Doing Things Diffrently – how do we respond to typhoon victims differently?

22 11 2013

I love doing things differently. That’s how probably one of the reasons why I put myself into trouble? 🙂

When it comes to the command to “go and make disciples” to the world, we don’t do ‘discipleship’ to the found. We make disciples to the lost. We don’t lock up people in the room and taught them ‘about’ God, we ‘cast’ them out to the field and taught them ‘how to live.’ We don’t create our own ‘discipleship materials’ but uses what Father has already created for us to learn. “See, I have told you earthly things and you didn’t get? How much more if I told you heavenly things?” Jesus said to Nicodemus. (Paraphrase, Jn 3:12) “The Kingdom of God is like,….” “Faith is like,…” “If anyone hears my word and does them, I would liken him,…” We do ‘discipleship’ right there on the field, right there in the community where miracles happen. We don’t even call it ‘discipleship’ anymore for when you start explaining and defining things then it becomes complicated.

When it comes about “doing church” we don’t do meetings, we gather as a “family” thus meetings becomes the by-product of our relationships. We don’t do “bible study programs” but we read and discuss the Bible a lot. We don’t do “prayer meetings” but we talk to God with one-another a lot. We live Jesus-Life Together Daily. Thus, making our days full of one-anotherings.

When it comes to “be the church” we change our priorities. We live Acts 2:42-46. We live “from house to house” “shared everything in common” “no buying, no selling but only giving and receiving” “no one is poor among them because they own everything.”

When it comes to giving, we don’t take up an offering. We voluntarily lay down our lives for the sake of the brethren. We don’t pray for a need to be meet. We meet a need. The best way to meet a need is to meet a need.

When it comes to “orphans and widows” we took care of them. We have them among us everyday.

When it comes on “how to handle children” we raise and treat them as our own. Thus, erasing the ‘orphan’ mentality because we have become “hundreds of fathers and mothers” to them. Take notice that a child in the orphanage is an orphan, but an orphan in the family is a child. Thus, we don’t build orphanages as we are not called to do so. We are called to be family with each other. Adopting those who are fatherless and motherless. Thus, eradicating spiritual orphans that are roaming around spiritual orphanages (churches).

And lastly, when it comes to responding differently in this recent typhoon that devastated our country we want to do things differently. Red Cross and other organizations does their own thing by putting up their own names. They have their own place but honestly, even the anti-christ can do that. Watching an end of the world Christian movie “Megiddo” the cast played as anti-Christ told his wife to feed the hungry people and children of the world using all his money. Indeed, he can as he owned the whole world. But, how do we respond differently? Giving food and clothing is not enough, we know better than that. Even building them a decent house won’t do. Well, as my friend Wolfgang Simson wrote to me, “Molong, now you can start as many apostolic hubs as you can. What could be the purpose of wiping out many areas?” I know, we know that he is only joking to make me laugh right?

My heart is to start apostolic hubs around my country. Make “making disciples” a “movement” by unleashing the church to the barangays of the Philippines. Why not? (search ‘apostolic hub’ in google or my site)

When I started doing “house churches” in the year 1999 for 8 years, I was so bored at doing meetings and trainings and I gave up and start from the ‘early church’ way – making disciples. Now, after 4 years we’ve reach up to the 16th generation. We have our stories on our websites, (yes, that’s with “s”), names, photos of baptism, dates, videos are documented for the purpose of helping the next generation to make disciples. Chart is available too of who made who into a disciple of Jesus. I may not have a thousand house churches, but we’re connected to at most 600 individual families around the country.

When Felicity Dale wrote to me and ask me “how many ‘families’ should we plan to help?” I said a thousand. And suddenly that was translated into a “Molong has a ‘thousand’ house churches.” Well, I wish. But honestly, I was challenge by it. Who knows what this tragedy would bring? Like the persecutions of the early church followers have pushed them to make disciples more! Can WE really turned this “mess” into a “mass” production of disciples? The early did it first with 3,000 souls in one day. My uncle Victor Choudhrie did a million in over a period of one year in India! But the question remains “how?”

