Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Simple Church Explanation, Because People Always Ask...

This document came from our last No. American DAWN meeting...

A certain “DNA” seems to be present within the indigenous simple church movements of North America. This DNA, though unplanned, shows that God is moving in a universal and mysterious way among peoples who were not influenced by the same people or ways of thinking. Like all organic beings, the church has a DNA, a basic make-up that makes her what she was intended to be. The three categories that are making up the DNA of simple church movements in North America are:

1.) A commitment to truth as revelation through Jesus and the Scriptures.

2.) A commitment to an understanding of gospel that is fundamentally relational, nurturing and familial.

3.) A commitment to understanding that every church is apostolic (sent out) and missional (on a specific journey).

In English, we can use “DNA” as an acronym to teach these truths:

D - Divine Truth

N - Nurturing Relationships

A - Apostolic Mission

Divine Truth includes the following concepts:

· The Living and Triune God of Israel and our ancient Christian fathers and mothers is the rightful King of the universe.

· God’s Kingdom has come to us in Jesus Christ.

· The universal church is God’s people, living within the continuation of the true story of Israel, Jesus and the church.

· Jesus is himself the essence of Truth. Truth, then, is a person, the Divine Word.

· Jesus is the head of every church and He holds the agenda.

· The Holy Spirit guides the church into the reality of God and his ways.

· The Holy Spirit is at work today healing the hurting.

· The Bible is our sole curriculum for teaching, training and mission.

· God is in ongoing communication with his people in many ways.

Nurturing Relationships includes the following concepts:

· The primary metaphor for church is that of a family.

· Most churches will remain small in order to operate as a family.

· Leadership within the church closest resembles parenthood with spiritual mothers and fathers.

· The church family is inclusive to all people regardless of age, sex, race or socio-economic status since it is a witness to the availability of God’s Kingdom.

· The church is made of people who have voluntarily submitted to serve each other for God’s sake.

· The church is a participatory community, in which people share their lives with one another.

· Children are a blessing and a vital part of a church, showing adults how to truly enter the Kingdom.

· Each church is committed to loving other churches of Jesus-disciples since they are part of a wider family within the Kingdom of God.

· Finances and resources are shared as needed within a church family. Abundant resources are then given to the poor and to support church planting.

· Every church is a community of priests.

Apostolic Mission includes the following concepts:

· The church itself is apostolic (literally, sent into the world).

· The church is committed to encouraging and releasing disciple-making movements.

· “Organic” simple churches allow for churches to emerge within walking distance of every person.

· People are attracted to the church by the transformed lives of sinful people, the unique lifestyle of the church family (holiness), and the unconditional love that the disciples have one for another.

· Apostolically and prophetically gifted people lead missional initiatives within the church.

· Clusters of churches are networked and cared for by a team of evangelists, shepherds and teachers who equip disciples for ministry.

· Churches are called to disciple the nations.

· Many of the best leaders of the church are still in the harvest fields.

· The financial and other resources needed for church and mission are in the harvest.

· Overseers who act as models and mentors lovingly lead local churches.

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