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Urban Church Planting - Lesson 7

The Power of Identity and Strategy

In this lesson, you will learn about the power of identity and strategy in urban church planting. The lesson will help you understand the importance of having a strong identity and a well-defined strategy for your church plant. You will explore how to build an authentic identity rooted in core values and vision and how to create meaningful community partnerships. You will also learn how to develop an effective church planting strategy by assessing the urban context, creating a roadmap with short-term and long-term goals, and investing in leadership development and training. Finally, you will discover the importance of evaluating and adapting your identity and strategy to changing urban environments.

Don Davis
Urban Church Planting
Lesson 7
Watching Now
The Power of Identity and Strategy

EV327-07: The Power of Identity and Strategy in Urban Church Planting

I. Understanding the Importance of Identity and Strategy

A. Defining Identity and Strategy

B. The Relationship between Identity and Strategy

II. Building a Strong Identity for Urban Church Planting

A. Core Values and Vision

B. Cultivating a Culture of Authenticity

C. Community Outreach and Partnerships

III. Developing an Effective Strategy for Urban Church Planting

A. Assessing the Urban Context

B. Creating a Church Planting Roadmap

1. Short-term and Long-term Goals

2. Identifying and Overcoming Challenges

C. Leadership Development and Training

IV. Evaluating and Adapting Identity and Strategy

A. Monitoring Progress and Results

B. Adapting to Changing Urban Environments


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  • 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
ev327-07
The Power of Identity and Strategy
Lesson Transcript

[00:00:00] You have a yellow sheet. The power of identity and strategy. I think that we have come to a point now where we can begin to make some real, genuine conclusions about the nature of search plant movements rapid, numerous, healthy, vital churches planted in together. At least this is this is a tentative beginning to me. For for me it was spurred, I must admit. By, by, by. Something that policy in sort of passing about the nature of what we have been able to see, I think and Paul could make make it plain, but he had said we were talking about, okay, what are the churches that are really gone? Where are the movements that are really where God is moving? And those movements are sustained and numerous converts, people being incorporated in real fruit, being born in great numbers. And he sort of summarized and saying, Oh, churches grow in like kind among a like people. And I don't know how you said it, but but, but that was real close to it. And based on that, I think that we have studied enough now in Garrison. And I truly do believe that that that even the worst of gadgets and sort of viruses out of you, if you read, are here that we can really come to a point where we understand a lot about the power of identity and connected strategy in targeting groups for church planning. Now, just for your own of sort of pardon, the sort of thick language but homogenous unit is just a group of people who really share a fundamental cultural identity in language, a homogenous unit. There they are. They're sort of culturally and ethnically, maybe, maybe living in the same proximity. They share a lot of fundamental attributes together.

 

[00:02:11] A heterogenous group is just the opposite of that. Usually it's a number of groups. The city, for instance, is not just one group, right? All kinds of people live in the city and they live real close to each other. It's you know, there are many other groups. They live real close. And I am I am based on what I have seen. I think it is easier, whether it is a homogenous or heterogeneous group, to actually be more effective even than those who are homogenous. If they share fundamentally the same identity and both spiritually and ethnically and share the same sort of missional strategy or way of governance, or let me put it this way if if if the people in the church are similar. And they share a similar kind of identity and they follow that strategy closely in actually forming new churches there. It's the most effective everything that we've done up to this point. In garrison in garrison regarding church planning says that. So if you wanted to, in fact, plant many, many, many churches, you would look for you would look for a group of people that had some sense of identity and presence together, share a language, share the culture. Share a history. Share an ethnicity. And in fact, plant a church of a kind. It's sort of like what? What I think it was on your quiz this week, you know, the Cambodian example that he gave. You know, do you have a Baptist church in your village yet? You know, in other words, if you if you plan a church that has a sense of itself and takes pride in this is what's really interesting to me is that identity, that both of these identities are really, really significant.

 

[00:04:04] And what is really powerful, Garrison, is that they're they're nearly equally significant. I don't know if you see that churches of a kind are probably going to grow far faster than every single time you have a church. The identity is revisited and the strategy is is straight, is made up every church. You know what I mean? If every church, the identity is up for grabs and the strategy is up for grabs, you're going to really you're not going to plant that many churches. Matter of fact, I think that we can show now from real examples that the worst form, the least effective of churches are where you have different different kinds of people from different cultures and ethnicities who have all kinds of different spiritual identities and histories. And every single one of them is built on an iconoclastic strategy. In other words, a maverick or, you know, there's nothing that they share. Or the simply put it, the less, the less that there are churches, the less they have in common, the less the chance that you will have numbers, sustainability and real, genuine power in those churches. Everything in garrison, everything in Garrison says that the most effective church planning, if you want numbers, then they will be churches of a kind. You will plant them in a certain way, and they will be among a people that really share a fundamental cultural, linguistic and sort of social history. You know, there are many of us who are part of churches. I do think a perfect piece, I think of of the connection you guys have with others. You know, I think of really the installation service, you guys, which is one of my favorite memory. I want everybody to look good. Sound good? Well, obviously, it's perfect.