Many of you are so willing to hold the handle and push us like a knife. We’re the tip that’s sharpen enough to penetrate, that means, we make disciples and baptize the person already within 3-6 minutes (see our sites for more stories). Actually, last month there’s 14 people that was made into a disciple, 14 people is not much but you got to know that the one who made these people a disciple is a 2nd generation mother who is widowed that was passed into a 3rd generation and fourth. Last week there’s two baptisms by a 4th generation. Today, a baptism by a 1st and 4th generation. And that is only happening in here. And as normal as ‘making disciples’ happens here spontaneously and around the country, there are numerous of us that does it. Like my recent trip in Butuan that 100 plus was made into a disciple in 4 months by just one couple alone. Another couple is planning to have a “mass baptism” as she calls it that’s happening this month.

As we go and respond to this crises and as you continue pushing us like a knife, remember that our mission is not to feed a hungry tummy for awhile but our goal is to have a long-lasting impact to these affected families by showing Jesus love without strings attach by a group of disciples who doesn’t bear any name except “being” a disciple, and start a “making disciples” movement and establish apostolic hubs around my province, Cebu.





“My Trip” Journeys

8 09 2013

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.





Part Two: BUTUAN TRIP

16 08 2012

Another late at night table conversations again with just Ronie, Jomie and I. This time his struggles of catching up people that needed to be baptized immediately has been delayed. And there are already some of them who are backing out.

“Why, you cannot baptize them directly?” I ask Ronnie.

“They are still on their working time,” he spoke in a soft voice, “these people are bakeshop workers.”

“Well, since the owner allowed you to hold Bible studies to her workers why not ask for a couple of minutes to take them to a nearby sea or pool or let her buy a big water drum to use it for baptism just at the back of her shop?”

“I already ask her permission but it was too late. Probably next time we could do it.” Ronnie is very excited about making disciples, he is sure now that he knows how to make people disciples of Jesus. It is however a normal struggles for beginners. Especially when you are used to preaching to the crowds or just sharing the Good News to someone hoping to let them do a “sinner’s prayer” and gave them ‘new’ life without burying the ‘old.’

We had the same experience here in Cebu when I made Albert a disciple, not until Albert made Jomie a disciple that both of them were baptized together. But I only baptizes Albert, and let Jomie help me out. And after I baptized Albert I let him baptized Jomie and I help him out. Passing the baton of not just making disciples to the next generation but also doing baptisms is important for multiplication. I suspect, in Acts 2, after Peter’s preaching to the crowd, there are those who was ‘cut to the heart’ and ask, “What shall we do to be saved then?” Three thousand souls were added to the church that day. How did they do baptisms then? In Jerusalem there are pools around to use for taking baths. More than 30 of them scattered in the city. So, they divided the crowds among the 120 disciples with Peter and baptizes them all in one day. Probably baptizing each other too.

From Albert, whom I made and baptized, he is the first person that I make a disciple of Jesus two and half years ago. And on his wing alone, he made 42 disciples up to the 12th generation. Actually, its Jomie and him partnering together. Several times, both of them made two, each take on each one and within just 5-6 minutes they baptizes the person already. Many stories after stories from their sites www.albertpacquiao.wordpress.com and www.pation.wordpress.com

Read the rest of this entry »





A Homeless Child [Orphanages Mentality]

15 01 2012

“I will not leave you as orphans.” Jesus said.

We built ‘orphanages mentality’ organizations such as ‘churches’ ‘feeding centers’ ‘bible schools’ ‘seminaries’ ‘adoption homes’ and all ‘para-churches’ ministries. Whereas Jesus built His Ekklesia, the Church, His Body, His extended family on earth. The members of His Kingdom.

As [with my wife] we had meal together with Bob Fitts, the Hosanna worship leader guy with Don Moen, having to know his father we had a chance to meet up with him in Cebu during his Christmas tour concert last year. We exchange ministry thoughts and when he knew I was ‘adopting’ several children, one would directly comment, “Are you having an orphanage?” He did ask the same inquiry.

