Urban Church Planting - Lesson 2

Defining Church Plant Movements

Defining Church Planting Movements (CPMs) is the focus of this lesson. The instructor provides an overview of CPMs and explains why they are important. He then identifies the characteristics of CPMs, such as rapid multiplication of churches, lay leadership, and indigeneity. The instructor also discusses the challenges to starting a CPM, including language and cultural barriers, as well as the failure to evangelize and disciple. Finally, he outlines the steps for starting a CPM, which include focused prayer, evangelism, discipleship, and training.

Don Davis
Urban Church Planting
Lesson 2
Watching Now
Defining Church Plant Movements

EV327-02: Defining Church Plant Movements

I. Introduction

A. What is a Church Planting Movement (CPM)?

B. Importance of CPMs

II. Characteristics of CPMs

A. Gospel-Planting Movements

B. Rapid Multiplication of Churches

C. Indigeneity

D. Lay Leadership

E. Third-Generation Movements

III. Challenges to Starting a CPM

A. Missionary-Centered Mindset

B. Language and Cultural Barriers

C. Failure to Evangelize

D. Failure to Disciple

IV. How to Start a CPM

A. Focused Prayer

B. Evangelism and Discipleship

C. Training and Equipping

  • In this lesson on Ecclesiology, you will gain knowledge and insight into the study of the church, including its nature, purpose, and organization. You will learn about the biblical images of the church, the Great Commission, the church's ministry, and its role in society. You will also explore the church's offices, governance, and accountability and discipline.
  • You will gain knowledge about what a Church Planting Movement (CPM) is, its importance, and its characteristics. You will also learn about the challenges of starting a CPM and the steps involved in beginning one.
  • You will gain a comprehensive understanding of alternative forms of spirituality, including an overview of different types and their characteristics, criteria for evaluating them, and the role of the church in responding to them. You will learn how to engage with alternative forms of spirituality in a Christian way that is both compassionate and truthful.
  • You will gain a comprehensive understanding of the role of tradition in urban church planting. By exploring biblical and historical examples of tradition and evaluating its positive and negative aspects, you will learn how tradition can be applied in the context of urban church planting.
  • This lesson provides insights on the significance of tradition in urban church planting, focusing on connecting with cultural context, balancing tradition and innovation, and applying tradition to foster relationships, community, and spiritual growth.
  • You will learn how church planting movements use different structures and religious authorities to balance authority and flexibility, develop local leadership, and adapt to challenges while maintaining growth.
  • Through this lesson, you gain insights on building a strong identity and crafting an effective strategy for successful urban church planting, focusing on core values, authentic culture, community outreach, leadership development, and adaptability.
  • Discover the key elements for creating a dynamic church planting movement, including prayer, cultural relevance, leadership development, and discipleship strategies, while addressing challenges faced along the way.
  • By exploring strategies for urban church planting, you gain practical knowledge on tailoring approaches for city contexts, building core teams, and implementing phased processes for long-term church success.
  • By studying this lesson, you learn to develop essential leadership qualities and skills, build a strong team, and address challenges in urban church planting effectively.

We will consider the factors and forces connected to a remarkable phenomenon of church planting movements taking place throughout the world today. At a time when definitions of the Church have become more and more loose and individualized, we will analyze all church plant and growth theories as they relate to the Nicene marks of the Church in the world. Using these marks as a representative of a legitimate biblical view of the Church, we will then discuss and investigate the connection between church planting and world evangelization, growth, and leadership development. You may also access this class at Tumi.org under the title, "Winning the World: Facilitating Urban Church Planting Movements."

Dr. Don Davis
Urban Church Planting
Defining Church Plant Movements
Lesson Transcript

[00:00:00] In a real sense. This is a this is a reading score. It's a little different than most of the courses that we have here, because what I'd like us to do is to dialog over what we read and to think together about the concepts that we have been looking at. And today, the readings, as best that I could see, sort of deal with the issue of defining the church. Now to me, this is especially at this time, one of the most significant things that we could possibly do of the church is I take the church to be the single most important entity in the history of humankind. It is the church, as we sort of saw last week, is the the the body and bride of Christ, the one holy Catholic or universal Apostolic Church is defined by church history. What what we want to do today is we need to really before we say anything about church, church planning movements or any of that, we need to really sort of sort of look at some of the options that are currently underway in trying to define church. And the books that you have are a good sort of smattering on that. I mean, we could have had some others, we could have had liberal views of the church, which to me we don't have time to deal with that in a in a course of our length. I think that some of the more important evangelical opinions about the church we cover and we should be able to discuss a book that should be in your library. It was just reprinted. I'm happy to hear a book that if you don't have is a singular resource scholarly on the church. Is Paul Mooney or his book Images of the Church in the New Testament? I've been trying to find this book for just forever.


[00:01:59] And gosh, I saw that it was reprinted. I just got my new copy. For me, these are just totally significant parlementaires books. He deals with dozens of images in the New Testament of the church in a very scholarly and focused way. And so in your quote at the top of your outline, what I like about the mirror and what I believe in all my with all my heart is that you cannot every Christian generation must learn to define the church in a biblical way. No one can sort of rely on what they inherited. Although that's very normal, there's nothing wrong with what we have gotten from the church. But in terms of scholarship and more important, in terms of our own personal spirituality, how we define the church will determine to me a lot about our own personal discipleship and our relationship with the Lord. Parmentier So to begin our discussion of the four books, Paul Parmentier sort of lays out the groundwork. He says, we may consider the blunt, prosaic injunction let the church be the church. Such a slogan implies that the church is not now fully the church. It implies that the true self image is not a presently effectual image that it should be. But what is the church when it allows itself to become the church? Do we know? Yes and no. We will stand within the church of allowed its true character to become obscure. Yet we know enough concerning God's design for the Church to be hammered by the accusation of the Church's law. I never knew you. So there is much about the character of the church to which the church itself is blind. I mean, in other words, I'm having us read this just so you can see that it's not as easy as you may think.


