We've talked about the idea that "church emerges out of listening". What this means is that we really believe that Jesus is the Head or Leader of each individual church and that, as we listen to Him, He brings the agenda for each meeting.
This same thing is true on the larger level. The house churches in Denver are connected in a relational network. Jesus is also the Head or Leader of this expression of church, and, as we listen to Him, He brings the agenda for the network as well. Church, at every level, emerges out of listening.
See below for two encouraging examples of what people in the Denver Network are hearing. One has to do with connecting women across the city. The other has to do with helping people, especially new believers, learn the Bible.
What a concept! Jesus really is the Head of His church on every level. And, He really is expert at building His church on every level (Mt. 16:18). Our job is not to do a great job of figuring it all out but to do a great job of listening to Him.
From Christal Haner: One of the amazing benefits of house church is the close community that we share within our own house churches. One of the more difficult areas of house church is the lack of that broader sense of connectivity within the body of Christ. For a couple years our network (ASPEN) has been putting together a semi-annual women's retreat. So far it has just been about 16 of the women from our network coming together to check in and worship together over a weekend. While I was praying about it for the Fall retreat, I felt a strong need to open up our women's retreat to the entire Denver house church network. So, we would like to invite all of the women in your house churches to be a part of our women's retreat this fall.
From Sean Hyatt: I am writing to ask for your help in praying and listening about a project/vision I feel the Lord has put on my heart. I've chosen to send this email to you specific guys & gals because I am close to you and I trust you to pray and truly listen to what the Lord might speak to you on this. Thank you ahead of time for reading this lengthy email :))
I would like to write, illustrate, and produce a new full-color home Bible study chart. We used to use these as an evangelism and soul-winning tool in the denomination I grew up in. They are designed so that you can teach an individual, family or group for about 12 weeks, an hour or two each week, in the comfort of their home or somewhere out in public in their territory. It is basically like Bible 101. Someone who is interested in learning more about the Bible (or who is simply hungry for God) can go thru this home Bible study with you and learn all about the Bible and all the major stories and themes in the Bible, including the gospel message. It is a powerful soul-winning tool for an individual or a group, and a powerful discipleship tool as well.
Before, when we taught weekly home Bible studies to seekers, at the end of the 12 or so weeks when the study was finished (since all we had to offer them was traditional church) we basically said, "Congratulations! Now that you're saved, you get to come to our church, sit on a cold pew, stare at the back of peoples heads, and marinate for a decade or so" :) ... but now that we understand organic church planting, once the study is done we can simply keep meeting weekly in their home (or the coffee shop or workplace or park or wherever), and a new church is planted with their oikos. A much better situation after the Bible study is done.
There was a time when I was a teenager and a young adult that I was teaching multiple ongoing weekly 'chart' Bible studies in multiple homes, and winning multiple sinners to Jesus...it was a very exciting and fulfilling time. Colorful chart Bible studies also are great for teaching children or teens or young adults (or anyone without a basic biblical foundation) all the basics about the Bible, Jesus, the gospel, and the kingdom of God.
Any and all feedback or ideas, positive or negative, are welcome (truly!). I just want to get some further direction from the Lord before proceeding...