I told him that, “A child in the ‘orphanage’ is an orphan. But an orphan in the ‘family’ is a child. No one would call an orphan in your family ‘an orphan’ but you will call him ‘your child.’ ”

Church is a family. It is having a ‘mom and dad’ in the Lord. Paul would call them the “parents in the Lord” in Ephesians 6:1 in which he admonish the ‘children in the Lord’ to obey them. [Verse 2 clearly speaks to honor your physical parents the ‘father and mother.’] Jesus design for His Church simply having those who will ‘nurture you and nourishes you as his own children’ like Paul. He ‘labors’ the Thessalonian saints ‘until Christ will be formed’ in them. He himself is ‘becoming a father’ to the Corinthian saints though they have ‘thousands of teachers.’ He ‘fathers’ Timothy, calling him ‘my son in the faith.’

“Hit and Run” Ministries

One of my ‘wondering questions’ around ‘specialize ministries’ such as ‘Youth Ministry’ ‘Men’s and Women’s Ministry’ ‘Bible Study Programs’ ‘Prayer Meetings’ ‘Outreaches’ ‘Evangelism’ or ‘Having 12 people around you – [G12], name it. What are these ‘ministries’ all about if it were not for the purpose of ‘extending’ your family? And if were, are you just gonna see them once a week? Like my friend who has a Bible Study in a school once a week? And then what? I might like to call them ‘hit and miss’ ministries.

Church is about relationships. Like a ‘mother to her daughter’ kind of relationship. Yes, it is as close as that! A million dollar question to be considered is: “Am I willing to father/mother those that I am going to reach out?” Or else you will just be bearing more spiritual orphans hopping around churches hoping to find real people who can father and mother them.

Consider this question: Do you have people around you who is fathering and mothering you? If so, are you both are ‘intentional’ about it? I mean, does he/she knows that he/she is your ‘parents in the Lord?’ Jesus says that His Church has ‘hundreds of mothers, brothers and sisters’ means hundreds of relationships, means ‘hundreds of them all.’

This is the cry of the prophet Malachi, that ‘fathers would turn their hearts to their children and the children to their fathers.’ And the prophet John the Baptist echoed the ‘purpose’ of this saying that this is ‘to prepare the way of the Lord.’ Imagine that!

“Orphanages Mentality” might be good and they’re doing it ‘very good’ but it is an old saying that goes, ‘the good is the enemy of the best’ no matter how we spread that kind of ‘good.’ Actually, the Bible speaks of ‘good works that doesn’t bear fruit!”

Here are several reasons why:

1. They may have ‘thousands of pastors,’ because they have been to many churches, but they could hardly pen-point who are the people that ‘parent’ them.

2. They are full of staff, teachers, directors, and even founders yet lack or no ‘father and mother figure’ that they could look up to. “Orphanages Mentality” eliminates ‘fathering and mothering.’

3. They are building their own little kingdoms celebrating their own human founder in which have become competent of the Kingdom of God. They are really encouraging a ‘sectarian’ spirit, a ‘hierarchy’ system form of government in which God hates. [Nicolaitan deeds]

4. They have become ‘babies’ and continue to be that way for the rest of their lives. It’s how religion works, they want you to become babies for you to be controlled. Grown up people doesn’t want to be controlled. Irresponsible Christians does not want to have other people involve in their daily lives, they just like to ‘feed, give and leave’ to a social Christian Club membership once a week and sleep well at night knowing that their ‘guilt’ is being paid in a Sunday offering collection.

5. They are treated more like a ‘project’ to be financed than ‘people’ to be cared and loved for like any healthy family parent would do to their children. A child is loved unconditionally, any parent would know that if their child did something good, mostly it means that they did something wrong!

6. Either we admit it or not, they are still orphans!

I could go on and on but again, Jesus said, “I shall not leave you as orphans.” And how we are trying to fulfill that is build ‘Ministries of Orphanages Mentality.” Whereas Jesus says, “I will build My Church.” His ekklesia, His Body, His extended ‘family’ in which the 6-fold Gifts [Apostles, Prophets, Evangelist, Pastors, and Elders] acts as ‘parents in the Lord’ to the Saints thus ‘fathering the next generation.’

