MY AFRICA TRIP REPORT

I had several objectives for making the trip to Kenya to meet with Charles Otieno Owino head of the Kenya House Church movement and the other KHC leaders.

KHC was created to serve Kenya’s and now Tanzania’s rural areas.

I connected with Charles almost three years ago now on LinkedIn. It was largely because of my posts on www.livengeternal.net where I said the end-times church will be like the church described in the Book of Acts – House Churches.

In one post, I used the example of Francis Chan. He walked away from a church of 5000 to establish house churches with no paid pastors or buildings. Francis said the church was all about making disciples that make disciples. If a house church has not trained up disciples prepared to start another house church with family and friends in a short period of time (e.g. 6 months) then the church is not functioning as it should, he said.

Charles responded to my post with a hearty endorsement and outlined what KHC is doing in Kenya. Subsequently, I have been supporting KHC ever since to send out missionaries to establish House churches in new areas. KHC has grown from six to twenty-two house churches in the period I have been working with Charles.

We had one Zoom Meeting when Charles had all the house church leaders together for a time of thanks, praise, worship, and seeking God’s guidance on the way forward. However, despite my age, I felt God was prompting me to visit KHC to meet the leaders and establish where they were at in terms of the basics:

1. Belief in an inerrant Bible including its young earth history. This is why we had a Zoom Meeting with Creation Ministries International at the start of our three-day meeting.  

2. The Bible provides the true history of this universe. Creation, The Fall, Noah’s worldwide flood, God established the nations at Babel, God established his own nation Israel (role and purpose), central to that purpose, Jesus enters history at the prophesied time to save mankind:

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.John 14:6

This was Jesus’ first coming as the sacrificial lamb; however, the Bible clearly reveals that He will come a second time as the victorious King to establish His Millennial Kingdom on this earth. Prophesied end times signs indicate that His second coming is not too far distant. The principal prophesied end times sign was Israel becoming a nation again in 1948.

3. To ensure KHC understood the role and purpose of Israel in God’s plan for this universe including Jesus’ second coming to rule and reign over the nations with the resurrected saints from a glorious, restructured Jerusalem for one thousand years.

The picture was taken at the end of our three-day meeting a few of the pastors had to leave early to travel home. The dirt tracks to the meeting site were horrendous, certainly not roads.

Pastor Charles is at the far left of the picture

RESULT:

Alfred and me

I was hoping the English of the house church leaders was good enough so that we would not need an interpreter. This was not the case. Fortunately, Alfred the brother of the KHC leader, Charles is a teacher, and we proved a good team.

The agenda of the meeting shows the focus on the Bible providing a true history of this world, Israel, and preparing for Jesus’ return to rule and reign on this earth with the resurrected Saints for one thousand years.

The Holy Spirit led me to make one major addition to the program, we had two sessions on the role of the Holy Spirit in living the Christian life.

KENYA HOUSE CHURCH MOVEMENT

Preparing for Jesus’ Return

THREE DAY CONFERENCE

April 17th to 19th 2022

SUNDAY APRIL 17th

9.00 am       Welcome and Introduction     Charles Otieno

9.15 am       Purpose of my trip                    Ron Edwards (R.E.)

10.00 am     CMI Zoom Meeting              Pieter le Roux CMI

11.00 am     Rest time

11.15 am     Bible provides true history of the universe (19) – R.E

12.30 pm     Lunch

2.00 pm       GOD & ISRAEL – NATIONS ARE GOD’S IDEA (24) – R.E.

3.30 pm       Rest time

3.45 pm       ISRAEL – HISTORY & PURPOSE (35) – R.E.

4.45 pm       Rest time

5.00 pm       ISRAEL – FULLY RESTORED (65) – R.E.

6.00 pm       Close

MONDAY APRIL !8th

9.00 am       ISRAEL FEAST DAYS IN TYPE & PROPHECY (33) – R.E.

10.15 am     Rest Break

10.30 am     Presentation continued

12.45 pm     Lunch

2.00 pm    PROPHESIED RESTORATION OF THE LAND TO ISRAEL (100) – R.E.

