Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Last of the Questions!!

Q:  How do you handle bad doctrine and those who bring weird ideas?

 For any disciple new or old in their relationship with Christ, it is necessary and paramount to our maturing process to read and know the Word of God and the Word Himself as our teacher. Not only reading, but also in the practice of what we read for it to become a part of us.  Otherwise, it is quickly forgotten and it never takes root within us to bear fruit.  There are no shortcuts to maturity - it takes time and commitment.  It means you listen and obey your way to maturity and discernment.  Hebrews 5:14 says, "But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil"

Maturity means your not easily misled.  Unfortunately, we have people misled by false teaching because they don't mature and are vulnerable to any charismatic and forceful teacher.  It will always be so. The Apostle Paul dealt with false teachers and teachings, and those who misled others and comments a lot on the subject in his letters. Jesus said we will have tares grow up alongside the wheat.  We should expect it, and train ourselves to discern wisely.  We should also expect to be misled if we are not reading and practicing the Word ourselves.

When our children were very young, we encouraged them to read the Bible and ask God to teach them what it means.  Of course we engaged with them in the process, but we did not substitute a quick answer for them, and required them to seek out God and His Word for themselves.  They developed a lifestyle of asking, listening and obeying.  That is the essence of any disciple - to know Jesus intimately and do what He says.  We do that with those we disciple also - point them to Jesus.  This doesn't mean they couldn't, or didn't come to us with questions or for counsel, it just meant that God was sought FIRST and the Holy Spirit was trusted and expected to do what He says He does -which is teaching, guiding and conforming us to Christ.

With the MSF motorcycle rider training program we use to teach the basic skills of riding, most of those who take the class have no prior knowledge or skill about motorcycling at all.  At the completion of 10 hours of "on the motorcycle" training, most are doing good quick stops, skilled cornering, tight U-turns and more.  If we can do that with a good training program in two days in our flesh, how much MORE can the Holy Spirit do if we trust Him to train us in The Word - the very thing He is wanting to do?!

 Everyone needs to read the Word of God.  We discern error when we know the real thing because we have familiarity and personal interaction with it regularly. If we only know regurgitated and editorial interpretations of The Word, we will be easily mislead. Weird and false doctrine usually comes through the teaching of one person in the group, and where the group doesn't know it's wrong because they are ignorant.  When we give the responsibility to know the Word to someone else because it's easier for us that way, we open ourselves up to being mislead.  When the group has matured through knowing the Word themselves, they can easily recognize and deal with error.

A great tool in helping people (especially new Christians) read the Bible, are LTG's  (Life Transformation Groups) from CMA Resources (

Q:  Our house church didn't last very long and people went back to the traditional church, why does this happen?

Because nothing really changed, it only shrunk.  We call it the "honey, I shrunk the church" syndrome.  It's as if by leaving a building and then substituting the meeting place with a house, a city park, or a coffee shop, that somehow it's now become a Simple, Organic, Missional church.  In essence and in practice, nothing is very different.  The paradigm of how we view church never changed, only the location.  They are still "doing" church, instead of "being" church.  A very profound difference in theology and practice.  
Many leaders who think they are starting a Simple Church, are just taking people with them from the traditional church where they had faithful relationships who supported their leadership, but who don't have a clue about what S/O/M life really is.   They just are following their leader. When these people  see that the leader is basically leading the same thing in just a smaller (and often more unhealthy) version of church, that doesn't offer them the "perks" that they are used to like child care, short services, professional music, youth activities and such, why stay? 

Understanding the paradigm of Simple, Organic, Missional life and fellowship and how it is practiced 24/7, is crucial.  Some people don't want to make the commitment once they see that it requires more effort, maturity, accountability, involvement and commitment. Many are not willing to make such a lifestyle change, especially if they have found the convenience of traditional church more accommodating at fitting into their schedules.  When they really begin to see what is required of them, they often leave for an easier venue of practicing their faith.

Another point I want to make is that we are used to thinking about church in the traditional sense of going on and on for generations in some town, city or region.  We think of congregations as lasting forever.  In the paradigm of S/O/M Church, fellowships are far more fluid.  They form, grow, die, change, etc. according to the leading of the Lord and His Purposes.  The eternalness of the Body of Christ is always there, but the fellowships and their makeups change.  The Bible says that unless a kernel falls to the ground and it dies, it cannot produce fruit.  The death of something allows for the birth of someone else. Change is healthy and life is transitional (birth, childhood, youth, adult, middle age, old age).  Our fellowships are also transitional, and that's okay!  Our relationships with each other are eternal, and they aren't contingent upon how much or often we gather with each other.

Q:   How do you get the word out in the community about your home church?

I am not supportive of most "attractional" ways to gather people for S/O/M fellowship.  This is the way traditional churches try and build their congregations.  Marketing is a big deal in our culture, and it certainly has affected the Church.  I think that growth should happen naturally through your relationships and contacts, and not through advertising.  

Many put their Simple Church on various websites, name and build networks, advertise and promote their groups to those seeking this venue of fellowship and life.  I'm not a proponent of that.  However, I do recognize that it may have some benefit in the connecting of people, but it feels to me like "church shopping" and artificial addition instead of natural growth through divine connections.  

The best way to "get the word out" is to live your Christianity in ways that those around you ask you questions about your faith and how you practice it.  God will bring you in contact with those He wants you to connect with - that's His job, and He does it well without our help in advertising.

****And that's all the questions we're going to address for now!  Thanks for following them in these last few blog posts, and remember if you have some suggestions, thoughts, opinions or disagreements - feel free to post them in the comments section!  

 I named this blog Backseat Driver for a reason.  YOU are the one in the front seat of your own journey with the Lord in this wonderful adventure called Simple, Organic, Missional life and fellowship.  I'm just offering my thoughts on the journey to you in humility.  If you find them confirmed by the Holy Spirit ........GREAT!  God has used me to encourage and ignite you.........

  If not, backseat drivers can easily be ignored.........:)