Urban Church Planting - Lesson 3

Alternative Forms of Spirituality and Church

In this lesson, we explore alternative forms of spirituality and the role of the church in responding to them. Alternative forms of spirituality are non-traditional ways of seeking meaning, purpose, and connection with the divine. In evaluating alternative forms of spirituality, we consider criteria like truth, coherence, and goodness, and compare them with Christianity. The church has a role to play in understanding and engaging with alternative forms of spirituality, and offering a Christian response that is both compassionate and truthful.

Don Davis
Urban Church Planting
Lesson 3
Watching Now
Alternative Forms of Spirituality and Church

EV327-03: Alternative Forms of Spirituality and Church

I. Introduction to Alternative Forms of Spirituality

A. Overview of Alternative Forms of Spirituality

B. Characteristics of Alternative Forms of Spirituality

C. Types of Alternative Forms of Spirituality

II. Evaluating Alternative Forms of Spirituality

A. Criteria for Evaluating Alternative Forms of Spirituality

B. Comparison with Christianity

III. The Role of the Church in Responding to Alternative Forms of Spirituality

A. Understanding and Engaging with Alternative Forms of Spirituality

B. Offering a Christian Response

IV. Conclusion

A. Summary of Alternative Forms of Spirituality

B. Importance of Responding to Alternative Forms of Spirituality

  • 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
Alternative Forms of Spirituality and Church
Lesson Transcript

[00:00:00] The subject this evening. Subject of our. Our discussion. Our. Dialog in a few moments is about alternative forms of spirituality and church. Now on your outline, I gave you a quote that I won't read by Bob Weber. Bob Weber is a is a one. He was one of my professors at Wheaton, and he is probably arguably the most significant writer on church history and tradition that lives. As a matter of fact, I am very, very much thinking of changing the second half of this course into a discussion of Weber view on the Christian spirituality which I am convinced of as urban church is one of the simplest, easy, most reproducible ways to form lasting, strong churches in a credible historical and biblical way. As a matter of fact, I think I'm very, very close to doing that. I think that by the time we finish in this first half of this course, we will have exhausted a lot of what we want to talk about in terms of church planning movement. And I would like to then go very, very practical. I believe that if the Lord were to wake me up and give me the assignment done, I'd like you to plant 1500 churches in the next ten years. The Bob Weber is a way for us to think about that. Weber has a way that I think that with very little tweaking, we could really plant churches, raise up a whole generation of leaders, even among those who are illiterate. And he centers it in ancient Christianity. As a matter of fact, the name of he has a whole series of books called Ancient Future Faith, Ancient Future Time, his his heart is on. How do we form spirituality among people that is valid where Christ is the source, the church is the context where depth is the issue and how do we keep that going? And he says, look, we don't have to go very far.


[00:02:03] He calls it it's in the literature. It's called Christian Years Spirituality. It's on ordering our spiritual lives. Most of us, at the very least, celebrated Christmas and Easter, you know, at least, you know, maybe you know, I mean, you might if you. How many of you growing up celebrated Maundy Thursday. A sentence under sentence on what the basic thesis of this and we will get into this sometime in the future. I really am. I'm thinking of just canceling the second half of this course and redesigning it around Webber's thing so we could really understand how we could train a whole generation of leaders and members of urban churches and give them really want them in the story in the life of Christ. And we use the Christian Year as a way to do that is very, very elegant, quick. It's powerful and important, especially for us, those of us who love the city and want to train. By the way, it's been done successfully for centuries anyway, so it's not a new thing. Well, anyway, I thought that with that introduction of Webber and on your outlines that I would give you a sort of a sense of Webber. Webber begins his talk about spirituality and church, not with the latest fad, not with the latest research, but with with his own understanding of the Bible of God purchasing it in his own blood, in the covenant between God and his people, ratified by his blood, in everything that Webber ever writes. He believes that that we as a worshiping community in this age of the church are we get our power because the Holy Spirit is in us. It has nothing to do with structures and models and those sort of things.


[00:03:56] And that's really what I think we need to discuss today. We need to talk about an ecclesiology and what it's rooted in. Everything that we're talking about in church planning movements assume that we know what we are saying when we use the word church in ecclesiology today, I think we will be able to see very clearly what Barnaby's and we'll also be able to see with Cryder, who, by the way, I'll just tell you guys, I think is the best book of all of them in terms of missional stuff. In other words, those of us who are really interested in doing what we can do to see God raise up a generation of churches that will not only survive but thrive in the city. I'm not saying that I agree with what he says about house churches. I do completely agree with what he says about giving the Lord the freedom to use any sort of church model with any sort of group for whatever reason that is best. I like he's closer to biblical freedom than to me about any one of them. And I'll explain to you what I mean on that. Well, I want to spend most of my time quickly before we dialog on Barn Burner really exposes everything that I think we need to know about the issue of church and how he defines church and what that means for us and what insights we can gain into to Barna, his view of church and what that means for us as we sort of I'm allowing Bonnar to sort of set the course of the discussion. We'll discuss him and then we'll look at Garrison, Kreider and more after the break today. Well, Varner begins by giving us in this section to me, I believe is most important section in the book of the attributes of the early church.


[00:05:51] He gives us his ecclesiology, which defines the seven core passions of revolutionary spirituality. In other words, Barna, if you read him carefully, boneta certain passages of acts, and then out of those passages he induced seven things that he said are the real core passions of what it means to be a church man or a church woman. What the early church was, why it was revolutionary. And in some ways, by design, this revolutionary spirituality he's talking about is actually rediscovering these seven core passions in a new way. So to begin our our time with Barna on page 29, he says, he says whether you become a revolutionary, immersed in, minimally involved in or completely disassociated from a local church is irrelevant to me. He's making it plain now. There's no no doubts. We know what he is saying and what the what the church is about and within boundaries to God. What matters is not who you associate with. That is a local church, but who you are. So let's get this plain. He is defining spirituality separate from your involvement in local church, who you are. And you have nothing, absolutely nothing to do with whether or not you are in a local church. I thought it was pretty important. You're reading. The day, the scripture I gave you the chapter was first Corinthians 12 for ourselves, for the body does not consist of one member, but of men that the food should say, Because I am not a hand, I don't belong to the body. That would not make it any less part of the body. And of the years would say, because I'm not and I do not belong to the body, I would not make it any less a part of the body.


