The Form of our Fellowship

Should our fellowship be in the form of Corporation or that of a Community?


A Christian Community Celebration in September 2008 at Ken & Harriet’s house at Chambers Flat, Queensland, Australia. We are very much part of a large relational community. We see our focus as coming from a Kingdom of God focus with the risen Jesus versus seeing ourselves as part of a Christian Corporation. We are here with 25 other people who have come celebrate the future wedding of our joint friends, Rob Spence and Lyn Francis This was for several hours in the afternoon. One of the men Wayne Spyve, had received a direct Word from the Lord that morning and is praying for them. See the photo below the first one we all praying for them as well as Wayne prays the Lord’s blessing and success into their future marriage .

Rob said in e-mail to us: Thought that you may enjoy these photos from our gathering on Saturday. Lyn and I would like to thank each of you for your love and congratulations as we prepare for our marriage. Special thanks to Ken and Harriet for their gracious hospitality, Wayne for praying for us and Don for his toast.
Bless you for joining and celebrating with us on the day.

Love Rob and Lyn

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See the posts of our House and Garden  here ……

Should our fellowship be in the form of Corporation or that of a Community?

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Comment: Experiencing The Church as a Corporation. Minster is now the chief church in the Northern Province of the Church of England and is the seat of the Archbishop of York. The present building is the largest medieval Gothic cathedral. See the website:
http://www.yorkminster.org/

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Should our fellowship be in the form of Corporation or that of a Community?

This blog site looks at the nature of Christian fellowship …… an important theme for 2000 years since Jesus Christ was here on Earth. Should our fellowship be in the form of Corporation or that of a Community? Which did Jesus Christ start?

By Corporation, I mean a Religious Corporation with attributes such as religious intuitionalism, hierarchy, traditional worship, set forms of worship, beauty offered to God and a sense of permanence. The expression of a Religious Corporation attempts to express the Christian viewpoint of God into visible, ritualistic forms that have a long term permanence about them. In the end, this expression of the Religious Corporation emphasises the Infinite – Personal God, the God who is more infinite, intangible and beyond us (transcendent).

By Community, I mean a Religious Community with attributes such as being personal, being social, being personally known and connected to other people and being committed to those people in a definite way. In the final end, it being there for the common good of everyone else. In the end this expression of the Religious Community emphasises the Infinite – Personal God, as the God who is more personal, tangible and amongst us. (Immanent).

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  1. In August 2007, Harriet and I had a different experience of church, as that of The Church as Community. We were visitors for lunch at the home of Ian and Joan Thomson in Brisbane, Australia. We have known these people for many years but we do not get together very often as they live on the other side of the city to us. After lunch we participated in a small gathering of invited guests along with Ian and Joan and ourselves. The meeting was largely taken by a lady Bessie Pereira , visiting from a southern Australian state. Bessie was the director of a ministry called ‘OIKOS’, a ministry directed towards Networking and encouraging New Ways of being Church. ‘Oikos’ as a word is the Greek Word for ‘House’ as used in the New Testament. In 2016 we were at an Oikos Conference where  we learnt that she had died.

The ministry has a website at: http://www.oikos.org.au/

….. The website says:

‘DON’T GO TO CHURCH …. BE THE CHURCH! We are a servant ministry seeking to advance God’s Kingdom purposes in our land by supporting and encouraging home churches both within and independent of the traditional church’.

Read this post through for a much fuller discussion on our original question: ‘Should our fellowship be in the form of Corporation or that of a Community?’

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On House Churches From My friend Bruce Judd in Sydney, Australia:

A few months ago, I had forwarded on an e-mail broadcast to two friends of mine in Australia, Keith Allen (see Keith’s website at: (http://www.emergingthechurch.org.au/) and Bruce Judd as they are both in a transition stage in their Christian spiritual journey between their experiences of the Church as Corporation or that of a Community. The e-mail broadcast was on the situation with the House Church Movement in America via Andrew Strom’s Revival School .… see a small portion of the e-mail below under the House Church Movement in America.

