Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Wolfgang Simson’s 15 Theses (in English and Arabic)

Wolfgang Simson is known for being a pioneer of the house church movement. His “The House Church Book” is a brief summary of his philosophy.  I mostly agree with him, but because I believe in the principle of the irreducible ecclesiological minimum, I think the Bible prefers some flexibility in the form of the church according to the context (though I think the NT is quite clear on the leadership structure).  Simson argues that the church must be formed around the oikos.  In any case, I think his proposal is correct for pioneer settings, and especially helpful for new MBBs who, for some reason or another, think they need to do church the way CBBs do church.

To that end, here are Simson’s Fifteen Theses towards a Re-Incarnation of Church (read the whole thing, below are just the main points):

  1. Church is a Way of Life, not a series of religious meetings
  2. Time to change the system
  3. The Third Reformation
  4. From Church-Houses to house-churches
  5. The church has to become small in order to grow big
  6. No church is led by a Pastor alone
  7. The right pieces – fitted together in the wrong way
  8. God does not leave the Church in the hands of bureaucratic clergy
  9. Return from organized to organic forms of Christianity
  10. From worshipping our worship to worshipping God
  11. Stop bringing people to church, and start bringing the church to the people
  12. Rediscovering the “Lord's Supper” to be a real supper with real food
  13. From Denominations to city-wide celebrations
  14. Developing a persecution-proof spirit
  15. The Church comes home

And here is a pdf of the 15 Theses in Arabic. (HT: Jens Barnett)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

How many “pillars” in Biblical faith?

We all know Islam has 5 pillars.  Recently I’ve told a couple young (in the faith) MBBs that there are 2 pillars in the Injeel: baptism and communion (they were asking what those are so I used the word “pillars” as an analogy).  I didn’t plan on explaining it that way, it just kind of slipped out and I don’t know how to feel about it.  I think they got the point, but…

…are there more than 2?  Is it a bad idea to call these things “pillars?”  Is there a better way to explain to MBBs in unreached areas who have never met a near-culture CBB what baptism and communion are?  These are not rhetorical questions. 

Go ahead and weigh in in the comments below.  If you have any good resources on this topic (explaining baptism and communion to MBBs, esp. in Arabic) please link to them.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

GoCorps: Mid-term is the new Short-term


GoCorps exists to build the movement toward going to those beyond the current reach of the gospel by enlisting passionate Christian young adults to serve globally for two years. We recruit recent college graduates from all backgrounds and career interests to go for two years to the least reached and those in extreme poverty through eight tracks of service.

GoCorps goers serve in the hardest places where both cultural and economic factors have converged to leave whole generations without access to a culturally relevant understanding of the gospel. As such, GoCorps goers are often the first to tell those in the city that they are placed in about the good news of life in Jesus Christ.

Yet we recognize that enlisting hundreds of qualified and passionate cross-cultural two year volunteers is not the ultimate solution to the great commission. We believe that the best hope for seeing the completion of the great commission in our generation is to build a massive force of World Christians in all fields who are committed to leveraging their gifts, passions and availabilities toward God's global dream of the fulfillment of the great commission.

Beyond two years of service globally, our hope is for GoCorps goers to bring strong leadership and influence to the church and the market place, instilling a commitment to lifelong involvement in the great commission task, especially advocating for and addressing the special challenges in bearing the message of Jesus Christ to those among the least reached globally.

Lead Like Jazz, Scott Olson

From Leadership Journal, November 2012, Lead Like Jazz by Scott Olson:

Jazz. I absolutely love it. I know some don't. Others say it's an "acquired taste," but for me there's nothing like it…

It's not just about the music, either. The older I get, the more I'm seeing the impact that jazz has played on my leadership style. Sounds strange, I know. But the connection between leadership and music makes sense, especially when you begin to understand the difference between classical and jazz. Both genres correlate to distinctive leadership styles…

There are times when we as leaders need to take a classical approach. Highly detailed projects require careful attention to detail. We need to play every note on the page. I don't want my dentist playing "jazz" in my mouth during a root canal. I want accuracy. I want rules followed. I want exact science applied. Many leaders are process people and have personalities that tend to make them focus on details, accuracy, and good process. But there are certain situations that call for a different approach. There are times when we encounter obstacles and ambiguity, times where a little "jazz" is just what it takes to lead on another level…

Leading with jazz is not always the best answer, but neither is playing only classical. The key is to know when to switch styles in order to match the leadership situation…

Read the whole thing (1 page).

Thursday, November 8, 2012

One of my fears…

I have no shame in sharing that I’m a wannabe missiologist.  I suspect most readers of this blog are too, and we even have some official missiologists who subscribe to Circumpolar (Missiology is a dynamic academic discipline which examines the theories and practices of Christian mission as it relates to Biblical theology, history, and the behavioral and social sciences.). 

In any case, one of my fears is that my missiology will reflect the following (pg. 175) criticism of it, which is unfortunately descriptive of most evangelical missiology today:

[Missiology is] the marriage of mediocre anthropology and shallow theology.

No Lord, may it never be!