[00:07:45] If the whole body were not, where would be the sense of hearing the whole body, one ear? Where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body. That's really key to understand. Varna God arrange the members in the body, each one of them as he chose. If all were a single member. Where would the body be as it is? There are many parts. You had one body. Well, Barnard gives us the marks of the church. He doesn't use the reformation marks. By the way, you Bible scholars. What are the reformation marks of the church? We've already talked about the Nicene Marks one. Yes. One. You're exactly right. Holy water. Yeah. Yeah. Those are the reformation marks. The word rightly breeds discipline, rightly or order. Government is rightly administered sacrament, word and discipline. All the Reformation bonds. He doesn't refer to those. He doesn't refer to the Nicene Marks, one holy Catholic Apostolic Church. He he is giving us seven brand new marks that sound very modern to me. Well, his seven core passions of the church and by design of a new revolution are these number one intimate worship. Every believer is expected to worship God every day, both in private and in the company of other believers. Number two, faith based conversations. That's an interesting mark. The evangelistic efforts of the first believers were carried out through preaching low key, high impact conversations about truth and purpose, prayer, performing members, miracles to foster, to discuss the source of their power and the joy filled perspective they had toward God and life that created interest in their lives. Number three, the third mom core passion of revolutionary spirituality, intentional spirit to grow the church in Jerusalem. Endeavor to learn more about the Christian faith and apply the principles of Jesus teaching.


[00:10:12] These are summary sentences that I derived from Barna as best as I can to sort of explain these marks. Mark number four is Servant Hood. The early church fostered notion that serving other people was the best means of demonstrating the example that Jesus had set for them. Number five, resource investment. The first Christians define communal living through their sacrificial sharing of everything they had. Number six, spiritual friendships. The church was all about relationships. Now, see, I love that that phrase. I didn't. I didn't. It's too sweet to clutter up. The church was all about relationships. That's news to me. But number seven, families say the Christian families taught the ways of God in their homes every day. These passions, guys, as best as I can read are. Is close. Is Bonnar is going to come for us for genuine spirituality and genuine Christian community. These these seven. Now the implication of these passions in the language, you know, to me is very powerful that he he he did not, in fact, allude to or reference any of the classic historical markers of the church. These are new. The language is new. All of this is modern, is very western. It really says nothing, frankly, to me about the the apostolic nature of the church. That's what makes them most troubling. Not not that these aren't good things. But he doesn't mention the apostles, which is just just frightening. If if if you can really talk about the church and don't need the apostolic witness of it, that's very powerful to me. Well, anyway, the implications are playing. These are his in his own words. Professional faith must be supported by a lifestyle that is key on page 25, the lifestyle is what is central in his marks of the church.


[00:12:26] Church is about a way of life in a kind of relationship, either between believers or in families or whatever. And this lifestyle is to provide irrefutable evidence of your complete devotion to Jesus. So you need to understand the lifestyle takes precedence even over the actual church itself. The church really is the greenhouse where lifestyle and friendships and relationships really grow. He distinguishes between the church as external programs and the calling to become Jesus clones. I think that is a very important thing. No, I'm not trying to. I'm trying to. I want to read him as carefully as possible. But I think that that in his understanding of the church, Barna is really helping us really sort of come to grips that in a real sense, the local church can't church real church in the early church had nothing to do with offices, programs, buildings, you know, budgets and those sort of things. It had to do with really being completely committed to Christ at the in the first paragraph on page 26. He says that he died Jesus because he loves you and me. He wants an everlasting relationship with us. And He expects that connection to be so all consuming that we we become wholly transformed. Jesus clones, if you will, indulge the expression. And so I did. I mean, I think that's very important. A Jesus clone. He is really I don't think he's really kidding. Christianity is about becoming like Christ in a local church, in fact, does not help you to become more like Christ. It is really invalid. It's not helpful. The only reason the church exists, it's a mechanism, he says. An instrument to make this Christ likeness real is very important. I just want to at least I want to give you the sense.


[00:14:37] I also thought it was very, very notable on pages 26 and 27 that he talks about warfare as the context of revolutionary Christianity, the capacity to be Christ like, although albeit it's defined in individual terms of doing whatever you have to do to prove that you fear God, love him, and serve Him. By the way, the you is all individual in that the church is a place where I, Don Davis, can really, in fact, do whatever I need to do to prove that I fear God and looking with my whole heart and therefore become increasingly Christ. So the status of the church, this is the logic to me. Obama he defines these core marks of the church, gives us the implications of them. And now he is going to use that as a yardstick to measure what church is really taking place in the world today. I mean, the whole next chapter is on using these markers is as a as a real standard. If these are the passions of revolutionary Christianity and community, he's going to say, let's really take these markers, turn to church involvement in America, 77 million strong, and let's see if the church really is, in fact producing people who are Christ like and revolutionary as defined by these seven marks. He draws a distinction between your status and involvement in a local church and who you are spiritual. I just sort of put this quote that I began this section and again, because it's so important, whether you become a revolutionary, immersed in, minimally involved in or completely disassociated from is irrelevant to me. That's just very important to get to me. You can appreciate Barna if you don't really receive this argument. To me this is the core argument.


[00:16:39] Environment is that regardless of where you are on the continuum of church, immersed in it, saw in it, never go to it. That's irrelevant because what really matters is the sort of person you are and whether or not whatever involvement you have is actually contributing to your own lifestyle and relationships of Christ likeness. So this is the logic of the logical approach. If the local church is God's answer to our spiritual needs, then why are most church Christians so spiritually mature and desperate? That's just a totally important question. You see his logic if in fact, he says, look, for those people like myself who believe that the local church is the only game in town, there is no spirituality apart from the church. In my mind, I'm simply an old school. If you really if you turn your back on the church, you're either really, really in error or you're just lost. I mean, that's my own view of the church. I'll just come out of the closet and see that right now. But but but he is saying that if if Don, if you're right and the local church really is that answer there, why are so many church people's lives so completely, utterly devastated? They're not spiritual, nor are they mature. And so get his logic on page 30, he said, if the local church were the answer, we should be able to see two things. Two things would be clear if the local church is in fact, with what we're saying, it is one people who are involved in a Christian congregation would be more spiritually developed than those who don't. In other words, if the church really is the answer, people going to church is going to actually make a difference that we can actually see and try.