From the e-mail broadcast below I was emphasing the section:

Bottom line: ‘Worldwide, the original church is back, re-creating the biblical model: “Day after day, they met by common consent in the Temple Courts and broke bread from house to house.” (Acts 2:46) God is again pouring out His power on plain folks, bringing a megashift – not in our doctrine, but in our entire lifestyle.

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A few days later I received a very interesting and thoughtful e-mail reply back from Bruce …… some wise counsel which applies to all of us as to the link between the initial question “Should our fellowship be in the form of Corporation or that of a Community?”:

Associate Professor Bruce Judd B. Arch (Hons)

The main points in his response were these:

  • The house church certainly has its place and meets its needs, but I cannot be other than slightly concerned at the tone in the article that suggests that the home church model is the authentic mode of church and validated so because it is “bigger than”…. something else. Is something good and right, because it was the ‘original’ form, or because it is “bigger than…”? I find this an interesting proposition, but problematic. Indeed the statistics are impressive, but I am particularly concerned about the statement “If you want to stick to a biblical model, the house church is your only choice”.
  • When any mode of gathering in the name of Jesus – including more conventional congregational church, or home groups, or whatever – is promoted as ‘the way‘ then I believe we are at risk of replacing one imperfect vehicle of worship and fellowship with another. In other words focussing on a particular ‘method’ rather than the bigger picture – Christ himself and his creativity in how he works through the various manifestations of His Body. Watchman Nee puts this very directly in his wonderful little book “Christ the Sum of All Spiritual Things”. In reflecting on Jesus statement “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but be me” he states.
  • “I am the way,” asserts the Lord Jesus. Christ is the way; Christ is the method. Dear friends, is Christ your way and is Christ your method? Or is it only a way and a method? Thank God, if Christ is our method, everything will be successful. But if ours is just a method — and however good, accurate, and incomparable it may be — it still is dead and has no spiritual value.

…. and later

  • ‘Many times even the motive behind our hearing a message is erroneous. Instead of asking the Lord for revelation that we may see Him, we try with our brain to memorise a method to take back with us. And even if we follow that method, we will get nowhere. Sometimes, though, we seem to catch a glimpse, perhaps without having any great assurance to dare to say that we have seen the Lord. Nevertheless, we do see Him and such insight brings in real change. Thank the Lord, this is the way. Not that we have learned a method, but we have come to know the Lord. It is clearly shown to us that the Lord Himself is the method.
  • For this reason, then, we should, upon hearing a message or a testimony, examine ourselves as to whether we have encountered the Lord or merely understood a method. There is no deliverance in knowing a method as there is in knowing the Lord. Listening to how He helps others will not save us. Our trusting in the Lord alone is effectual. Their words may sound about the same, yet their actualities are worlds apart. The Lord is the Lord of life. Touching the Lord alone gives life.
  • I found this very challenging when I read it, as I like anyone else I am prone to seeing what worked elsewhere and seeing if it can be applied in a different situation – with the same guaranteed results. We often see this promoted with visiting speakers from successful ministries elsewhere – eg. the Bill Hybels / Willow Creek method of ‘seeker services’. The Church Growth movement has been plagued with the kind of thinking that what works here, should work there – regardless of context, though it has moved a little from that stance recently.
  • Please don’t misunderstand my intention in responding thus. I am a great enthusiast of the home group and its importance as a spiritual family and a place for spiritual growth, but I am concerned by some who promote it as ‘the way’ or ‘the authentic form of church”. I am a member of one myself and greatly blessed by it, but I also value other forms of gathering such as the Saturday (or Sunday) service, seminars, conferences, small groups of other types, etc etc. I am sure it is the same for you and for Keith.
  • Home church was the original early New Testament form of church, but are we to be limited to that mode today – or is God allowed to change things as time, society and the church proceeds? I think so. And I think he has changed much.
  • Recent reading of Frank Viola’s book ‘Rethinking the Wineskin’. In this book he puts a convincing case for what the early Christian church was – basically home churches, no preaching, just sharing, no hierarchy just local elders and itinerant evangelists and pastors, everyone involved in making all decisions. But the flaw in his book, in my humble view, is that he argues that we should return to precisely this model today as if nothing has changed in the meantime – eg. the Reformation, the Wesleyan movement, Asuza Street, the charismatic movement, third wave, Toronto, Prayer movement etc – let alone the impact of communication technology – including the internet (which you guys use so effectively).
  • (Authors note: Frank Viola has put out a more recent book: ‘Reimagining Church’ which is discussed in depth at this website.)

