Monday, December 19, 2011

What happens in a Foundations Course?

The video above is an interview with Walt Hastings who is one of our LK10 Coaches.  Walt has just finished leading one of the Cohorts in our six week Foundations Course and is describing what happened during the Course.  (See below for comments from members of that Cohort.)

Five new Cohorts are beginning in January.  One in Africa.  Two in Australia.  Two in the US.  To find out more information and to register see the right column.  Further questions?  Send me an email at 

John White

Comments from members of Walt's Cohort...

Phyllis:  I had gotten God's messages before, but had never thought of it as hearing His voice. I had never tried a dedicated "listening time" before either. So I guess you'd have to say I am leaps and bounds beyond where I was.  I'd love to live my whole life as a "listening time"...   The class has emphasized for me that "church" is about relationship (to God and to each other) more than it is about worship. Worship flows from the relationship. 

Joseph:  The class has strengthened my marriage. We have checked in with each using "SASHET", which helps us to state where we are much more quickly. Sometimes we can't put emotions into words but this method helps. The class also has helped me to be more in tune to God and to listen to Him.  

Angie:  My highlight was meeting new people.  I also liked the roadmap that LK10 presented.  Doing check-ins using SASHET helped me understand where others are and be more tender toward them. I learned to listen to others, without offering advice. I was able to hear God's Voice every day and journal. I am appreciating that God wants to be with me each day, and that He desires relationship. Observing Walt when coaching allowed me to see a good example of listening well and asking good questions, without telling people what to do.   

Troy:  I liked the course material, especially how the role of the Holy Spirit was presented. It was great having a coach to whom to be accountable. My coach made observations and asked good questions that led to personal growth.  I also like the training options for the future that LK10 is planning.   

Raymond:  For me, the highlight has been the Skype session with the group. The fellowship with the other members in Skype was so welcome and refreshing. One member came through with some useful info on home churches that he sent to me. It has been a great encouragement to me to have fellowship with others of like mind and desires.  

Audrey:  I've learned better skills for listening to God.  Taking out more quiet times to spend with God, has made my relationship with Jesus seem more real to me...  I think that just knowing someone is committed to connecting with me each day (CO2) is pretty great, as well as knowing that I have a non-judgmental ear ready to listen to what's going on with me... When we arrive at our church meeting, I already feel connected to her, not like I'm only seeing her for the first or second time during the week. 

Bob:  I see more clearly the presence of Jesus in people in our cohort. I have new friends via the cohort. I want to hear what God does in their lives in the future, and to find opportunities to encourage them in their journey. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Youth Ministry: A 50-year-old failed experiment (2)

Reggie McNeal, author of The Present Future, weighs in on this issue of youth ministry...

We typically hire children's and student ministers to run programs for children and young people.  In fact, this approach by the church may do more to decimate the home as a spiritual center than anything coming into the home on television or the Internet.

Reggie hasn't quite gotten to the house church concept (home = church) yet but he's headed in the right direction.  Here's more from Reggie...

From Classroom to Living Room

In the new world the place of learning has shifted from the classroom (academic model) to the living room (life learning)...

This shift raises the question of why churches spend millions of dollars building file cabinets to put people in for an hour or two each week (we call it "educational space") when the most effective spiritual formation does not occur in these settings...

This issue in spiritual formation is bigger than just location.  It involves a philosophy of where spiritual formation is centered.  In the modern world spiritual instruction was owned and operated by the institution of the church.  In premodern and postmodern cultures the home was and is the center for spiritual formation...

The typical church family leaves spiritual stuff to what happens at the church thereby delegating spiritual formation to the institution.  And the institution encourages it! ...  I'm amazed a how our best church families have no clue as to how to have conversations at home about spiritual subjects.  p. 88

The good news is - there is a revolution underway.  More and more Christians are rising up and saying "No!" to this institution-centered model.  They are returning to the New Testament model of the home as "the center for spiritual formation".

And, LK10 is a "community of practice" for these revolutionaries.  Here are some ways you can connect with this community:

Two Foundations Courses are starting in January.  For more information on what this is an how to register go here:

Also coming in January:   "The Family Blessing:  Reclaiming the Home as the Center for Spiritual Training".  More information to come.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Youth Ministry: A 50-year-old failed experiment (1)

A recent book on youth ministry by Scott Brown is causing quite a stir.  Here's the title...

A Weed in the Church:  How a culture of age segregation is harming the next generation, fragmenting the family and dividing the church.