[00:18:34] He's a researcher, so he doesn't care what I think he wants to see. He's looking to 70, 70, 77 million and wanting to see if there's something there. In the end, he said, secondly, not only would they be more spiritually developed, but church Christians would increasingly reflect the principles and characteristics that Scripture tells us are the mark of Jesus as true disciples. The marks that he'd just come. So this is this is I've done AUSMIN. He was here with us last time we met. We gave him a copy of the book and he read it on the way home and he wrote me a long email, I mean, like a tomb of an encyclopedia, you know, and, and, and it was on the illogic ivana's research propositions here. There are 10,000 reasons why a church, a legitimate church, why, why, why, why those members in the church might not be doing well without blaming the church. And he just laid all those out, Don. I mean, it's the thing, you know, and I was really tempted to give you that. But let's let's let's stay with Brian for a moment. On page three, I have summarized about ten pages of Bonner's research in Single Sins is essentially he looks at the 77 million American adults who are churched, who are born again, and yet who do not conform to the seven core passions of revolutionary, transformative Christian experience regarding worship, the worship, many of these people. And he gives all these numbers, but the vast majority in all of these categories are the worship of church Christians. When you ask them about it, the worship is weak, it's not compelling, it doesn't benefit them, and it doesn't carry over in their every day. In other words, many of the families, as you can recall, he says that not only is the worship that they experience on Sundays or whatever day in their local church is not really happening.


[00:20:42] But it doesn't really challenge them to worship even more in their own lives. Families don't worship. Worship is dry toast. It's it's boring. And and this is this is from the mouths of church folk, he said regarding faith based conversations, which is a very weird phrase, faith based conversation. I don't I don't I'm not sure of my mother who died last year, lived her whole life essentially from a child in Christ and never would have probably understood her testimony as a faith based conversation. What is it? Have you ever considered your own walk in the Lord or testimony as a faith based conversation? I mean, that's I'm just saying that's unusual language in. I mean, you all are looking at me. I assume. I assume you've thought about it. It is unusual to me. Faith based conversation. You say it in light of that, though. Most Christians who go to church, they really don't. They're ignorant. They have unfruitful conversations. They do not intercede for others. And they have no focus on outreach. They really don't know how to share their personal testimony. And so their faith based conversations are either kneel to not like non faith based conversations regarding emotional spiritual growth. Most churched Christians, he says, have a non biblical worldview. That that that when you ask them, they will say it doesn't affect their daily lives or their decision making. They spend more time watching TV than reading scripture, and they define success in completely secular, not spiritual terms, which is very, very powerful, as a matter of fact. By the way, Don, who is who is Don Osmond, my friend who is in leadership in a church in Burbank, said he completely resonated with this part of Obama's book. He said that this this he thought was the best of everything that Barna said.


[00:22:52] He is cutting it right to what really is being experienced by many, many people in the church. I mean, just a non biblical worldview. Very little intercession, very little beneficial worship. Define themselves in utterly non non spiritual terms as as regarding the fourth mark a resource investment. I thought this was just very important. I wanted to give this specific data. He gave only about 3% of their income. Of these give anything the outreach and there are very few titles, he said, of those who go to church with very narrow views of stewardship and very few examples where you could ask people who went to church that when you ask them when when you gave money to this, that or the other, are you convinced that it actually had an impact and made a difference? The vast majority of people who go to church said, no, it's a wash. You put money in the plate and you don't know where it's going, what it's for, and there's no way to track it. No, I don't believe that that we're investing well. I think that was very powerful, very important regarding servant hood. He said that the vast majority of him these are he's giving very specific things. Eight out of ten, seven out of ten, whatever. But very few volunteers most time of of the time that is given to serve. Most of that is given to fellow congregants with no interaction whatsoever. Most church people with anyone disadvantaged, they don't see anyone. They don't they never talk to them. None of their church. No one in their church really knows any of those people. And those people have nothing really to do with our lives. And he he says that most of them who are, in fact, in these church settings in America focus on giving to organizations like World Impact and others who serve disadvantaged rather than doing that personally.


[00:24:58] It's easier, cleaner, more efficient to send a check to the mission that actually goes ahead and does that. Regarding spiritual friendships. I thought this was very, very interesting, he said. He said there is little spiritual accountability among most church people, and the preaching and the counseling that they get from their pastors and friends respectively have very little impact on their lives. In other words, no one goes to church to find a word to shape their life. That's the way I read this. There are friendships, there are acquaintances, but they're not the sort of things that in an emergency you would go to. I must get to church to find out what I need to do on this out of the other issue. The heart of it is that most of the impact come from messages of media, law and family members. Which I would have loved to sing that instrument. I mean, that's a that's a that's a unique combination. Media law and family members. But I'm sure you asked the question and that was the data you got back. That's what he said. And then finally, regarding family faith, he said that most church members rely on the church to train their children spiritually. Most church families have little worship outside of the church. The church members have the same rate of divorce as unchurched members, and there's very little facilitation of spiritual development by Christian parents. So essentially it paints a pretty to me. I mean, if you follow his logic here, the march of the church is that we should see the marks. We use the marks to search what's there. It's weighed and found wanting. So the implications of this is that he begins in one of the rare places in his book where he's really positive about the church.


[00:26:56] It's a paragraph. If you turn to page 36, it's just too these these moments are too rare not to take advantage of to me at the bottom of page 20 of 30, 35, in the top of page 36. The point of this exercise, bottom of page 35, first full paragraph is not the best. The local church. Christian churches have incredible have an incredible 2000 year legacy of pursuing God and faithfully doing his work. An extraordinary repository of life changing results emanates from the work of churches. It is horrifying to imagine that the world, what the world would be like if the local church had not been present to represent Jesus in manifold ways. It is not a perfect group of people or a perfect institution. It is populated by servants like you and me, whom God dearly loves, despite our debased nature and despite its faults and flaws. A spiritual, healthy church will always have a valid and valuable role within God's Kingdom on Earth. I wipe the tears from my eyes slowly as I read this and meditated on it. But he goes right into the next paragraph to give you the real sense of the force of what he just said. The point here is simply to recognize that if we place all our hope in the local church, it is a misplaced hope. Many well-intentioned pastors promote this perspective by proclaiming, quote, The local church is the hope of the world, close quote. Like most advertising slogans, this notion is mostly appealing. The trouble is, the sentiment is not biblical. Jesus and Jesus alone is the hope of the world again. Guys, this is very important because he really separates his understanding of Jesus from the body of Christ in us. Jesus is separated from the members of the body.