[00:03:52] And depending on what you think you know about the church, you may be blind to what you don't even know. You may not even know that you don't know what the church is. Our self-understanding is never complete, never uncorrupted, never deep enough, never fully transparent. In every generation, the use and reuse of the biblical images has been one path by which the church has tried to learn what the church really, truly is, so so that it could become what it is not for evoking this kind of self-knowledge. Images may be more effective than formal, dogmatic assertions. I love this guy. I do, because I believe that the images of the church are the way for us to understand what the church is. This may well be one reason why the New Testament does not legislate any particular definition of the church. Why Christian theology is never agreed upon any such definition. What many are saying is that it is very, very significant for every generation to go back to the Bible and rediscover with church churches. In some ways our readings. I am going to argue our readings give a definition of the church and we're going to we're going to go in the order of your readings Barna, Garrison, Crider and then Maule, Barna. You can see it just by looking at it. I gave my own definition. Obama's definition of the church is revolutionary spirituality sans church, which is without church. That's what that means. That's an article sense in that for some of you linguist since church. I think that's what it is the church defined in terms of revolutionary spirituality. Apart from the church, I believe that is really what Barna is arguing, and I'm going to try to show you that on on page three of your outline.


[00:05:52] Garrison defines church as rapid multiplication of indigenous churches planting churches. We're going to look at that. We you know, that's what that's my definition of Garrison's definition of church. And we'll look at that and then we'll discuss that together on page six. In the second half of today of of of our discussion, Crider defines church in terms of its structural forms traditional for sale form in house, church network form. And if you did your reading, then he gives some definitions there. And then we will close with mole's little pamphlet on the church or he defines. He may be quite literally the most biblical of all. He defines the church as the extension of a Pentecost event, which is totally wonderful. I mean, I, I just we're going to discuss these four definitions of church revolutionary spirituality, indigenous churches, planning, churches, structural forms, traditional church of sale, church, house, church. And then we'll end with what our model says, that the church is this ongoing extension of Pentecost. What happened at Pentecost real church is an extension of that every time church happens. Well, if you read Bonner or to begin with, if you go back to your first page, if you read him, you know that. He essentially says he begins with the story of David and Michael, these born again Christians who had eliminated church life from their busy schedules, albeit with very different subsequent paths. David and Michael thought of themselves as deeply spiritual people. Their irregular attendance at church services each attended on occasion with their families who remain more or less regulars at a nearby church, failed to dampen their zazen for God. Guys, I want you to see this. He is defining. He is defining spirituality without church. I just want you to understand what he's getting.


[00:08:04] Read him critically. This don't. Don't just be mindless. He is saying that these guys. Nothing changed from them not being in it. You're. No. That didn't dampen the enthusiasm for God. They believe that the Bible is God's true and reliable word. They gave each gave money generously, causes they felt were trustworthy and significantly helped people. They prayed before. Meals had shared a number of stories with each other about how pastors and other Christians a child, stars them for their failure to be involved in church life. I want to give as my own sort of summary verse for Barna in this section is that you can't really understand the truth of God without the church. And so I want to fundamentally call into question his, his all of his virtually all of his conceptions about the church. The church, according to Paul, you was talking to Timothy. If I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of a living God. A pillar in many translations is the pillar in buttress of truth. I mean, in other words, if it is, it is not conceivable. I would suggest from a Pauline standpoint that David and Michael can really understand truth in a final way and be absent from church. Well, let's get a good quick read on Barnard before we have our discussion. Let me give you my sort of take on your reading. David and Michael are examples of a new revolutionary Christian faith for Obama. He said that both of these guys, David and Michael, in the readings, are they they actually disengaged from the traditional local church and in sort of different ways. Why? Why did they exit the traditional church quo? Neither found a ministry that was sufficiently stimulating and having an impact on the surrounding community.


[00:10:01] But I see it that the churches were there if they weren't meeting the needs of the people. And so in light of that, they just felt that there was no need for them. It wasn't stimulating them. They weren't would change. And the church was was really not very impactful, are they? They therefore sort of started this similar spiritual journey. They're now experiencing the church on the green, this biweekly rendezvous on the golf course, these two revolutionary. Now elements of this new revolutionary journey that these guys are walking on Banner gives us. Clearly, on page four, he says that they have a desire to be involved in missions, support a burden for the needy there. You know, in a real sense, they give challenges to each other. I think, David, it was challenge Michael on a book that he had been reading on biblical leadership and sort of exhorted him, you know, you know, brother, I learned some great lessons here. Maybe you can get some. Quite honestly, I thought that their own reading of the Bible was completely self-referential. By that I mean I don't think the Bible is really written about Don Davis. I really it's not about me, really, with all due respect to all spiritual forms that sort of make personal application to me the sort of dominant we are reading the Bible. I don't see that as what the apostles did. They read the Bible in light of who Christ was and what the Kingdom was. And frankly, then they relate it that not only to Jews, but also Gentiles and to the Church of God. And these guys had friendship. I mean, in other words, these elements, everything on the top of page two, there is a kind of a spirituality that's developed.


[00:11:43] They have a burden for mission. They are personally engaged in their own improvement. They read the Bible, although it seems to me in a kind of self referenced way and their friends invite each other over, you know, can we come over? Let's go and have some fun together and so on. And Bond is commentary on David and Michael is really interesting. Jesus, David is a revolutionary Christian and Michael is a backsliding. And what is the difference? He says that David's life reflects the principles and ideals of Jesus Christ. Upon his own words, David's life was split, reflects the very ideals and principles. Now, this is all without church. This is important that you understand that David's life reflects the very ideals and principles that characterize the life and purpose of Jesus Christ, and that advances the Kingdom of God. The despite the fact that David rarely attends church service, this is important. Y'all don't run away from this. Listen to him. Even though this guy is rarely in church, very rarely he is. Quite literally, his life embodies the best of Jesus in the kingdom. It he is typical of a new breed of disciples of Jesus Christ. They're not willing to play religious games and aren't interested in being part of a religious community that is not intensely and aggressively advancing God's kingdom. They are. People want more of God, much more in their lives, and they're doing whatever it takes to get it. Very powerful. Michael, by the way, is different. Michael's life is more about living for Michael then is about living for God. By the way, I'm anxious to hear what you guys think about this distinction. I could not see the difference between David and Michael is as hard as I read.


