Last Saturday fourteen of us met to share dinner and worship. Ten members of our community were unable to attend. Over the last few months we have regularly had twenty to twenty four people on Saturday night. It’s quite a change from the four to six people who began meeting at MacArthur Church in Vancouver four years ago.
In a traditional church the growth we are experiencing would precipitate a building committee dedicated to finding a larger meeting place; but as house churches we believe that the Body of Christ is best served by small groups of Christ followers meeting together. Our recent growth is an opportunity for church multiplication.
This last Saturday we discussed what our next steps are as we enter into this adventure of church multiplication. A couple of of things were very clear:
1) This is not a blanket statement that we have too many people and some should leave. The last thing we want is for anyone to feel unwelcome. The goal of church multiplication is to see Christ’s church moving out into new places; not to protect our comfortable community.
2) Those who do step out in faith to build a new community of Christ followers must do so because they are called to do so. In Acts 13 the Holy Spirit told the church, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work for which I have called them.” The Holy Spirit continues to call specific people for the task of carrying His word into new communities. It would be a mistake for any of us to try to start a new house church community without a specific calling to do so.
3) The first step for our community is to earnestly seek God’s leading. In Acts 13 the prophets and teachers in Antioch was serving the Lord and fasting when the Holy Spirit called Paul and Barnabas. Last Saturday we agreed that the first step in this new journey is discerning together who God is calling to a new work. This means spending time praying and fasting, asking the Lord for direction.
The next two Saturday’s we have specific plans: a wedding shower and a house warming, but please be praying and thinking about how we can begin seeking the Lords direction together. We hope to talk more in depth about this at our next regular meeting.
I was driving in an unfamiliar neighborhood the other day when I passed a building where a church gathered. Out front was a larger than life sign bearing the image of a smiling, well-dressed man holding a Bible in his hand. At the bottom of the sign was printed, “Pastor [insert name here], Lead Pastor”.
Let’s be honest. As necessary as it is, we hate the idea of multiplying. Starting a new Summit at some other house, maybe on a different day and at a new time, means creating distance between friends (extended spiritual family) and not seeing one another as regularly as we once did. Still, creating new communities is an essential part of being the church. We take very seriously the words of Jesus when He said He was in the midst of even the smallest gathering of His followers (Matthew 18:19-20). If that’s true, then we conclude it is better for Jesus to be in 100 places among 10 than in one place among 1000.