3.30 pm    Rest time

3.45 pm    Presentation continued

4.45 pm    Rest time

5.00 pm    Presentation continued

6.00 pm    Close

TUESDAY APRIL 19th

9.00 am    ARE WE READY FOR JESUS? How to Prepare for His Return (58) – R.E.

10.15 am Rest Break

10.30 am Presentation Continued

12.45 pm Lunch

2.00 pm   Presentation Continued

3.30 pm   Rest time

3.45 pm Presentation continued

4.45 pm Rest time

5.00 pm Presentation continued

6.00 pm Close

GOD AT WORK IN UKRAINE (PART 2)

Christians are living out Jesus’ teachings as Ukrainians flee invasion. A movement of love, generosity sweeps Poland as it opens arms to Ukrainians 

 More than 60% of the 110 Poland Baptist churches are responding to the needs of Ukrainian refugees.

CHELM, Poland — With little more than the clothes on their back, hundreds of Ukrainian women and children wait hours in line to cross into Poland as part of the largest movement of people in Europe since World War II. They shuffle their feet quietly, even apprehensively, toward an unknown future in an unfamiliar country.

They’re stunned when they arrive. Volunteers have taped Ukrainian flags in their car windows and signs in Ukrainian reading, “free rides to shelter.” The drivers take the refugees to the Baptist church in Chelm, only a few kilometers up the road where people from around the world — Poland, Latvia, England, the United States, to name a few — are offering a place of safety and security for a few hours, few days or as long as they need it.

Families sit in stunned silence in an impromptu reception area where church volunteers tell the refugees the church has free food, drinks, showers, and places to sleep. The congregation even has a set-up children’s area where they can play with bubbles or watch educational videos projected on a screen.

“What we’re seeing is a movement of love and generosity across this nation. Poles are opening their doors and arms to Ukrainians. They are taking them into their churches. They are taking them into their homes. They are feeding them. They are caring for them,” said Marek Glodek, president of the Baptist Union of Poland.

“This is what Jesus calls His believers to do all the time. Polish Christians are taking the teachings of Jesus seriously and living them out each day during this situation.”

More than 60% of the 110 Poland Baptist churches are responding to the needs of Ukrainian refugees, many of them in dramatic and radical ways.

At a warehouse in Chelm, donations for Ukrainians are coming in as fast as they are going out to Ukraine and to shelters across Poland. The deliveries continue even after Russia intensifies attacks on the western portion of Ukraine.

In north Poland, church members installed new insulation, air conditioning, heating, electrical lines and beds in an old summer camp to revitalize it to house refugees.

Near the Belarus border, a church is providing shelter for about 50 people and sending supplies into Ukraine despite increased Russian aggression. 

“More than 1.5 million Ukrainians have sought safety in Poland,” said Mickey Lenamon, TBM executive director and CEO. “Baptists worldwide have joined together to meet their needs. TBM is honored to be part of that, whether it is through funding, sorting and loading donations in-country, setting up beds, or even doing the little things that are needed like cleaning floors and toilets. We see what believers throughout the region are doing and are seeking to do likewise: follow Christ daily and share His love.”

GOD USES CATASTROPHES FOR HIS PURPOSES

Just as Covid has caused massive disruption to the world now we have Russia invading Ukraine which has caused an enormous refugee crisis. Just as we see in the Book of Acts, catastrophes are opportunities for the church to innovate and to step in and help.

In Acts 8, a massive disruption upset the Christian world. Led by Saul of Tarsus, massive persecution drove Christians from their home base of Jerusalem. Up to that time the new Christian movement was centered in Jerusalem and was confined to Jews. By the end of the book of Acts, the church was more Gentile than Jewish and the church at Jerusalem was a side note. What made the difference? During the disruption, one church used it as an opportunity to innovate, and innovation changes the world.

Churches in countries neighboring Ukraine have opened their doors to shelter and aid refugees as the United Nations refugee agency estimated Thursday that 1 million people have fled the Eastern European nation since the beginning of Russia’s invasion last week. 

“In just seven days, 1 million people have fled Ukraine, uprooted by this senseless war,” U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said in a statement. “I have worked in refugee emergencies for almost 40 years, and rarely have I seen an exodus as rapid as this one.”