[00:13:25] I reread it several times now. You know, that was Michael talking. You know, it just wasn't clear. If I were writing hypothetical guys, I would have had Michael really slug, you know, some sort of some sort of flaky fellow. And I would have David like, you know, John the Baptist. So make the contrast a little bit. But in Boehner's mind, Michael, Michael is not the same. They're on the same spiritual journey. Neither of them really attend church, and both of them are defining spirituality apart from the church. But in some ways, David's embodies the ideals and principles of Christ. Now, what's most significant to me in this reading, and I hope that we will discuss this in a moment, are the traits of a revolutionary age and the revolutionary Christian. Barna says that we are now a part of a revolutionary. It's revolutionary in every sense. And sexual revolution. You know, political revolutions of this, the 20th century is a revolutionary age in every way. And he says that Christianity, too, is experiencing this revolution, as he says. Are these devout followers of Jesus Christ who are serious about their faith, who are constantly in worship and in interacting with God and the center of their faith in Jesus Christ. Now, he says, the key to understanding revolutionaries is not what church they are ten or even if they attend. You understand that you can truly be a revolutionary, dynamic believer without church at all. He said. Instead, it's their complete dedication to be thoroughly Christian by viewing every moment of life through a spiritual lens and making every decision the light of biblical principles. And I would add, all with the exception of a commitment to a local assembly. So these people are utterly biblical, utterly in love with God, and utterly committed to God.


[00:15:22] Except it really doesn't even matter if they attend at all. And I think is the later that we get into the book, he will talk about sort of alternative community, but he doesn't hear. And so his language is very striking to me in saying that it's not really significant if they attend or not. So revolutionary Christianity grows out of the current age description of our cultural context. At the bottom of page two, the revolution transforming American spirituality today is that millions of devout followers of Jesus Christ are repudiating, worn out, tepid systems and practices of the Christian faith, and introducing a wholesale shift in how faith is understood, integrated and influencing the world. Now, this entire faith response, Obama, that that these revolutionaries are going through has emerged from a societal context defined by, quote, seemingly infinite opportunities and options supported by a revolutionary worldview. Obama saying, in a real sense, and I'll get my opinion first and then I can listen where I think he is saying that the age there are so many opportunities and so many different definitions of church that quite literally there are many people who are really wanting to define church in a non historical way that they are not going to be sort of slavishly obedient to worn out notions of the church, especially if those notions aren't really producing real dynamic, revolutionary faith revolutionaries or dramatically moral people. I think that's very important. Barna says, that these they are moral, although they don't get that moral vision from from any local assembly in particular, they're dramatically, more confidently returning to first century lifestyles of kingdom oriented values. He actually says that that's his language. They're going they're returning to the first century. They're rediscovering what it means to really be kingdom people in a first century way.


[00:17:27] But they are doing that not necessarily connected to a local assembly. So in summary, in a way, you could summarize a big part Obama's old claim to defining the church. This revolutionary spirituality apart from church, is that this is a movement to see a sort of a dynamism and repudiate certain conventional practices. There are certain things that people have been doing that don't matter religious gains, whether it's worship services done without the presence of God or unfruitful ministry programs. So that was one of the things he was very clear on that, you know, revolutionaries can identify. He doesn't tell us how they do that. I'm hoping he will. How a revolutionary can identify a worship service where God is in prison or an unfruitful ministry program, he says of revolutionaries repudiate self-centered ministries, ministry leaders, phony credentials. He listed a whole slew of credentials are worn out, academics and stuff like that. None of those things matter. Things that produce sizzle, but not substance. I thought it was great praise. I wish had said this place is a deposit. But the point is, is that in a real sense, you know, they're on page 14. He talks about how revolutionary leaders really are, where they're repudiating phoniness, falseness, thinness, foolishness. And what what what what they are looking for are flat or not flat, they're looking to replace flat better than average church programs and affiliations that may be okay. This is very important. Barna On page 14, it's best as I can make out. His argument is that even if a church is sort of doing okay, that's not enough of a better than average church program in affiliation. Without the spark provided by a commitment to a true revolution and thinking behavior and experience is simply not not enough.


[00:19:31] So they're not looking for just as best as I can read, a revolutionary. By his definition, these dynamic people are looking to sort of transcend church as we know it today, and they pursue an intimate relationship with God, which Jesus Christ promised that we could have through Him. They are very black and white, he said to a revolutionary life is black and white. Whether university scholars or media people ridiculed their view or not. These are these are you know, they're either they're either A or B people. And they're very clear about their convictions and they are biblical. He makes it very plain. I think that's very important to understand, who invariably turn to God's word, the Bible for their guidance, and therefore will experience abuse like Jesus did. And perhaps he see as the perhaps the most significant battle in the current cultural wars will be waged by revolutionaries who, in fact, who may take the lead in sort of understanding, you know, all the great issues of our time, abortion and euthanasia or revolutionaries may well very well be the most significant players in the ongoing discussions that our society is having. Moral. So this is my read of of Obama and I think I think it's a fair read. My my my most important point at this stage is just to sort of summarize what I take to be his understanding of what the church is. The church is not a necessary part of revolutionary spirituality. It may or may not be are those who are revolutionary have found a way to cultivate from within a dynamism about Jesus in the kingdom, apart from the church. As a matter of fact, it doesn't really matter. Even if they attend church or they can really generate this sort of this this this wealth, this focus, this commitment, this this intensity are not necessarily connected to the church.


