So what is a church? Well in the Bible, the word church is mainly used in three different ways. The first is the universal church that is all believers in all places at all times. The second is the city or regional church. So this could be something like the church at Jerusalem, or the church at Ephesus, or the church in Galatia. The third is the house Church. The house, the church that meets in so-and-so’s home for example, and this is the kind of church I mainly want to talk about.
So we can refer to these as house churches or simple churches, but this type of church, I like to think of it as a spiritual family that’s represented by this triangle and this spiritual family they have Christ in their midst as king that’s indicated by the crown with the cross inside of it and they focus mainly on three things; loving God, loving others, and making disciples.
Why do I pick these three things? Well, you might recognize the loving God and loving others talk about the first commandment and the second commandment. So when Jesus was asked what is the greatest commandment, he said, “the greatest commandment is you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart all your mind all your soul and all your strength”, and he said the second is like it, “you shall love your neighbor as yourself”. All the law and the prophets hang on these two Commandments. In other words, he’s saying really that these two Commandments can be viewed as a summary of all of God’s revealed will in the Old Testament.
Make disciples is taken from the Great Commission. So you remember, Jesus last instructions to his followers before he was taken up into heaven were that they were to go into all the world and make disciples baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey all that Christ commanded and then he promised he would be with them to the very end of the age.
Now in this Great Commission, the imperative verb, the command is make disciples. All of the other things that look like verbs in English are participles describing making disciples. We’re to do it as we’re going. How are we to do it, by baptizing, by teaching them to obey all Christ commanded. So making disciples is the heart of that and as Jesus described making disciples he said that includes teaching them to obey all he commanded.
So in a sense, making disciples is a summary statement for all of God’s revealed will in the New Testament because that it’s all that Jesus taught and all that the Apostles taught is based on what Jesus taught just further explaining that. So if we talk about loving God, loving others, and making disciples, we’re talking about summary statements that encapsulate all of God’s revealed will and so these are the things that the simple church focuses on. So once again, it’s a spiritual family with Christ in their midst as king who love God, love others, and make disciples.
Now some things that we’re specifically not talking about are things like buildings and budgets and staff and programs. Now there’s nothing wrong with these things. God has used churches that had these aspects to do a lot of things that helped advance the kingdom but they’re not essential for church, especially not at the house Church level, and the reason we don’t want to include these in our discussion is because we are interested right now in multiplication and these things are very difficult to multiply.
The spiritual family that we talked about that’s easy to multiply, that can be done by anyone anywhere. But, multiplying the building’s budget staff and programs is exceedingly difficult. Simple things reproduce more easily and since what we’re focusing on is multiplication we want to keep things simple, so that’s why we’re talking about simple church or a house church.
More Multiplication Concepts
This concept is part of the “Multiplication Concepts” series by Curtis Sergeant. Consider working through the entire series and challenging someone you know to do it with you. See an entire list of the concepts in the article titled “Multiplication Concepts”.
Zúme Training is an on-line and in-life learning experience designed for small groups who follow Jesus to learn how to obey His Great Commission and make disciples who multiply.