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The Change from Church as Community to the Church as a Corporation:

The present Christian is caught between the historical legacy of two alternatives, that of the early Christian Church and the influence of later centuries. There is a tension between Church as relationships and Church as a rigid organisation. The first leads to a warm, open and communal approach but not necessarily with organisational direction. The second leads to a more corporate approach, more formal but not so communal. It is Christ-ianity as God’s Community with Spirituality versus Church-ianity as Religion or God’s Corporation. The initial Hebrew view of life was very wholistic whereby all aspects of life were unified and were very important to God.

Where this change came from in the history of the Christian Church was from a major change in the 2nd Century from a Hebrew view of life to a view influenced by Greek thinking. People in the church became very dualistic in their thinking whereby:

  • The Jewish Church becomes a Gentile Church
  • Gentile Converts were steeped in Greek Platonic philosophy
  • The Church becomes the gateway to God and the spirit realm
  • The priest represents this removed spirit realm
  • The Church became the gateway to Heaven with the Church very much at the centre
  • The Church: The priest + the mass + sacraments = The way to Salvation into the spirit realm
  • These were the key mediators
  • There came about a separation of common life from the spiritual realm
  • This view increasing became the status quo across Europe

To look more fully at ‘The Change from Church as Community to the Church as a Corporation’, I suggest you look further at this website ..

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The Focus Of Jesus Christ And Of Christianity:

For all the discussion on the Church as Corporation or a Community …. it is irrelevant apart from Jesus Christ as to who He really was … His life, death and resurrection. The Apostle Paul talks about in his letter to the Corinthian Church in the first century in 1Cor 15:12- 28

Jesus didn’t start an organisation but developed relationships with a small core of people. These then multiplied around the then known world (the Roman Empire), into small committed fellowships. In the New Testament Greek, ‘Church’ is translated from the word Ecclesia’ which is simply a gathering or community of relationships. It had no religious connotations at all ….. it could even mean a political gathering.

See this Blog Site ‘Church or Christ?’ via Ian Thomson’ Brisbane, Australia where he says:

‘Certainly the “worship” of national Israel was institutionalised, carried on continually by a clergy group (the Levites and priests) dedicated to elaborate cultic services of the tabernacle and later in the temple – the old dispensation. In the New Testament there is no notion of “going to church”. An ekklesia (a Greek word without any religious connotation translated as “church” in our bibles) did not actually exist as an entity unless people actually gathered eg. in Acts 19:32-39, ekklesia is used for a council, a court and an unruly meeting! Before the gathering, ekklesia exists as an idea only. Because the Christians’ gathering was repeated, ekklesia could also be thought of in abstract, a bit like “the awesome foursome” (Four different high adrenalin activities in Australia: helicopter ride, white water rafting, a huge bungy jump and a huge jetski). We always think of them together’.

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To Serve or Be Served?… A Biblical Vision From Jesus Christ ……

There was a pointed discussion between Jesus and James and John as to ‘Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory’. The discussion and comments from Jesus are given in Mar 10:35 – 45:

The whole point of what Jesus is saying here as it relates to the discussion onChurch as Community or Church as a Corporation’ is that the essence is that there is no hierarchy of importance in this new community of Jesus Christ. Instead, the distinguishing mark was to be that of being a servant to others …… our whole purpose in life was to serve the interests of others by giving them value in what we do and say and not seeing ourselves raised up. The phrase: ‘And whosoever, of you will be the chiefest shall be servant of all’ is significant. The word ‘servant’ is from the Greek word ‘Doulos’ meaning to be a slave (literally or figuratively), in an involuntary or voluntary sense, frequently therefore in a qualified sense of subjection or subservience.