[00:21:34] Let's look at Garrison now. And guys, I'm not sort of hacking you. I'm not using him as whipping post. That is my read. I just gave you my read of Barlow as best as I could. I'm not trying to hammer you. I'm just saying that if I was if Biden was there and I was reading them, they all started. He said within the people that missionaries may maybe started the first church. But frankly, these are indigenous movements. They have nothing to do with outside people. As a matter of fact, there is a parts of his book where you'll say church planning in this way is really not a Western phenomenon. Most most denominations in America, there are churches of going very slow and not planning hardly any churches at all. And when they do plan them, they're you know, you've got a it's like a a church or I, you know, we're we're on this one. You know, we're we're breathing into this. This one has to hold, you know, in other words, the little churches that we have come to a slow with great difficulty, they're not strong. He just says that this is entirely different from that. This is explosive movement of churches happening rapidly indigenous multiply it is churches planning churches. He's very, very insistent on this. Church planners may start the first ones, but at some point the churches themselves reach what he calls a tipping point. And a movement is launched. And it's not a movement until the tipping point is is occur. This is important to understand. This is not just one church being real frugal. If one church were to plant. You know, 40 churches say that would be something for us, but it wouldn't be a movement.


[00:23:22] The Gears movement is that all the churches involved in this begin to plant. They reach a tipping point, and a movement is launched with great fervor. And finally, it occurs within people, groups and inter-related population segments. It has to do with people who share a language, ethnic boundaries and other things. Now he's very plain what church plant movements are not first, they are not revival or spiritual awakening. Well, that's fine. We should have that. But that's not what a church planning movement is. He says they are not just mass evangelism to the laws, he said. They are rather church multiplying movements. It may involve a lot of people involved in in, in, in, you know, in mass evangelism. It may result in mass conversion, but that's not the same as a church planning movement. He said if they're not just people movements. This is very important. Gosh, he's raising a high bar, he says. Just imagine if the Lord swept through a people and a whole people just came to Lord just move people, you know, he says, Well, that's great, but that doesn't necessarily produce churches. So he he doesn't tell us how. But just having large numbers of converts doesn't mean that you have a large number of churches, frankly, you to have a lot of people who are just who who are quickly like to see and Jesus is parable that they come up quickly they sprout and they're not not grounded then division, pride, heresy cism they just go to the four winds. So he says they're not church growth movements. And this is one thing he says a little about the Western Church. You see it in our churches. We associate bigger churches with better churches. You see a church choir movements adhere to the principle that small churches are better churches.


[00:25:13] The smaller, the better, he said. That's just one of the reasons I think that if the logic is playing here is one of the reasons why I think it's going to be hard for Westerners to conceive of Somalia as better. Except that's why I wanted you to read it. There are people in the West who are saying, Look, small churches are great churches. We can do that. We shouldn't be against small. Small is not small. Says nothing about a spirituality of the church. Is this church plan for church growth movements tend to direct their missionaries to responsive fields. That's not with church planned movement. Church movements actually are just the opposite. They go to the most responsive, feel some type of approval in places where most people say that we shouldn't waste our time there. Church growth movements, he said, advocate pouring resources into responsive harvest fields, says Church. When Mormon missionaries or dominant at first and less dominant new believers become primary harvesters and leaders of a movement. So it's not about sort of being being stingy with resources. Church planning movements are aggressive. He says This is very important. I hope we can discuss this. They are not a divine miracle, he said. Church Planning Movements. There's a vital role for Christians to play. He's doing this research so we can find out what we should do. As I mentioned already, he said, they're not a Western invention. They didn't originate in the West, but they're not limited to one type of culture or another. He doesn't say that can't happen in the West. They very well could. But it's not. It's not based on the West. And he said they're not in Indonesia. He said it's easy to find people who talk about church planning movements.


[00:26:58] It becomes their God. And he said, Look, it's a way that God is drawing massive numbers of lost persons in the saving community with himself. But it's not as important as God himself. It's a it's a way. It's a means. Now, why is the study of church planning movements important years and gives us a reason? They're important because God is morally at work in them. You can see the numbers on page 16. We can. We need to learn. Secondly, all we can about them, because God has reserved a role for us to play in launching them. He says the difference between church planning movements and near church planning movements is often the difference between God's people properly aligning themselves with what He is doing or failing to align himself. I mean, he said it's a very narrow line between having great, great, great impact and having no impact. And oftentimes that has to do with who we are and what we're doing. And then finally, church planning movements are important because of what they're accomplishing, he said. And I look at what he says is totally different from Banner. Barna Without exaggeration, we can say that church planning movements are the most effective means in the world today for drawing laws millions into saving disciple, building relationships with Jesus Christ. That may appear to be an ambitious claim, but it is an accurate one and an honest description of how God is winning a lost world. Pretty amazing to see it like that. So it's the most effective means and there's no other avenue so quickly and effectively multiplies the glory of God in the hearts of so many people. No other means has drawn so many new believers in the ongoing communities of faith where they can continue to grow in Christ likeness.


[00:28:41] That is why church planning moments are important. Well, I am finished with my sort of summary of our reading and I want to do this for us just to give us a sense of the reading, because I have a feeling that once we begin, we won't talk about the books. No. But if you if you look at page six, you will see my own outline for our discussion that we want to discuss for a little bit, both Bwana and Garrison, before we take our break. Then we'll come back and do the same with co-writer and more. We won't spend as much time with Crider and more. It'll give us more opportunity then to discuss if if we choose to. Depending on what you guys have in mind of not only what Kreider and Maul said, but what Kreider more what Kreider and more commented as it relates also to Varner and Garrison. By the way, any and everything that we have talked about in class today is testable next week, as you all know, you dear students who have taken courses before. And I think we will concentrate quite literally on of if something regarding the readings are on the quiz, it will relate to, you know, what, what we actually mentioned in class, I mean at least that gives you some idea of what we will we will be discussing. Let's begin now then on the final two definitions of church that really would summarize in your readings this last week. Crider is an interesting book because in some ways Kreider is a bridge author between Garrison and what we are doing. If you look at Kreider, Kreider obviously has his own ax to grind and his own agenda regarding how sports networks. But I think Kreider is very, very important for our own understanding of what we believe is important in terms of of church.


