I travel a lot for years around my country, ‘no one escapes me’ I said to myself. There was a month that I flew 16 times and taught about house church. Either I go alone or with some ‘white’ western people with me (as they’re normally the ones who like to write books and taught them in seminars). I read a lot of books on house churches, simple churches or organic churches, whatever. Have made notes on it and create power points. Others ask for it and used it. Gave out a lot of books also, ask the so-called group ‘Philippine House Church Movement’ (although the name has been change) for a book and they’ll tell you who to go. Attended and coordinated their Conferences and Summits of which half of the participants came from my ‘networks.’ This is the sad thing of what I have been doing: Those participants ignited and fired up, although some got angry and left, but to borrow a sentence from my friend Wolfgang Simson he said, “they agree that what I was sharing is right and that ‘something must happen yet they themselves refuses to change” and so they start ‘talking new things,’ as one of my father in the Lord Gary Goodell would say, ‘yet still acting old.’
I realizes that Conferences and Seminars are formed hoping for participants to act on what they have learned and not to do the same of what they have just attended, yet that’s what exactly most of them did, do a seminar; teach ‘about’ house church. And shamelessly, we call ourselves ‘practitioners.’ Because instead of ‘doing’ it, we love ‘talking’ about it. “You cannot teach what you didn’t do” says my friend Wency dela Vina, a member of Asia Pacific leadership team of Navigators, “or else we would need to change the name to ‘House Church Theology Movement’ instead of ‘House Church Movement.’” Sadly, my own country’s movement has acted like that: practitioners of house church theology.
I sat down evaluating what I did regarding doing seminars and coordinating summits. It was a shock that it literally encourages me to stop doing what I have been doing. And that affected a lot of my relationships, that instead to ‘build’ something together with my network, the relationships now becomes mutual. “I already did this,” I said to myself, “I have been through this and instead of the fear that it might not work, well, it actually works.” That’s when I decided to ‘stop doing what I have been doing’ regarding ‘doing’ house church and start making disciples, I have to leave people also. People who I keep motivating yet unmotivated! People who I had decided to commit myself to yet stays uncommitted! That instead you expect them not to be selfish and deny themselves and serve others, yet they serve themselves. Such kind of people has no place in the kingdom of God because not only they’re concerned of their own self and their own group but because also they do not have the heart to serve their next generation.
So, two things I’ve found out about myself. One is to kill myself of my own selfish agenda of trying to be above everybody, letting them think that I am better than them when it comes to the knowledge about house churching. I have to deny my 9 years of experience doing and teaching about my favorite subject (house church) that has become a theology. And second, is learning to bear ‘spiritual children’ on my own (not re-fathering disgruntled Christians in my groups), that is making disciples.
I always say to pastors and leaders who wants to become a part of God’s agenda, “If you want to obey Jesus as King, then you have to literally stop what you are currently doing and start listening to what He would going to say to you.” And I believe that the first thing that He will say to the person to do is “stop what you are doing.” Deny yourself, kill yourself. If there is a need to bury yourself again in baptism, then don’t delay it! We equate ‘serving God more’ as ‘doing more for Him’ that if we’re going to ask ourselves “have we really heard from God on this? Has God really told us to do this?” we would be left dumbfounded! Serving God more simply means, stop what you are doing so that you can hear God and obey His direct command.
And I stop.
I stop attending summits, (leaving some relationships behind)
I stop what I currently doing, (doing house church and teaching in seminars about house church. Gave out my more than a dozen house church to my leaders of which two has become an Institutional church, and some were just dissolving. Get rid of many books and deleted many power points and notes). And
I stop going to trips for a year. I just stayed home and back to square one making disciples.
Making disciples, that’s what really matters. It is King Jesus’ commands to His loyal servants. I suffered some sort of ‘spiritual headache’ for a year. Imagine the passion to teach, to travel, to see leaders’ responses and violent reactions, add to that the joy of flying in the air as I hate taking a boat because of my shipwreck experience. And now what, lying down in my hammock and cannot even read a book? Jesus wants to kill me. He wants to disciple me.