[Paul could have said, “You have thousands of teachers but lack ‘apostles,’ and I have become an apostle unto you.” He clearly states, “I am an apostle of Jesus,” yet “I have become your father!”





Guest Post: Permission Granted

8 01 2012
Permission Newsletter – January 2012
Changing of the Wineskins: 2012 (Part One)

“Nor do people put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins will break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine in new wineskins, and both are preserved.” (Matthew 9:17).

 

What does it really mean to “do” church differently?

 

What does “change” really mean?

 

What does “new” really mean?

 

Four Possibilities From New From Roget’s II: The New Thesaurus The Editors of the American Heritage® Dictionary.

 

Main Entry: new
Part of Speech: adjective
Definition: Not the same as what was previously known or done.
Synonyms: different, fresh, innovative, inventive, newfangled, novel, original, unfamiliar

 

Main Entry: additional
Part of Speech: adjective
Definition: Being an addition.
Synonyms: added, extra, fresh, further, more, other, new

 

Main Entry: fresh
Part of Speech: adjective
Definition: Not previously used.
Synonyms: brand-new, new

 

Main Entry: present
Part of Speech: adjective
Definition: In existence now.
Synonyms: contemporary, current, existent, existing, now, present-day, new

 

Change remains vague until it is defined. With “change” being one of the driving themes of an entire shift in world politics, everyone is crying out for more clarity, more specificity, more steps, more exact actions.

 

What do we mean by change?

 

And when it comes to the church what are we actually changing, and how are we seeing wineskins renewed?

 

Unfortunately, “church change” sounds way to similar to the nebulous eco-political jargon of today. So we don’t want to offend anyone in the church so we couch our nomenclature in ambiguous terms, or even religious ones.  Like, we just need “renewal,” we just need “revival,” we just need “reformation.”

 

But without specificity most people read that as we just need a new “program,” we just need a new “vision,” we just need a new “pastor,” or at least newer “buildings,” and new, softer “pews.”

 

So, we find ourselves adjusting the lighting, laying down new carpet. Trading in the old pews for theater seats, buying the hottest new flesh tone wireless microphones, firing an old preacher, hiring a new preacher. We work at doing fresh demographic studies and change the order of service, or if all else fails add a new service on a new night.

 

But this time, in 2012, in the time cycle of the church, that will not be enough, it will not work, anymore. This is merely patching the wineskins.

 

Patching the Wineskins!

Patching the Wineskins!

Patching the Wineskins!

 

We paint the old wineskin, we put new carpet in the old wineskin, we rearrange the seating in the old wineskin. Or, we add a second wineskin to the old wineskin, maybe even a Saturday night wineskin for the younger set.

 

Of course none of these changes make a difference over the long haul. Sure, we may get a few kudos about some of these subtle shifts and slight changes we have engineered. But has anything really changed for real and for the long run?

 

We even brag about the little changes we have made at the Annual Wineskin Convention, maybe even write a new book about our new wineskin, and start an association around this new way of wineskinning.

 

“Nor do people put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins will break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine in new wineskins, and both are preserved.” (Matthew 9:17).

 

With all the decorative aesthetic adjustments nothing really changes, all we do is end up diluted the wine, weakening the wine, create more distraction for people’s hunger and thirst for the “true new wine,” forgetting all along that the purpose of the church is to accommodate what God is doing, not asking God to cooperate with what we are doing.

 

Because these church growth adaptations too will fade; this time we need something more. Right now, like no other time in history, we need a completely “new” way of doing church, a “new” way of being the church: a new way, not an additional way, or even just a fresh way, and definitely not the present way.

 

In fact, everything we currently call “church” needs to change, not from the outside in, but the inside out, these issues are so systemic, these issues are so broken they need to be replaced. We must begin by actually accepting a complete ‘funeral’ mentality on how we have done everything, or do church, and need to let it die, and then let God shape in us an entirely new winekskin that will adequately handle His potent “new wine.”