[00:30:58] What is church? How do we understand church? What are the various structural ways that we can make sense of church? Now, Kreider, unlike Bonner, which really commentates on a lot of the individual dynamics that people are going, and Garrison, who is talking much about what is taking place overseas. Kreider wants to focus on the structure of church. In other words, in a real sense, his commentary on house churches is a way of being spiritual. It's very important to understand that he is not just talking about house churches as a method. I mean, this is very important. He is not just saying that, okay, there are different methods by which we can understand church. He is literally saying that the church in its in its in its most organic in its most developmental form is a form of a house related entity. I mean, it's a small, comprehensible thing that people actually enjoy. You know, by definition, small. It's little. He talks about a little church, a house church is a little church and real church, bona fide church. So he is wanting to me, he is as intriguing as Barna or Garrison is in really understanding the nature of church. Again, this is our definition. This is what we are trying to get at in this class session as we read these authors. What what does it mean when we say church? What is the church? How do we understand it? Oh, on page 16 of his book, Cry This is House Churches is a page six house churches and churches of any kind should never be exclusive entities cut off from the rest of the body of Christ. You sort of makes that plain. I mean, he is he is trying to say he is not he's I'm not weird.


[00:32:58] I'm not trying to I'm not against traditional churches or anything. The litmus tests used to discern if a house church is healthy is simple. He's giving us more clues then and then aggressively. He's actually giving us clues. What a healthy church is. The Healthy House Church will focus on loving the law, loving each other, reaching the laws, and loving the rest of the body of Christ. Anywhere and everywhere. So that makes him completely nonsectarian. And he. He passes my Nicene Test for the unity of the body of Christ. You remember Vincent of the Rams? Can someone say. Tell us what that was about, Vincent? The standard of. Yeah. Yeah. What is believed everywhere at all times by everyone. It's just this. This unity, this fundamental one. Church. In thousands of languages. Dozens and dozens of ethnicities and cultures. But Paul can say in Ephesians four, 4 to 7, there is one body and one spirit, just as you were called, to the one hope that belongs to your call. One Lord, one day, one baptism, one God and father of all was overall and through all in and all but grace was given to each one according to the Measure of Christ gives. I like Kreider because I think in some ways he would agree with Paul. He is not sectarian. He is trying in some ways, to me, to define, I think, in very ways, very much like Bosnia. I think that there is I think Barna is just trying to define a new way of understanding church that is valid and meaningful and that can transcend depth of, you know, nonmoving, non stimulating unfruitful churches. Kreider begins his argument by talking about new wine skins, and he uses wine skins in relationship to forms of the church, I believe.


[00:35:13] Now that's my own connection. He doesn't make that, but I think that's what he means. And in his argument, as he goes through his material, he actually talks about wine skins and forms to me pretty synonymously. So I'll see if I can make that plain. He begins his I've got a pet. He did not number his four pages. No, don't do that. I've read. Come on now. I've read all your books, so I don't even know what to call the page, you know. So I said, for one, you know, you see that? I mean, he didn't number his four pages, you know. Come on now. You don't need change today. He says, as a way of life, changes occur, are frequent and radical. And for the first couple of 100 years of the Christian movement, he says, all churches were house churches. Okay, let's get this straight. You know, those are the priorities, you know, I mean, this is quite a claim to me, especially in the foreword of a book on Hastert. He's sort of saying, look, you want to be biblical. You need to come to me because look, we the real deal. You know, I just saw it that that I saw that as sort of gloating. But maybe maybe he's not blown. He says he's right that house church networks are not as common in our generation with the exception of China. You should read Garrison's book. I think it would help him a little bit. There are different strokes for different folks. This is really a mature brother, regardless of what you say about his vision of this. He says that all forms of church are great. He likes church. He doesn't care what it looks like. House. Church, network.


[00:37:04] Community. Churches. He even says megachurches. Each one of them has an important role to draw people to God. So he's not. He's just sort of like, hey, I love church and all sizes, colors sort of what does that one pancake place where you can get pancakes like, I'll eat a pancake. I don't like pancakes. Person pancakes sort of make me kind of, you know, you don't want to hear about my digestive struggles, but pancakes. Pancakes. You can get pancakes in a lot of different flavors. This brothers church, he really believes in church now. So he immediately draws me. And I must admit, he says, like, they're different strokes. People find their needs. I'll go. I want to be a little more critical than he does. He says that there's nothing wrong with the traditional community, church or how church networks can fulfill a role. Megachurches are they're all important. House church networks he is in. He is correct I believe are really they would be a new species of church emerging in North America. I hope that you guys have opinions about that. Why can't we find why can't we have the dynamism of garrison in in in America? Is there something about our cultures, especially our urban cultures, that will not allow us to just dramatically grow in thousands of numbers, house to house? Should we try that? It'll be interesting to see is that this is a new species and we should think about it, he believes. He says prophetically at the top of page seven, what is occurring in places like China, Central Asia, Latin America, India and Cambodia will soon impact North America. In-house church networks. And he will make this point over and over each house. Church functions as a little church, and we need to talk about what that means.


