“Just Look At The Math”

This is a post written by my buddy Aaron Saufley. You can frequent his blog by CLICKING HERE. He and I share a lot in common, so when I read this post I couldn’t help but ask him if I could “steal it” to post here on “a holy discontent”. I’m a sucker for a good analogy about the church…

From “The Road Less Traveled” on September 9th, 2010:

I’m always looking for ways to help other churched people understand why I’m a simple/organic/house church guy, because I get asked about it quite often.  I often have used construction terms–the structure of the traditional church needs a lot of metaphorical scaffolding (programs, finances, staff, etc.) to hold it up, where as a simple church doesn’t need any of those things.

I may have found a new one.  And it involves my least favorite subject ever.

Math.

I always hated geometry, algebra, trigonometry, and calculus (which, thank God, I avoided taking).  I just don’t get the idea of adding letters.  And I want to get to a final solution, not a final balanced equation.

So here’s the idea when it comes to church and why I’m not a traditionally structured church guy anymore:

2 + 2 = 4

13x – 21y(7z – 43) = 4

These two equations are essentially the same, because they both equal four.  The difference, however, is obvious.  One is much simpler than the other.

When it comes to the church, I truly believe most Christians want the same solution–more people following Jesus.  The problem, however, is that we build an equation that is way too complicated.  We’re convinced that with enough finances, staff, and programs, we can figure out that solution.  The only wrench in the gears are the variables (for those of us who’ve forgotten how to do math without a calculator, the variables in the above equation are x, y, and z).  If we can just figure out the variables, then we’ll have the magic formula–a new program, a great idea from the latest how-to-grow-a-large-trendy-rocker-church book, another staff member, a new location, a viral marketing campaign, etc.

When the equation is too complicated, we focus on the variables and forget about the real solution:  Jesus.

The church isn’t a bunch of programs, resources, staff, events, and cool marketing.  Plain and simple, the church is about Jesus.  The church is the people of God doing life together on mission with Jesus.  The church is the people of God letting Jesus live His life through them, whatever their circumstance.  The church is about helping people to become better followers of Jesus.

That’s it.  Pure and simple.  And that’s what organic/simple church is all about.

I’m convinced a great majority of churches need to take a hard look at themselves and simplify.  Big time.  There are many programs that are dead that need to be cut loose.  There are many programs and events that are causing too much sideways movement (they’re meant to do the same thing).  The church needs to drop a lot of weight and get back into “fighting shape.”  In order to do that, ego and agenda must be put to death, and this question must be asked and acted upon:  What is the simplest (notice I didn’t say easiest) way to help people become followers of Jesus?

The time is long past for churches to stop adding, adding, adding.  It’s past time for some major subtraction to begin so that the multiplication of disciples can commence.

Student CPx Concentrate: Las Vegas

vegaspromosmallerOn January 16th students from campuses all over the country will be arriving here in Vegas for a weekend of training, affirmation, edification, and empowerment. Many of these students attended our two week CPx training in Kansas over the summer, and will be reuniting with their fellow student church planters to share stories of how God has moved on their campuses/in their neighborhoods. They will pray for one another, and be better equipped to go back home to keep on rockin’. The training will be hosted on UNLV’s campus, and those attending will be housed in UNLV’s Tonapah Hall.

This weekend has been opened up to anyone who desires to take the Gospel to their campuses, neighborhoods, apartment complexes, etc. in a simple and reproducible way. The weekend will be full of hands on practical tools for allowing Gospel seeds to take root in dark places, causing a new community of believers to birth. Students, who are not already, will be paired up with older, more experienced mentors from all over the country as a part of our new nation-wide mentoring program. Student CPx will throw a party for UNLV’s International Students as a way to bless the city/campus, as well as help launch a new International Student Ministry called “All Nations Fellowship”.

State representatives from 24/7 prayer will also be joining us on UNLV’s campus for the weekend. There will be a 24 hour prayer room set up the entire time, as well as chances to hear about ways to be involved with nation-wide prayer & student church movement initiatives.

The bulk of this training will not be spent in lecture style meetings, but there will be a handful of speakers from around the country who will be there to share some great insight with us. There will be breakout sessions on Spiritual Fathers/mentoring, Living in Community, and much more! Students will be broken up into simple churches for the weekend where they will be better equipped to lead simple church gatherings, initiate conversations with the lost, lead evangelistic Bible Studies, and make disciples through natural/everyday life experiences.