What's the weed?  


"There is a crisis among the Christian youth. They drop out of church. They remain childish. They are biblically illiterate. The church is losing the next generation. 

Church youth ministries are failing to reach children and teens at an unprecedented rate. Depending on what survey you look at, these ministries have a failure rate of somewhere between 70 and 88 percent. We are losing 7 to 9 out of every 10 kids to the world. This is a time of emergency. People are wondering what is wrong with the youth."

What's the answer according to Scott Brown?  

Stop age-segregation and start age-integration (especially get the fathers involved).

Our view?

As a former youth pastor, I completely agree with Scott Brown.  This is a huge step in the right direction of restoring the biblical values for church and family.  My only concern is that it doesn't go far enough.  In the New Testament, families didn't "go" to church together. Rather,  it was understood that the home, and not some church building was the center of spirituality.  In other words, the marriage, and then the family, was the first and most foundational expression of church.

Our motto?  

Every home a church.

This is a biblical value that the LK10 Community is seeking to restore.  Coming in January, a new course called "The Family Blessing:  Reclaiming the Home as the Center for Spiritual Training".

John White

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

"The end of church planting?"

I recently received an email from a friend with the above title.  It was referencing a blog that suggested that we may be coming to "the end of church planting" by means of the "professional entrepreneurial pastor" (Rick Warren would be the prototype for this kind of church planting).  

Here's my response...

Thanks for the article ("The End of Church Planting?"

While I largely agree with the author, I want to suggest that he doesn't go nearly far enough.  Jason Hood, following an article by David Fitch, advocates shifting from "professional entrepreneurial pastors" to "missionary teams" for church planting.  A missionary team might consist of "three or four leaders" (or "lead couples").  This is a good start.

However, the critical issue that is not addressed is the nature of the church being planted.  The picture of the desired outcome of the church planting process determines how this missionary team seeks to function.  Do they begin to gather people in order to rent or build a facility?  Do they form a worship team?  Develop a children's ministry?  Secure a preacher?  Develop a marketing plan?  Do demographic studies?  Etc.  All of these activities point to what is a generally accepted, modern understanding of what a church should be.  What I'm suggesting is that this understanding is a major departure from the biblical practice of church.  And, that while we are reconsidering "how" a church is planted, it is even more important to reconsider "what" a church is.

In the beginning of the Jesus Movement, for at least the first 40 years, every local church that was planted was Jewish in nature (although not everyone who was involved was Jewish).  This is because, at least until the First Jewish Revolt (66 - 72 AD), there was no such thing as a separate Christian religion. Everyone that we would call a "Christian" or a "follower of the Nazarene" was considered part of Judaism.  And, implicit in Judaism, was this value:  the home, and not the synagogue, is the center of spirituality.  Our Father Abraham:  The Jewish Roots of the Christian Faith by Marvin Wilson makes this abundantly clear.  Every Jewish home was considered a miqdash me'at, that is a "miniature temple".  The home was the primary location for worship, prayer, the study of Torah and ministry to the community.  (In short hand, we might express this as  "home = church".)

The early Christians did not invent house church.  They simply build on what was already present.  "The Jewish Sabbath celebration provided a pattern for the development of early Christian house churches."  (Heidler, The Messianic Church Arising!, p.61.)  The key to the rapid expansion of the early church was the fact that there were approximately six million Jews living in the Roman Empire outside of Palestine.  (Stark, The Rise of Christianity)  Most of these diaspora Jews understood what most American Christians have never considered:  the home, not the synagogue, is meant to be the center of spirituality.

Therefore, when Jesus planted churches, He planted a very specific kind of church.  It was a church that was centered in the home and that functioned like an extended spiritual family.  (And, Jesus did plant churches!  See House Church and Mission by Roger Gehring.)  And, when Jesus taught His disciples how to plant churches (Mt. 10, Lk 10, Acts), it was the same kind of church.  Dare we consider how far we have departed from this picture?

The prototypical example of this kind of thinking about church planting in the New Testament is Priscilla and Aquila.  Everywhere they went (Corinth, Ephesus, Rome) a house church sprang up.  It wasn't so much that they planted churches as that they understood that they already were a church (a church of two?).  And, in each situation, a larger community emerged around them in a very natural way.  (Apparently, three or four "lead couples" were not needed.  Only one couple was needed which follows the model that Jesus' explained in Lk 10.)  What if a million Christian households in America began to think this way?