Our whole purpose as followers of Jesus Christ is look out for the welfare of others ….. not just your own cultural group but all people on the Earth. This quite the opposite of building a hierarchy around us.

In conclusion, the original question was: “Should our fellowship be in the form of Corporation or that of a Community?” The reply back from Bruce Judd was wise counsel which applies to all of us as to the link:

  • When any mode of gathering in the name of Jesus – including more conventional congregational church, or home groups, or whatever – is promoted as ‘the way‘ then I believe we are at risk of replacing one imperfect vehicle of worship and fellowship with another. In other words focussing on a particular ‘method’ rather than the bigger picture – Christ himself and his creativity in how he works through the various manifestations of His Body. Watchman Nee puts this very directly in his wonderful little book “Christ the Sum of All Spiritual Things”. In reflecting on Jesus statement “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the father but be me” he states.
  • “I am the way,” asserts the Lord Jesus. Christ is the way; Christ is the method. Dear friends, is Christ your way and is Christ your method? Or is it only a way and a method? Thank God, if Christ is our method, everything will be successful. But if ours is just a method — and however good, accurate, and incomparable it may be — it still is dead and has no spiritual value.

Do you have a way or have you found THE WAY? ….. that is the answer to our original question.

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For Extra Reading on the House Church Movement in Australia, The United States, Europe and Asia, see the summarises below:
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The House Church Movement in Europe:

The Barna oracle speaks for a new global way of looking at Christian Community: A new study of the Barna Research Group shows that in 2004 (compared to 1994) more adults in America are reading their Bible, participate in small religious groups and pray, but church-related involvement has remained flat. According to Barna “the church-oriented endeavours showed no movement. This may be an early warning sign that we are entering a new era of spiritual experience – one that is more tribal or individualized than congregational in nature.” For keen observers this is not really a revelation, but it’s nice to see that good old George is backing us up with some sound statistics.

Thelogy of everyday life: Two fresh thoughts from Reinhold in the Swiss mountains: “We tend to seek God in the Grand, Spectacular and the Special. But 90% of our lives is just routine, repeating tasks and unspectacular things – yet God is always there. We need something like a ‘theology of everyday life’ to see and hear him in our mostly very ‘normal’ lives.” “I am in the process of seeing the church more and more under the Kingdom aspect rather than vice versa. Ecclesiocentrism is one of the diseases that the current clerical crisis is bringing to the surface. The Church yesterday understood this very well. When you talk Kingdom, you talk action, power, and challenge. When you talk church as an end in itself, most people (except from a few pastors) get easily bored. I guess it all boils down to Q-S-Q (Simson) again: quality (the Kingdom) needs the right structures (forms of Church) to become quantity (to multiply and disciple). This formula is irreversible.”
Churchless faith: Several weeks ago Alan Jamieson’s book

‘Churchless Faith’ arrived from Amazon. I haven’t read it yet, but came across a list of his findings. Seven things people leaving church wished their church had done/been to help them stay involved:
1. Provide places to explore, question and doubt.
2. Include a theology of journey.
3. Understand the leaving process.
4. Offer assistance in our faith struggles.
5. Model other theological understandings.
6. Focus on realities rather than ‘shoulds’.
7. Have more room for emotions, feelings and intuitions.
Alan also wrote an article titled