Many of the displaced have fled to neighboring countries such as Poland, Moldova, Slovakia and Hungary, while many more remain in Ukraine. 

Churches in neighboring countries are among community centers and camps sheltering refugees who’ve fled from the violence, with some seeing hundreds of Ukrainians coming and going in recent days. 

Refugees from Ukraine are pictured after crossing the Ukrainian-Polish border in Korczowa on March 02, 2022. – The number of refugees fleeing the conflict in Ukraine has surged to nearly 875,000, UN figures showed on March 2, as fighting intensified on day seven of Russia’s invasion

As Poland has taken the brunt of the Ukrainian refugees, one church that has served as many as 400 refugees is a Baptist church in Chelm. According to the Baptist Federation of Europe, the church is “filled with life” as it has pushed its pews out of the way to make room for beds. 

“It is not tension that you feel as you enter the building but life, peace, and joy,” a statement from the federation reads. “Children laugh and play while mothers prepare for onward journeys. The church piano plays a variety of tunes, none of the hymns, as the children practice their piano lessons.”

“Pews are in the pulpit and beds fill the sanctuary, the balcony, and every available space,” the statement adds. “Ukrainian and Polish families work side by side, making food, receiving donations, and cleaning the toilets. The laundry vibrates as the three new washing machines continue their endless 24-hour cycle. The supply rooms are full of children excitedly selecting new clothes and discovering new toys that have been donated.”

The church’s kitchen has supplied soup, snacks, and hot meals for the refugees arriving while packing lunches for the refugees that depart. The church receives help from local hotels that provide clean linen for the beds. 

The Polish Baptist Union hopes to house as many as 1,000 refugees. Polish Baptists have established 40 shelter camps. The PBU provides the camps with bedding items, food, and hygiene items, while Send Relief, IMB’s relief arm, provides funds to assist in the relief efforts. 

First Baptist Church of Gdasnk, Poland, will host one of the refugee centers, according to IMB missionary Ken Brownd. “It’s just cool to see Polish Baptists stepping up and taking care of their neighbors. They’ve done that for a long time now, but this is a different level,” Brownd was quoted as saying in an IMB report “Our team is trying to organize the Send Relief help … but really, this is mostly driven by Polish Baptists, so we’re not the main players in this at all. We’re helpers, and so it’s amazing.”

If nothing else Christians all around the world need to be in prayer and look for ways to financially support our brothers and sisters in Ukraine and the surrounding nations that are reaching out to help the refugees.

CHURCH AS GOD INTENDED

As narrated in the Book of Acts, the New Testament Church is both a prescriptive and descriptive account that illustrates a pattern for contemporary congregations.

The following are 7 essentials the contemporary church must embrace for missional movement.

Acts 1 shows how 120 disciples of Jesus spent 10 days together in prayer, comparing Scripture and making leadership decisions. This ensured that the foundation of the burgeoning movement would be secure. Their goal was to work towards oneness as it related to the understanding and preaching of the Good News of the Messiah.

Without this period of waiting upon God and reflection, the massive spontaneous addition of 3,000 people after Peter’s first sermon could have resulted in chaos and destroyed the movement. The contemporary Church must take adequate time every season to wait upon God in prayer and biblical reflection in order to be ready for the Gospel’s movement.

Acts 2:42 says that immediately after the Day of Pentecost, the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ doctrine, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer. Visitors to Jerusalem that converted, abandoned plans to go back to their homeland so they could sit under the apostles’ teaching.

This apostolic doctrine shaped their social gatherings, common meals, and corporate prayer. Without this, the activities of the Church would have been based upon subjective experiences and opinions of gatherers. The contemporary Church must also establish believers in the first principles of the faith if they are going to experience a prolific Gospel movement.

Acts 5:1-12 relay the narrative of the judgment upon Ananias and Saphira.

This illustrates how the standard of holiness and the fear of the Lord must be maintained to ensure the health of the Church. If God allowed them to continue lying, manipulating, and receiving honor deceptively through giving gifts (which amounts to dirty politics), it would have spread like yeast and eventually would have corrupted the Church.