Two summary statements.  First, this way of thinking about church, although often foreign to our experience, is far more consistent with the biblical record than our traditional, building-centered model.  We say that "Scripture is our authoritative guide for faith and practice".  Are we ready for Scripture to become our authoritative guide as to how we  "practice" church?  (Isn't it odd that we would fight for this principle of the authority of Scripture in other areas but often completely ignore it when it comes to how we "do" church?)  Our understanding of what a church is greatly influences our understanding of how a church is planted.

Second, this way of thinking about church is far simpler, far more natural and far less expensive than the traditional, building-centered model.  This way of thinking about church opens the door for both viral multiplication and life-changing transformation.

So, I'm glad that we are coming to "the end of church planting" by means of the "professional, entrepreneurial  pastor".  But, my hope is that we will soon also come to "the end of church planting" where church means a building-centered, clergy-centered, program-centered organization.

John White

John White
Team Leader
LK10:  A Community of Practice for Church Planters

*For stories of people who are "doing it":

In addition to the books listed above, I've also found two books by Joseph Hellerman to be valuable.  When the Church Was a Family:  Recapturing Jesus' vision for Authentic Christian Community and The Ancient Church as Family:  How the Earliest Churches Reconfigured Family and Religion.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Best House Church Resources

I recently met with a Christian leader working on a national level who is interested in exploring the idea of house church.  In his experience, traditional, building based churches had generally done a poor job at making disciples.  And, yet, embracing the house church model would represent a huge paradigm shift with many implications.  He wanted to understand the Biblical basis for seeing church this way as well as the state of the house church movement.  "Send me everything you've got" he said.

When we started on this house church journey in 1998, there were very few resources on the subject.  Today, there is a wealth of helpful books, videos and articles.  I didn't send this man everything I have but see below for some of what I think are the best resources available today.

In the "Comments" below, add the resources that you've found helpful.  Also, I mention a couple of documents that I couldn't include in this post but would be glad to send you upon request.

John White

1.  Let's start with a general introduction to house churches in the world today.

"Tidal Wave" video:

"When You Come Together" video:

2.  Jesus' strategy for fulfilling the Great Commission.  As I mentioned, Roger Gehring's book House Church and Mission:  The Importance of Household Structures in Early Christianity caused a huge shift in my thinking.  Many people have developed strategies for fulfilling the Great Commission, but what if we adopted the strategy that Jesus used?  Gehring explains what that was.  (The book is a difficult read for most people as it was written as a 450 page doctoral dissertation.  I've collected the most important quotes in the attachment below.)

(Glad to send this attachment upon request.  Just write "send Gehring".)

3.  Our traditional, building-centered forms of church are a significant departure from the Hebraic roots of the church.  (No wonder they are highly ineffective at making disciples!)  The early church was thoroughly Jewish.  (Christianity did not become a separate "religion" until at least 70 AD and perhaps not until as late as 130 AD.)  The Jews always understood that the home and not the synagogue was the center of spiritual life.  Marvin Wilson, in Our Father Abraham,  tells us that the Jews understood that each home was to be a miqdash me'at (a miniature temple).   That's why every church in the NT met in a home and functioned as an extended spiritual family.  Every epistle in the NT was written to people who were in house churches.  

As Evangelicals we affirm that "the Bible is our authoritative guide for faith and practice" but we have departed from clear Biblical practice when it comes to how we do "church".  Can we really expect God to empower a spiritual revolution if we reject biblical (ie, Hebraic) church values and practices?

(Glad to send the excerpt from Wilson’s book about the Jewish home upon request.)

To read:  Pagan Christianity:  Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices by Frank Viola and George Barna.  This is the other side of the coin.  If our current church practices didn't come from our Hebraic roots, where did they come from?  (By practices, we're talking about things like church buildings, the sermon, the clergy, the Lord's Supper, etc.)  Viola and Barna make a compelling case that many of our current church practices have no biblical basis at all.  Warning!  This is a shocking book.  Key quote:  "We are making an outrageous proposal:  that the church in its contemporary form has neither a biblical nor a historical right to function as it does."  (p. xx)

4.  Two key rhythms.  We in our ministry (the LK10 Community) teach people two key rhythms or practices at every level.  The first practice is that of listening to God both as individuals and as a church.  The second is connecting with each other on a heart level.  We use a simple tool called SASHET to do this.  These videos will explain.  The result of this approach is that almost everyone is capable of starting and leading a church.