 

[00:06:09] I love the Browns. I love their ministry. I believe in what they're doing. I just believe that the sort of the sort of connections that people have with other pastors who really know them and love them and cherish them and connect. That's that's our only hope. And this is what this is. If we are disconnected, if we really are on our own, the the likelihood of those churches start sustaining is virtually nil to nothing. Based on what we've seen. Churches and churches are like kids. If it takes a church, if it takes a family to raise, you know, a village, to raise a child, it takes it takes some sort of connection. Association group or regional church to talk to to sustain a church. Now, the real question is whether or not and this is where I think Crider is so helpful. The real question is whether or not those have to happen denominational or can you find real, genuine connection outside of your denomination? Now, how would you go in reading Christ or how would you read Christ on this? What do you think Kreider would say on that? Can you find genuine, real connection and support? Can your church make it even if you're not necessary? For instance, describe a want to do to eliminate denominations. No. No. Matt said that. Why not? Does anyone? There's like a sentence on. It cry. But he does make it plain, isn't it? Does anyone recall what he said on that? Oh, yeah. Well, actually, Paul said he was he was hoping that the denominations would would endorse his book as the you know. Yeah. But it's, you know, actually, if you have your book, it'll look on page 91. He only says one little phrase.

 

[00:08:19] On 91. In discussing the regional church. He says. While the regional church. It's the. Third full paragraph on page 91 of the last paragraph before the notes. While the regional church is represented by the many different denominations within its geographical area, I personally do not believe the regional church will ever replace those denominations. We can benefit from the many flavors of denominational churches within the regional church. No, I think that's all he says as far as I could find on the in his analysis. But the point is, is that he is not he he believes that. I love Crier now. I think that he has his own ax to grind. Right. I mean, you know what he thinks. If you're not a part of a cell base house, church network, you're missing the the best that all God has to offer you. You know, which by the way, how many of you guys have been moved? Bye bye. Bye. Creators arguments like his arguments. Find. Well, you know, on page six of let's make sure let me make sure that before we go on, because we can cover Kreider in more with greater speed, certainly, than we did Barna and Garrison. I want to make sure that we sort of get this point of of. This to me is the point of garrison. And I must admit, in some ways this this is in fact. The point of the course. How do we grow churches? We fight. We go to target populations where the people share fundamental identity and similarity. And we plant a church of a particular kind meant to be robust among them that resonates with them. Not every church style, not every is going to is going to resonate. And we're and we use a protocol that we share in those churches.

 

[00:10:32] The seven member Central Committee. You all remember all those thousands of churches had a similar seven member committee. You remember what it was? Young men's ministry, women's ministry, worship leader. Yeah. Children's person. And that was structure. They had structure and they had authority. Those churches and I don't see anywhere where they said, Well, we're going to let everyone just sort of come up with their own protocol. They had a way of really understanding body life. They shared that they were proud of their own identity and they did it within a people. And that's how they got these extraordinary numbers. So before we go on to Crater and in which I think Kreider is just dramatically helpful in terms of thinking about our situation and how we actually should organize charges. He's not he is really not of. He to me is very, very unlike most people who write books on church planning models. He seems to love the church in every form mega-church community church. We need them all and depending on what God wants, at what time, and they should all work together. And I don't know if you read you actually see said that they can morph into each other. A community church could morph into a megachurch and a megachurch could house church could morph into a community church. And he doesn't seem to care how they grow as long as they are, you know, legitimate in their, you know, their sort of outworking. What do you guys think of my my little chart? Is this is this is it is it is it is it in sync with what you get out of garrison or not or what do you think? What what do you think of the claim of the idea that we can plant more churches quicker? Of course.

