I am updating those involved with the orientation class, “A Vision for Being The Church.” I’ve been so excited and encouraged by all of you as we have explored the vision for this new work in our community. Here is a brief summary of our discussion:
CORE VALUES IDENTIFIED SO FAR
Week 1: Community: The church is the community of believers who are “called out” to be the physical representation of Christ to the world. The church is not a building or a service.
Week 2: Mission: The purpose of the church is to 1) love God and 2) love people (Great Commandment). Following these commands results in discipleship (fulfilling the Great Commission).
Week 3: Multiplication: More disciples of Jesus Christ could mean more local churches.
“A SIMPLE CHURCH NETWORK”
We have examined how Jesus went about His mission on earth and explored how we may carry out His example. The “Simple Church” and a “Simple Church Network” model describe ways Jesus ministered and how we can live out the Christian life in a missional community that focuses on multiplying disciples.
* You can view the video entitled “What is Simple Church?” that we watched in class last week below. (If you were unable to come to class this past week, I would highly recommend spending 10 minutes to watch this.)
* We have also outlined how we “see” this network starting and possibly growing throughout our community. A link to the graphic of what a “simple church network” looks like and a possible time-line of how this could happen here in Lexington is available HERE.
CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES
We concluded our time last week with identifying potential “challenges” and “opportunities” of church life inside a “simple church network.” Below is the list. Note that we will address many of the challenges in the remaining three classes as well as here at this blog. Some challenges and opportunities could not be mentioned because of time, so please email me or comment below with any additions to the lists. I think this exercise will be very helpful for those of us counting the cost and potential rewards of joining this new work.
1. Making sure correct doctrine is being taught
2. Kids in worship
3. Splitting simple church groups to allow for growth
4. “Sounds weird”
5. Money and tithing/giving – how does that work?
6. Personal costs associated with having people inside of your home
7. Maintaining relationships with others in the network, but not in your group
8. Ministering to those with different levels of need
9. Dealing with “dirt” or conflict and church discipline
10. Personal insecurities that come along with an increase of responsibility
11. Who does weddings and funerals?
12. Preventing simple churches from becoming a social gathering
13. A “stick it to the institutional church” attitude
14. Logistics and coordination within the network
15. “We might miss corporate worship”
16. What will we do when we meet? – Agenda for worship/study
17. Uncomfortable for some
18. Paradigm shift in each person’s mind as to what “church” is.
19. Great Commission intentionality from everyone involved.
20. Just believing this is “OK” and a legitimate way of experiencing church life
1. Deepening of relationships with members of the church
2. Easier to invite some to home than to a “church”
3. More participation from all those involved
4. Not limited to a scheduled time when meeting
5. We can remove some “extra biblical” stuff / doctrine
6. Dealing with dirt and conflict
7. Accountability to each other and to God
8. Kids involved in worship
9. Dialogue instead of monologue during gatherings
10. Being “sent” from FAC
11. Network = protection, credibility, “not going at it alone.”
12. Learning to love
13. Every believer can be a church planter / easily reproduced
14. Low overhead costs means more money to give to needs/mission
15. Free up calendar to spend time with neighbor and unchurched in our lives.
16. Simplify life.
17. Great Commission ownership and participation opportunities for all.
18. Church clearly pictured as a family to the world
19. Flexibility with informal gatherings – opportunity to adjust subject etc.
20. Communion could be done as a meal or “love feast.”
21. Presents a different “front door” to the “Church” for 100’s of thousands of unchurched in our area.