It seems God is moving all over the world through massively expanding organic networks of everyday people making disciples who make disciples who plant churches.
Why aren’t we seeing this as much in the U.S.?
First, we don’t see them because we aren’t looking for them. We aren’t turning over the stones with our ear to the ground looking for them. They are happening and are probably near where you live – you would just never know it. There are house churches all over the country but how would you know the exist since they don’t have a sign or building?
Second, God moves fastest among the humble and we have a pride problem in the United states. Experts in disciple making movements say the people who are hardest to train and most resistant are people who have been in ministry the longest. There are too many habits that have to be broken and paradigms that have to be shifted and most can’t do it. Movements are taking place among people who are desperate for God. We aren’t there yet.
Third, we haven’t given over control of our churches and our lives to God 100%. We like to maintain and exert control and this runs counter to the movement of God. It is only when we give it all over to God and plead with him for him to run the show and we follow his lead that movements can happen. We aren’t there yet.
Fourth, the movement of God runs counter to how we set up church. By church I mean institutional, established church as we see in the United States.
- Church was set up to be stable and predictable…movements are not.
- Church was set up to be top-down leadership. Movements are bottom up.
- Church was set up to be run by professionals. Movement are energized and driven by lay people.
- Church was set up to not upset the insiders. Movement mobilize the insiders for mission.
- Church was set up to keep leadership in the hands of the few and keep them local. Movements multiply leaders and give them away readily.
- Church values slow. Movements value fast.
- Church is expensive. Movements are cheap.
- Church is programmatic. Movements are mission focused.
The way we setup church creates inherent barriers to movement that were completely foreign to church in the New Testament. And so much of the drama revolves around the brick and mortar. If we can divest ourselves of our investment in the building and refocus on people we would be more apt to be movements rather than feeling so stuck.
God is willing and ready to move. I am not so sure we are.
From the time I was in my 20’s I have yearned to see churches that would thrive with neither a church building or a professional preacher to support. That way, more funds could go into helping the poor and supporting missions. That is one reason I love what you are doing with “Back Yard Church!” The more we function with things like that, the better off we will be. The kingdom of God does not have to have large, expensive blocks of land to build on to thrive. “If we build it, they will come” has never worked, and never will. People come when they see something significantly different from what is going on in the world around them, something that makes life better, not in fulfilling the American dream but in fulfilling the love God has poured into human hearts.