 

[00:12:30] Of all of this. Assumes the power of the Holy Spirit in his leading in his opening doors. But that in terms of a missional strategy, if we go to people who share fundamental characteristics of ethnicity, culture and identity and we have an identity, a spiritual identity, and we use a strategy that are among those people in a connected way, we can see the most effect. How many of you guys could could equip me in Russian? Can you can I ask you? All you know is I say, I love Jesus. I love Jesus. Can you help me? Can you help me? What would you be able to do for me if all I can. All I knew was Rush. That's. That's it. One of us has to change that. That is, in fact, the simplest easy. What? The Roman. The Roman world. What English is to this world? Coin a Greek was to the Roman world. So you could go anywhere in Rome, all of Northern Africa, all of Asia. Minor coin was spoke. Everyone spoke Coin. I mean, you know, Jesus probably spoke some coordinate with his army. I mean, it's the business language. It's the lingua franca of the Roman Empire of that time. So even though they were dramatically different, they could at least talk to each other. If I'm convinced that if you can't tell me a joke in my language, you certainly can't disciple me in that language. It's going to be hard for you to do that. How how are you going to help me understand all those things? You know? You know, what I love most about Garrison is that Garrison? Garrison, more than any other book I think I've ever read. The missionaries never pretended that the work was to be done by the.

 

[00:14:23] There was not. You get any sense at all in garrison that missionaries are doing evangelistic work? I don't I don't see any of it. All I look to. You know, that's the easiest way to find some. It's our goal to look and see if this brother is he really believes that people have to win themselves. They have to grow themselves. And if they don't if it doesn't happen, then it's just not God's time for that place at that time right there. It's not saying that they're never going to come to Christ or God won't win them or anything like that. It just says that if God, if there is no if there is no personal peace of there is no significant person to work through, it's going to be very, very difficult to penetrate that people. Turn around. Well, see? See? See the problem? I'll be honest. The problem with this is this. Just think for a second that that regardless of where you are, you just want to see your church grow and you're not interested in planting a thousand churches. You just want to see one good church grow. What's really significant about all these books that we're reading is that if you don't fundamentally believe that the Holy Spirit can be as powerful in people that you serve, if you don't believe that that's going to affect everything you do, it will. It will. It will affect the way you teach them, the way you read them, what you apportion to them. And that's what makes gear, I think. Garrison in those guys, if the missionaries are on the field in these places, would be stunned at that. And a lot of what we call missions, they would say you guys or you guys are essentially codependent.

 

[00:16:04] You're doing the work. You need somebody to love you and you're not willing to say, there's nobody here who loves God and ain't nobody here among them who is willing to do what God wants them to do. That's what I see with Garrison in so many people. That's another thing. There's so many people, you just you just go to the next village and you go to the next place. But it's totally different. I don't think I just it I must admit, for some of you who don't know a lot of this conversation, for y'all who are not on world impact, World Impact is a missions organization that owns Tumi, started in L.A. and we have like 12 different cities around the country. We bought property in them. We are there. We own the property, millions of dollars worth, and we start things. It's very easy. Like like it's very, very easy when you go into a place and you buy property and you do everything that you really create a presence there that you can't leave you there. You got a lot of stuff. And so if nobody come to the law, you let you own the property down there. If people come, if people don't, then you own it. And so there have been conversations about, well, maybe we should own the. It would certainly change things if you didn't own a lot. God would have to raise somebody up or you, you know. But I'm sure that someone I sort of killed the Toomey stamp. Toomey will go all after the rapture. Pro, you know what I mean? We have got to property. People can, you know, we just need new faculty. That's essentially all that would really be. That would really be a scary thing if I'm just bellowing away at you guys and whether they go be like left behind.

 

[00:17:55] Davis star, you remember the guy? Throw the ball. I told you. I told the girls. I thought to Barb, why did they go with you? Leave me. You know, I hope that doesn't happen, but, you know. Yeah, but just so you guys know, right before Kate, just so you know, this really matters to us because we we've done this for 30 years and we've been in the same place. Well, is it against the idea of mission to buy big, huge complexes and things, according to Garrison and these guys? Or should we just go on to a place with very little do the work? If God raises up people, great. If nobody is raised up, we we we move on. Because that's the sense you get out of garrison. I don't I don't I don't get the sense that they would go and just build a big place. And if you build it, they will come or you just keep keep it going. And people, sooner or later, they'll they'll keep coming. It's a different sort of mentality. If God doesn't raise up somebody, then maybe this isn't the people right now. God wants us, too. So just I just wanted them to know you're sort of in you know, there's a in in our conversation here. Y'all need to know that we're sort of in the family. Yes. Okay. Well. Well, I completely appreciate what what you guys what I gave you of what Kay has done is precisely she has hit the absolute reason why I gave you all of these things. This blue sheet, three levels of ministry investment. This is the way I just wanted you guys to look into to peer into way we actually think about leaders when missionaries do the work.

