apostolic Team does (and/or finishes) Language and Culture Study
    3. Disciple Making Movement Strategy Formation a. Training
    b. Development of a plan
    4. Strategy Implementation begun a. Resources Mobilized
    b. Team is implementing strategy
    5. Initial converts discipled
    6. Disciple Making Movement oriented church(es) planted a. First church planted
    b. Second generation of churches launched.
    7. Churches reproducing spontaneously (3rd and 4th generations)
    8. Saturation church planting underway
    9. Celebration! UPG Reached – Other UPG’s Targeted by churches planted.

    Missions Movement is Underway!

    (You can download this chart here:steps-towards-a-mature-missions-movement-in-the-apostolic-house-church-network1

    This brings us to where we are now in this process, and your involvement in the dialogue. This blog site is designed to facilitate the networking of simple churches to accomplish their desire to be the church where people live, taking the gospel to the nations in your neighborhood, your nation, and to other cultures.

    The “TOPICS FOR DISCUSSION” listed to the right at the top of the House2Harvest Mission Weblog is where you can go to discuss specific topics and learn, network and discover from one another so that we can reach the nations together!

    I am looking forward to hearing what the Lord is saying through you.

    Networking with Mission Organizations

    I recently got a post on my personal blog (The Dreaming Revolutionary) from Tim in Carlisle, England. Here is his post and my reply to him. Feel free to join in the conversation:

    Timothy Wright Says:
    August 21, 2008 at 12:32 pm e

    Hello from England,

    My name is Tim Wright. I am with OM. I work at the International HQ of OM in Carlisle, England. I am very interested in House Church . Where I live in England, there is not a house church that I know of. The city is only 75,00,00 people.

    A big question for me is how is OM in the future going to engage all the people involved in house church and learn from them instead of trying to get them on our agenda instead of learning and partnering with them. I would appreciate any comments from you and would enjoy learning from you.

    Tim

    Don Davis Says:
    August 22, 2008 at 9:56 am e

    Hi Tim, That question is a very important one. I am part of a network of missionaries that will be attempting to mobilize house churches to do missions. We have a dialog going in preparation for the launching of this network. It can be found at https://h2hmissions.wordpress.com/ the network is called House2Harvest Network.
    I work with several missions organizations, and the only we it can work is if they can agree with doing church simply rather than institutionally. If they are critics of the simple church movement, it will not be easy to work together with them.
    There are also several issues and ways of doing ministry that is not conducive to simple church (those I mentioned in my 8 part “Church Structure” article on my blog), therefore a missions organization will need to make changes in their structure so that it is more “organic” and relational. When that happens, the opportunities to work together will happen.
    Our main task first is to assist the simple churches and their networks to do the mission work that God has called them to do and help them remain strategic.

    God Bless! Don

    To Fund or Not to Fund Indigenous Workers and Projects

    There has been a little discussion regarding the funding of indigenous missionaries with western support off the blog via email so I thought it may be a good topic to bring to the forum here on the blog. Let me suggest two books that can help in this area. These books are a must read in regards to this issue, and they balance one another out quite well. They are: When Charity Destroys Dignity: Overcoming Unhealthy Dependency in the Christian Movement by Glenn Schwartz; AuthorHouse 2007; and To Give or Not to Give: Rethinking Dependency, Restoring Generosity, & Redefining Sustainability by John Rowell; Authentic Books 2006

    We as westerners are so blessed financially that that we desire to be a blessing in areas where funding is lacking. But this causes concern as discussed in both of the above mentioned books. The first problem is when we give without considering the repercussion it can develop an unhealthy dependency upon the more prosperous portions of the Body of Christ which leads to a “colonial” type of relationship. What I mean by this is that we give generously and then put restrictions on the recipients and force them to be subject to our goals and standards. This can get even more complicated as time goes on. Second problem or “other side of the coin” (pardon the pun) is that if we do not consider the blessings in which the Lord has given us and use these funds to spread the gospel through our brethren’s efforts in other parts of the world we tend to become stingy.

    Jeff Gilbertson shared in an email a quote from the Acumen Found CEO/Founder Jacqueline Novogratz;

    “Dignity is more important to the human spirit than wealth.”

    Jeff also refers to Schwartz when he states;

    The healthiest parts of the Christian movement are those where local believers know the joy that comes from supporting the work to which God has called them, governing their own ministry and caring for their own outreach. They can then justifiably feel ownership of the calling they have before the Lord.”

    To illustrate the conundrum, I recall John Rowell sharing at the recent UPG Consultation in Dallas the story of when he was meeting with some national leaders in an eastern European nation and some western church leaders. The western church leaders were wanting to inform the eastern European brethren that it was now time for them to grow up and take care of their works with their own resources. The illustration that was given was that the western brothers had taken care of them as a father cares for his children and it was now time for them to step up to maturity. The eastern European brothers replied they were not their children, they have only one father and we eat from the same table. All they ask is that the brothers from the west “pass the potatoes.”

    As you can see this is not an easy subject. I certainly cannot cover both sides of the issue here, and I would recommend that anyone planning on funding indigenous workers and projects take careful steps so that when that funding ends (or begins) that the Kingdom of God is advanced. There is no reason that these two opposing sides of the issue should be at odds, but that the issues they raise will cause us to act with wisdom and generosity.

    The Lord has a solution for every one of the issues that funding indigenous workers may create. We must rely on His wisdom as we venture into other cultures and assist them in reaching the ethnic groups around them. That is why we must keep a open ear to the Lord through prayer and study of His Word. It would be foolish to depend on” doing what we always do” when we do missions in other cultures and economies. There is no pat answer for all situations, but there is the promise of wisdom when we ask for it, for we will surely need it when we partner with brethren from other cultures to preach the gospel of the Kingdom.

    Any thoughts? Wisdom? Ideas?