‘Ten myths about church leaving’, a ‘must-read’ for church leaders. I believe churches could greatly improve in this area if they would only have honest ‘exit interviews’ with the people who leave. Another Kiwi who published about the ‘out-of-church’ fenomenon is Andrew Strom. He says: “The surprising thing is that church leavers are often the most committed kind of Christians – praying, insightful, deep-thinking. Yet they have grown tired of ‘playing the game’ inside our church system and have opted out. Often their involvement goes back many years. In fact, they had commonly been leaders of various kinds. But the LACK OF GOD is what gets to them – even in our most ‘Spirit-filled’ churches. And so quietly, sometimes without anyone even noticing, they slowly slip out the doors – never to return.
Some have even told me that they felt God ‘calling them out’. Others simply felt they couldn’t stay there anymore. The state of the church weighed upon them more than words could say. “Most of these people have not given up on Christianity at all. It is today’s church system that they have given up on. Some of them have started up home-fellowships. Or they meet with other couples on a casual basis. But many meet with nobody at all, and they consider themselves in a ‘wilderness’ place – alone with God.
I was asked several weeks ago by a pastor whether I agreed that what is happening could be a ‘move of God’. That is a pretty radical thought. Many leaders would think the opposite. Because anything that leads people out of ‘their church’ can’t be of God, can it? Hmmmm. All I know is this: The concept of going through a ‘wilderness’ just before entering the ‘Promised Land’ is totally Scriptural. In fact, it is right through the Bible. Even Jesus went through such a wilderness time.” Emerging church talk:
An interesting topic in the blogging community these days is the definition and values of ’emerging (or emergent) church’.

Jason Clark of Emergent in the UK suggests there are twelve emerging values, though not all emergent churches have grasped all these:
1. Women in leadership, with role of pastor, elder, deacon, evangelist, apostle, etc.
2. Multi-cultural (ethnic and generational) representation in leadership and congregation (dependent on culture of context).
3. Salvation as a process: progressive, continual, ongoing vs. sinners prayer salvation.
4. Evangelism through community: relational, worship, communal.
5. A recognition of unclear absolutes in regard to moral truth (i.e. sex before marriage, cohabitation before marriage, drinking alcohol, homosexuality, stewardship of money).
6. Theological openness, discovery.
7. Value placed on creatively worshiping God via arts and other alternative means. Music, writing, painting, screaming, mud baths, etc. (got ya thinking).
8. New metaphors of teaching: moderation, facilitator, conversation, dialogue.
9. Redemption of everyday life: vocation, recreation, friendship, family, neighbourhood, etc.
10. Social action as a way of life.
11. Decentralized leadership, pluralistic leadership, whatever you want to call it.
12. Discipleship and mentoring as a priority.

Brian McLaren of Emergent Village in the USA holds the view that there are no postmodern churches, and quotes his friend Ed Chinn when he says: “The primary reason I ever attend a church service (or frankly, even have serious or long conversations with Christians) is the hope that I will hear something proclaimed out of heaven, something that carries the majesty, the revelation, the heart and breath of God. I am not interested in a 3-point guide for living or more apologetics and theology. We all know that the more traditional churches live in a ghetto of unreality; they speak only to themselves, write books for themselves, and make music for themselves. No one else has any clue what they’re saying. That’s why serious people have been ignoring them for a couple of decades. While I appreciate the freshness and youthfulness of ‘the emergent church’ (or ‘postmodern church movement’ as some call it), sometimes I think they have simply become better conversationalists.
They’ve learned the language and the concepts of the natives and are very good about engaging them in real conversations. I greatly admire and enjoy that. But, very honestly, I’ve not heard very much in that world that really testifies of anything seen in Heaven. Like most other church worlds, they speak from a distinct ‘earthview’ and in a distinct earth-language.” Brian comments: “Ed is telling us something humbling, something we need to hear. The emergent movement has a wonderful promise, but it could just become another marketing gimmick to sell books, build egos, and bolster sagging spirits with a new invisible wardrobe for a pudgy, pasty old emperor. No doubt, in some quarters it will squander its potential, but if you care about the possibilities being actualized… please… let’s aim deep and high.”
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Emerging church talk (2) …. I’m catching up with the discussion on ’emerging church’ that is going on in the blogging community. Andrew Jones posted some excellent contributions that might help to get some grip on the ’emerging church’. I summarized them, so for the full story you should click on the titles.

