Saturday, June 20, 2009

This Week in the Mission Blogosphere

OK. Here's the line-up for this week in the Mission Blogosphere:
  • Why are we so afraid of NT house churches? On the blog of an IMB missionary, The M Blog, there was some discussion of house churches. His first post provided a description of a house church meeting on his field. This was done in response to some objections to house churches he had seen elsewhere. The second post contained a lengthy email response. Here's my two cents: Some of the objections are legitimate. But the main objection I usually here is that they just won't work in our (U.S.) culture. So we act as though we must have a building before we can have a church. In fact, church planters often say that he "found a church" when he only found a building (I read this recently in the prayer letter of an Asian missionary). In my estimation, our obsession with buildings often strangles new (and old) churches. Think about it, in so many areas we make a concerted effort not to give into cultural trends. But in this area and others we have totally caved to a materialistic, corporate-minded, culture. We say we do this because we believe it is the only way people will come in our culture, though we won't (and shouldn't) put a rock band on the platform for the same reason. I do not think that house churches are the only biblical churches (for there's no command given for it). However, I will say that our discomfort with simple house churches here, opposed with Paul's comfort with them, may be an indication of deeper differences we have with Paul (concerning things like "what is a church, essentially?"). In the U.S. we may be comfortable with churches beginning in homes, but we are not comfortable with them staying in homes. Why? Your answer to that question may reveal a great deal about what you believe a church is.
  • Advise For All Who Want to Make and Impact - Two Mission bloggers gave a few pieces of good advice to all who want to reach others for Christ. One focused on new church planters, while the other was more general. They basically boil down to "focus on the people." Don't be distracted from the people. Study them, not through books as much as getting out among them. Spend time among them. They are more important than your website, a building, etc. Find ways to engage people in your community. Don't shelter yourself from them as we often do: in our cars, in the self checkout at Walmart, on the internet, etc. If you expect to win people to Christ, you must first be where they are. This is an area that I struggle with, but it can be overcome.
  • World News - Are you praying for the world? Do you know what is happening? Iran is in an uproar, which is only being heard through Facebook, Twitter, and other internet means. The elections are being called a farse and many of the people are demanding change, for just a sliver of freedom. Christians in India are also rejoicing over the election of their more secular party and the ousting of the Hindu nationalist party. These regions are strongholds of Satan. Let us remember that there is a world outside our borders, a world where Christians suffer because of their faith. Let us pray according to 1 Tim 2:1-2, that their governments would give them peace, that the Gospel could spread as it ought to.
Until next time.

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