 

[00:19:46] They can evangelize one or two key people and they follow them up and disciple them. But once they identify leaders, then in a real sense, this level, too, is that missionaries concentrate on level two, not level one. Stop missionary straight leaders. That's what Garrison is seeing. Missionaries, train leaders. And once, once, once leaders are made, then they get out of the way and they transition to real, genuine independence, not just in individual churches, but in whole movements. So this level this this second level is what's really important. Most missionaries would say that a brand new convert in this level one, they're at the level that we need to we need to establish the sister in Christ, ensure that they understand that they're secure and get them on a path to live the Christian life. But if that's all you do as a missionary, you won't. You'll never have church. Missionaries have always been level to people. They identify leaders in equipped leaders. That's really what Garrison is saying. And what KC What is so important is his purpose. She I couldn't ask her to raise this point for me any better. The purpose she is that the problem. The problem with a six month old Christian. Now, I must admit Garrison doesn't go into any of those details. Did you see, guys, how quick in China when he was describing the Chinese movement, what they did, it was it was literally after the evangelistic meeting they selected and so called out. Well, what I saw that you imagine they saw from the meeting, those people. And so to discern as quickly as possible those people would be the leaders and immediately put them, you know, put them in a position where these people are going to be the ones get out, we're going to work through them.

 

[00:21:47] You can imagine why these movements fire for these movements are from people, from their hometown people. This ain't somebody from the outside. These are this is they're dealing with folk right there. And if they don't find any, they don't do anything. That's the sense that you get from Garrison. But you can see the problem with that. If you lay hands on that brother, you know, after six are I mean, if you lay hands too quickly, you can create heresy. But if you postpone, then you will never give them not they'll never be ready. If you ignore culture in leadership training, you'll fall off on one side. But if you elevate culture more important than truth, you'll fall off on the other side. If you say, Well, doctrine ain't important, we need to get on with the work, then, you know, I mean, you go have all kinds of heresy, but if you think doctrine and theology, the only criteria you will create. Now, what we have in some of our mainline churches, they are they've just run out of all missed ministry candidates because it takes seven years to qualify for the exam. Take forever. I mean, nobody really. I don't know how some of these denominations are going to make it. They are down to single. They are down to double digits candidates in it. I don't see what are they going to do? You know, the Lutherans, those of you, we had a meeting here with Lutheran Lutheran Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. Many of their churches, they are so few in their pastors that they have they have circuits and they give it a name of it's like to spot it. You'll hear them talk about it. I am a pastor in a three spot.

 

[00:23:30] Yeah, it's. But. But, but. But it's played three. There are some of them that are pastoring three and four churches at a time, you know, three point. That's what it was. That's that's what it was. I heard that. I said, what is that? Three point. Four point. Yeah. A chart they are charge. There are so few leaders that that that they're that they are in charge of points is what they call them different congregations together. There just aren't that many. So we've got to be very careful. We need pastors. There's just no church. Who said it? Someone said it. Jack certainly said it tonight. There really is no church without leaders. Once. Once all you have are meals for wolves without shepherds. That's all you do. If you don't, if you don't concentrate on leaders, forget what you're doing. You're wasting your time. Sooner or later, you will go. Only go as far as world leaders. That's the wisdom of the early church. But you can see these things. You need highlight skills and gifts above availability and say they have to be available or you can substitute availability. The person is here for real giftedness. That's a problem. You can emphasize administrative abilities over spiritual dynamism, or you can ignore administration. And you have a person who is very vital but very disorganized. You can equate readiness. Here's a person who's ready, and that means that they are therefore, you know, we'll just count their readiness as holiness or we can ignore the importance of biblical standards. We're in the city. A lot of people are going to have histories. And how do we get that? You know, we can limit candidates. We are based on gender and ethnicity. I'm telling you, the Korean church made a decision.

 

[00:25:17] Read a Cho Young Jesus thing about women. He said the only people who showed up were sisters. I'm going to give it to sisters. They exploded beyond words because they just recognized what the strength were. He didn't care. It wasn't about you know, he wasn't trying to solve any social issues. He just is who's available, who's godly, who's here. They were all sisters, he said, and then they just took it over. So this is just the largest churches in the world. Saitama. Sister Ring. They don't play. It was just as a strong and people know anything about the Korean movement. It is. In fact, it wouldn't even be a movement without us. Yeah, come on, now. So what? What does that say? Americans are divided for black churches, 75% female. You would even have a black church this year. You know. So anyway, sing, sing. Everyone is a leader singing. Virtually no one has a lead. The point is, is that y'all. There is no roadmap for you, Matt. You just. You. You got to do what you got to do. God. God anointed you. And that's quite literally what Darren gets the big bucks. It's your responsibility to draft a plan for all of us. Okay. And then finally, this peach colored thing are just some of the very basic things that we have used in regard to discipline leaders. They're called of God, the character of Christ. They respond in the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and they have a burden for community. Now, that's a pretty basic to me, biblical, sort of four fold thing. God has called them. It's been authorized, clearly confirmed by leaders. They possess real character demonstrated, you know, in the body. They have gifts. They are anointed.