1. How would you define emerging church? Andrew: “No one has succeeded in defining it. Maybe that is OK. People in the emerging culture do not really want or need such a definition, because behind the practices and models of emerging church, lies a radically different mindset, value system and worldview. People coming from a modern mindset always want to know what is new or next, so they can upgrade or replace what they have. This sequential, diachronic replacement way of thinking is light-years away from the emerging way of thinking, where the new thing finds its place by nesting, linking or layering vertically into the whole thing. New things compliment and enhance rather than replace. For this reason emerging church is not the same as ‘youth church’, because it’s intergenerational, and can’t be labeled ‘postmodern’ either because it’s not reactionary. It’s about understanding the way of Jesus in our own culture.”

2. What examples have you seen which you think deserve the phrase ’emerging’? Andrew: “Parties that happen in a home, with lots of food, a DJ, and discussion on spiritual things. As people decide to follow Jesus, the group gradually becomes a church, but it keeps its party format. House churches are also becoming increasingly popular, and in some countries represent the bulk of new churches. It’s a relational place to share life together. Monastic models of church are now a viable option for young people in urban centres who want a higher level of commitment. The practice of pilgrimage is increasingly popular, as are yearly festivals. The internet (and especially blogging) is adding a significant slice of church life to the layers.
It is providing a place for greater visibility, storytelling, self-publishing, accountability, witness, and networking. Style-culture churches and traditional churches will also find new ways of engaging with the culture. “Believers who do not belong to an institutional church are no longer seen as unchurched or backslidden. They are a large part of Christ’s body [a majority, some argue] and they may become the most important players in developing organic and relational church forms. The real difference lies in a new way of understanding church. When emerging people zoom out to see the whole church, the invisible church, they see church in modular form, as discrete but connected elements working together in a harmonious system. Church life then has more to do with the combination of many activities, projects and events than with participation in any single event or commitment that tries to define the church experience.”

3. Why do you think the idea of an emerging church has gained such popularity over the last few years – why do so many want a part of it? Andrew: “I believe the commitment to emerging church has to do with a deep love for God’s church as the beautiful Body of Christ, and the dissonance in knowing that the church in its present form is not living up to our expectations, is not attractive to outsiders, and is not adequately reflecting Kingdom culture in the world we live. A great body, stuck in a frumpy dress. “There is also the new sense of empowerment. Not long ago, young people were encouraged to join a church but they were not allowed to start them – that was considered rebellious or reserved for the professionals. In the last two decades, partly as a result of the church growth movement, church has been somewhat demystified of its priestly elitism, defragged of its excess baggage and deconstructed of its abusive power claims. We are now seeing more streamlined, simple, organic churches that ordinary people can start in their favourite coffee shops or their own homes.

Add to this the sense of empowerment and immediate access to resources that the internet has provided, and you can see why being a player and developer in the emerging church is more appealing than joining the struggle to preserve an incumbent church. People in the emerging culture are generally creative, entrepreneurial, innovative, empowered. They don’t want to join somebody else’s program. They don’t want to become somebody’s number. They don’t want to warm up somebody’s empty room. But they do want to be a part of starting something that will make a difference.”

4. How far do you think the church has to go before it will really start to reach the emerging generation in large numbers? Andrew: “As far as Jesus went, which is all the way, incarnating, fleshing out Kingdom realities in the culture God has planted us. It will take courage, risk and sacrifice. There will be a change of vocabulary to reflect a new mindset. There will be more unbelievers joining our communities earlier in their journey than they did previously and with more honesty. They will request more honesty from us too. More vulnerability. There will be misunderstandings. And the greatest persecution may come from the existing church. There is an approach to truth that is more relational, narrative, participatory and experiential. One of the challenges for the existing church is to recognize and support this.”

Additional 1: Emerging church definition

Andrew: “This morning I walked through the Walthamstow market and saw farmers selling the organic produce they have been growing themselves. There is something freeing and simple, even rebellious, in buying produce directly from the people who grew it. I feel good buying it. He feels good selling it. Our transaction bypasses quite a few levels of marketing people and middlemen, and it is quite deconstructive in displacing those hierarchies. But it is also empowering to us, and it just feels good. I get the same feeling when I experience church – real church – and I have also felt it in homeschooling, unschooling, downloading info from the web, the immediate self-publishing of blogging, punk music, shopping at Home Depot to fix my own house. It feels empowering, never complex, bare and naked, totally human, focused, and God’s pleasure is one of those feelings mixed into it.”

