Sunday, May 29, 2011
The Pitfalls of Organic Church (Part 4)
Plan to Multiply into New Groups from Day One.
For a very long time now I’ve been of the opinion that our little house church is just too big. We’ve been hovering at around 28 people or so for the last few years now and this is just too many people to have a healthy and productive organic church, as far as I’m concerned. However, our house church is not a dictatorship, so I don’t get to be the one who decides what we do or when we do it. I try to leave all of that up to God, and so far He’s done a pretty good job of it.
For example, when we first started out our group only met on Thursday evenings. My family got together in our den every Sunday morning and shared together, but everyone else was at their home church on Sundays. After a while I really wanted to draw a line in the sand and force everyone on Thursday evenings to either come with us and commit themselves to us as a church that gathers on Sunday mornings, or hit the road. Luckily, God in his mercy gave me a very wise spouse. Wendy advised me to wait and to pray and see what God wanted to do. She reminded me that Jesus said that He would build His church and that He didn’t really need my help doing it. Of course, if He did I would know it. Until then, we waited and we prayed.
Eventually, without any help from me, someone suggested that we start meeting on Sunday mornings, and suddenly people started calling the Mission their home church.
I share this because it reminds me that God really is in charge of His Church, not me. So, whenever I get antsy about the fact that our house church family feels too big I can remember that God can take care of these things without my intervention.
About a year ago two families left our group to start house church groups of their own. Again, without any help from me, both families decided that God was calling them to leave and start something in their home. Both families independently decided this on the same weekend. One went to Indiana, the other just up the road from us. Neither group asked for our permission but we all certainly gave them our blessing and we prayed over them to send them out.
Still, one thing that I wish I had done differently in our house church family was to communicate from day one to everyone that our hope and our plan was to keep the group small and to plant new house churches out of this one whenever we got too large to function properly as a family of believers. Not necessarily to create a benchmark number of people for this multiplication process, but simply to remind everyone involved that one of our goals as a church is to plant more churches out of this one. How we go about this, and when, is still up to God, but if your group starts out from the beginning with a clear understanding that this multiplication is part of the process, the easier it will be to actually plant new churches out of your group when the time comes.
Thoughts? Please share them in the comments section.