[00:29:00] I mean, this is very important. The church is not. I'm not quite sure from his ecclesiology what the local church is. Are we are we not Christ presence in the world today? See, that's what that's what I would mean by the body of Christ. We are the literal body of Christ in the world today. But he's he he is really making a distinction between believers in assembly and Jesus of Nazareth. They are not the same. Are y'all reading this wrong or am I reading? I'm trying to read him, truly. I'm not trying to. To me, he's making a distinction between the local church as believers. We're not talking about lost people or weird people. We're talking about born again believers, real ones like us in real churches. Jesus is is is is alone. Not not the body is the hope of the world. The local church is one mechanism gift that that's very important to do. His whole book you should underline that if you did check it, it is a mechanism. It is a means by which it is a it's a macina and it's macina. It's a it's a it's a it's a tool. It's an instrument that can be instrumental. Look at his language. It is a it is a it is a mechanism that can be instrumental, like a stroke screwdriver and bringing us closer to him and helping us to be more like you. But as the research data clearly show, churches are not doing the job. If if the local church is the hope of the world, then the world is has no hope. I think that's one of the most powerful statements I've ever seen by anybody. Since since I've been in theology and studied the church, especially by an evangelical or part of an evangelical church.


[00:30:53] So at the bottom of page three, just a few things before we before I finished my comments and we discussed this together. To me, the elements of Bonner's ecclesiology start to come to too, to clarification them. I mean, we can kind of see what his what his view of the church is. And this is important for us as we are facilitating urban church planning movements. I mean, you can see that if you really stopped with Bonner's research here, it would be hard for you to really justify church planting as a viable strategy. It would be a waste to plant church. Frankly, churches may or may not ten or can not actually further your Christ likeness. To me, these are the elements of His doctrine of the church. The first one involvement in the church is neither essential nor integral to spiritual growth, and it may, in some cases, actually undermine faith. Now. This is. This is important. Nothing is inherently wrong with being a part of it does not make you, quote, saved wholly righteous or godly in any any more than being in Yankee Stadium makes you a professional baseball player. The church has no power in and of itself in this view. I mean, it's it's very powerful to me. It's like a garage of churches, of of churches, a box. There's no organic anything. There's no Holy Spirit. It just it doesn't go in the church doesn't help you one bit. There's nothing in it necessarily. It doesn't. He's very plain participating in those activities does not necessarily draw you closer to God or prepare you for life that satisfies him or enhances your existence. Being a member of a congregation does not make you spiritually righteous any more than being members of the Democratic Party.


[00:32:45] I mean, he just he's making it plain is to me, he's making it very plain. Make you a liberal wingnut. Being in the right relationship with God and his people is what matters. But that's a that's self-contradictory of me. I don't understand what that means. If it doesn't mean that we're in assembly, you know, with pastors and deacons and all the biblical language, scripture teaches us that devoting your life to loving God with all your heart, mind, so strength and so is what honored him. Being a part of a local church may facilitate that or it might not. So very, very powerful. That's one part a second part of his ecclesiology, which to me is just it's stunning. But I love it. I love to engage him. I love to invite him to come. I wonder if he would I actually have pondered whether or not I could get him to come and to share his ideas among us, especially a girl in this sort of urban missions community that we have. We're we're in the church. We are things old church. I'd love for him to come and to talk to us about it. On page four. He says that the modern day concept of a local church is an all biblical phenomenon. The local church that many have come to church services offers those programs. Building ceremonies is neither biblical nor unbiblical. It is obvious like a taco. Or really honestly, that is our biblical. Does it matter whether or not Bonnie came in with a blue sweater or red one? No, it doesn't. If she likes blue, great. If she likes red green, it's biblical. It's not really addressed in the Bible. The churches that we have, spirituality there is defined as best as I can tell from one or not, in terms of church, which is really our biblical.


[00:34:39] But in terms of these disciplines that that that, that define spirituality, the Bible does not rigidly define the corporate practices, rituals or structures that must be embraced in order to have a proper church. It does, however, offer direction regarding the importance and integration of fundamental spiritual disciplines into one's life. So the church is sort of the church with all its you know, with the various things that it has. It has benefits only to the extent that it actually enhances these disciplines. And the practice of the church today is a local church. Local church, as we know it is an interpretation, quote, how to develop and live a faith centered life. These are his words. We made it up. We made up the notion of local church, as we understand it today. It may be healthy or helpful, but it's certainly not sequencing. It means it is not the only mechanism. We shouldn't treat it like that. So what is the nature of the revolution as bonuses? The revolution. The revolution? I said revolution. Falling asleep. The revolution is not about eliminating, dismissing or disparaging the local church. It is about building relationships, commitments, processes and tools that enable us to be God lovers. We were intended to be from the beginning of creation. I'm not quite sure what that means, but it sounds good. The core issue isn't whether or not you're involved in a local church, but whether or not one is connected to the body of believers who are obsessed with practicing the same seven parts of that defense that defined the early church in order to be agents of transformation in the world. I don't again, it's not entirely clear what a body of believers is over against a local church. It's not about a little church, church with a little sea.


[00:36:31] It's about the church with the big sea. So revolutionaries or those who cover the entire spectrum, some of them are pastors, some of them are only nominally involved. Some of them don't go at all. And some, out of extreme frustration, have developed their own alternative means of growing and serving distinct from local church outfits. So the revolution is about recognizing that we're not called a go to church. We are called to be that the church. Now, let me end my statements there, and then we will take now a discussion of one together. To me, this is just great stuff. I don't know how, how, what your impressions are, but I love Boehner. He is clear and unequivocal. He is not trying to hide anything. He is he is he is groundbreaking in his analysis of the local church and its place as an alternative form of spirituality. All this is important in this course. We are talking about facilitating urban church planning movements as the way of understanding the presence of God and Christ in the world. He right up front see us at the local church planning 10 million of them might not get you any closer at all to real, genuine spirituality in Christ likeness among any group. And so what do you think of that? What are your comments, questions, reactions? Have I misread him? I tried to be fair. I essentially bundled. Garrison, Kreider and more this week. And we may do this again because I think in some ways their interpretation of alternative forms of church follow more in sync with both biblical and historical ways of church. Although I think I'm looking forward to really discussing with you guys craters, analogies of of stores, shopping malls, Walmarts, corner stores.


[00:38:44] I think that there is some real benefit to Crider. And we it'll be interesting for us, you know to begin we'll begin now with Garrison and sort of look at his insights on church planning movements in both India and in of China. Then we'll look at Kreider and his discussion of the different kinds of spirituality that come out of church. And we'll close with Moore, who just gives us a good, clean access, biblical sort of summary of the reasons why we should be concerned about the church and church plan. Let's begin then with a garrison on page five. I put one of his quotes now in referring to a particular church planning movement in India. Garrison says on page 37, For those who question whether house churches can stand the test of time, this is very important. By the way, in reading Garrison, in the thousands of churches that he refers to and the explosive multiplying rapid indigenous movements, they are down to virtually down to a person, their house, church movements in these societies. They're not traditional church. They're not community churches. They're not megachurches. They are house churches, which, as you can recall last week of house churches are independent autonomous churches, although it's not entirely clear how the relationship between these churches are and how they govern themselves. I can't I'm still searching for that. A structure in which thousands of house churches would would would be coordinated. It's not clear to me from Garrison how they connect and how how they govern themselves, how they handle CISM and heresy and division and, you know, all the things that churches need to handle, it's not real clear. But still, he said, for those who who question whether house churches can stand the test of time, I don't know if you see this country.


[00:40:51] I'm not. COOPER He points to their alternative. This is one of the one of the leaders in a very robust Indian church planning movement. The empty cathedrals in Europe are silent witnesses to the barrenness of the church. Why continue to imitate a failed model? I think that's a great quote to begin our discussion of garrison credit and more of. I think that that at the very least of Barna establishes that the church is in trouble. However, we want to talk about at least the American church, the 77 million Protestants in speaking in America. But I still think that there is something elemental in the Bible. When you hear Paul talk about the church, regardless of all the things that are going on, Paul can really say that we need each other and we can't do without each other. The I cannot say to the hand, he says in first Corinthians 1221, I have no need of you, nor against the head to the feet. I have no need of you. On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable. And on those parts of the body that we think less honorable, we stole the greater honor. And our own presentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which are more presentable parts do not require. So it's a sort of awkward saying that our weaker parts, the squeaky parts, get the oil, so to speak. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked that. There may be no division in the body, that the members may have the same care for one another. The Garrison's garrison's work can be divided into two different themes, and I cover this essentially in the next pages from essentially page five to page eight.


[00:42:56] Garrison on India and Garrison on China. Pages 34 to 48 or his sort of summary of the church planning movements, he just highlights several. If you look at Garrison's research, he's not saying these are the only movements in India or China. These are ones that are illustrative. They are sort of representative of the sort of movements that are taking place here. Now, the essential nature of church planning movements in India begins with the restoration of a New Testament understanding of church as opposed to the contemporary view of church as a building. Garrison makes this playing whatever church is going to be. It's not going to be a building. I mean, so a church planning movement is not about facilities and properties and vehicles and equipment and stuff like that, he said. These movements defined themselves outside of a building that's very, very powerful. I mean, it seems sort of pedantic, simple, easy, pedestrian, but it really is a dramatically important concept to understand church planning and how to start and multiply rapidly indigenous churches. He said the Indian movements are based on Pope, on the potent combination of biblical teaching, lay leadership in house, church accommodations that steer clear of energy sapping dependency on foreign finances. Now look at that combination, he says. That is the essence of of a rapidly reproducing indigenous movement. It focuses on the word. It multiplies lay leaders, not ordained ones in it, in it, in a and it functions in an informal way. It accommodates itself in houses, in places other than buildings, and it steers clear of being really heavily dependent on outside money. So in a real sense, he in discussing this one church planning movement in India, he said that equipping Indian church movements occurs in the environment of house churches, not in seminaries.


[00:45:09] A house church for them is the place where they do all their business. That's where they worship. That's where they train leaders. That's the way it happens. And there's this one fellow in one of the movements, this country, who was became very robust and very fruitful cause of the 2 to 2 formula. It sounds very much like world impact equipping disciples to plant multiplying churches by multiplying leadership. This is different. If you can see they define second Timothy two to dare not in terms of discipline, but in terms of church multiplication. You've got to see that that's very important. In our own literature, I speak as a world impact missionary. We define second Timothy two two as in one individual teaching, another individual who teaches another individual. That's not the way they define it. Second, Timothy was about equipping disciples to multiply churches. So discipleship is a church multiplication thing, not a not an individual. They're not just focusing on individuals. And so it is a matter of fact, the statement right after that makes plain what they mean by discipleship. We need thousands, hundreds of thousands of pastors, and we can't get them through traditional seminaries. So discipling is training people to pastor. That's that's playing in the church planning movement. That's what that's what it is. It's not just helping believers get on their feet and get established. That's not the way they define a second. Timothy two, two. So one of the Indian one of the Indian church plan movements that that Garrison talks about in his chapter on the India, the missionaries opted for a nontraditional approach where they they offered very short training segments from a few weeks to a few months at a time. In other words, they compressed their training, which is, you know, that really got me, you know.


[00:47:10] Well, I mean, I read this with a mind to plagiarize good ideas. I mean, I'm just telling you. But that's very, very interesting. A few weeks or a few months at a time in as far as I could tell, that's about all of the training those guys got for a long time. Let me put it this way. If you knew for a fact you were only going to have five weeks with someone, that's it. What would you teach them? That's all you were going to you weren't going to have. You were not going to have any more time. You have five weeks and you're done. So what what what would your curriculum be? I'm just saying that having that kind of mind would change the way you would teach. You wouldn't just. You would really have to decide it real quickly. Exactly what are we going to give them and how? Now, among the queen people, the real advance took place among when they began the church planning effort. And he goes into great detail showing that this one group actually grew exponentially when the people themselves began church planning, which which I wish it was more time that we had on that. I thought that was very interesting. But among this, can someone tell me how you see the whole a hodgepodge? How do you say that both are okay? Yeah, it is a hard Hudspeth. Hudspeth speaking people. This is something, Paul, who in our last meeting, Paul recognized of the role that persecution, martyrdom of had and it fuel innovation in their strategy. I don't know if you read that Garrison said that one of the movements or sit out individual church planners and they were all killed. So what they did is they changed their strategy.


[00:49:06] They said, we're not going to do that anymore. We need a two by two approach. And we're not just going to go. We're going to we're going to we're going to adapt. We're going to try to find a person of peace. You're the person of peace. Yeah, the person of peace is a very well healed strategy and mission. And so and he discussed this briefly with this one one people. There's no individualized work. But they they thought in terms of teams of two and they bonded with a person of peace. The goal of the missionary was to go find a single person. You think of the power of that mission. The goal in their mission was to find a person. A household. Just a family. One. That's very that's a totally different I mean, we know of the principle, but we don't actually strategise that way. You say, well, I'm a missionary. I don't do any body's evangelism. I'm looking for a single person who can be the person of peace, who can who can be the leader of this. This this this church in his household and community and become the springboard for real change in it. But that is really he say it is how the Indian church is growing. You can see if that is true. If Garrison's research is true, you can imagine the number of leaders that their movement has. Every single person in their group must be a must be a leader. I mean, they they they absolutely do not define missions as the missionary doing the evangelism in the work. I just want you to understand this, guys. This is really different from world impact. Those of us who are planning churches, the goal is that if you can find a person of peace, you would move on.


[00:50:52] That's very powerful. That would be. Well, we have a few. We have a few. Let me go on. Breathtaking numbers of conversions occur as a result of these strategies. If you look at the that the and it was largely because they were homogenous units. If you look at page 47. You can see some of the numbers. I mean, the numbers are are pretty, pretty amazing. Page 46 and 47. Look at the numbers. The lowest projection to the highest projection of churches, the baptisms that they have. Annually, the new outreach groups, an embryonic church starts 300,000 baptized members over a period of time. It's just extraordinary the number of believers that are baptized and being one. But you can also see their strategy is utterly indigenous, that that is what is playing in garrison. Their strategy is indigenous. They are not doing the work. They are either going to find someone who can do the work or they will in fact move on. It is there is no in. We're not going to plant the church for them either. They're going to do it or there won't be a church. You can see the power of that. It means quite literally that the church takes root in in, in, in Indian culture. I mean, it must. Right. And that's that's my ninth point. Divide power and God's assurance accompanies the movement in garrison says that the very thing that took place in very diverse regions of India are the same things that took place in The Onion in China. Prayer was at the very heart of We're not talking about guys prayer once a week prayer. We're talking about every day. Massive, unbroken prayer. Organized, disciplined, mobilized prayer. And, you know, again, when you're looking sort of doing this reverse engineering, what what role did India generally play? What role did you know? All that we're told? Well, it would the Korean the Korean church, the Korean SEO has ten of the largest 12 churches on earth in SEO.


[00:53:19] And it is, by any standard you could imagine, the most prayerful church I've ever seen hundreds and hundreds of people every morning praying for hours and hours. It's just sustainer movement. So what you're saying is, I don't know if we really have the spirituality to sustain that kind of, but but I'm telling you, persecution and martyrdom and things like that give a reason to pray in a different way. If our friends were being killed and tortured and imprisoned, we would pray differently. I mean, but the point you make is very, very important. By the way, guys, on page 47, while we're there, are there there are two things that should be real interesting immediately worship in their own heart language, their own hymns, and even discipling illiterate people. You can see how they even they disciple. They disciple back. Cassette tapes with scripture in the discipleship is a question How can I be Christ in this situation? I mean, that's a different vision of the sidewalk point of view. That's pretty bare bones by mass there. But but amazingly, it seems to have you know, it's difficult, but it's producing it's producing movements that are sustained. Now, the same thing in China. China on on page 49, Garrison will say that China today is the home of the fastest growing church and the most not the mocked. On page six, you see that there be one. It's at the end of the sentence into the Mott Church. Planning should be most. Most church planning movements on earth are China is China is is is is where the action is according to garrison and he years guys I would just say if you really want a fascinating read you should read very carefully pages 50 and 51.


[00:55:23] He gives one of the most concise and best histories of Christianity in China in two pages that I've ever read. It's just useful and important on page 50 and 51. A stunning growth of Christian commitment in China. The World Christian Encyclopedia, which we have the latest edition in Salem Library in arguably the best resource for Christianity in the world. It is. It's just, if you will, you just have to go look at it. I think. I think of. Did you guys purchase? I don't know if the church the church planning center didn't purchase one of those. Did you have the World Christian Encyclopedia? You have it. I was talking to somebody and they bought it. It is really useful. The work is one of the best things they track as best as they can. The entire Christian movement, all 400,000 missionaries, hundreds and hundreds of different subgroups. It's it's a fascinating bit of scholarship in the 1982 edition of the World Christian Encyclopedia. And they were accused of being overly optimistic when they gave the figure of 1.3 million Christians in China. 18 years later, there are nearly 90 million believers in China. I mean, just explode. You know, there are some estimates of up to 30,000 believers are coming to Christ every day being baptized in China. I mean, there are some it's that high in some some some say it's just incredible. It's just like a fire. I mean, it's genuine, authentic revival. Beyond words. I mean, you cannot control that is missing here. How on earth are you going to have a set of Bible studies that suggest that that's just a divine thing? And by the way, it is exactly right. The Chinese movements are prayer movements. There are just prayer.


[00:57:25] Prayer and mission go together there. And he just plans a typical Chinese church planning movement. He actually, I think, changes to me just to be on the safe side. I may be wrong, but I think he did. He said that these movements came forward because they are allied to Scripture and in an oppressive political environment. They make no political agenda. They don't oppose the state and they meet in houses so they can fly under the radar. So it's it's an incognito sort of movement. It's an underground movement. There's mass interest and crowds. To me, I think that that's just a part of the Lord. So, you know, I don't know if you guys saw some of the meetings that they did find were not all that they were just Christmas, Christmas programs in there standing room only. I just think that is the Lord's own move. That's not the result of discipline. And, you know, great mission strategy. God is just following on the Chinese people. At the top of page seven. I thought it would be interesting for us who are training leaders to see what the Discipleship Training Center curriculum was for them. This is their curriculum. That that they were training many of their leaders in their house church movement with Genesis one through ten. A Life of Christ. The Book of Romans. Jonah. Jonah. Ephesians. How to Study the Bible. How to Teach the Bible in the Impersonal Evangelism. And really, quite literally, if you look on page 57 and 58, most of the training that they offered, they lacked the most basic supplies. They didn't have paper appeared, Bible, even food. There was no place to sleep, even with some of their people. It's amazing. The Chinese church I was Paul was here.


[00:59:21] You could give us eyewitness testimony. He went with a dear friend of ours, David Bridgman, who is I guess I think he's trying to recruit me to go to a team that's going out in 2007. I'm really interested in that. I'd love to see some of these movement. The genuine Chinese church planning movement was characterized by widespread personal and mass evangelism. That is one thing that you get from Garrison's understanding of evangelism and immediate incorporation of new believers into Bible studies for a short period of time. So a lot of evangelism and immediately conserving the fruit of that evangelism. A new art. At the conclusion of the study, they baptize the new believers and then immediately guises is very important for those who want to see a vital church. Immediately after baptism, those who were suitable for leadership were immediately given the responsibilities for the public meetings. I mean, that's after baptism. We're not talking about after years or whatever. They say that this person is a leader, this person, and they immediately put them. I you know, I wish I understood that more. I don't know how they really deal with the whole issue of, you know, lay hands suddenly on know man quickly. But I don't know what that means. But but frankly, what the numbers are dealing with, it makes perfect sense, doesn't it? If you have hundreds of believers who will come to the Lord, how could you wait? You have to find those who are leaders immediately. And then a church planner would stay behind and mentor those who were put in those roles. You can see the difference between church a missionary and their A missionary is not the person doing the work. A missionary is merely facilitating what's there.


[01:01:13] You get the impression of there was nothing there. The missionaries wouldn't have anything to do. You see, what I'm saying is totally different. Mission for us is doing the work we do at all. Everything missions for them is simply facilitating of something they're at. The core of the union movement was a health service model that combined lay leadership development, mutual accountability, biblical authority and rapid reproducibility. You set that, but it doesn't really give us any clue what the authority was. I'm hoping that the more we go into it, we will see how they actually organize these churches that they have elders or pastors or deacons, that they use biblical language. How do they understand that? What is the connection between all these these house churches and how do they how do they hold them mutually accountable and so on? Here is the the Baptist Pouch model that is employed by the strategy coordinator. This is this missionary. By the way, I'm sure that you all got that strategy coordinators who. Strategy Coordinator in garrisons language. That was the prophet for the whole thing. You see the difference. A missionary is a person who thinks globally. He doesn't get involved in the details. Missionaries a person. Bye bye. Bye. What is going on here? He's a person who thinks of the entire movement. Not a person who is just sort of overly concerned at the at the micro level. So this is how they grew. These are the things that he that he said characterized the union movement, participated in Bible study. Obedience is the mark of success unpaid. Multiple leaders sell groups of 10 to 20 believers meeting. See, there is the clue of what a church is to garrison 10 to 20 people. That's it.


[01:03:12] I mean, that's very powerful. You know, that's a brand new that's a whole new way of understanding. CHURCH 10 to 20 people meeting in a home or a storefront as a venue for both church and body one. And there is a there is a hint Garrison talked about that they reached a predetermined size in the they would multiply they met at least twice a week. Did you guys see that? He said that certain of them, certain of the actual house churches met every day. They meet every single day. No wonder they can conserve food. I mean, you know, they meet every day with leadership built into the very structure of church. Life is very, very exciting. In the end, I gave you a summary of the lessons learned from the union movement at the top of page eight. Prayer is the beginning thing here vital for both are reached that should be reached and unreached, genuine people. Prayer is the prayer is the atmosphere of a movement. Prayer. Prayer undergirds everything. They determine the motto as well as teach everything. Emphasize application that knowledge. They included feedback loops to ensure a follow up. In other words, they they're very concerned with tracking every single decision. That's very important to me that this to me, by the way, the is one of the reasons why the why the Chinese church is so impressive. They don't want to they they don't mind mass evangelism, but they are organized not to lose a single convert. That's very, very powerful. You think of those together mass evangelism in a commitment to conserve every single decision quickly. I mean, they're right. Only one person says yes, they've got to get them into a home fellowship. And, you know, I mean, it's it's very, very powerful.


[01:05:04] I mean, you don't typically get those two together. Mass evangelism and complete commitment to incorporate real quickly. Well, everyone had to be. Everything had to be reproducible by the Indian people. If they couldn't do it, it wasn't going to be done. They encouraged right away. I saw that locally produced hymns and praise songs of they had very high marks for their converts. In other words, you're not just going to say you're a convert. You have to prove that you can prove it. I mean, that it's that's the flavor they baptized after the study. You see what I'm saying? It's a little different than us. You're going to prove to us that you are Christian. Then we'll baptize you. Then we'll keep, you know. So they flip flop what we do. We bother here and raise a hand and we baptize that person. They say, No, no, no, no. We need to find out if you really know. We let's see what you know and what you believe are also new. Churches have to quickly assimilate new believers. I love that more than anything. I don't know why that impresses me. This commitment to assimilate new believers right away, multiple unpaid leaders keep the movement going. They're constantly trying to, trying to, trying to keep the movement fresh. They build accountability into the structure. I don't know how he doesn't say how meeting in the homes rather than dedicated buildings allows him to stay under the radar, especially in a persecuted place in the in genuine believers. I have to take responsibility for filling the Great Commission. In other words, they're not remedial church. They're responsible to do mission. They really have to do mission. They expect the genuine church to do its own its own work.


[01:06:48] Very, very powerful to me. I just Garrison was very helpful. And to me as missionaries, I think he at least in his research, there are some things that hopefully we can talk about in the moment that that may relate to us. CRIDER To me this week offered the best insight into it, at least for us in all of the reading on some very important things, largely because Crider really he doesn't use the word Christian freedom, but he really, in fact, advocates free to look at this quote that he gives on page 17 of our reading today, the Lord is using diversified types of structures to build his church. Today, from the traditional church to the emerging house, church networks, God's Spirit is being poured out on His people. Our God is a God of infinite creativity and variety. You see it in His creation from the lonely, graceful giraffe to the multicolored butterfly. It's my conviction that he continues to bless variety and creativity in his church today by the many different structures and methods he uses to accomplish his purposes. Although I sincerely believe I love this is a principle stain, although I sincerely believe the new house church networks are tailor made for today's generation and will be a force to return in the New Testament model of church life. I also believe God is using today's conventional church structures, what I call community churches and megachurches, to play their part in God's future plan. God will build His Kingdom regardless of our models, structures and plans. That's very, very open, reasonable and to me, entirely missional. I must admit his analogy of these churches was one of the best and most useful ways to think of churches. I don't know if it struck you the way it struck me.


