I have learned much through trial and error, and this I know, that traditional church is nowhere near what simple church is or can become. Lori and I moved away from the old house church late last summer, and took a step back to review and survey the land.
We realized then what we did not want, so it enabled us to wait on the Lord, read the word, and pray. We have done a lot of that, with a lot of interaction with other people who would like to see a new house church. Rather than heading head long into a new adventure, we decided to wait, and see the relationships begin to flourish and grow. We have seen the Lord strengthening some relationships, and giving us hope for more of the same in other relationships.
One thing we know for sure, is that for a simple church to be about anything, it has to be about relationship with God, and each other, and being built up in community, with honesty and transparency as key values. Commitment to each other only comes with time spent walking together.
Over the year we have gathered with couples, and I have gathered with a few men every week for mutual friendship and accountability. I rejoice at all that I am learning, and also at the openness of others of the whole simple church community. Ministry is not the focus. Jesus is the focus, and our life in Him, and all the significant ministry will will flow from the relationship we have with Him.
God has designs for simple churches and all churches to reproduce, as this is the most effective way of spreading the Kingdom. So out of relationship to the Lord and each other, will flow life and mission. “You can’t have one without the o-o-o-o-ther!” So now we are seeing a couple of interesting developments.
There is a means to planting churches through evangelism, and I am finding this whole method of evangelizing and then discipling through a simple church community very fascinating and encouraging. There are currently three people interested in examining the claims of Christ in the gospel of Mark as well as reading and discussing the Book of Acts. Should the Lord bless us with salvations, then these new babes in Christ will become key people in a new simple church. I am very excited about this prospect.
There are also some people who feel that “now is the time” for a new simple church, and that it needs to be formed as a relational community. This we have advocated from the beginning, and now some people actually see that and want that. We will have to pray and depend on the leading of the Holy Spirit as we walk by faith on this issue.
There are finally signs of hope. God has been working on our own hearts, and on other people and their relationships. It looks like there is a knitting together about to take place.
< < < < < < < < < < < < < < < < < < DISCLAIMER < < < < < < < < < < < < < < < < < < <
The above blog post was written at a time when I was eclectic in my theological & biblical views and understanding. As of 5 February 2017 I am a functional cessasionist, that is, I believe the spiritual gifts, in particular gift like the vocative, prophetic gifts as well as healing & miracles have ceased. This means that my understanding is that at the end of the apostolic era, when the last apostle died (that would be John who was at Patmos & Ephesus, the author of the Gospel of John, Epistles of John & the Revelation of Jesus Christ, with his passing, the need for these particular gifts, the oracles of God given to men through the Holy Spirit, were no longer required. With the forming of the Canon of Scripture, there came to be no need for revelatory gifts. In fact in Revelation, John himself records the words of Jesus, “18 I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book. 19 And if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share of the tree of life and the holy city, which are written about in this book.” [Revelation 22, CSB]
God is sovereign, still heals, still manifests in the miraculous, but not at the whim or the discretion of men. We pray and ask the Lord, and then we yield and surrender to His will, echoing the words and the spirit of Christ, “Not my will but your will be done.” [Luke 22:42].
I embrace and hold to a Reformed understanding of theology & Christian living in the world. I have abandoned my other views entirely. I would be more akin to a Reformed Baptist (1689 Confession) type of Reformed theology. I used to be a continuationist (akin to John Piper) but no longer.
God bless you as you seek to know Christ and the power of His resurrection [Philippians 3:10 CSB].
In the eternal grip of Jesus,
Samuel M. Buick
29 January 2018
< < < < < < < < < < < < < < < < < END OF DISCLAIMER < < < < < < < < < < < < < < < <