I recently wrote an article for Mission Frontiers. This is an excerpt with a link to the full article.
Jesus bypassed the cumbersome religious structures and irrelevant worship practices of his day, and started something living and organic. The word “organic” is a good one to describe a spontaneously reproducing simple church movement because it describes something that grows naturally, without artificial additives. It consists of elements that exist together in natural relationships that make growth and multiplication possible. That is how a simple church movement grows: it is not a top down hierarchical organization, but a movement held together by people who share the same vision and values. I have observed that successful churches in the conventional church model can actually be a hindrance to a simple church planting movement.
Notice the way Jesus got the disciples exercising gifts of leadership from the outset, before they were “ready.” Jesus didn’t wait for disciples to be born again, baptized, trained theologically and supervised under a safe religious system with guaranteed controls before He was involving them in leadership. He got them out telling others about Him within a few weeks of being with Him (Matt 10:1–14). He led the movement He began from underneath, very quickly involving the disciples in leadership assignments without mentioning positions or titles. He had a radically different paradigm from that of the religious leaders of His day, and of our day as well. He was training them to lead before they were actually born again, in our evangelical understanding of what that means. After all, the journey of discipleship doesn’t start when a person comes to faith in Christ, but long before.
To keep reading, please go here.