*Church flows from listening:

*CO2 (church of two).  Two guys from my house church:

*Doing church with your family:

*Using SASHET to connect on a heart level:

*Learning to hear God:  3 part video

*Campus Crusade leader on listening to God:

*The Spontaneous Church.  This the first of a four part series.

4.  Stories from the Revolution.  People who are doing it.  There are many more stories on our blog.  Here's a sampling...

*Praying the Lk 10:2b Prayer.

*House churches in Brighton, CO:

5.  Other resources.  

*Houses that Change the World by Wolfgang Simson.  Key quote:  "Much of Christianity has fled the family, often as a place of its own spiritual defeat, and then has organized artificial performances in sacred buildings far from the atmosphere of real life.  As God is in the business of recapturing the homes, the church turns back to its roots - back to where it came from.  It literally comes home, completing the circle of Church history at the end of world history."

*The Messianic Church Arising:  Restoring the Church to Our Covenant Roots! by Robert Heidler.  Key Quote:  "The change from the informal house church to the formal basilica changed the whole concept of church.  Before Constantine, a church was a family of believers.  After Constantine, the church became a building.... The Jewish Sabbath celebration provided a pattern for the development of early Christian house churches."

*The Global House Church Movement by Rad Zdero.  Key Quote:  "The early church of the first three centuries was a 'living room' movement.  This was the church that "upset the world" (Acts 17:6) in the first century and that forced the mighty Roman Empire to legalize Christianity after a three hundred year showdown.  It is also the church that tens of millions of Christians are rediscovering today in places like China, India, Africa, Cambodia, Cuba, England and Western Europe, and, yes, even in North America."

*When the Church Was a Family by Joseph Hellerman.  Key Quote:  "For Paul, as for Jesus, the church was to function as a family... (The early Christians) had no temples, no sacrifices, no priesthoods, no liturgy - just an informal weekly meeting in a local home where they broke bread and sang a hymn "in honor of Christ as if to a god"  (Pliny).

Monday, November 21, 2011

Church of Two: "I feel so supported!"

A CO2 (church of two) is amazingly simple yet profoundly powerful.  We think it's the missing structural element in most churches.  Here's the definition of a CO2:  Two people.  Two rhythms.  As close to daily as possible.

Imagine a house church made up of 3 or 4 CO2s!  Imagine a tradition church made up of 100 COs!

Tracey Schlafer and Brittani Morris have been connecting with one another in a CO2 for almost a year now.   Brittani's comments:  "This is a place where I experience the heart of God on a daily basis."  Here more of their story in the video below.

The six week LK10 Foundations Course goes in depth into the two rhythms that make up a CO2.  A new session (cohort) is beginning on December 1st and there are a few openings.  For more information about the Course, go here

Email me right away if you are interested.

John White

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Traditional church organization plants 75 house churches

Sending missionaries...  across the street.

Most churches understand and practice the concept of sending missionaries overseas.  And, now, there is a growing understanding that we also need to send missionaries across the street.

Reggie McNeal, noted author and church consultant, made this startling comment to a large group of traditional church pastors, "Probably most of the people in your city who are interested in coming to your church are already there."  What this means is that tradition churches that truly want to reach the unchurched in their cities (in Denver, that's 94% of the city) will not do so by tweaking their current programs and hoping that people will show up on Sunday mornings.

Rather, traditional churches will need to develop a revolutionary missionary mentality within their own cities (ie, across the street).  The very best way to do this is to send out (apostelo) men and women to start independent (but connected) house churches.

One group that is leading the way in this innovative strategy is the San Antonio Baptist Association led by Dr. Charles Price.  (Charles' son and daughter-in-law are LK10 Coaches and church planters on Colorado's Western Slope.  See  )  I enjoyed "hanging out" with Charles at the National House Church Conference in September.  He tells the story of the San Antonio House Church Movement in the video below.

(Send this post on to a traditional church leader that you know.)

Find more videos like this on Great Commission Initiative

Monday, November 7, 2011

Henri Nouwen: "The real work of prayer"

The prime directive of the LK10 Community is to "Listen, obey and teach others to do the same."  (Jn. 10:27)  This is our entire discipleship "program" because we believe everything else flows from this 
intimate conversational relationship with Jesus.

But, what do we listen for?

Henri Nouwen (pictured in photo) is immensely helpful at this point.  “The real "work" of prayer is to become silent and listen to the voice that says good things about me."