 

[00:27:19] The Holy Spirit is on them. And they love the body. They love the church. Brother Barnard, do you feel number four there? I'm not. I'm just kidding. Okay, guys, on page six, let's talk about Kreider more briefly and then then we'll sort of sort of. Have some time to. It seems that the view of structure and religious authority from creator is most helpful, although I think that in some ways Garrison gives us a real sense of how important authority is in the body. I think that Crider gives us Crider is just wonderful. I must admit, Crider is balanced. Crider. Crider is not big. He's not. He's not he's not as scholarly is some of the others. He's a little simple, but as a matter of fact, his job to just keep it simple, you know? Maybe that's why I'm so accustomed to the big stick, you know? But, you know, it is simple. And I think if you look at the New Testament, I begin this section on page six with Paul saying, this is why I left you Creed and Titus, so that you may put what remain into order and appoint elders in every town as I direct it. And then you see that. Well, Paul and and Barnabas, you know, when they appointed elders for them in every church with prayer and fasting, they committed them to the Lord and whom they had believe. That's classic missionary work. Once they had appointed elders for them in every church with prayer and fasting, they entrusted the work to those gods. That's just what missionaries do. And then the heart of the clean is way to understand leadership development. It seems to me, in the Bible setting. Timothy two two. What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses and trust the faithful people, I think you could actually translate anthropologists.

 

[00:29:22] There is people. As a matter of fact, some translations do. Faithful people will be able to teach others also. Well, this is the way I think you understand structure and religious authority and cryder is restoring the New Testament simplicity of relational connections in house church network. The best I can read Kreider is that he's going to say where there is, in fact, in the congregation, real leadership. No house, church or any other church is going to be effective if it's not connected to others and real community. And so he believes that simplicity. It goes back to the first sheet that talked about freedom, we're free in Christ. And so all our underlying structures should be simple and should they should create a freedom. He wants to say, I think in some ways he may go a little too simple. The church in the New Testament was so simple that the common people gladly received the Word of God, met at homes and joined the Lord's presence and a new found spiritual family life. They gladly suffered persecution because Christ had revolutionized their lives. What is wrong with this sentence as a as a statement about the nature of the early church and structure? What did he leave out here? It's pretty glaring. What? What, what? What? What are the apostles? He acted as if the early church was just a bunch of families we got to see. That's just wrong. I know that he loves house church models, but I don't believe you can really talk about the early church without the apostles. It was an apostle that preached the sermon that created that, that really produced the church. They they steadfastly remain in the apostles teaching is what what Luke said. You really it's just not possible to talk about church to me credibly in the way that Barnard does or even the way this this this place is greater.

 

[00:31:25] Does talk about the New Testament church and not talk about the apostle. Can you name a single decision that families made? Separated from from what the apostles want. I mean, any name of the decision and acts made separate from the apostles on the church. I mean I mean, all of them everything was made by the past. I mean, I think that is really, truly the only way to understand the early church fathers. The early church fathers were just simply imitating the apostles. That's all they did. And that's how they wrote. And that's the way they thought. This is an apple solid thing. This is a great question based on. Let's we can sort of go to Mobile right now. Basal asks, how much freedom did did the apostles allow in the sort of life together and what went on among the apostles? Any idea? Based on your reading of acts, where do you see the apostles or the Apostles? We'll see if this is where the church fathers are so useful. The dedicated books like that are unequivocal. If you really weren't associated with one of the people that the apostles appointed, you were barely Christian, if at all considered. I mean, the early church was absolutely structured in authoritarian, is what I'm saying. I'm just no one even Jean gets if you want to read a book, you can't find a person less less oriented around a sort of a bishop run or strong leadership run church. But even Jean gets in his book, Elders and Leaders. He has a whole chapter that just he just says that that the early church this is the way the early church was set up, period. You can't deny it's all the references, all the documents. So really, in terms of history, there's not a question that the Episcopal structures, the Catholic structure, the Anglican structure, the Orthodox structure are tied in directly into the historical church.

 

[00:33:30] These things of of independence, radical independence. They just there's nothing there's not one older, not a scintilla of stuff. You would have to go. And I'm talking about the all I'm saying. There's nothing. In the first five centuries, they were committed. They were they were considered heretics. If you weren't connected to the two. I mean, so it's very you might not like it, but it's hard to read the fathers. I'm just telling you, it's just in their very extreme. I'm not like they they say things that even my own Protestant hackles. I don't know if I can look at the bishop as Christ, but that's what they see. You can see why, though. I can truly see what I mean. These guys knew the guys who gave us the word. There aren't scriptures around how there are no scrolls or radio programs or whatever. All we got is what those guys that knew knew John and knew them. And so they took it seriously. So. Anyway. I think writer though, even though he does sort of I don't know if he's sort of, you know, I just think it's sort of sort of a very common thing to be a little bit blind to the role of apostolic authority as a Protestant. But I still think Kreider is just dramatically helpful. He says, Now, I'd like to get your opinion about these things. House churches are real churches. They differ from school and community based churches are megachurches. And I just tried to give you his argument. Cell based community churches have their own headquarters and administrative structures. He says house churches have required no headquarters or fluid and flexible. They meet in homes or other places. No other buildings are required for further church programs.

