some material that my friend Tom Wymore http://tomwymore.blogspot.com/ has posted on the Foursquare Simple Church site. I am using it as a guide along with some other material to walk through this. Here is what we went through last night.
• the kind of church described in the New Testament, flexible and changeable to enable quick responses to the needs of the extended family and God’s call to extend His Kingdom.
• people who listen to God, follow His leading and obey Him.
• spiritual parents raising spiritual sons and daughters to establish their own families.
It’s More Than a Change of Location! Simple church is more than a move away from the confines of a building. It is a response to God’s call to re-examine everything about “church” in light of Scripture and to simplify what has been complicated by events and programs. It is best described by common core values and practices such as …
• Intimacy with God and one another. Intimacy with God is foundational to everything else.
• Community. SC folks know that relationships are at the core of everything in the Christ life.
• Family. The church is family, healthy families are the church, and leaders are spiritual parents.
• The Gospel of the Kingdom—this is the message that Jesus and the NT believers presented!
• 24/7 Christian walk. Folks in simple churches have a sincere desire to be devoted followers of Jesus all the time, everywhere; the level of personal accountability and involvement is very high.
• Spontaneity. Life and ministry together are characterized by the informal and spontaneous.
• Supernatural lifestyle. Simple church folks generally seem to be very open to the supernatural and keenly aware of the need to live naturally supernatural lives in today’s broken world.
• Intimacy-based, missional praying (e.g., praying Luke 10:2b for workers for the Harvest).
• Participation (for everyone—everyone has something to contribute, not only when the church gathers but as the church ministers to its own community and beyond).
• Leadership by example, serving and spiritual influence, carried out in and by a leadership community, not a single leader. Simple church leaders allot most of their time to intentional relationships in both formal and informal settings.
• Modeling and discovery-based learning as the primary means of teaching/training; this is a return to the Hebraic model used by Jesus and other NT leaders.
How is this different from more traditional forms of church?
16:3-5, 1 Corinthians 16:19, Colossians 4:15). So a better question would be, “Is that a viable expression of the church?” What helps us recognize the Body of Christ regardless of its “clothing”? Consider the following.
for believers in the NT is “brothers.”
• All believers in the New Testament had entered the family having experienced the following.
They had …
• Although we are not told a lot about the gatherings of the church, we do know the following:
Jesus through the Holy Spirit to be among them (Matthew 18:20 and 1 Corinthians
to be expressed in their midst (see 1 Corinthians 5:4, 12:7-11, and Galatians
.. Participation by all. The early believers expected each person to contribute
in their gatherings as the Spirit led (1 Corinthians 12:7-11 and 14:24-26.
Ephesians 5:19-20 and Colossians 3:16-17 also imply participation by many.).
Meeting in homes helped maintain the smaller size needed for participation. The
NT also describes other, occasional larger gatherings, but the regular
gatherings remained small to allow for participation by all.
Four passages that show this are Acts 20:17-28, 1 Corinthians 4:14-17, 2 Corinthians 4:5 (your “slaves for Christ’s sake”) and 1 Thessalonians 2:6-12 (Paul likens himself to mother and father).
• The purpose or mission of the church has many facets (see 1 Peter 1:9, for example), but it always flows from intimacy with Jesus (John 15:1-17) and derives its power and direction from individual and corporate relationship with Him.
• Leadership that leads by loving example and serving as well as by instruction/training.
• Gatherings that are filled with God’s presence and power and in which everyone participates.