The starting point for all of life and ministry is learning to listen to God.  And, the starting point for listening is learning to hear the "good things" Papa has to say to me and about me each day.  Many of us grew up in homes that had more critique than affirmation.  More criticism than blessing.  And, those words of criticism are what our "ears" are attuned to.  Our hearing must be retrained one day at a time to hear the "good things" that our heavenly Father wants to say to us.

Implications for church?  Huge!  This should be a community where we together are "listening to the voice of the one who says good things" about the others in the family.

One place you can deepen your ability to hear the Lord in this way is in a learning community called The Foundations Course.  For more on this, go here

And, for more from Henri Nouwen, see below...

To gently push aside and silence the many voices that question my goodness and to trust that I will hear the voice of blessing-- that demands real effort. 
 Henri J.M. Nouwen, Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World


Fr. Henri Nouwen  was born in the Netherlands, where he was ordained to the priesthood and earned his doctorate in psychology. After nearly two decades of teaching at the Menninger Clinic in Kansas and at the Universities of Notre Dame, Yale and Harvard, he left to share his life with mentally handicapped people at the L'Arche community of Daybreak in Toronto, Canada. He is the author of many books on spirituality and psychology, including The Return of the Prodigal Son, In the Name of Jesus, and The Life of the Beloved.

"The Life of the Beloved"

I would like to speak to you about the spiritual life as the life of the beloved. As a member of a community of people with mental disabilities, I have learned a lot from people with disabilities about what it means to be the beloved. Let me start by telling you that many of the people that I live with hear voices that tell them that they are no good, that they are a problem, that they are a burden, that they are a failure. They hear a voice that keeps saying, "If you want to be loved, you had better prove that you are worth loving. You must show it."

But what I would like to say is that the spiritual life is a life in which you gradually learn to listen to a voice that says something else, that says, "You are the beloved and on you my favor rests."

You are the beloved and on you my favor rests.

Jesus heard that voice. He heard that voice when He came out of the Jordan River. I want you to hear that voice, too. It is a very important voice that says, "You are my beloved son; you are my beloved daughter. I love you with an everlasting love. I have molded you together in the depths of the earth. I have knitted you in your mother's womb. I've written your name in the palm of my hand and I hold you safe in the shade of my embrace. I hold you. You belong to Me and I belong to you. You are safe where I am. Don't be afraid. Trust that you are the beloved. That is who you truly are."

I want you to hear that voice. It is not a very loud voice because it is an intimate voice. It comes from a very deep place. It is soft and gentle. I want you to gradually hear that voice. We both have to hear that voice and to claim for ourselves that that voice speaks the truth, our truth. It tells us who we are. That is where the spiritual life starts -- by claiming the voice that calls us the beloved.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Spiritual ADD?

ADD - Attention Deficit Disorder.

This is a disorder (often now referred to as ADHD) that affects 15% of the adult population as well as a great many children.  Although the symptoms can be complex and varied, the commonality is a difficulty in staying focused on one thing at a time.  These people are easily distracted and wandering attention makes it difficult for them to stay on track.  ADD can have a devastating affect in school, at work and in family relationships.

As harmful as physical ADD can be, Spiritual ADD may be much more widespread and have even greater negative consequences.  Epidemic, especially among American Christians, this condition is one of the greatest strategies of the Enemy.  As someone has said, "If the Devil can't make you bad, he will make you busy."  And, Christians in the US are some of the busiest people in the world!

Recapturing our most valuable possession.  In the interview below, Dr. Kent Smith reflects on the meeting of our LK10 Board of Directors held in Jan. 2011.  In this context, he talks about the idea that we have been robbed of our most precious asset - our attention.  The result is Spiritual ADD.  We can only recapture our ability to be centered on Jesus as we train ourselves in "rhythms of attention."  (Kent is a professor at the Abilene Christian Graduate School of Theology.)

Possible next step for recapturing your attention?  The LK10 Foundations Course is designed to train Christians in the rhythms of attention.  For more information and to register, go to

Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow.  God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.  Mt. 6:34 (The Message)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Planting a church called "Beer and Bible"

What if planting churches was much simpler than we ever imagined?

What if planting churches flowed naturally from hearing God's voice?

Early in 2010, Sean Hyatt took his wife out to eat in an area of Denver called the DTC  (Denver Tech Center).  While there, he felt the Lord telling him to plant a church in that area. The next step was asking some friends to join him in praying for direction.  The result, a year and a half later, is three churches in some unlikely places.

Here's the story...