 

[00:35:14] At the top of page 78, the sale base, community or megachurch usually do not give cell group leaders complete authority as elders of their group in the way. House churches to house churches, he said, are self-contained churches in themselves. They have their own elders who serve as spiritual parents, fathers, mothers who in whose heart Christ is to train and reproduce more leadership within the house church. And thirdly, he says, our church may include smaller cell groups within the church. He calls himself groups which meet at other times. But still, you know, I mean, sort of the basic point of of his thing is that these groups foster accountability and deeper relationships and any other kind of structure or religious authority. Do you find how how do you find quite as argument here about the autonomy of house churches? Does that make sense to you? Do you disagree with that? How does that relate to what we've been reading in Garrison? Are the are the garrison churches of, you know, the Baptist churches that we've been talking about? Are they really that autonomous, even as Crider says? I mean, each church, Crider says, is completely separate from each other. I mean, each one has their own authority and their own elders in their own way. Now, see, now, lest you think this is unimportant, the real question of this whole time tonight is to what extent is authentic New Testament spirituality? Must it be connected? Can I, in fact. And if so, what is the degree of connection? That's the whole thing. Think of your church and where it is. Can I really have a church that is disconnected from other churches? And if not, how connected must I be? That's the real question that all of this is about when? How, now? This is where.

 

[00:37:15] Even though I think Cryder may be a little extreme, I think, frankly, house, church, house, church understanding of autonomy seems a little extreme. I mean, could can you imagine could Paul have written 30 over half of the New Testament in a house church network movement? If every single house church its own. All thing that Paul could write an authoritative church to the Corinthians in an authoritative church, a letter epistle to the louder scenes into the Colossians, into the churches of South Galatia, into all the churches in Thessaloniki, all of them. He had no problem. And if somebody said something, he's liable to travel. First Corinthians, you're preaching through that. I'm going to be there. So we going to see who got power? Not you think you super apostles or some. We'll see who got some power because the Kingdom of God ain't in war. It's in power. And you got a whole lot of teachers. But I'm your daddy in the Gospel. I'd like to be able to say that you got a whole lot of teachers, but I'm your daddy in the gospel, he said. So Paul is Paul is not kid. He's in charge of the church. All the churches. First Corinthians nine took care of all the churches fell on him. So in some ways they're the world's greatest sort of each house. Church. Absolutely separate. Yes. Now, I guess. Are. Yeah. See, the point is there is question is really important. See, I think that if he could shift the authority, real authority to the network, then he is very, very close to the New Testament and historical Christianity. He's very close to an Episcopal sort of understanding of church. To be honest, yes. To everything. My God. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

 

[00:39:11] Well, see, this is this point is precisely the point where we began with the Nicene Creed. If we're if the church is, in fact, apostolic, then that's the whole point of a thought. There's no authority to just run and lorded over little churches and just beat them around. But how on earth can we protect how can we protect little churches when wolves are present? And you know that there are people would come here and just feast on these people, just eat them up and and ruin them. I think the point is, is the most important point is the reason why I emphasize authority, not because I'm sort of some, you know, megalomaniac sort of I just believe that that that that the early church, the apostles emphasize that because the most quoted thing of the apostles is that after we're gone, they're going to become wolves are going to come in the midst of and anyone who ministers in the city knows that those wolves are there. And we need to protect these little sheep from from that I thank God for pass. I'll just be honest. You without pastors, there's no movement is there is no church without pastors. I'll go so far as I agree with the early church fathers, I think pastors need pastoring. I've heard Berlin say that pastors just can't be by themselves. They need support and friendship and care. And the role of the bishop is just that's what it became. That's what that's what it evolved historically that, you know, you just so so I don't know I just I'm so concerned about it's not true. If you have a bunch of small green little groups with no oversight, they need real. And I must admit, Carter is the best person of all these books on this, don't you think? Carter is very clear that people as a matter of fact, at the bottom of page seven, real quick, we're about to hear how churches connect on the basis of values.

