Starting/Forming New Spiritual Communities for Christ
Remember the person of peace I mentioned in my previous blog post?
(If you have not read the previous blog post, you might want to go to https://www.mccnresources.org/blog-short-articles to make sense of this or subscribe on the webform above to get started.)
The term “person of peace”(POP) has been used in Disciplemaking Movement (DMM) circles for some time now. It refers to someone who is receptive to the man, the message and the mission (3Ms). It simply means someone who is receptive, well-related to his or her community, and carry a certain reputation (good or bad) in their community. (3Rs)
Quite commonly, I have encountered many Christians who want to meet a person of peace (POP) but don’t seem to be able to find them. Jesus described the harvest “truly is plentiful” and “the fields are white for harvest” more than 2000 years ago, so the issue is not that there are no POPs, but likely that you are not out there in the harvest field.
If your groups comprise of Christians and those in the Christian circles, you will likely not be able to find any POP. The most likely places you can find POPs are usually not the places a “Christian” will hang out – casinos, pubs, drinking holes, family courts and even prisons. They might also be at gardening communities, or amongst dance groups or moms groups, leisure and interest groups, amongst non-Christian colleagues.
One great way to start is by being a person of peace yourself. The basic principle in life is that we reap what we sow. Sharing is a very important kingdom value and culture. SOW EVERYWHERE. You will only know if you sow! From sowing, you can see the response of individuals to gauge if the person is a POP.
Today, I am going to share with you on starting a spiritual community for Christ. My focus is on starting a NEW community. From the last few blog posts, I hope you caught the “Going-Sending Apostolic” understanding of starting new spiritual communities through discipling persons of peace into the kingdom of God and reaching their natural community.
However, if you have not found a person of peace, at least start being one to others in God’s kingdom by being an open connector and a sharing person to others.
There is a natural community whom God has placed around you. And if you can be a person of peace discipled by the Holy Spirit, God can start a spiritual community, and He can build His Church through you beginning with your natural community.
Begin by discipling 2 or 3 others, obey Jesus’ command to baptize them in water upon repentance from sins, teaching them to obey all that Jesus has commanded (including that of repentance and faith toward God, water baptism and being filled/ immersed/baptized with the Holy Spirit). Soon, a spiritual community for Christ will form as this process continues.
The starting point is simple. Disciple a non-believer into the Kingdom of God and then another and another. And then help the new disciples disciple others too. In the process, you should allow yourself to be discipled by the Lord Jesus, following and obeying Him as you walk with Him in your everyday life; working through issues in your heart, sin that displeases God with repentance as a lifestyle, and allowing God to bring transformation to your heart and life.
This could look like yourself being part of a spiritual community of not-so-new disciples or mature disciples, or disciplers. Most “Christians” will look for other Christians to gather together and then call it a house church. More often than not, such a house church can be plagued with many problems and become unhealthy.
I have deliberately not gone that way as the starting point, because looking for other believers and gathering together to form a spiritual community can seem an easy way to start, but that can usually lead to years of just trying to find like-mindedness, unlearning and detoxing, a long-drawn process that hinders the real multiplication of new disciples for Christ.
However, if that is what Jesus is saying you do now, then do whatever He says. There is no real right or wrong answer except that you be obedient to the Lord. Many times our obedience grows as we follow the simple things He says we do. And if He says do it, the outcome will be one that glorifies Him anyway.
When I refer to an apostolic work, it is pioneering new ground, and discipling/reaching out to non-believers, so that they may encounter Christ and be born again into the kingdom of God. An apostolic work is done where no man has gone, and foundations laid where no others have laid. It is a PIONEERING work amongst unreached people groups.
It may not be as hard as you think. More often than not, groups with believers and “church-background Christians” have more baggage to work through and are harder to disciple than a totally unchurched person.
Many Christians after years and decades of being in a safe, sanctified environment of other Christians in an organized religious setting, have lost touch with how to reach non-believers. Many would have to go through “detox” from “religiousity” and “churchianity” in order to unlearn bad or wrong habits.
Please bear with me as I use a rather candid example to prove this point. I think you would agree with me that if given the choice, you would rather wipe the poo off the butt of a newborn baby, than the butt of an adult. A baby only drinks only milk, and passes out waste from milk. Whereas the adult has lots of toxins and waste products from eating all kinds of solid food and processed foods. Well without going further, you get the idea.
So, GO, START and form a spiritual community of NEW believers, by reaching one and then another, baptizing them, praying for them to be filled/immersed in the Holy Spirit, teaching them to cast our demons. This is foundation laying that is part of the work of an apostle, or someone who carries an apostolic anointing, which doesn’t necessarily make one an apostle.
I hope to share on foundation laying for a spiritual community in the next few writings. So stay tuned.
In the meantime, I encourage you to be a doer of the word and not just a hearer, lest we deceive ourselves. Start simply by simply starting. You can do it through Christ’s strength and empowerment!
Grace to you.
01 Oct 2020
-Making and multiplying disciples (Part 3)
It’s been about 3 weeks since the last blogpost. I hope you are enjoying obeying His commands and doing His will and trying to make disciples for Christ!