[00:39:02] I mean, what is. What does he mean when he says that's very different from the traditional church with a single pastor? And, you know, I mean, traditional community church. He is going to explain a little bit what he means by the networks. It's a very small book, so he's not going to go into a lot of detail. But he says that it's important that we think of not house churches as separate, but as networks. They need to be connected in some way for the sake of fostering accountability and encouragement. He doesn't say what kind of accountability, nor does he say what level of courage. But he is at least aware that it's probably not safe just to plant churches completely separated from each other, operating completely autonomously. Leaders need to be connected, he says. Now the New Testament description of church that he gives, I'll just interpose some of my own commentary on his view. He gives a flat and egalitarian model of the church. Egalitarian means Democratic house. Church networks are very he in his description of acts. He really doesn't say a word about the apostles. Did you see that? I don't know if you read that. He didn't even mention the apostles. That's the most distinctive thing about the early church. They continued in the Apostles Doctrine. The early church was hierarchical. Sooner or later, we're going to have to just we're just going to have to face it. You don't call it a puzzle on the question. You might be hoisted out like an a nice. And so far, the early church was apostolic. It really was. And to define apostle is to be cut off. Really? It's just now. Here's his description of the New Testament church. He really didn't say a word about the apostles.


[00:40:53] He talked about more egalitarian things. You know, they defined as the people in this. He was a little cliche. Believers don't go to church or join the church. They weren't a church. Well, you know, I don't I I read him and I said, what about act two for God? You know, praising God, having people with all the people of 47 to 47 and the Lord add it to their number. Salvation was being added to a to a church. Yes, they did join the church. Well, you know, I just have to put that in. You know, it's hard for me to wait. I realize it. You know, you sort of give a little bit and then I'm we're supposed to wait, but it's hard the way he talked about each person being a minister. He doesn't really say anything about the role of the apostles. Each each person got on the job training to make disciples. And he has is a very interesting concept that faith was practiced in family, spiritual families and that in homes. Now most of quieter in this very few pages that you read. And I'm very hoping that our Gen X folk will come for break it down for us and the way we see it. Anyone who read Kreider saw that he believes that those between 18 and 35 are the most likely to to to be influenced by Hastert's networks theory. He said both, although he does mention that both Gen X and older generations are finding it harder and harder to find existing forms of church. Existing one scans that where they can find their niche or experience reasons for for why they can enthusiastically participate in church. In other words, it's sort of difficult for them. Both old and young people, he said, are finding American versions of the church sort of drab and uncompetitive now.


[00:42:52] But he says that younger generations will take the lead in starting new house churches and in-house church networks because they will thrive in a new one skin that fits their generation's need for authentic relationships. Essentially, Kreider views house tours to networks as a way to contextualize why the wine skin of a free for generations looking for dependable, meaningful relationships. I am going to testing on that. I'll just tell you, if you don't if you don't understand that about Kreider, you simply won't understand his book at all. That's his point. House Church is a way of forming relationships in community that really take the generations. The younger generation especially, they're all looking for deep, meaningful relationship, connection with their peers and significant interaction with older generations. Now he has this extended quote where he talks about spiritual fatherhood and and family life. That's pretty interesting. He talks about imparting spiritual fatherhood, feels a void, closes the gap of broken relationships between the young and the old, old and young. The generations must learn to work together. The hearts, the older generation must be to release the younger generation to fulfill the Lord's call on their lives. He talks about a back to the future sort of style. We need to take a step back in time. Learn from the new test matured to help us solve problems of our modern day church dilemmas. He thinks that house churches are in the Western world. They're in their infancy stage. We have a lot to learn, but we have a great pattern. So he is saying we can learn a lot about the way churches function by going to the New Testament. And he makes a distinction between cell churches and house churches. Perhaps you saw that cell churches function.


[00:44:52] You know, he said they really they have become robust in the last 20 years of sort of due to a lack of vitality in the traditional church. And he gives these hyphenated phrases about the traditional church building down clergy centered, isolated, ineffective witness, a spectator mentality. And so he said a lot of churches because of this sort of sort of worn out. But to use Vinous language by the church, what they did is they started these small groups. Virtually every church, he says, every denomination has sort of gone to small groups to sort of recenter, real, authentic ministry, give on the job training for leaders, give a hands on experiences and so on. So cell groups are, he said. They're great for equipping. They're a natural setting for evangelism. You can bring you can evangelize as a team. You bring people together or you can pray for them together. And, you know, it's a loving environment to draw new believers in. And David chose church, which is just extraordinary. I don't know if you guys know this, but I think ten of the top dozen churches in the world are in South Korea, the largest Presbyterian Baptists, Pentecostal churches, all Korean churches. They all use this sort of model. By the way, they are a utterly communitarian culture. I mean, and which sometimes we don't you know, the data doesn't sort of reflect that they want to associate together. We're very, very unlike that. So David Cho, in fact, has become a star. He mentioned that multitudes of cell churches have emerged which cut through and transcended denominational lines. Most denominations have some form of sale churches. Many have started to sell churches. They've transitioned to cell based ministries. Others have developed cells within their current church structure.


[00:46:53] The bottom line for Kreider, as I read him, is that cell churches continue to function mainly within traditional church structure. That's what makes them sort of ineffective. They're sort of complementary ministries to a larger Sunday church gathering. So there are larger meanings linked to these smaller cell meetings. And the cell meetings create new bureaucracy, cell leaders, assistants, zone pastors, all of whom are accountable to the church leadership team. It becomes weighted now. And they require church building, he said. Cell churches tend ultimately to require more things that cut down on their dynamism. You need a church building headquarters to accommodate various church functions, since the cell is just a part of a church and not a church itself. It needs all these other things. So he said, you know, you can bring vitality. It's a wonderful way to sort of help in some church growth. But. It's different from house search. And this is where he's you know, he's defining church in a different ways. House church are not parts of a larger church. They are viewed as real, bona fide little churches, he says. Each house church functions as a complete little church. It's not liberal leader or assistant leaders, but rather a spiritual father or mother who functions as an elder along with a small elder leadership team for the little church. By the way, you don't tell us where this team comes from or how to form the team or anything like that. I don't you know, I mean, immediately I was wondering, okay, now. Okay, this is this is a pretty tall order for ten folk. You got to you got to spiritual fatherhood. You've got a leadership team. I mean, I'm not quite sure. And maybe you guys could see more.