Want to grow in your ability to hear God's voice?  a great next step is a six weeks learning community called The Foundations Course.  For more information and to register, go here

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Eugene Peterson: "Crowds more dangerous than sex or drugs"

Pastors of traditional churches are trained to do everything possible to increase the number of people in their Sunday morning congregation.  Great preaching.  Inspiring music.  Excellent childcare.  Adequate parking.  The list goes on and on.  Success or failure is measured, to a significant degree, on the pastor’s ability to draw (and keep) a crowd.

Eugene Peterson, well-known author (The Message paraphrase of the Bible) has a shockingly different perspective on the meaning of crowds in church on Sunday morning.

Earlier in his life, Peterson was, for many years the pastor of a Presbyterian church in Bel Air, Maryland.  For much of that time, he was part of a fellowship of other pastors.  One day, a member of the group announced that he was leaving his congregation to become the pastor of a church of a thousand members, three times the size of where he was.  Peterson had lunch with this man and found himself bothered by his motivations to make the change.  Over the next week, he wrote a letter to this friend.  Some of what he wrote, speaks to the reasons that a growing number of leaders are being drawn away from traditional church to the original (small!) form of church found in the New Testament. 

The following excerpts from that letter are found in The Pastor: A Memoir (Chapter 18) by Eugene Peterson …

…Classically, there are three ways in which humans try to find transcendence – religious meaning, God meaning – apart from God as revealed in the cross of Jesus:  through the ecstasy of alcohol and drugs, through the ecstasy of recreational sex, though the ecstasy of crowds.  Church leaders frequently warn against the drugs and the sex, but, at least in America, almost never against the crowds.  Probably because they get so much ego benefit from the crowds.

But a crowd destroys the spirit as thoroughly as excessive drink and depersonalized sex.  It takes us out of ourselves, but not to God, only away from.  The religious hunger is rooted in the unsatisfactory nature of the self.  We hunger to escape the dullness, the boredom, the tiresomeness of me.  We can escape upward or downward.  Drugs and depersonalized sex are a false transcendence downward.  A crowd is an exercise is false transcendence upward, which is why all crowds are spiritually pretty much the same, whether at football games, political rallies, or church.

…I really do feel that crowds are a worse danger, far worse, than drink or sex…

Although, as far as I know, Peterson has not come to the place of embracing the house church model which really is the logical extension of his thinking about crowds.

The alternative to crowds?  Small, family-like churches multiplying like rabbits across the landscape.  Just like they did it in the New Testament!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Pair power!

Meeting once a week for church (even house church!) just doesn't do it.

We are encouraged and nurtured and filled up when we meet with God's people.  But, then, we have to wait seven days for it to happen again.  Instinctively, we know this isn't enough.  Clearly, God has constructed us to need the encouragement of God's people on a daily basis.

And, this is exactly what Scripture commands us to do.  "Encourage one another daily"  (Heb. 3:13)  The Greek word for "encourage" is parakaleo.  The noun form of this word is what Jesus calls the Holy Spirit in John 14:16.  "I will ask the Father and he will give you another Paraklete."  The word literally means "one who is called along side to help or encourage".  Our ministry to one another is similar to the ministry of the Holy Spirit to us.

But, how do we do we encourage one another if we don't live next door to the others in our church?  The answer to this question is a CO2 (a church of two).  This "practice" was at the heart of Jesus' group (church?) of twelve.  Every one had a partner.  (See Mt. 10:2-4)  And, every person Jesus sent out went with a partner.  (See Lk. 10:1)  No exceptions!

The CO2 concept allows us to "do church" daily.  To come alongside one other person every day for mutual encouragement.  The CO2 is the basic building block for all larger expressions of church.  A house church with several CO2s functioning during the week becomes much more powerful when the whole church gathers together in its weekly meeting.

One of the primary goals of the LK10 Community is to train believers in the practice of CO2. We do this through a six week learning experience called The Foundations Course.  We currently have a few openings for Courses beginning in October.  To learn more and to register, go here

There are hundreds of CO2s now spreading around the world.  The interview below gives you a picture of how one CO2 functions.  This is one of three CO2s in the church that meets at Tim and Brittani's house.  (See more CO2 stories below.)

More CO2 stories...

*Tony Dale (House to House) tells of finding CO2s in the Philippines...

*There are dozens of CO2s now in Australia.  They all started here...