Click Here to see more information about Student CPx: Concentrate…

Click Here to register for the weekend…

Cost is $125 for the entire weekend, which includes everything except transportation to Vegas. If you are a Vegas local, and do not need lodging you can register for the entire weekend for $50!

The Birth of a Perfect Marriage

Highlights from a week ordained by God…

At Student CPx this past week our purpose was to equip students to plant campus churches at their universities that will reproduce organically, fostering a church planting movement. Also, in my previous post I shared about the amazing things going on with I.H.O.P. (International House of Prayer – Kansas City). There are also several other prayer movements taking place in America such as 24/7 prayer (“Red Moon Rising”). There are plans to see houses of prayer on every college campus in the world. We started dreaming this week, and the Lord began opening doors to see these two elements join together in a beautiful marriage. It would appear that the apostolic, and the prophetic are joining together among college students on universities all over the country. Campus houses of prayer (The prophetic side) have popped up everywhere, as well as student churches (The apostolic side) on campuses. For years the two have pursued their calling apart from one another. It would seem as if the Lord is joining together these two very important elements that have been seemingly absent from our current form of church in America. Imagine what it will look like when the apostles, and prophets join one another on mission! Stay tuned…

The students at CPx were not only receiving classroom style teaching, but also hands on training. They were split into “Simple Churches” where they pursued, and practiced the values of living in “missional community” for two weeks. They were on a Native American College campus as missionaries. They learned about past church planting movements throughout history, and the pitfalls of evangelism through extraction. We taught them how simple things reproduce, and that church isn’t about a once a week gathering. We challenged them to pursue Biblical community, and to “go out in two’s” seeking a “person of peace” to disciple (Luke 10). We are extremely proud of these 40 students, and hopeful for what is to come. We challenged the them to seek out an international student on their campus during this next semester, lead them to Christ, disciple them, and bring them to a Student CPx follow-up training in six months. Through prayer, a prophetic word from several people, and a step of faith we decided that we would all bring our persons of peace to meet in none other than Las Vegas, Nevada. There are many details to work out, but in January 2009 Student CPx will join Intentional Gatherings in Las Vegas to reconnect, share what God is doing, train more, and be sent back out. My hope is that we will host this on UNLV’s campus, and that it would spark interest in planting Simple Churches among Christians in Vegas. If each of the 40 students, along with Intentional Gatherings in Vegas each seek out one person of peace then we will have close to 100 Christ followers (half of which will be brand new believers) meeting in Vegas in six months to train, and be sent back out all over the country! We also threw around ideas of having this past week’s batch of Student CPxer’s lead the training for the new believers while we facilitate. We would then challenge those 100 to go back, seek out one more person of peace, and regroup again. The potential of this gives me butterflies.

Last but certainly not least: Throughout the two weeks of Student CPx three Native American students developed relationships with our students, encountered Christ in them, and made a decision to follow Christ with their lives! We immediately Baptized these students in the dormitory bathtub! Erik Fish, who lives in Lawrence, now has three new disciples to start campus churches with. Praise Christ.


I am now on a plane to Colorado Springs where a similar conference called “SPARK” is being hosted by Campus Renewal Ministries. I have been asked to come in for the week to share, teach, equip, and empower students to start “missional communities” on their campuses. Sound familiar? Luckily, the Student CPx guys (Campus Church Network), and the “SPARK” guys (Campus Renewal Ministries) know each other well. I plan on sharing with the leadership of CRM about our follow-up training in Vegas. The amazing aspect of these opportunities is that none of the three church planting organizations involved (CRM, CCN, & Intentional Gatherings) have any desire to grow “their own kingdom”, but the Kingdom of God. It would seem as if God is bringing us together with like-minded desires for a true Church Planting Movement in the states. We will pursue this, and trust God to work out the details.

“Jesus, thank you for uniting Your Body, and preparing Your Bride like You promised to do in Your word. Thank You for allowing us to be a part of what You are doing. Protect us from ourselves, our pride, and selfish ambitions. May we be connected to You, and led by Your Holy Spirit that dwells in us. Amen.”