[00:48:41] But in in talking about how sports networks, they don't need a church building, their fully functioning church in itself. They can leave the home the simple, easily reproducible. They create platforms for gift identification. People can find their gifts. Are they effective in showing forth the transforming power of Christ in our neighborhoods and community? He also says about them they focus on relationships. They're very effective in reaching the laws and raising spirits of fathers and mothers in house. This is very important for us who are an urban ministry. Do we find leaders from outside our focus or from within in the people that God leads to us? You see, if that house churches allow you to train people in house. Now, he didn't say why or how, but I'm very curious. I hope you will see more who serve and care for their family. He he makes the comment, I think, which is pretty striking. There are over 1600 house churches can be found on web pages in the US alone. It's growing. He's saying there are more and more house church networks that are making it. Now, he actually I guess these guys, everybody is in a revolution, new reformation of calls, house church networks, a new reformation. It's going to transform the form and look of the church today, how it's going to shift from homes to buildings. Actual churches are going to be put in these homes, not Bible studies or sale groups. These churches are going to have their own elders collect ties and offerings. Leadership will be responsible to the Lord for the people. They will they will be connected to others in in their city or region, keeping them from pride, exclusiveness in heresy. Although he didn't tell us how again and house churches will rapidly reproduce themselves with no need to buy property, construct of churches, gain staff, etc..


[00:50:33] So. So he wants to say to me, as best as I can see, that house church networks are a form of contextualization in American subculture, especially for young people. Contextualization is an important missional concept. It means that missionaries all over the world adopt the forms of communication and express the gospel to a receiving culture in ways that he can understand. And he is saying that we really understand Gen-X characteristics, especially. We're going to see that they would be far more open to meeting and congregating as a church in a home, in a house church than they would in a in a in a traditional church. And he gives reasons why they're less concerned about structure in hierarchy. They're disconnected and feel a real sense of disconnect with traditional churches. They don't mind starting small, informal fellowships that meet in homes or coffee shops or warehouses or fast food restaurants or industrial complexes. He is he is being descriptive here. He is saying that there are actual churches that are meeting in places like this, and they are young people and they focus on relationships because this is just a distinctive thing of Gen-X culture, he says. They're loyal to one another above everything else, and that translates into love and concern that can really grow. He actually quotes Barna. I don't know if you guys saw that, which is great. He says, You know, in one place, you know, this is very significant. What regardless of what you think of Crider, a Barna. Barna is just Barna is is just peerless in his social research. There's really Barna is just he could be one of the most quoted Christians in North America. I mean, he is just he's just he's just a factory of of of I mean, really, the Barna Group is just extraordinary researchers.


[00:52:31] And they study everything. They're just wonderful, really. So, I mean, now his is this theology. But, you know, anyway, in the book The Boiling Point, look at these facts that Kreider quotes. He's quoting Barna about Gen X is the largest single generation in the history of humankind. There are more Gen-Xers 18 to 25 year old people worldwide than any other. And he said that it's becoming a world culture. Michael Jackson can go to Iceland and pack up a stadium of 75 people. How can a black boy from Detroit go to Iceland and 75,000 Icelanders show up with iPods? Come on, man. He's saying that it's really, you know, world cultures. It's becoming a global culture. And frankly, Gen-X generation is is doing a lot to impact that. And then he makes the proper prophetic. It's sort of not very not very deep insight. It's sort of a but but it's important one. He says that Gen X, therefore, in the decades to come, are going to dramatically impact the nature of church. The church is going to be with young people. Make it no matter what we say. I'm very concerned about about the businesses and the pillars. And, you know, no, I'm not quite literally, I think that the younger generation, when they, in fact, have the church, this is I just think that and I'll say this, I think the creator of all the books makes more sense on this point than anybody else. He says that you can take whatever you want to say. And and Barna has a lot of this as we go into deeper into Bonner, Boehner will say, you can say what you want, but these are the people who are going to be running the church. So you better get you better.


[00:54:23] You might, as you say, whatever you want, but they're going to be in charge one day soon. So you can say if you like it or not, call them unbiblical, but you will. You'll be an old person. They'll be shoving you aside, visiting you in a nursing home, wiping spittle from your blood, you know, reading you Bible after they came from the church on the green, you know, you're part of their mission. The point is, is that he's right. Young people are going to determine the church and we better find out a way of he's saying, okay, the crowning standard for the house church is that and I love this about this brother. He said, say what you want and say about all the sale and house. But the bottom line to discern a healthy, healthy house church is it gives very biblical things. Loving the Lord, loving each other, reaching the laws, loving the rest of the body of Christ. Very, very powerful and very, very important. So we we will end with that. Just a couple of comments about more. It's hard to say a lot. He he's very concise. He says, I like this quote by more, though everyone personally needs a church it be good for moral environment to talk this hurting and confuse world needs the church it needs more churches is it? And he begins this story with this classic story of shoeshine brother, a Detroit guy, boss man. I'm a church man. He talks about African-Americans. I appreciate that so much. Guys, you realize that very little is spoken about the role of the church there would be. I can't even begin to fathom my own doctoral work is on the role of the church quite literally in this country.


[00:56:16] I studied King, I studied black nationalism. In all of that, I've read virtually everything that has to do with black history in the 20th century. It's my field of study. I am telling you, you cannot speak intelligently about African American life and not talk about church. I mean, it's just it's just you can't even do so if you were interested in this. These are some superlative resources. Oh, see, Eric Lincoln and Lawrence Mamiya have written a book. It's 15 years old now, but it is for those of us interested in urban ministry. This is the book I'm telling you, these are the best. See, Lincoln did the definitive work on the black Muslims. He is just brilliant beyond words. His work is just worthy of the black church. In African-American experience, they trace it humanly media. They do a spectacular job. Here is a guy a day hands buyer who writes to me two of the most significant books on African-American religion. He talks about, you know, he he in these books, it talk very specifically about the black spiritual movement. All of those churches on the strip that are barely 15 to 30 people in the mega cities. Most people wouldn't understand this, but it was a religious response to racism or the largest single migration in American on American soil took place after the Second World War. 4 million blacks came from the south and migrated up north. They were they were pushed out of the south by racism, poor, by the lure of northern jobs. They had no community. They were not welcome anywhere. And they actually formed churches to give some sense. That's why you wrote it sociologically. It was a religious bond to racism before someone criticizes storefront church. Be black for a little while, okay? I'm just, you know, I don't typically y'all know me.