 

[00:41:07] And you said most networks are regional. He's just making common sense is to believers in that area. You've got churches that resonate with who you are and what you believe in. But he it. You may even have to fall your own network, he said. But you can't just be without it. You have to be. You need encouragement, oversight and spiritual protection, he says. He says without this network, churches become sick, they stagnate, they become inward focus. They don't look at the harvest. So that's very, very powerful to me. I mean, I think he is at least pretty, pretty, you know. He's a long way from from brother. Not all house churches, he said, and A-listers networks are the same. I only found a single really tough critique on house church networks and cried. It's on page 83. He says that some are healthy, but others house. Church networks are unproductive. They're reactionary. They're exclusive. They can be limited by the personality of a leader. That's why you need to be connected to somebody. That got some sense, you see. That's right. Yeah. Which, by the way, Dan's point, that's where Kreider is weak. It's sort of like mutual. What if in in our sort of network, I said, hey, man, I forget your I don't believe do the Bible. I read I don't see Trinity in the Bible. We're not going to teach that anymore. I'm not teaching that. You hear what I'm saying? And in according to Crider, I got my. Oh, no, he wouldn't say that. I'm just. But the point is, is that I would be in charge of my own church in a church network. Right. How would you pick a guy out of a house? Church? Have you ever thought about that? How would you kick him out? Given what? The way he says it's structured.

 

[00:42:56] He. Yeah, it's in his house. That's what I'm saying. It's in the brothers house. So how are you going to kick it? Oh, it's pretty Clay. That that is a real problem. I don't know why Crowder wouldn't understand it, but as far as I could see, there's nothing with dealing with someone who is really out of sync all the way. Needs to be judged. You know, he does say, however, that regional church can help some. At the bottom of page seven, some community of megachurches will actually commission people to start house churches. Some community megachurches will adopt house churches and help them network. And some community churches will even commission future house church leaders to join house churches in their region. He said somehow churches may even become community churches, and some community churches may become megachurches. I love this. I can sort of summarize most of what critics say is. In the top of page, neil, we'll just say one thing about more can be done. The creators vision of unity to me sounds very, very much like the New Testament and the historical church. It is possible that some people may be in our church network for a season, then be called by God to become involved in a community, church or a megachurch. It is the entire regional church that matters that is just significant and smart and important. I believe that there will be freedom in the coming days in the hearts of God's people to serve wherever God is called. In other words, He's not being wooden, even though he's a little a little wooden in his own application, his house, church and in more friendly more is just you know, it's important. I thought it was significant is that he says that the way I saw more at the bottom of page nine as a structure and religious authority is really understood in newly planted churches that really train leaders to preach the gospel in new ways for more.

 

[00:45:01] It's in this new church that all the business of leadership is supposed to be done. And he's he's very proactive. He says many people are going to be by vocational. As a matter of fact, if you read more carefully, he is very, very clear in saying that laypeople could be quite literally the most important part of really developing new churches. He makes that over and over. He said laypeople which is really all that GERSON to see it. And then he talks on page ten, he talks about crossing cultural barriers. And again, I would just point to, you know, the thing that we have done that Gerson helped us so much. Our commission, he says on page ten there, includes looking to saturated geographic, linguistic and cross cultural groups. The way to do it is by planning new churches to cross those barriers. Y'all, this is important. And you read what he said. The churches I believe in the grammar of that sense are the things that cross the barriers. You see, you play in a church that crosses the barriers. The Church is the thing that will bring the people in for more. That's why he wants to plan. And therefore, that's if you if you mentor, you know, you can mentor new believers in and. Look at on page 11 you are. Here's my review of all the points and we have 5 minutes left if you want to doubt my cogent summary. No legitimate vision of church in whatever form community. Selby's megachurch or house church network is valid if it doesn't align itself with the New Testament apostolic tradition and the biblical injunction about authority and Christian leadership. I just want you all to know what I think. I just think that without authority, it's not church.

 

[00:46:52] And so sooner or later, you have to sort of wrestle with that because of the ever present danger of cism, heresy, isolation, exclusiveness and plot pride. All valid churches and church clad movements will build upon, acknowledge and seek legitimate regional connection, whether through denomination, association or affiliation with other like minded leaders and congregation, which can provide them with encouragement, answer, ability and support. And then, to quote from Crider, The Church of today is a diverse one and diversity is healthy. God is working through program design, churches, Selby's churches, community churches, megachurches, and through house church networks. I love that. And then then his advice to us, let's allow the House Church Network to grow up alongside the community churches and the mega churches in our communities. We need to see ourselves as a part of the regional church. The Lord is raising up in these times. I believe that with all my heart. I just think that there's one church, the Church of Wichita, and hopefully we can make it strong and make a contribution. However, God seeks us to organize ourselves. Next week, I will give you an example of the Charismatic Episcopal Church, which Terry was a part of. I can show you their actual governance. The thing you will find is that they really, truly do believe all forms. I kid you all. Not all forms are just variations on thing. They're just there. There are people who can lead us. At a at a cell level, at a congregation level, at a local church level. At a district level. At a regional level, at an international level. That's really essentially what it is. Churches, regardless of their names, they recognize that God is, in fact giving people real gifts and authority to lead the church at different levels.