 

A Whole New Paradigm 

 

For us who are used to the old, a new ‘paradigm’ requires first of all a definitive ‘paradigm funeral.’  A deep willingness to let things die and start all over.

 

So we start by looking around for a highly missional, highly participatory band of believers to regularly gather with, those who radically care for one another and make themselves readily accessible to the lost.

 

We return to “simple church” with a common meal and a common cup, not another lecture-driven “meeting” with more of the “sit, soak and sour,” as some professional ‘talking head’ does all of the ministry. But start some gatherings that are a highly prophetic with the released Holy Spirit called upon to lead through the people at His bidding, relying on His leadership, not the scripted program that we followed last week.

 

We refuse to sit in silence one more time and leaving the meeting with one one more “we simply don’t understand and definitely can’t apply to our lives.”

 

We begin to think 24/7 missional church rather than another weekend where we drive to a campus, struggle through a twenty minute search for a parking space, an athletic sprint to drop of the children at the Christian babysitters, another mad dash to the coffee kiosk, and then a press to find a decent seat before the performance begins. Only to look around for the first twenty minutes trying to find the family you want to go to lunch and spend the afternoon with after the meeting.

 

And No More Crying Over Spilled Wine

 

“Nor do people put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins will break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine in new wineskins, and both are preserved.” (Matthew 9:17).

 

OK? No more crying over spilled wine. Enough is enough, don’t look back, no more excuses, it is now time for a “new” way of doing and being church, not a “renewed,” or “refreshed,” or “repainted,” or “redecorated,” or a “refurbished,” or “re-patched” one. Remember the greatest enemy of the ‘new’ is the part of the ‘old’ that still works.

 

Too often this is called, “talking new and acting old.” In other words we start by looking forward at everything, and have to fight the temptation to look back for the nostalgic and familiar old way of “doing” church. This is ‘forward’ looking, not ‘backward’ looking.

And no more “patching” of the old wineskins, we have already polluted and diluted way too much of the good wine, we already know that the old wineskin won’t handle the radical lifestyle of the next generation, or the passionate missional movement that is in front of us.

The ‘old’ will not embrace the press for the new level of intimacy with the Father that is coming, and it will literally explode or implode with the new spontaneous worship of the new wine that is coming. It is time for a totally ‘new wineskin.’ 

To start? We must confront the current church system head on.

 

1. The current church system is designed to produce dependency on the system.

 

2. The two major obstacles to removing people from dependency of the current church system are the church building and paid professionals. We need to find a way to create a new organizational system that doesn’t rely on either. Jesus didn’t.

 

3. We need to find a way to redeem people’s generosity by removing the obstacles (such as buildings and paid staff) and thus releasing people’s resources directly into missional opportunities.

 

4. Dependency is ultimately dysfunctional because we’re not designed to be dependent forever. We’re designed for self-government and personal responsibility to become interdependent mature sons and daughters of God who can risk loving and risk living.

 

5. The problem is, that in today’s system we know how to do 500 people really well, just leading them like cattle into another building for another meeting. But we don’t know how to do 12 people really well. Jesus modeled the latter.

 

6. And we face the primary concern and fear by the current church system that if we actually release people to become the priesthood of believers they will sure fall into heresy. Funny, heresy exists regardless, always has, always will. Example: We have 30,000 denominations. Some of them are wrong. But Jesus risked leaving His followers, and released His Holy Spirit to lead ordinary people. Even if they go through a season of heresy, they will eventually be led into truth. Can we do the same?

 

7. Exponential growth happens when people participate in what God was already doing. Not through prayer events that call down God to bless our latest agreed upon program we picked up at the latest conference or ministry fair.

 

Yes, all of these are specific challenges for today’s church to face? You will have to decide if you will face them, or conform and run from them. You also will have to decide what approach to any remedies you are going to risk. If you are really serious about change and not just a “repatch of the wineskin,” you will have to ask God what He wants you to do and then address what is holding you back.