Additional 2: Urban poor and girls
Andrew: “Two important groups for the emerging church are the urban poor and girls. 1/4 of the world are ‘urban poor’ and the amount of foreign workers that ever make it out to incarnational lifestyle among them is pathetically small. And yet movements of God traditionally start among the poor, often involving the elite at the same time, since both groups deal with justice – one needs it and one has justice to give. People who start movements among the poor end up working also with the elite (Francis of Assisi, Mother Teresa). A really interesting thing is how the middle class is either bypassed during the initial stages of a God-movement, or brought in much later when the action is all over or settling down. “About girls (or young women): the movement in China would not be the same without teenage girls. A friend from China told me recently that a teenager started a church in China that has since become hundreds of churches involving tens of thousands of people. God has been using girls from the beginning. Mary was young. Esther was young. It should not surprise us.”
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Theology of everyday life … Two fresh thoughts from Reinhold in the Swiss mountains: “We tend to seek God in the Grand, Spectacular and the Special. But 90% of our lives is just routine, repeating tasks and unspectacular things – yet God is always there. We need something like a ‘theology of everyday life’ to see and hear him in our mostly very ‘normal’ lives.” “I am in the process of seeing the church more and more under the Kingdom aspect rather than vice versa. Ecclesiocentrism is one of the diseases that the current clerical crisis is bringing to the surface. The Church yesterday understood this very well. When you talk Kingdom, you talk action, power, and challenge. When you talk church as an end in itself, most people (except from a few pastors) get easily bored. I guess it all boils down to Q-S-Q (Simson) again: quality (the Kingdom) needs the right structures (forms of Church) to become quantity (to multiply and disciple). This formula is irreversible.”
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The New Emerging Church Movement in Australia: From this website

A Daily Journal for the New Emerging Church by Keith Allen

Frames Friday/07/April 2006

Pictures have frames. So do world views. The frame we put around our world determines how we view and what we do. A frame is a context that determines the meaning of the things inside the frame. In this season God is asking us to position the frame of the church WITHIN the frame of the Kingdom of God. Frames establish priorities. A pastor came from the United States to Australia and told about the healing ministry of his church in malls and supermarkets. In one instance a whole bunch of people got healed around the super-market checkout and the church member concluded with a brief talk on the saving power of Jesus.
Thus the Kingdom of God was highlighted. ‘Signs, wonders and miracles are advertisements for the Kingdom of God and the love of the King for His people’, said the visiting pastor. This would have hoped that the people at the conference would go and multiply Kingdom healings and Kingdom signs in malls, supermarkets and workplaces.

To my knowledge they did not. But they did institute a course based on a book the visiting pastor had written. Which is to say that they reverted to ‘the letter’ and churchified his teaching on miracles turning it into a church thing rather than a Kingdom thing. We need to discern the subtleties here because they are crucial for the Lord’s work in this season. We fall into the impotence trap because the church frame has believers focused on church as the top priority.