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Shaun King discovers "Jesus Calling"

In my last two posts, I've told the story of Shaun and Rai King leaving the church they started in Atlanta.  This story seems important to me because I believe it is the story of an increasing number of the leaders of traditional churches.  Over and over, we keep hearing leaders say something like, "I still love Jesus but church is killing me.  There has got to be a better way!"

I happen to check out Shaun's most recent blog post (9/17) and was quite surprised and delighted to seethat he was talking about a book he just discovered called "Jesus Calling" by Sarah Young. This is significant because I believe that this book unexpectedly holds the key to the "better way" of doing church that Shaun and Rai and many others are longing for.

Here's what Shaun wrote about the book...

Last week my wife bought herself a daily devotional entitled, Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence.  The lady at the bookstore swore by it.  She said it had changed her life and the lives of more customers than any book they sold.  Within two days my wife was completely hooked.  We've been in a real transitional season of our lives and she said it was helping her in amazing ways.

So... I decided to try it myself.  I generally hate daily devotionals.  Not this one.  It's profound.  It cuts right to the chase.  It's written as if it is Jesus speaking to you and it's not the slightest bit cheesy.  Each day has verses and a simple lesson and I'm telling you it changes my day.

The author of Jesus Calling is Sarah Young.  Here's what she writes in the Introduction (xii) about how the book came about...

I had been writing in prayer journals for years, but that was one-way communication:  I did all the talking.  I knew that God communicated with me through the Bible, but I yearned for more.  Increasingly, I wanted to hear what God had to say to me personally on a given day.  I decided to listen to God with pen in hand, writing down whatever I believed He was saying.  I felt awkward the first time I tried this, but I received a message.  It was short, biblical, and appropriate.  It addressed topics that were current in my life:  trust, fear, and closeness to God.  I responded by writing in my prayer journal.  My journaling had changed from monologue to dialogue.

...This practice of listening to God has increased my intimacy with Him more than any other spiritual discipline. 

Stay with me now as I "connect the dots".

  • When an individual begins the practice of listen to the Lord, prayer changes from monologue to dialogue and amazing things happen.  As Sarah says, "This has increased my intimacy with Him more than any other spiritual discipline.
  • When a group (ie, a house church) begins the practice of listening to the Lord, amazing things happen.
Here's the simple but powerful tool that changes everything.  We teach individuals in a house church to take a piece of paper and write this question:  Jesus, what do you want to say to this church today?  Then, we send everyone off for 20-30 minutes to listen to Jesus about that question and write what they hear.  When people come back, they simple share what they have written down.  And, what happens?
  • Church flows from listening
  • Community flows from listening
  • Bible study flows from listening
  • Worship flows from listening
  • Prayer flows from listening
  • Intimacy flows from listening
  • Mission flows from listening
  • Changed lives flow from listening
We've been doing this for several years and I can tell you that it really works!  Jesus really is the Head of the church and He brings the agenda every week.  And, that changes everything!  I'm convinced that this is the "better way" that Shaun and Rai and so many others are longing for.

Equipping people/churches in this "better way" is the mission of the LK10 Community.  To learn more, go to


For more on the biblical basis for thinking this way about church and mission, go here...

and here...   

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Senior Pastor's wife weighs in

A couple of days ago, I told you the story of Shaun King stepping down on September 1st as the senior leader of Courageous Church in Atlanta.  Shaun resigned not because of a scandal but because he was worn out and disillusioned from trying to transition his church from "the big Sunday morning event" to small missional communities.  Read the whole story here:

Now, here is Rai King's (Shaun's wife) take on what happened.  All I've done is take sections from her own blog (the link to this is at the bottom).  It's a little longer than most of my posts but what she writes is so gut-level honest that I couldn't cut it back any more.  (I like this lady!  I hope I get to meet her some day)  I think you will find this to be compelling reading.

I wonder how many other pastors' wives might write something similar if they had the freedom to "tell it like it is"?

Here are Rai King's own words...

"I have never loved leading this church.  Ever.  I didn’t want to plant it and have had just a hand full of days since planting it that I felt like it was worth it.  Shaun, however, has loved this church with his whole heart from the moment he conceived it. Before one person set foot in anything called Courageous Church, he dreamed about it, prayed for it, and worked around the clock for months getting it off the ground.  He contacted church planting organizations and sought their financial support. He went through their assessment centers, filled out their paperwork, went to their meetings, emailed their leaders.

...Shaun thought that if people witnessed courageous leadership, and listened to edgy, courageous teaching, they’d be inspired to get out and be the hands and feet of Christ themselves and provide life changing power and solutions to a dying and hurting world….Um, FAIL!  (JW:  You mean great teaching/preaching doesn't result in genuine disciples???)