 

It could mean completely rethinking your views on the church as it relates to everything, the land (properties, facilities) learning (training systems, learning dynamics) and leadership (styles: both old and new) and then addressing those models you insist on perpetuating that continue to weaken today’s legacy church. Letting those die and fade and moving toward the “change of the new.”

 

So, the question remaining is this. Are we desperate enough for the new wine?

 

In His Grip,

Gary Goodell 

garytie

Gary Goodell is a former evangelist, pastor, college dean and instructor involved in ministry stuff for almost 50 years. He and his wife Jane live in San Diego, California USA. He is a father of two adult children and the grandfather of seven. As an author and consultant he functions as an itinerant mentor working with the organic church planting movement known asThird Day, that he and some friends founded in 2001. Third Day International now involves leadership and ministries in 20 nations.

 

Two books, “Permission Granted To Do Church Differently in the 21st Century,” and “Where Would Jesus Lead?” are both available online. More articles available on the website at www.thirddaychurches.com

 

 





Discipleship v/s Fathering

9 12 2011

We have to agree based on what we see going on in churches when it comes to ‘equipping the saints.’ It’s called ‘discipleship’ – that is express it this way: Collecting materials and recruiting people to be trained in a certain day/hour for a year or three, with, if you don’t mind, with a workshop. More serious programs are so-called ‘Bible Schools’ today. For pastor’s to say that that is not discipleship is all about, “it’s about life-discipleship,’ well that’s not what we really see happening in churches.

Does “Discipleship Programs” have really discipled the saints?

I heard one churchy-guy today in speaking about ‘maturity’ says, “The problem is lack of discipleship.” What he basically means is that we lack ‘trainors’ and ‘trainees.’

Is that really ‘the problem?’ in churches today that’s why they do not grow in maturity?
Do we really not have enough ‘Discipleship Materials?’
Do we really not have enough ‘Bible Study Meetings’ to ‘mature’ the saints?
How about our ‘Sunday School Programs?’
‘Church Services?’

Not only most Christians doesn’y know how to define ‘what a disciple?’ they are also wondering if they are one?
If Jesus commands us to ‘make disciples’ do we really know how to ‘make’ one?

The hardest questions to ask is, “With all the ‘endless’ ‘meetings’ and ‘programs’ that we have already in place week-after-week, month-after-month, year-after-year, do we really need ‘Discipleship Programs’ to disciple the person?

You decide.

But let me offer you the better way I believe it make sense to you.

FATHERING AND MOTHERING THE NEXT GENERATION

Church is about relationships, “love God above all, loving your neighbor and loving your brother.” Without ‘it’ you cannot fulfill what is church is all about.
From that ‘relationships’ brings forth the intention of it – ‘family.’ Relationship that is close like husband and wife – it’s how Paul liken it anyway, Eph.5 – bears ‘children in the Lord.’

So, church is a family, it has ‘hundreds of mothers, hundreds of brothers and hundreds of sisters,’ and also by the way, ‘hundreds of houses.’ It is not an ‘orphanage’ where a child is ‘still ‘ an orphan, why? Simply, it has founders, directors, pastors and staffs but lack one thing – father figure and mother figure.

So, church is a family, it has hundreds of relationships like a ‘mother to her child.’ A family, you don’t have to ‘attend’ to be a part of it. You are. A church that you attend is not a family, but an orphanage. They may do what a family does; eat together, play together, etc, but it is still an orphanage, not a family. By the way, in saying that, I will also say, you don’t ‘attend’ Christ!

So, church is a family. Jesus doesn’t define her having ‘hundreds of cousins, and relatives and uncles and tita’s’ or is He saying having, ‘hundreds of Christian neighbors?’

We are a family. It has ‘parents in the Lord’ and ‘children in the Lord.’ – Eph. 6:1

So, how does ‘equipping the saints’ fit so well in the family concept?

Simple.