As you obey Christ and are beginning to reach and disciple 1 or 2 others around you and in your community. 2 or 3 of you really need to get started! Because where 2 or 3 are gathered in His name, there Jesus will be in their midst. (Matt18:20)
It is the start of a beautiful community for Christ – you did not start church, all you did was to make disciples and Jesus building His church as you making disciples!
Various communities for Christ have been formed organically in Perth where we are now based; with 2 more communities particularly during and after the lockdown. So far, we are seeing healthy outworking and expressions of church from the young and old ranging from 18 to 70s in the various communites of believers.
During the lockdown between March to May 2020, I spent those 2 months re-laying kingdom foundations for each person, using a reproducible learning system I designed - a tool called Discovery Learning Journey (DLJ).
DLJ is a challenge designed for those who desire to be detoxed from religion and “church-ianity” to being free in Christ to live and serve God's kingdom purposes as Jesus' disciples.
Church in itself of course is not bad. In fact Jesus loves His Church(His Body) and gave Himself for her, and we should love what He loves.
However we can fall into the trappings of preaching church as a form more than we preach Christ and Him crucified. Or worse still the emphasis has been so skewed that church has overtaken the place of Christ and became an idol. That is “church-ianity”. And church-ianity is an idol in this post-modern world.
For years and centuries, many have been taught, dictated by "experts", pastors, bible schools on what the Bible says. This has produced sermon-listening church-goers, loyal fans of a church brand or celebrity pastor-teacher, gifted evangelists, more denominationalism splitting hairs over doctrines and greater division in the body of Christ rather than disciples who know Jesus, follow Him and walk with God who are empowered and taught by the Holy Spirit, reproducing other disciples the like.
This DLJ approach to reading the NT and the letters of Paul to churches helps one to discover for themselves and gain a better and healthier perspective of what the letters actually say.
The DLJ can be used to launch small discipleship communities of Christ on a discovery journey together, and for launching and releasing disciples to reach and start new communities for Christ.
(You can download the Trainer’s, Facilitator’s & Learner’s Guide to Discovery Learning Journeys at https://www.mccnresources.org/recommended-resources.html)
Most of these ones in the communities, were churched previously but have had questions about “organized church” for some time and have been searching for meaning of church. They did not know any other way than the form of “church as we know it” today.
Through DLJ of the 9 New Testament letters Paul wrote to the churches in different cities, they unlearnt many things and re-learnt more to attain a healthier understanding of God's kingdom.
What encouraged me was that each individual, young and old began to move in their God-given gifts to reach and disciple others beyond the group. From one particular group of 4 we started with, it has grown to each of the them discipling 2 or 3 others and reaching many more. Each of them are reaching out in their own natural community/neighbours through life! And that looks like playing sports, having meals together and even karaoke! Communities are forming because we do/live life together!
Let me continue the story of my neighbour who’s a student at the university here in Perth, whom I mentioned in my previous email/blog, and had conducted the 7 Signs in John Discovery Bible Studies with.
This just happened over the weekend and it is current, not some old testimony I have pulled out of my collection.
I have been asking God to point me to who I can connect my neighbour, who is a pre-believer(becoming a believer now) with, to help her to continue to grow and learn more about Jesus and His kingdom. And this missionary here came to mind a few times. So I messaged her the day before to join us for 7 signs session with my neighbour. It turned out she had already met her and her current housemate before I even moved into the current apartment in Feb!
In fact, together with this missionary, we had prayer walked last year around the student hostel where my neighbour was formerly staying. And thereafter she had held an English corner at this hostel where GOD amazingly opening doors for her to go into to connect with the students! However, after both girls moved out of that student hostel, they lost touch after that!
BUT HOLY SPIRIT DID NOT MISS A BEAT! AND GOD KNEW EXACTLY WHAT TO DO WITH HIS HARVEST!
Little did this missionary and I know, that they had moved into the same apartment as i did! And the Holy Spirit would lead me to connect with them!
In the 1st week I moved into the apartment after returning to Perth, I met this neighbour at the lift lobby. I was nudged by the HS to talk to her at the lift lobby and in the lift in the 1st week and got her contact number as the lift went up!
How real God is in every step of our lives if we were to submit and obey and yield to His plans and purposes. And be wherever He places us.
It goes to show how much God is in control and how members of His Body actually can function together!
Even though this missionary and I “are not in the same organisation /church"(actually we are in the SAME church - Jesus has only ONE CHURCH!) and yet we are connected to those He wants us to connect with and we are truly co-workers in the harvest fields!
What an amazing time we had together studying 7 signs in John Discovery Bible Studies again (we are at week 5 at miracle no. 5 now – Jesus walking on water)! My neighbour was growing and learning about Jesus more and more, and she even prayed to Jesus at the end of our session. She also expressed that she will share this story with her friend in USA who couldn't join in!
Indeed, one plants and another waters and God gives the increase!
This is exactly what Paul wrote to the church in Corinth!
I hope this encourages one and all as you do the work of the kingdom! It is really not difficult, but the main thing is to allow yourself to be discipled by the Holy Spirit as you are making disciples of others for Jesus.
And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not carnal? Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it.
(I Corinthians 3:1-10 NKJV)
Stay tuned for my next short blog/email. Be blessed!
Group of Author/s
Karen Gan-Tay - Daughter and lover of God. Disciple of Jesus. Ambassador of the Kingdom of God. Wife. Mother.