Month’s passes and I started my journey in making disciples with a 17 year old guy named Albert who is now making a lot of his friends’ disciples of Jesus also reaching up to the 14th generation. And I start traveling back again, but this time not to gather leaders to do a seminar but to really helped anyone who wants to get the job of making disciples done. My first trip has made three disciples and sometimes a dozen up to the 4th generation and this goes on and on every time I go and obey Jesus where to go. Most of the time, I already bought my ticket to go to an area yet doesn’t really know who to contact to and where I go specifically to a place. I trust God He would led me. I am not afraid to get lost as I am only roaming around in my own country anyway. Why should I? And as many disciples being made, we started sending them to other islands also by group for a purpose of making disciples to the world.
We don’t do ‘discipleship.’ It would be ludicrous to say, “We’re sending disciples to other islands for a purpose of doing discipleship to the world.” Making disciples is to the ‘lost,’ not the found. It is to the ‘unsaved,’ not the saved. It is to those who are blind, not those who can ‘see’ already. At times I ask, what is ‘discipleship’ to the ‘saved, found and see’ when the command to make disciples is to the ‘lost and blind and unsaved’ people?
Housechurch or Not?
In the early church, house churches started because of making disciples. They don’t proselyte people. The people who are interested in their way of life they gather and then they ask Jesus to disciple them, that is deny themselves and take up their own cross daily and so it is really a killing of their selfish desires and then bury them in baptism. That’s how they do it. In most house churches today, we simply extract them from their religious background and put a new identification card on them called ‘house church.’ Thus, we have a house church that’s full of mostly disgruntled Christians, have hatred with their pastors and leaders because they have been used and were hurt by the system. We have now a room full of people who are not dead and so loved to talk and talk and talk, and what’s their favorite subject to talk about? Two things: house church and traditional church. Actually, it’s house church ‘verses’ traditional church. They share their bad Christian experiences and so encourages everyone to share theirs as well. And here we go, the leader of the house church is not dead yet also, and so doesn’t really know how to handle such pity people.
When are you going to stop doing house church and start being one? Or if you have no plan to die again, for how long are you going to do house church week after week, month after month and year after year?
It’s a Family
My good friend and brother Mike Peters would say, “A church that you attend is not a family, it is an orphanage. People in the orphanage may eat together, play together and do things together like a family yet still it is not a family.” And he continues saying what church is really all about. “Church is not a building, it is the people. Yet it is not only the people but their relationships. Many churches today, including simple, organic, house churches have people but lack relationships.
“Church is a family; it is having hundreds of mothers, brothers, sisters, houses, persecutions and eternal life with their heavenly Father as their father. It is not about having hundreds of Christian neighbors. It is a family. It is not about ‘sponsoring’ a brother but ‘helping’ a brother.” This guy can be trusted with his words as they lived this way already for 35 years now!
“So, how to become a family?” my friend Gary Goodell ask an exhausted house church leaders, “simple, stop the meeting. You cannot be family if you do meetings, why? Because family don’t do meetings. They just meet a lot. If you wanna be family then don’t have meetings.”
Start Bearing Kids!
You will be hearing me right as I said this, if you want to start house church the ‘wrong way’ then collect Christians from different churches and let them all talk in a meeting. Better lock them up in the room or else the neighbor will call the police and report you as disturbance. Or you can start a house church the ‘right way’ by bearing spiritual children, making disciples to new souls. You may not be calling it ‘house church’ or whatever kinds because it’s a family. You know when relationships are being built up like real brothers and sisters you won’t be comfortable calling ‘names’ for identity sakes anymore. (I actually sipping my coffee at this time that my wife made without realizing that its hot! Oh how my tongue burns! But actually, I want to throw up thinking someone that I just made into a disciple as a ‘member of my house church?’ huh!)
Yours is just a family. 1 Timothy 5:1-2.
I’ll leave you with a quote that I just posted on my facebook wall: While Institutional churches are busy pushing their programs, house churches are stuck with meetings. Only handfuls are becoming families.