It is not an accident that God began to do extraordinary miracles as soon as this couple was removed from the Church (Acts 5:12-14). The contemporary Church must understand that we limit the capacity for God to move through us whenever we allow unbiblical standards to permeate our Church.

Acts 6:1-7 Almost immediately after the birth of the Jesus movement, ethnic sectarianism and bias reared their ugly head. This took place when the Greek-speaking widows were being overlooked when food was being distributed. Peter had enough wisdom to appoint 7 men of integrity and wisdom who would oversee this ministry, resulting in every widow’s needs being met, the Word of God spreading, and the number of disciples multiplying.

Acts 7:54-60 The martyrdom of Stephen, demonstrates an amazing pattern for us to follow in the contemporary church. God cannot bless a Gospel movement if the saints are unwilling to give their lives to advance His kingdom. Even Paul said that he was always given over to death so that the life of Christ might manifest through him (2 Corinthians 4:11). A contemporary church filled with people who only gather to have their felt needs met will never advance the Gospel. Jesus said we would have power after the Spirit comes upon us to be His witnesses. The word witness comes from the word martyr. Hence, a faithful witness overcomes the enemy when he is not willing to shrink from death (Revelations 12:11).

Acts 7:58, 8:8 The early Church did not skip a beat but continued to thrive after mass persecution broke out against them. Even though they were forced out of their homes and lost everything, their mind was on spreading the Gospel! Wherever they were scattered, they preached the Word. This resulted in major churches being planted in the cities of Samaria and Antioch and resulted in their chief antagonist, Saul, being converted and becoming the greatest of the apostles. The contemporary Church must persevere amid persecution (similar to the powerful Gospel movement we see today through the persecuted churches in Iran, China, and India).

Acts 13:1-2 Instead of being bogged down with endless church committees and deliberations, the Antioch church elders spent adequate time ministering to the Lord and fasting. Giving God space to move upon them, released a divine strategy that changed the entire world. The contemporary Church must also prioritize seeking the Lord and waiting for the strategic Spirit to illuminate our hearts so we can labor for the things God ordains instead of asking God to bless our agendas.

Adapted from article ”8 lessons churches can learn from the book of Acts” by Joseph Mattera, Christian Post Feb. 20

MEGACHURCH EXPOSED

The explosive three-part docu-series, Hillsong: A Megachurch Exposed, will premiere on Thursday, March 24 on discovery+, the definitive non-fiction, real-life subscription streaming service, with all three episodes available on that date. Featuring interviews with Hillsong insiders, megachurch experts and Ranin Karim, the woman whose five-month affair with celebrity senior pastor Carl Lentz led to his downfall, the series will explore the high-profile, star-studded church’s alleged exploitation, abuse and cover-ups.

Is this church as it is described in the Book of Acts? I am sure it is not, just as the institutional church model is not God’s model for His church.

KENYA HOUSE CHURCH MISSION TRIP

We are progressing well with our discipleship ministry in Kehancha in Kuria but it is very hard here. The region is very dry with no green vegetation, and there is a scarcity of water and food. Our people are walking 3kms to fetch water from a borehole for drinking and cooking. It has been hard work for our evangelism team to reach farmers in the field and minister to them. Some of the people here testified that they have never heard about the gospel of Jesus Christ.

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KHC mission trip to Kehancha in Kuria region, Tent ministry – pastor Julius ministering the gospel message Jan 17th, 2022

We held tent discipleship and outdoor evangelism meetings. In every place, and at every point, we ministered, we were able to feel the  Holy spirit’s presence touching and convicting the hearts of many people to repentance with many people coming to believe in Jesus Christ. And as a result, many gave powerful testimonies.

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You can see pastor Jacob gathering with some of these families under one of the few trees left standing and sharing with them the gospel message. There is abject poverty, no chairs to sit on, people are standing some sat on stones and wooden logs. Keep us in your prayers. Thankfully your financial help was received.

We ministered the gospel message in various homes, to the pastoralists out in the field, even to the school children, and also to the business people in the marketplace. Unlike our past mission trips, this time we conducted a women’s ministry, and this was as a result of a large number of women present in our meetings.

A hairstylist, Mrs. Rhoda Opiyo testified she lost her job three weeks before we stepped into that region. The reason given was that she was talking too much about Christ, evidence of Christians being persecuted for their belief in Christ Jesus.