‘Church’ as it is at present, needs content to fill it, because ‘Church’ at present is people assembled around programs done in a building called church. Church today is pretty much a place where people meet, have fellowship and do programs. Seeing that ‘church’ is ‘the key frame’ we attempt to meet its demands which means multiplying programs to keep the church being the church. But in doing this we do stuff ABOUT the Kingdom of God rather than representing the King Himself. Many ‘successful’ churches exist on this basis.
This means we get an ‘A’ in being ‘church’ and an ‘E’ in being the Kingdom of God . God’s frame is the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, with the church as a sub-frame in His Kingdom. Our mistake has been that we think we are building His Kingdom by building the church. No. We build the church by building His Kingdom. The nature of His Kingdom is described in what He and the apostles did in then New Testament. They healed the sick, raised the dead and cast out demons. This may seem radical to the churchified believer and it is. But what would you expect from the Prince of Life?! We can do it in stages, moving forward as our trust increases. Church folks are absorbed in the whirlpool of ‘church’. Like clothes they are tumbled around each week and come out washed, well kind of. But the effect on the unsaved world is minor. Kingdom people have an intense hunger for the Presence of Jesus.
It is the air they breathe. Jesus is Saviour and Lord. The Baptism of the Spirit is a way of life. They know that Jesus did not teach anyone to pray ‘Your church come’. He said, pray ‘Your Kingdom come’. The life command of Kingdom people is King and Kingdom first. Church and church life second. The latter grows out of the former. Peter got it right when he said, ‘You are the Christ, the Saviour of the world’. Jesus replied, ‘On your recognition of my Lordship, I will build my church’. Jesus will build HIS CHURCH. Our work is to place ourselves unconditionally at Jesus’ disposal. He builds His church.
Notice the three elements: [1] Trust in the King, [2] Jesus and His power and [3] Jesus ownership of His church. It’s not the pastor’s church or the Baptists’ church. It is His church. This was the dynamic with Jesus, His disciples and the early NT Church and it is the pattern for growing Christ’s church. It’s the kingdom pattern. If the church is to be the Kingdom of God we must do what any red blooded male does. Make a move. We must move from knowing what Jesus did to DOING WHAT JESUS DID in the power of the Spirit. For many this will involve repenting of our ‘lordship’ to actualizing Jesus as Lord from our hearts. The keys are a heart relationship with Jesus, belief in Jesus as the Son of God and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Many have seen the latter as ‘falling down’.
Now we need to get up and release the Spirit in the manner of Peter and John! Jesus illustrated the Kingdom on a hillside once. Speaking in ‘the church mode’ the disciples said to Him, ‘Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food’ Matt. 14.15 (NIV). Jesus replied in the Kingdom mode, “They do not need to go away. YOU give them something to eat” Matt. 14.15,16 (NIV). The disciples said ‘It’s impossible!’ But Jesus showed them that it was not only possible – IT WAS A FEAST and there was heaps left over! The Kingdom is ‘You give them something to eat’. The frame of ‘the church’ can never satisfy those with a hunger for God. As an end in itself it is a dead tree. The church centered on ‘the church’ is the letter writ large and multiplied as religion. The Kingdom of God frame is the one frame that can satisfy, because it is the King alone who releases the life of God into the church, ‘without measure’. The record says, ‘They all ate and were satisfied’ Matt. 14.20 (NIV).

To read more on the Kingdom of God as taught by Jesus Christ, look at this Blog Site.
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At the following website are many Recommended Links to First Century Christianity:
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Download the PDF file :“15 THESES towards a REFORMATION of CHURCH” – by Wolfgang Simson See this Blog Site God is changing the Church, and that, in turn, will change the world. Millions of Christians around the world are aware of an imminent reformation of global proportions. They say, in effect: “Church as we know it is preventing Church as God wants it.” A growing number of them are surprisingly hearing God say the very same things. There is a collective new awareness of age-old revelations, a corporate spiritual echo. In the following “15 Theses” I will summarize a part of this, and I am convinced that it reflects a part of what the Spirit of God is saying to the Church today. For some, it might be the proverbial fist-sized cloud on Elijah’s sky. Others already feel the pouring rain.

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In conclusion, a question was initially asked: ‘Should our fellowship be in the form of Corporation or that of a Community?’ We looked at the nature of Christian fellowship …… an important theme for 2000 years since Jesus Christ was here on Earth. We looked at the nature of Religious Corporations and Religious Communities. The key point was a quote from Watchman Nee: Watchman Nee puts this very directly in his wonderful little book “Christ the Sum of All Spiritual Things”. In reflecting on Jesus statement “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the father but be me” he states. “I am the way,” asserts the Lord Jesus. Christ is the way; Christ is the method. Dear friends, is Christ your way and is Christ your method? Or is it only a way and a method? Thank God, if Christ is our method, everything will be successful. But if ours is just a method — and however good, accurate, and incomparable it may be — it still is dead and has no spiritual value. …. this via my friend Bruce Judd in Sydney, Australia.
Regards,

Ken Aitken (B.Sc.)

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