First, is “He who manage well of his children, can manage the household of God.” 1 Tim. 3:6

Imagine, every dad and mom are ‘pastors,’ and ‘Sunday Schoolers’ of their children [I didn’t mean being religious on that], how ‘simple’ is it to ‘manage the household of God.’ Imagine our own children is well ‘submit’ to us, ‘respect’ us, and so we can be able to teach them ‘all the commands’ of Jesus – remember Duet. 6:4-6? It all started in the home. How easily we can ‘train up a child in the way he should do…’ and ‘equip him for every good work?’ In other words, fathering and mothering becomes works in a natural way – in the context of a family, who don’t just talk about life together, but also who are living life together.

A lifetime of discipleship v/s a lifetime of relationship

So called ‘Discipleship’ not only happens outside home, once a week training, especialize workshops, but they are also not meant to be a family, but a years event and done. We are not good at ‘raising sons and daughters’ of God but good at ‘birthing spiritual orphans’ who are irresponsible Christians of their life – they blame their pastor if he preach lousy messages, blame the leadership if they don’t like to submit and blame the programs if not good enough and so the best way to solve their problems is transfer to another church! Imagine that, froggy-like Christians can just transfer church they want without changing their lives?!!!

Family relationship are what’s most lacking in most simple church. They could not even name 4 persons to watch over their kids on a weekend when they needed to. They are meeting-based churches not family-based. They meet because there is a ‘meeting.’ Unlike ‘family-based’ churches meet simply because they ‘miss each other’ – they love and care enough even to transfer next door. Yes, they literally ‘live from house to house.’ “Behold how good it is for brethren DWELL TOGETHER in unity.” In a ‘meeting-based’ church they ‘talk-about-life-together’ simply because they meet once-or-twice-a-week. In a ‘family-based’ church they ‘do-life-together’ because they just live next door. “House-to-house” in the early church doesn’t mean they’re having ‘meetings from house to house,’ no way, but they are ‘living from house to house’ and because of that they can simply ‘meet’ together from house to house.

Building Healthy Devoted Relationships is meant to be a lifetime adventure.

Treating a new disciple your own ‘brother’ or ‘child’ rather than your ‘student’ can easily he become be treated as a ‘project’ rather than a ‘person.’ What I mean by that is, you cannot treat a person the same way just as you cannot force your discipleship course to anybody! Raising a ‘child’ to become a ‘son’ then to become a ‘father’ takes a ‘lifetime of relationships.’ That why church intention MUST be family. He lives with his father and mother, [imagine how a child would grow if he only sees his parents once a week?] they do life-together in a daily basis just like the early church. What could be more our pattern? No wonder Jesus fathers only 12 for 3 years and He can be able to multiply that into a thousand just like the fish and the loaves! Simple as that.

Disciple Class? What’s that’s class all about? Would you raise up your own son by the book?! Or by doing-things-together? Teaching in the early church was never in the context of a ‘daily-life-together.’ I know there are those who say there are ‘traveling teachers’ and I say, “Yah? Who are they if they didn’t build such relationships of trust and respect with the ekklesia?” I do not really care which ‘five-fold gifts’ you are, if I do not know you and your family, forget it. Many who traveled today in churches are desperately looking for ministry. I know this by experience. The best way to find out is through his own family. If they have one.

Paul might did some ‘training discussion’ but for how long? The longevity of having discipleship is, “How long?”

House-to-house

“Living from house-to-house” not having “meetings.” Family don’t do meetings, but they meet a lot. They don’t do ‘scheduled-meetings’ they do ‘spontaneous’ ones. Get this, how can we have Bible Study Meetings when you just live next door where we can have coffee every morning and discuss the Bible? How can we have Prayer Meetings every Friday night when we can just pray anytime? Does this add nor subtract your time? Don’t think so. Family does the ‘busy’ things together. They wash clothes together, they play together, they do market together, they cut the grass together, they plant tomato together, what else? It’s doing-life-together, not ‘talk’ about it.

This is FATHERING your next generation.





When a 17 yo makes 5 disciples!!!

