We at CMA Resources were encouraged by this email:
Subject: HOLY SPIRIT IS MOVING MIGHTILY
Just a short update after our time at the Milwaukee Greenhouse Training. I am leading 3 simple churches now and we have at least 2 that have planted from people in these. I let God do what only God do and am PROFOUNDLY dependent on Him to lead these. I have grown so much in my faith and like you, I desire to be nothing and Him everything. I learned alot from your trainers.
I have been meeting with our lead pastor and sharing what God is doing in our simple churches. He is going to have a total makeover of our 35 small groups and have them based on the organic church. We are spending the summer in our groups digging into 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus for leadership development and disciple training. We are desperate to learn from Him and Gods word.
There has been alot of heartache in my journey and I would not have it any other way. I will save a few of those stories for another time. I am living my dream my friend and I love it. Please pass what God is doing in Milwaukee on.
I am simply focusing on 2 things; the lost and leadership. You are always a great inspiration to me.
In his outstanding work “The Making of A Leader,” J. Robert Clinton studied the lives of hundreds of leaders and asked the question- “What makes a leaders finish his/her life well?” We use the answers to this question in our Organic Greenhouse Story 2 Training to push our leaders to have a long-view of finishing well. These were what Clinton found to be the top 5 commonalities:
A Leader who Finishes Well:
1) has a perspective that focuses his/her energies on ministry strengths.
2) maintains a learning posture throughout all his/her life.
3) enjoys repeated times of personal/spiritual renewal.
4) mentors others while continuing to be mentored.
5) disciplines her or his own spiritual formation.
Can you cause a person to grow spiritually? When it comes to disciple making, what is our responsibility? At a Greenhouse Training event hosted by CMA Resources, we examined the following text from Mark 4:
26 He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. 27 Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how.28 All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. 29 As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.”
From the text, we see that a farmer can cultivate the ground and plant seeds, and even put the sickle to the plant once mature, but can do nothing to cause a seed to grow! In simple/organic church planting, the church planter (or disciplemaker) cultivates and plants, but realized that Kingdom growth is God’s work.
When we plant good seed in good soil, growth and multiplication naturally happen as they receive rain and sunlight. This is true of plants and it’s true of the Kingdom as well. The only thing that can stop this natural process is failure to sow good seed generously on good soil or farming in such as way to impede the natural process that God has in place.
At the Greenhouse training, the leaders made the following comparison between an organic/simple church approach and a traditional church approach to sowing, growing, and harvesting.
Do you agree that the traditional church focuses most of its energies on growing and tending the garden (flock) while being passive with regards to sowing and harvesting? What would it look like for you to cultivate and sow good seed more generously? What does it mean for us to be actively involved in the harvesting—putting a sickle to the “ripe plant?”
Enjoy this great video that was at the greenhouse training event to illustrate the teaching on the Kingdom.
6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. – 1 Corinthians 3:6
Recently a blog friend, Tim, asked a very practical question:
Just out of curiosity, what methods to you employ in your context to search for persons of peace? This statement made me think of you walking down the sidewalk looking for a person of peace. So, I’m wondering what that type of searching looks like for you. Thanks!
You can see the dialog that this question started in the comment section of Cesar, Man of Peace. However, I’d like to share the core of what we discussed and develop it a bit further.
My Response to Tim’s Question
Finding the person of peace is not about technique. Every person of peace story I know and every person of peace I have found has been different. Having said that, there are things we can do to find the person of peace. Here’s what I would say:
When I consistently pray about finding people of peace, I find them. When I don’t focus my prayer on this, I don’t.
Finding people of peace is about listening to the voice of the Master. Therefore, it is a spiritual exercise based on a loving, abiding relationship, not something we can manufacture.
Luke 10:5-6 say: “When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will return to you.” The house mentioned here is the “oikos.” I don’t think it is particularly focused on the building where people live but the connected people who may just live is a particular building…or not; see An Oikos Isn’t a Building.
This giving of peace, I think, is speaking the gospel of peace, or giving a blessing in the name of the Lord. It is, in essence, making Jesus the potential for conversation. I don’t think it means necessarily giving the whole gospel, just opening the conversation. If the peace rests on them, i.e. they respond and engage, stay there!!! Don’t take off, after having spilled the beans. Focus! On the other hand, if they don’t have interest, don’t cast your pearls before swine. Just move on and look for a real person of peace and a real “oikos” of peace. We focus our attention and energy on people who are moving toward Jesus, not convincing the uninterested that they should be interested.
With this in mind, apostolic ministry (finding men and houses of peace then making disciples) is about finding ways to make Jesus the subject of conversation. How do we do that? Any way He tells us to, as he speaks to our heart and mind. It is not a matter of us coming up with a clever plan. But, if Jesus gives us a clever plan, then do it.
Jesus is our model for ministry. Yet little of what we do in ministry nowadays looks anything like what Jesus did, or what he taught his disciples to do. Our idea of ministry has been so damaged by institutionalism, and the individualistic Western worldview, that we find it hard to think about doing ministry as Jesus actually taught us.
When we start actually doing what Jesus taught his disciples to do, and what he expects us to do, we start bearing fruit. I know this from experience, and it is why I wrote my upcoming book Viral Jesus.
This kind of actual obedience to Jesus, who speaks to our hearts and minds, should be normative, but is actually very, very rare in the West.
We have replaced Jesus inspired ministry with what we think of as following biblical principles. Yet, supposed biblical inspired ministry actually ends up not looking at all like what Jesus did? Isn’t that ironic?
I find myself wondering, and praying about, what would happen if say 500 Christians in the Bay Area of California would just do what Jesus actually speaks to their hearts based on an intimate relationship with him. This would end up reflecting Jesus’ and the apostle’s ministry in the New Testament. Yet, I only know about 20 people in the entire Bay Area that are willing to live like this. Does this make you as sad as it does me?
I spoke about 500 people in the Bay Area of California actually following Jesus into ministry. What would that look like if all over the world people where doing this?
I suspect that what we would discover in the West is what our brothers in China began to discover in 1949 and onward (see The Miracle of China and Thank You Chairman Mao). This would be both exciting and dangerous. Are we really interested in something exciting and dangerous? Do we prefer something we can control, even if it ends up being unfruitful?
Do you agree with me that institutionalism and the Western worldview get in the way of the viral ministry I’m talking about? Why or why not?
Where do you think the disconnect, between what Jesus did and taught about ministry and what we actually do, comes from? I’ve laid the disconnect at the feet of institutionalism and Western cultural worldview. Do you agree or do you have different ideas?
Neil Cole will be with us at the Newforms National Gathering from 13-15 April. Neil will be sharing about organic church, mission principles and sharing from his experience in seeing the multiplication of disciples and churches.