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Sadly, none of these twelve members have Bibles. We had funds to buy one Bible for the leader of the women’s group.

We hope to raise funds for more Bibles and would appreciate your help in this regard.

If you would like to help me support the Kenya House Church Movement you can do so on the Home Page by clicking the Donations button. I do not ask for funds to support my ministry but feel called to support the growth of House Churches in countries that can do with help.

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CHURCHES ARE BEING TRANSFORMED IN THE USA

We are so excited by the amazing fruit being harvested at the Last Reformation Kickstart Weekends that are happening all over the world. They are transforming people’s lives. Even churches are being transformed as you will see in the video below.

Here a whole church got transformed, the Pastor got baptized, and they are now changing the way they are doing church and will go and start small groups. This is transformational!

If you live in the USA and have the opportunity to go and join a Kickstart near you, Torben and his team would love to see you. Keep your eyes on TLRMap.com, where there are often new Kickstarts. For example, in California, a new Kickstart will happen at the beginning of the year in the southern part.

However, you don’t need to wait for a Kickstart Weekend. You can host your Kickstart by using the Kickstart Package. The Kickstart Package comprises seven videos where you get all the teaching for a Kickstart Weekend. The Package comes with a leaders book along with a workbook. Of course, it is not the personal contact you get in a Kickstart Weekend. However, it allows you to host it where you are, such as in your living room. You can invite people over to your home, and you can be the host. Use this tool to reach out to others around you just like other people have done.

Below is a testimony from Jeff and Diana in Pennsylvania.

Testimony from Pennsylvania

Jeff and Diana Ellis hosted a Kickstart in a conference center in downtown Butler, PA. This was the first time they used the Kickstart Package in a seminar-type event vs. a home setting. They utilized the Kickstart Package videos, engaging the workbooks. There were about 25 people in attendance, two of the attendees got baptized, and several received prayer and personal ministry.  Jeff stated, “we learned that anyone could do a Kickstart using this package. However, if you have more than four attendees, it is good to have other disciples present to minister alongside you. Overall, for our very first Kickstart, I believe this was a successful event!”

Jeff and Diana plan to follow up with several people for Bible Discovery Groups and do more Kickstarts.

ARE YOU SURE YOU ARE REALLY HAVING CHURCH?

This post is taken from a great article by Shane Idleman: The great shrinking church in America.

It’s clear that many churches have closed or have considerably shrunk in size since COVID-19. Reasons range from “church-goers are still scared to return,” to “they prefer watching live feeds.” But why have bold churches experienced tremendous growth? This issue is much deeper — it’s crystal clear that people are hungry for the truth. 

As a church in California located in Los Angeles County, I understand the enormous challenges of pastoring in these dire times. But, if the truth is told, the COVID crisis simply revealed the foundation of many churches, as well as the heart of many pastors. But thank God, there is hope! 

Pastors, I’m writing this to you to encourage you to be bold as you lead your congregation through these difficult and challenging times. But this boldness won’t come naturally, it will come supernaturally. It will have a cost:

“Life-giving preaching costs the preacher much — death to self, crucifixion to the world, and the travail of his own soul. Crucified preaching only can give life. Crucified preaching can come only from a crucified man” (E.M. Bounds).

The fire of the Spirit is contagious 

On October 25, 2021, we began having church every night at 6 pm for two straight weeks. At times, the atmosphere was overwhelming — a full altar, dozens of baptisms, the demonic realm being crushed and countless lives changed, both in person and through Livestream. As the old-timers used to say, “God heard our cries and showed up!” The key verse for us was Isaiah 64:1, “Oh, that You would rend the heavens! That You would come down! That the mountains might shake at Your presence.” (You can view the services here.)

Speaking boldly is no longer optional, it’s essential. That’s the missing ingredient today. God is no respecter of persons, status, or achievement, but He is a respecter of principles (Acts 10:34). If you seek Him with all your heart you will find Him. Then you will be better equipped to lead your congregation to the Fountain of Living Water once you yourself have drunk deeply. The fire of the Spirit is contagious.

This doesn’t mean that your church will grow; it could shrink, but it does mean that you’ll now have the power of the Spirit resting upon your life. Churches filled with the Spirit do the works of the Spirit. Jesus said that “whoever believes in Me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these because I am going to the Father” (John 14:12 NIV).

If your church doesn’t look like the New Testament church, are you sure that you’re truly “having church”?

Dead is for a graveyard, not a church

The Christian life is to be living and vibrant, not dry and dead. It begs the question: “Where are the rivers of living water that Jesus spoke about in John 7:38?” When it comes to experiencing a spiritual awakening (revival), it can’t be worked up, it must be brought down from heaven. 

In Lev. 9:23-24, the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people and the fire came down and consumed the burnt offering. God brought down the fire, but the responsibility fell on the leaders to keep the fire burning. They were to remove the waste but not the fuel. The same holds true for you and me. We must remove the waste of pride and add the fuel of humility.

Ignite your church with prayer meetings and worship nights. Humble yourself and lead the way and find comfort on the altar as you cry out to God for boldness. The two-week event described above was over a decade in the making as we persisted in seeking the heart of God. He truly is a “rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Heb. 11:6). When God chooses to give us a measure of revival in our bondage, worship, humility, and obedience, He will keep the flame going. 

The beauty of brokenness 

The beauty of brokenness is that humility crushes pride and ushers in the presence of God. Moses spent years on the backside of the desert as God broke and prepared him. Joshua’s humility no doubt came from lingering in the presence of the Lord. Isaiah was completely broken when he cried, “Woe to me! … I am ruined! …. My eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty” (Isaiah 6:5). Jeremiah collapsed and cried out for humility in the people, “My soul will weep in secret for your pride” (Jeremiah 13:17).

The Psalms are saturated with the brokenness of David, and Jesus’ disciples had to be crushed like olives so the anointing oil could flow. Paul had to be knocked to the ground and his eyes blinded by the glory of God before true humility became a mark of his ministry.  

Do you sound like a voice “crying in the wilderness” because you’ve been touched by God, or a voice whining in the wilderness because you’re dying spiritually? You can change that today. 

We provide the sacrifice, He provides the fire

When you lose intimacy with God, you lose boldness and the Spirit’s fire. Return to Him, and He will return to you (Zechariah 1:3). The strength of your church is in its purity and spiritual power, not in its numbers. God doesn’t need a majority — He is the Majority. We are not CEOs running a business, we are watchmen warning a nation. Prayer can no longer be a footnote at the end of a sermon; instead, prayer and worship must guide the church in these critical times.

How can you receive a measure of revival in these dire times if there is no desperation? God can’t pour into your heart if it’s already full of self: Self-willed. Self-sufficient. Self-made. Self must die in you before God can really live within you. 

The greatest hindrance to revival is within your own heart. It’s time to break up your fallow ground and seek the Lord while He still may be found (cf. Hosea 10:12). Again, although we can’t work revival up, God can bring it down from heaven if we prepare the soil of our hearts. We provide the sacrifice — He provides the fire.

Shane Idleman is the founder and lead pastor of Westside Christian Fellowship in Lancaster, California, just North of Los Angeles. Shane’s sermons, articles, books, and radio program can all be found at shaneidleman.com or wcfav.org

My followers know that I believe the church in the end times will be the church as described in the Book of Acts. I promote the church model as modeled by Francis Chan which is House Churches, no paid pastors, and no buildings. Nevertheless, I thought the truths expressed by Pastor Shane Idelman are worth a post.

CHURCH IN THE END TIMES PRIOR TO JESUS RETURN

More than half of preachers in mainline Protestant churches are now “seriously considering” leaving full-time ministry a new study from Barna Group shows

.Joe Jensen, Barna’s vice president of church engagement, told The Christian Post that the growing number of pastors now looking to leave their full-time positions is cause for alarm. “This particular stat, this is the highest we’ve ever seen it,” Jensen said, pointing to the burnout he believes many pastors are experiencing in the wake of the pandemic. 

“We’re concerned with how this is impacting the overall health of the Church. I really believe that at the heart of every healthy church is a healthy pastor. So this is definitely, almost four out of 10 pastors in America seriously considering quitting full-time ministry in the last year, a cause for concern.” Jensen said he believes the pandemic has “had a significant impact” on the well-being of pastors based on data they have gathered amid the pandemic.

Jensen said in 2020 when the pandemic shuttered many churches, many pastors “were just in survival mode, trying to figure out how to get online when they weren’t, and how to connect with their people even when they weren’t there to connect with them.” In 2021, as people began to emerge from lockdowns and churches have begun to open up, pastors are now struggling with the slow return of many of their congregants. “As we went to 2021, especially as churches started to come back in person, we were starting to pay attention to, how did it impact their overall well-being when their people weren’t coming back? Like, they probably were expecting them to. And so 2021 has definitely had all these set of challenges for pastors,” Jensen said.

Jesus is refining His church, the institutional model of paid pastors and religious tradition is failing. The early home church model as described in the Book of Acts was able to survive persecution just as the underground church did in China and Muslim countries today. This will be the model for the end times church as Christian persecution escalates as prophesied. The author of Crazy Love, Francis Chan who walked away from a church of 5000 describes his new church model.

Francis Chan
Francis addressing employees at Facebook

Chan shared his reasoning during a talk at Facebook’s headquarters as far back as June 22. 2017.

“Everyone’s in these homes so that it cost nothing,” Chan described. “We have 30 pastors now that all do it for free. We send them out in twos. So we have 14/15 house churches. And we just plan on multiplying, doubling every year. In ten years we could have 1.2 million people. And free.”

According to the “We Are Church” website, Chan’s new church model is structured as follows:

1.) Each church meets in a home.

2.) Each church has two pastors, both of whom aren’t paid.

3.) Tithes and offerings are collected, but all are set aside to be used for missions locally and abroad.

MAKING DISCIPLES IS THE MANDATE – CHURCH PLANTING IS THE OUTCOME

Where in the Bible are we commanded to plant churches? The simple and obvious response is, “it is not commanded.” Planting churches flows naturally out of making disciples. The heart of the church’s mission is to make disciples who make disciples.

In the New Testament, a disciple is more than someone who grows in their theological knowledge of God. A disciple fellowships with other believers, worships in a community, and prays like those assembled in a house in Acts 4.

And now, Lord, look upon their (the Worlds) threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.Acts 4:29-31

Empowered by the Holy Spirit, a disciple then boldly declares the word of God such that more and more people become followers of Jesus.

Missionaries have historically been the most vital source of a nation’s social development. These findings yield two important conclusions about the work of Protestant missionaries. Their message was good for the world and their focus was making disciples.

This understanding of a disciple is highlighted throughout the New Testament. Through a study of the early movement in Ephesus, we see at least thirteen characteristics common to them all.

  • Disciples are respectful of people and culture when they engage in God’s mission (Acts 19:7, 37).
  • Disciples surrender to God’s will and maintain the work of their first love in a theocentrically focused missiological theology (Eph 1; Eph 5:18-19; Rev 2:4).
  • Disciples declare the mystery of Christ to the nations (Eph 3:4-10, 1 Tim 2:1-4).
  • Disciples are equipped by movement leaders for ministry (Eph 4:12; 1 Timothy).
  • Disciples exhibit the fruit of the Spirit (Eph 4-5).
  • Disciples are empowered by the Holy Spirit to be witnesses (Eph 5:18-19, 2 Tim 1:7).
  • Disciples are godly fathers and mothers, husbands and wives, employees and employers (Eph 5:22-6:9).
  • Disciples pray for opportunities to share the gospel because they know God is most glorified when more people are worshipping him (Eph 6:18-20, 1 Tim 2:1-4).
  • Disciples stand up for the marginalized (1 Tim 2:8-15, 5:3-16; Rev 2:6).
  • Disciples learn sound doctrine from movement leaders who can teach (1 Tim 4:7).
  • Disciples are willing to suffer for the sake of the gospel (2 Tim 1:8).
  • Disciples are committed to multiplying more disciples (2 Tim 2:2).
  • Disciples defend the faith against false teaching (Rev 2:2).

Extracts from an article “Is Church Planting a Biblical Mandate?” October 28, 2020, by Jackson Wu