16 11 2011
It was our break time, when my friends Rhea, Joanna,  Jana and I were talking, and discussing about our project. Afterwards, when everyone was silent and we had nothing to say, Rhea opened up a topic, she shared to us about her family, their ties, and how her mother and father met, and many more. After hearing her stories, the silent mode was back. Her story gave me an opportunity to make them disciples of Jesus, since I knew them, and  I was pretty sure that they trust me. Why I was so sure about it? Simply because they listened to me every time I gave them some advises, and not just they listened, they also did what I told them.Before the three of them were fun of drinking liquors outside the school premises during class hours, and not thinking that what they did is not good to them as a student. They even don’t care what others might say every time they were caught doing such thing. But that bad habit was gone when we became classmates and became good friends. I told them, what they did was not good, and it was just a waste of money to their parents, sending them in school , expecting them to learned more and attended the class attentively but on what they did, their parents wont be pleased to hear about it. They must change their habits because if that bad habit will continue, it might destroy their futures, and at the same time, the trust and the expectation of their parents to them. They listened carefully to what i said, they were like a small children nodding their heads while saying, “You are right!  We will swear we will not do it again” they said. While I was like an old grandma, scolding them and giving them advices. they thanked me for what I did, their eyes was opened and realized that what they did is wrong. And that’s how our closeness has started. We ate together at lunch, we shared each others secrets, and we built trust to each other. That is why i have no doubt in making them a disciple of Christ.

“I am going to make you a disciple of God.” I said to them.

“What is a disciple of God?” Rhea ask.

“Being a disciple is following HIS footsteps, and commandments,” I said. “Do you believe that you were already saved, even before the day you were born He already died for your sin?”

“No! I don’t believe God has saved me already, because I know from the start that I am a sinner, everyone is a sinner,” Rhea honestly admitted her condition and certainly was right about her observation, “and every seconds I know I can commit a sin. and how could you see that I was or we were already saved?”

“As we know that the wages of sin is death, but because of God’s great love to us, instead we all gonna die because of our sins, HE never let that happened, He sent His only son Jesus Christ to be crucified just to saved us. And this all happened two thousand years ago, now that’s even before your grand mother was born! “And all we gonna do is to believed that He already did pay the penalty of our wrongdoings. God has saved us already from death! Death is dealt with on the cross. We have to believe this and so can follow the commandments of God.”

Every one’s thinking was on the air, it sounds so interesting for them and wondering where’s this conversation going to? Jana finally have her thoughts put on the table, “How are we going to do that? Are we going to church every Sunday?”

“Going to the church-building every Sunday is not needed, because we are already the church. The church is where the Holy Spirit of God lives, and he lives in us. The church referred to us – the disciples of God, and not the building that every one had to go every Sunday. Why not we just pray at home, spending time with our family and discussing together the words of God that has written in the bible, sounds great?

“That sounds better than going to church every Sunday and go to the confession box for the forgiveness to our sins, in that very building we can also commit sin afterwards, right?’’ Rhea agreed.

“Yeah right! I experiece the same thing! Joana speaks out, “Every time I went to church and saw someone wearing seductive dress I think very badly. So, by not going to church anymore is all we gonna do to follow Jesus?”

“No, that’s only a part of it, you also have to repent of your sins and renew yourselves by baptism.”

“What do you mean baptism? Jana ask, “like what the priest did when we were a child?”

“Sort of, but now you are going to be baptize because you believe that you are a sinner and you are willing to leave your sins behind and make a new life with Jesus. When we were a child we don’t even understand why we were baptize right? We do not even know that we were a sinner. It was just a tradition then. Biblical baptism that God requires occurs when a person is willing to die and rose again and follow the commandments of God. And if you are willing to be buried with your sins and rose to a new life you will begin a new life-journey with God, you need to be baptize.”

“We are willing to be baptize and when should we do that?” they inquire.

That very day, they are willing to change their life-style, so a few days after they were baptize at the ocean not far from our house.

We’re all school-mates, friends that have become family of God, my extended family in school. We meet together as a family spontaneously.