[00:58:16] I never talk about that. But I'm saying that millions of people, including my dad and mother after World War Two, came up north and there was nothing for them, no place to go. You couldn't vote, no school, nothing. The church was the only alternative for them. And quite literally they preferred the small church because many of them were from small churches down south. So he says that we can understand. This not in the way. As a brother, you should write down a book if you really want to read. Something totally fascinating is called Black Religion by a fellow named Joseph Washington who essentially says that a lot of urban spirituality is non Christianity. It's a mixture of folk, religion and bizarre whatever. He wrote this book in the sixties, won all kinds of awards. Got a wonderful tenured position, the University of Chicago, and a few years later wrote one of the most virulent attacks on own of repudiating his own thing. I don't know if you had a bad experience with the University of Chicago, but you wrote this book on Black Religion that said that the black church should just disband, be folded into white churches. I mean, that's essentially what the thesis of the book is. And then a few years later, he wrote a book on the Black Messiah and Black Theology and Black Power. Very confused, Robert. But but if you if you want to read something and all I'm saying is that you cannot look in certain cultures as religion is the only issue. People are ostracized. They broke. They got no money. Where do you fall in love? Where do you find leaders? How do you become a person when your manhood and everything is thrown? You can't be first in nothing.


[01:00:06] You're never taught in your first name, ever. Millions of blacks migrated from the South, formed into churches, and quite literally, those churches were their lifeline. So before we are critical of that, we need to understand what we're talking about. Please. I mean, I have to say that with tongue in cheek, but quite honestly, we need to understand the scholarship behind most religious responses in the city or are due to very definable sociological pressures. And if you strip them from those pressures, then quite literally, you just you know, one of the simplest thing here. Martin. Martin King would have went to he would have went to an evangelical school. They would have let him apply and they wouldn't. Larry King wanted to go to an evangelical school. Boston was always cool, never letting me. I hate to say that that's just evangelicals. You just. Anyway. I'm sorry. I'm wasting your time and mine. More yours and mine. It's actually my time as a professor, I guess so. I'm wasting my time. I'm wasting my time, you know? Okay. Thank you very much. Thank you very much. Okay. Anyway, I think that we can sort of summarize more pretty quickly and let's go on and just discuss the rest of the time and sort of open it up for quieter more than others on page 11 or experience. Now, more than say this, but this is what I think you're saying. Your experience of the church can shape your view of the church. If you had a bad experience in church, then you're not a real objective researcher on the church. You're going to probably be negative, you know, and he makes these sort of claims, look, if you you know, if you went to church and your experience was raw or, you know, city, what if you had major changes in your life, either positive or negative or, you know, you had a dynamic, positive experience in church or you had a painful experience of church.


[01:02:17] He just says that, look, no matter what you say, you can't draft views of the church impersonally and isolated. Who you are determines your view of church is what he says. And then he just out of nowhere, just his church planning is the number one method of evangelism. I wish he had led up to that a little better, but. He didn't. And his book is thin. And so we will give him, you know, his method of analysis of the Simpson playing. He is going to just in this very small book, he's going to take a look at the New Testament Book of Acts and then use that as a primary guide to sort of understand what church is, which planning is, which which. Planning ministry uses Pentecost as the Foundation for World Evangelization. And at the very bottom of page 11, work of church planning by the Apostles and their assistance in acts is merely encountering people who were at Pentecost. That's really that's an ingenious way of looking at church Pentecost planet, the initial seed for church planning in many areas of the world. So he he is going to take the position that church planning is not just what people go. It's God following only human beings. And something happens to human beings that make, you know, the Lord through the Holy Spirit started the church planning movement at Pentecost. And so He turns Pentecost into a principal. The Lord always prepares the way and lays the foundation for all fruitful church planning activities. Okay. Well, we have a little bit of time to discuss both Crider and Moore and how you see them relating to either Bonner or Garrison. What do you think of Kreider and more? What do you think of their arguments? What questions.


[01:04:05] KING Come to mind when you. Looked at them. Yeah. This is very, very significant. What you're what you're saying that there is no question my son Daniel is a part of a sort of a punk rock community. He is. He is he is undeniably Christian, as was his brother and sister. But Daniel can quite literally sit at his computer and plan a three week tour all over the country where he's going to stay and everything from his computer in a couple of night, all on the basis of friends. A friend who knows, a friend who. And I mean everything. I mean, all his food. Where he's going to stay is all taken care of. Three weeks he went he literally went from all over. All over. They they went as far west as I think this last time was Denver and all the way all the way to New York City, all up and down the coast, all throughout the southeast, and all on the basis of just. You've never met any of these guys, never met any of the people. Point in the whole video now? No, I'm just saying that that is a dramatic difference. That is a culture. I'm constantly trying to tell him, brother, don't you want to try to be a church planner while you come out of it? You know, I'll try to work. But, you know, for all the reasons that Matt said, it's a different culture. It's different, you know, quite literally. Here's another example of their culture. Daniel holds what he calls the icy tea fest. He will invite 40 bands from around the country who will who will meet here for four days in Wichita. And they will play at all venues Eagles, lodge, art galleries, everything all nonalcoholic, all done by phone.


[01:06:02] And he's like the producer. My son is becoming the Quincy Jones of punk rock. But what I'm just saying, can you imagine any of our generation able to do that, to bring people from all over? Just. Just normal. All those relationships. It's a brand new culture. It's a dramatic it holds dramatic promise. Dramatic promise. However, we sort of think about it.