Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Underground Church?

Brother Maynard posted this interesting question:
It’s not disputed that the growth of the church in China has been explosive… but how do we know that the cause for this is the oft-assumed environment of persecution, and not significantly due to the decentralized underground structure of the church in China?

If the church in the west voluntarily decentralized and went ‘underground,’ what would happen?
I think he raises a very significant question. The underground / housechurch movement is so significantly different than what most of traditional north american "church" experience is. I think many people are more tied into church structure (of whatever kind) than into
a) following Jesus, and,
b) seeing God's kingdom built.

15 comments:

The Righteousness of God said...

Amen. God also raised up 'giants' like Watchman Nee in China. He also uses the invisible who will be known in the new heavens and the new earth.

Western thinking on Church is perverse in my opinion as well - I would dare even say it not true Kingdom thinking. I think Seminaries are starting to take on real issues of the western church but yet a great deal of Ostrich (head in the sand) thinking is alive and well. Who wants to give up control and let God do what he does best. A couple of thoughts on that the western traditional church needs maturity on:

* The church is a people not a building. (by the way - what do these super structure churches say about the believers....do they really believe Jesus is coming soon?)

* The church is a missional people that has to engage her culture in the market place not stay hidden in the fortress (building). The hurting people will not come to the building on a Sunday morning.

* The church needs to be transparent. We screw up but need humility to admit it....we need to become and project that the church is best in world when it comes to solving relational problems. We need to be the world leaders whereby the pagans come for our console.

* The church are kingdom activists - sorry about your luck...one cannot be innert in the Kingdom of God...it simple is not permitted by Him.

* There is no clergy that does it all for the laity - we are all priesthood of believers. ENGAGE - no excuses please.

* One cookie cutter Christian theory is out - we have much in common but we all don't look and quack the same. Get over it.

* The church has to give up control of one and another and God. Let God lead his church. Our role is to be obedient as we live out our life in His.

* The church has a credibilty problem in the market place - we screw up but forget that Grace covers our shortcomings. We need to be the masters of extending Grace to non-believers since we are the largest consummers of it ourselves.

* The church seems often to be a secular 'club' since its members try to run it as such and forget that it is God's to lead - not the boards, the elders, or the little old lady who owns the purse strings.

* The church has forgotten her prayer roots - any wonder why she lacks direction and is dying?

* The church is suppose to be a community of believers who love one another (genuinely - not just a painted on smile Sunday mornings). Who embrace people and include people - not judging and driving them back out into a similiar environment. The church is God's haven of love and safety. The church needs to be a place of 'process change' and not a destination of perfect change.

* The bar for things to be done on a Sunday morning is absurd. The body tries to do too many things, none of it well, and in my heart, not all of it as to the Father's will.

* Ask yourself why many embraced the Gospel and a relationship with God but reject the bovine fecied activities of the body?


* The western church permits people to easily speak into their lives (and control) when they have no God authority to do so. Just look at the number of really bad television evangelists that appear to be good - but their understanding of God is twisted and distant. There are nut bars in Christendom - hello?

Something is out of wack. Be real.

At the end of the day one is either in the vine or just another dead branch. Jesus was clear on this.

j mills said...

My small group meets in different locations every week (decentralized) and we always meet in someone's basement (underground).

Does that count as a Chinese housechurch?

We don't live in China but we are attempting to seek God's kingdom, love each other, invite our friends, and eat good food.

I love my small group!

The Righteousness of God said...

Sounds like Jesus is in you and you and he are building Kingdom.

It has been my experience that Jesus rarely clones things - meaning your group will never be a a 'chinese housechurch' but it will be a housechurch/cell uniquely crafted by God. I know in Christendom many want to reproduce the Willowcreek model - that's wrong!

Cell-ebrate your uniquenes... ;)

Jason's Small Group said...

Jason,

We love you too!!!!

XOXOXO

ok, maybe replace the X's with handshakes...

The Righteousness of God said...

What ever happened to 'Holy' kisses anyways!!! As long as it is not sexual - who cares!!

more of jason's small group said...

jason's small group,

Did you check with the rest of the group before making such a bold statement.

pastor mike said...

RoG is stretching scripture it says "a holy kiss" not "kisses" - don't get carried away there bro -:)

pastor mike said...

But my small group meets above ground - my basement is unfinished.

The Righteousness of God said...

Leave it to a legalist to be the kill-joy. . . no stretch was ever intended!!! In Him... (By the way...I guess outright groping is right out of the question!!!!) (LOL)

The Righteousness of God said...

Perhaps we could have a sermon/message on the 'Holy Kiss'. I have yet to hear one on this noble subject. I believe it is 'commanded' of believers...yet another 'ism' that is comfortably tucked away. I am puckered like a lemon!!!!! It should be good if not great...LOL....singed prudish righteousness.

The Righteousness of God said...

Perhaps we could have a sermon/message on the 'Holy Kiss'. I have yet to hear one on this noble subject. I believe it is 'commanded' of believers...yet another 'ism' that is comfortably tucked away. I am puckered like a lemon!!!!! It should be good if not great...LOL....signed prudish righteousness.

j mills said...

This is some good 'quantity' conversation.

I can feel the love.

It reminds me of a time I had lunch with 'Jason's small group'.

Coincidently, it was above ground.

The Righteousness of God said...

FE 2 2006 - Ground 'RoG' Day Questions:

Do 'emerging' churches come from below grade locations such as basements?

If an 'emerging' ground RoG see's it's shadow does it mean another six weeks of bad spiritual weather and should they retreat back to the comforts of the burough?

Or if one is taking a trad church from above grade to below grade - is the church seen as 'taking a dive'?

If a church meets in a basement that has a completed 'WRECK-room' does this mean they are not Canadian but rather 'Finnish' (because they meet in a Finished basement)?

If it is a walk out basement location...do it's members report to the Pastor that their life group is getting a bad 'grade'?

Ah... these questions are tormenting me...why should He tarry!

Jason's Small Group said...

Mr. Mills,

I think your guilty of some misrepresentation. I agree that there was lots of quantity when you had lunch with "Jason's Small Group" however you forgot the mention the quality. Such quality in fact that it is still have a profound impact on your life today.

I dare say the same quality isn't represented in the above posts, however there is definitely a wider range of topics for discussion. For instance, I don't think we ever tackled the issue of "outright groping" yet.

Anyway, likely a case for having lunch with your small group again sometime soon.

Lots of love...

The Righteousness of God said...

I trust it is an 'underground cafe'?