...So 2 years into it, after 300+ sermons, who knows how many songs, people coming, people going, stressful lead team meetings, raising money from outside sources because the people who attended the church didn’t actually give enough to support the church, Shaun got frustrated, a few leaders got tired and left, and Jinean got sick of being the only “crazy” person in the room and started serving God on her own in Mexico.

...Thus Shaun had a vision for “the shift”…as it has come to be known.  After searching the scriptures and seeing Christ’s ministry for what it really was we decided we no longer wanted to participate in the spectator sport we Christians call CHURCH.  So we said, "let’s stop meeting every Sunday.  Let’s instead, meet in small groups in each other’s homes.  Let’s share a meal and learn how to be true disciples of Christ.  Let’s all serve together.  Let’s have each small group belong to a cause group that addresses a need in our city."  (JW:  Sounds a lot like the house churches of the New Testament!)

We talked about it, met about it, argued about it, preached about it, sang about it, and read books about it for months.  And for the most part, people were buying it.  As a matter of fact, the month before the shift, when Shaun was preaching the "hows" and "whys" of what were about to do was our highest attendance and our highest offering in all of 2011.  We thought that meant people were actually ready to be radical and courageous.  4 months later, it’s clear that what that meant was that people love HEARING about being radical and courageous.

(This is where Shaun explained that when they actually implemented "the shift" all hell broke loose.  Within 3 months, 85% of the church was clamoring to go back to the Sunday "experience".)

...I thought the problem was that we weren’t organized enough.  Maybe people weren’t serving because we’re not organized.  So this summer we went into super churchy, extra responsible, grown-up church mode.  But after months of church meetings, and the ridiculous antics of electing a board, and forming ministry teams, we’re the most organized we’ve ever been, and STILL, no one shows up to "the cause" group meetings and outreach initiatives.

...Am I frustrated?  CLEARLY!  Am I overstating the irrelevance of the Sunday morning song and dance?  Probably.  Did people come to Christ and renew their relationship with God because of what Courageous Church did for so long on Sunday mornings?  Absolutely!  But, then what?  Glad we baptized you, glad we helped you believe in church again and feel all warm and fuzzy about your creator, but I’m sorry we failed to actually make the vast majority of you into disciples.

...We’re leaving because we will not go back to the stress and relative lack of actual disciple making of the every Sunday model.  Sunday morning has its place.  I too missed the gatherings, but I will never again participate in a model that replaces the real work of Christ with the mundanity of 2 songs and a feel good sermon.

...I actually feel I owe Shaun and apology.  For so long I have put all of the church’s problems off on him as a leader.  I complained that he wasn’t organized enough.  So time and time again he devised and implemented strategies to make the church better organized.  Then I complained that he didn’t spend enough time on his sermons.  So he’d hunker down and study more and preach more well thought out sermons.

...The truth of the matter is, Shaun is simply exhausted.  Pastoring people has been 10 times better than my best hopes and 100 times worse than my worst nightmares.  Unless you’ve done it, you will NEVER understand it.  It looks one way from the outside looking in, but trust me, you don’t know the half.  

Pastors are the sickest, loneliest, most depressed people in church.  (JW:  Wow!  Read that last sentence again.  What is it about the way we have done church that produces those results in the lives of many pastors?)  That’s why they have affairs, that’s why they die at the age of 42 from heart attacks and drug over doses.  That’s why every time you turn on the TV there’s a new scandal, and a fresh news story about the latest greatest to fall from grace.  Taking criticism day in and day out from people who swear up and down they know better is exhausting.  Having people leave for stupid, selfish reasons is exhausting.  The divorce rate for pastors is among the highest of any other group in the country.  Shaun and I have decided we’d like that to not be our story. 

...To close, I want to be clear that Shaun and I haven’t given up on “church.”  We’re just finished with church as usual.  There must be churches out there getting it right.  Evidenced not by how big and cool they are, but by the fact that they’re actually making disciples who are recapturing the world for Christ."

My response:  I believe Rai is telling a story that hundreds (maybe thousands) of pastors and their spouses could tell.  I was a pastor in traditional churches for 25 years and its a story I know well.  Having been in the house church world now for many years, we have learned something of what's necessary to grow churches that "actually make disciples" and that don't burn out leaders.  

If you are interested in learning more, check this out:

John White

To read Rai King's entire blog, go here: