Many thoughts are going through my mind as I reflect on the House Church Pastors’ Conference that I just attended in Carson, CA. There were about 140 pastors, missionaries and their spouses present this time, and 20 of them were English speaking. This was the biggest number for English speaking side. I think the number will continue to grow as New Life faithfully serves as a resource church for those pastors and churches that want to learn and are committed to build a New Testament church.
I get various kinds of questions and requests from pastors and churches in regards to house church. Some ask about mechanics of house church meeting. Some ask about how to keep the shepherds motivated and committed to shepherd without getting burnt out. Some ask about what to do with the children during house church meeting. Some ask about how to operate church on Sundays and all throughout the year. Some ask about how to teach Living Life Bible Study and other Life Bible Studies that we have. Some ask about how I teach and challenge members to give not just generously but sacrificially.
When I landed at IAH on Thursday afternoon, one pastor texted and asked me if I can lead his shepherds’ meeting once a month because he is just starting out with house church ministry and does not know how to lead the meeting. Several pastors requested me to send a team of shepherds and their spouses to come to their retreats or revival meetings to share their testimonial messages to encourage, inspire, challenge and support their shepherds and church members in doing house church ministry.
As you know, a team of us went to HOPE Church in MD this past January to speak at their leaders’ retreat. Another team will go to TN next weekend, another one to Southern CA at the end of this month, another one to Northern CA in July, another one to Dallas and another one to Seattle, both in October.
Many of these churches are small and they are struggling with finances. Some churches do not even have enough resources to send their core members to our House Church Seminar for Lay Leaders. It pains my heart to hear these pastor couples’ stories whenever I go to this conference. Yet, one bright spot is that almost all the pastor couples who come to this conference are very humble, sincere and teachable. I rarely see power hungry pastors who are ambitious about building mega churches and making their names known in this conference because house church is not possible without practicing servant-leadership.
God has been putting in my heart an increasingly greater sense of urgency to help other pastors to build their churches according to the one that we see in the New Testament. This ministry opportunity will not last forever. I know that New Life and I have a limited window of opportunity to serve God’s churches in this capacity.
New Life, in order to be used by God as a resource church until Christ returns, we must continue to be thankful, humble and sacrificial in serving other pastors and churches. All of us, without any exception, must be absolutely committed to the Three Axes, which are “Weekly House Church,” “Weekday Life Bible Studies” and “Sunday Corporate worship Service.”
Unless you have a life-threatening emergency, you must always show up at your house church on Fridays (or Saturdays) and Sunday corporate worship service. Parents, when you serve at NLK for your rotation, you MUST come out to worship either before or after your NLK ministry because you will not last long or do a good job in teaching your children as well as others’ children if you yourself do not value corporate worship and experience God’s grace through it. If you serve at NLK without coming to and worshipping God through Sunday corporate worship, you may get an email from me. Furthermore, you must take all the Bible studies that we offer one at a time. I discourage New Life members from taking these Bible studies back to back. However, if you have not taken any Bible study in two years, then you have gone too far and are being lackadaisical with your spiritual life. If you took all the Bible studies that we offer, then take them again because no one gets 100% of the class material the first time he takes it.
We must continue to grow by being absolutely committed to the Three Axes. If we do not grow, then we cannot help others because we cannot give to others what we do not have.
For some reason, God is using us as a resource church. This is grace. Let’s not take this grace of God flippantly. Let’s take it thankfully and preciously.
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