 

[00:48:49] And they just everybody every everyone has their and they have varying degrees of accountability, varying degrees of authority. But but but but church of all churches form in certain ways, small ways congregate in a small group, large group and and regional group ways. I will I will bring that in. That's a great, great idea. Yes. What do we have? So where are the structures? Yes. What's what's important to see is that all we have are the actual churches that have actually done it. We can give you I can come with examples of the Presbyterian form or the Methodist form or the Anglican form or the. But but but truly, their forms. Their forms are literally variations on faith. They really are. Sure. Even Baptist form. There is. There are Baptists. See, that's what's so funny. The president of the president of the Southern Baptist denomination is a bishop. You can you can call him anything you want, but he is, in fact, a bishop. He's in charge of the thousands of pastors look to him to make those decision now. He functions in that role even though they they say, oh, no, we're congregational. And we I guarantee you, if he says, I don't want such and such to go on in Southwestern Seminary, it ain't going to go is going to happen the way he wants it to. So so I personally believe that virtually all forms of church are Episcopal in in in in somewhere. In other words, that there is in fact, from from the parish level, from the community level to the parish level to the to the district level, there is just ever more responsibility given to people who have proven themselves able to administrate and to lead over past.

 

[00:50:52] Some can lead a small group, some can lead a congregation, some can lead a group of congregations, some can lead a region. And quite literally, some of the presiding bishop. That's one of the things that is so interesting and I love about Episcopal Systems is that they recognize that even our pastors are different. There are certain pastors who can lead on the path of Brother Montgomery is a bishop calling whatever you want, but that's what he is. He functions that way. Everyone sees him that way. You know, he is a he is a pastor, pastors. He's a leader of leaders. So and so I think that's why this was so important. I call this the for a context of Christian leadership. I just think it is they use different words, but they function in various very similar ways. I think I think you will find that charismatic Episcopal very helpful. That's the first thing that popped into my mind when Met said, I think you'll find it very well. By the way, by the very nature of this being a Southern Baptist book, you're not going to get a whole lot of talk about authority and stuff like that, although he can't help it. The culture themselves is we need a seven member central committee to organize our stuff. It's just it's just wherever there are Christians, there's a recognition that there are leaders, is what we're saying. And that's that's really the essence of this. Last question. Yeah? Have you ever been in our environment? Oh, yeah, I was. I think that's so important. I want to sort of. We'll bring it up next week. Just very quickly, though, what did you guys think of that? Did you see did you see the insider movement? What did you think of that? What do you recall? He didn't like it.

 

[00:52:45] He said, if you're going to be Christian, you're going to be Christian. So he was zero. He didn't. He wasn't real. He wasn't real big on how many of you guys thought it was. The insider movement was pretty credible, important, legitimate. Well, see, this is a huge issue because it seems as if God is actually moving among Buddhists and Hindus and he's moving among them. And we're going to have to I mean, I don't know if it's up to us or not, but I will tell you, it was striking to see Sharif right from there saying, you know, he was totally disturbed that there were people calling themselves Christians. And yet at the same time and he suffered, he was brutally beaten and and paid a hard price to associate with Christ in a public way. What would you guys think about actually commissioning someone to become a Hindu? So as as a missionary to the Hindus or mentioning a person as a muslim to go win Muslims, would you feel comfortable with that? The inside of movement. You can see that even a place like the the US in a world mission with with the cover of it is limited by their t there's real genuine trepidation and yet there are thousands of people God is actually you know, he's given the dreams. People are acknowledging Christ and yet they say, look, being a Christian is a Western cultural tag. It has nothing to do with my faith and love for Jesus of Nazareth. I love him. And quite honestly, what is the difference between those who was it was was it demanded at Acts 15 that you leave that you leave the synagogue and leave the temple? Is that one of the four things? What were the four things, by the way? Acts 15? For the.

 

[00:54:46] You know, I mean, this is Gentiles. But, you know, I mean, there was nothing there that, you know. No sex or immorality, no blood. No food, sacrifice, idols and no idolatry. Right. Those were very offensive things and that society was shot through with those things. What about those Jews who stayed in Jerusalem and kept going to temple? What about Hebrews? Isn't the book or Hebrews writing people to get them out of that system in the show? You know, so again, I'm hoping that y'all will write papers on this.