[01:08:46] He gave a sense of what he called flexible line skills using Matthew nine and then use a sort of economic metaphor to give us a sense of what he's talking about in the various models and how they apply. Community churches are like corner stores, corner grocery stores. Now, Dan and Warner ministered in Chester and in the big city, Philly, New York. You can tell a corner store it's little. It's a little. You know, you can barely you can spit across the room. It's right on the corner. You go there if you need some milk. Of course, it's five bucks a gallon, but you don't care when you need the milk and the baby screaming. And you know what I mean? You know, everyone in there, they know you. You know, the Clarks is where you live. You know where all the items are. You can immediately comprehend that corner store. You don't need it. You don't need to ask somebody about it. You can just go in and you as you walk in, you can say, brother, where is? And so on. So you sit right over there. You don't have to say, go up that aisle on the last row. It's right there, right for you. You know, I think that's great. The focus is all proximity. It highlights intimacy to me. Megachurches, he said, are like Wal Mart superstore. You need to drive a ways to get to one. The prices are low. There's a huge inventory of consumer products. And you can get every you everything you need in one place all at the same time. It's a great analogy of of a megachurch. There are megachurches. I know friends who pastor megachurches. And I know how they function. They're megachurches of friends that I have that they have.


[01:10:33] You walk into the church and there are screens, panel screens, and you say, okay, where is the 4 to 6 year old thing? You know, where you snake through like a like a thing. You can find out exactly where it is. And, you know, there are signs growing things. Rob Bill, their church bought a mall in Grand Rapids, a whole mall. Their church is in a mall. So, I mean, they're they're you thing is like they've got they're the only church I know that has a Toys R US of a pizza place and stuff in their church. Yeah. I mean, Rob's church is humongous. As a matter of fact, they're of saints where they have several services and there's a there's a platform, a circular platform in the middle of the church in there. There are acres of chairs all around this platform. So as you preach you there's no front. So, you know, you preach over here and then you walk over, you're free to turn back and JumboTrons and everything. I love that. I love big things from a big place, you know? But but but but you can get everything in their church. I kid you not. Their church has 500 small groups. 500. So we're just saying that's a different kind of church. Come on now. That is a Walmart superstore. That's not like the corner store, brother. Where are the eggs? It, you know. No this is the focus is on abundance of services Crider is and highlights the highlights this church highlights being able to access a wide variety of services in one location. I love Cryder because he says we need we need models based on this text that, you know, no one puts a piece of answering cloth on a garment for the patch, tears away from the garment and the worst tears may neither is new one put in the old one skins.


[01:12:34] If it is the skins burst and the wine is spilled and the skins are destroyed. But new wine is put into fresh once skins and so both are preserved. He uses this and then goes into his own experience as a pastor of a megachurch turned cell church to see that new wine skins work. He was a part of a church that was a megachurch. They split it. It became 125 cell groups during the week. On Sunday mornings, they met in clusters of sales or congregations in five different locations. And then several times a year they would meet Sunday morning in a large gym as a church. But but you must understand, all he is saying is that different strokes for different folks, this is freedom. He's not advocating. He's just saying, look, certain generations need this kind of church. Certain certain generations need that sort of church, house, church network. He's flogging this metaphor until it just house. Church networks are like stores in a shopping mall. That's. Very helpful to me. I'm not lying. I need to write him and tell him that. That's helpful. Other stores in a mall, stores in a mall need the others to survive. That's exactly right. When a mall goes down, the mall goes down. You know what I mean? That's and so it's a it's a helpful metaphor. A house church meets these other churches, and they exist together. They need each other. They are individualized and specialized. But they fleur's only when they network together. I must admit, if this is his definition of house served, we might want to consider this in urban America. This may have this weight. This may have some legitimate because he's not too far from storefront. If you just take your house, church out and put a storefront in, then quite honestly, you're you're you're you're right there for for a lot of at least urban, poor, urban, African-American church.


[01:14:39] He said, What I like about it is house churches don't seek to grow larger like community of megachurches. It's not about growth in terms of number. It's about multiplying them. Did you see the difference between. It's not about big ones. It's about a bunch of them. That is a very important distinction. And he gives another metaphor. He doesn't sort of build on this one. He said schooling is another example. There's a Christian school. There's a public school. And the whole school, they're all okay. It just depends on what the Lord wants you to be. This is a distinctly missional way of thinking about church. Whatever we need is what we need. We can do a mega-church, and that helps us. Let's do a megachurch. We need a traditional church. Let's have a traditional church. We need our churches. We can have them all, and we should be open to them all. That's what I love about it. Now, the characteristics of house churches are they're small. They can meet anywhere. He said they're like a big organic family, you know, and they're but they're not a slam dunk, he said. They're not. It's not easy. They can be messy and they can easily get off track. You need to connect them. And then he has a section where he talks about the regional church. I gave you guys a. On a blue sheet. The concept of the local church. The concept of the local church. This is something that I had been working on in his being a regional church. I've taught this in the capstone curriculum, this concept. So I mean, to hear about regional church is very good to me. It's just very biblical. If you look at the blue thing, you can see, by my definition, a local church, what he calls a regional church is the presence and association of all Christ, honoring congregations in a particular geographical area.


[01:16:34] It doesn't matter what form of denomination or structure they can be traditional community or mega-churches. So our house churches which together represent the body of Christ in a region. He says that churches need churches, period. We need each other. We will not do without one another. And so it really makes complete sense. And I give you what I believe are the elements of a local church and why it's important for urban churches. Local churches follow to me just the biblical sense demands of the Apostolic Church. Local church is just the church in L.A., the church in Wichita, the church in a region, the one holy Catholic apostolic congregations of that that make up. Now, if you really look in the New Testament, the kind of churches that make up regional churches, they're based on certain things, certain churches, the apostles. We're talk about churches that we're in a location that we're experiencing the same things the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea that are suffering. He will talk about them as a group. You will talk about the churches are based on their cultural background. The churches of the Gentiles greet you, which says that there were there must have been churches that were organized around culture, the spiritual condition of churches. This is the most common way that the apostles talked about the churches, plural, strengthening the churches together. And in one of the simplest ways that the churches are talked about is precisely the way Crider suggests. Churches are named in terms of geographical location, in proximity, the churches of Macedonia, the seven churches that are in Asia and so on.