CHURCH TRENDS IN THE NEXT DECADE
THE HOUSEHOLD OF GOD
1. Yeshua is the Gospel of the Kingdom: Yeshua announced the Gospel of the Kingdom that entrance is only through repentance and being born again (Matt. 4:17; John 3:3-5). He gave power and authority to his disciples to preach the Kingdom and gave them a mandate to make disciples of all nations (Luke 9:1-3; Matt. 28:19). He taught Kingdom prayers, “Thy Kingdom come on earth” (Matt. 6:10). Like God who taught Torah to Moses for 40 days, he taught his disciples about the Kingdom for 40 days (Acts 1:3). He prioritized the Kingdom, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God” (Matt. 6:33). He defined the Kingdom “Wherever 2 or 3 are gathered, he is in their midst” and unfolded the purpose, “Christ in you is the hope of glory of the Gentiles” (Matt. 18:18-20; Luke 17:21; Col 1:27). The expression “Kingdom of God” comes 162 times in the NT, while Yeshua used the word “Church” only 3 times. A Kingdom has a King and his people, who obey His constitution (John 14:15). Yeshua and his disciples demonstrated the Kingdom in their daily road shows through healing, deliverance and demolishing the strongholds of the devil (Matt. 12:28,29). He prophesied, “This Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in all the world… and then the end will come” (Matt. 24:14). He ordained the Households of God as the platform for advancing his Kingdom. (Eph.2:19,20)
2. Yeshua a Master Equipper: God values a soul, any soul, more than all the wealth of all the billionaires of this world stacked up together (Matt. 16:26). Therefore, he sent Yeshua to seek and save the lost souls (Luke 19:10). He values saving of one lost soul more than 99 Christians making a joyful noise in the church (Luke 15:7,10). Needless to add that the sole business of the Household of God, is to save souls. To this purpose, Yeshua said, “I will build my Ecclesia” (Matt. 16:18). He gave the mandate to this church, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptize, equip and send them on (Matt. 28:18-20). To fulfill that goal, he gave five-fold ministry equippers to His Ecclesia (apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds and teachers) to equip saints (soul winners) until the saints themselves become equippers (Eph. 4:11-13; 2Timothy 2:2). The agenda of the Household of God is to equip disciple-makers, church- planters, kingdom colonizers and movement catalyzers, until “All the kingdoms of this world have become the Kingdom of our Lord and His Messiah…” (Acts 6:7; 16:5; Rev. 11:15)
3. The Return of the Prodigal: Overtime this pattern metamorphosed into a man-made dysfunctional creature called the Sunday church. It replaced Equippers with Clergy (Roman town clerk); soul saving Saints with non-performing Laity; and Equipping with empty praise and worship. It has now become merely a center of weekly entertainment for the laity and a source of income generation for its leaders. This pattern is not to be found in any of the 31,102 verses of the Scriptures. It suffers from total disconnect with the lost, and any church that does not proactively seek and save the lost, makes it a fake church, as it has lost its mandate. So, after centuries of being lost in the wilderness of unscriptural denominations, the simple “Household of God” (House church, Simple church, Organic church etc.) is back with vengeance to finish the unfinished agenda of planting the Kingdom of God among nations, tongues and tribes, in every human habitation. (Eph. 2:19,20)
4. According to the Pattern shown: Since it failed to deliver, Yeshua is now taking his church back from the Clergy and giving it back to the soul saving Saints, to build his Ecclesia, according to the equipping pattern shown by him to his disciples. For this purpose, He is shifting from – from offering empty praise and worship in the sanctuary to offering broken and contrite hearts in Gentile homes (Mal. 1:11); from ritualistic to relational; from the formality of the Holy Communion to intimacy of breaking bread from house to house (Acts 2:46,47); from the pulpit to the pews; from monologue sermons to dialogue (Acts 19:8-10); from spectators to participators; from inform to perform, from entertaining the laity to equipping the saints for ministry (Eph. 4:11-12), from paid professionals to bi-vocationals, from OT tithe to NT freewill offering; from dead organization to living organism (Bride) and from static to multiplier.5. Worship places shifting: Jews believed that worship can take place only in the Jerusalem temple by offering animal sacrifice. Some 2000 year ago, Jesus took the worship from the sanctuary and out into the open, even into homes of tax collectors and sinners. But for some church crawlers, it is difficult to believe that “worship in spirit and in truth”, by offering a whole village of Samaritan pagans, can take place out in the open (John 4:23). The Samaritan woman knew a little but practiced what little she knew and changed her world. Today, myriads of new believers from other faiths are being liberated, realigned and released as Kingdom colonizers to reclaim the territories usurped by Satan. They know only a little but put into practice what little they know. They are radically changing the spiritual profile of their worlds. They do not pray from the comfort zones of their homes, churches, prayer fests and prayer towers but go and engage the enemy. Ecclesia is trending to be multi-site army units, camping in homes, offices, schools, hospitals, farms, factories, parks, even jails and brothels, turning them into discipling centers for a multi-pronged attack. They are in the enemy territory and when persecuted, they pray for boldness and take steps for kingdomization of annexed territories. Ecclesia is praying, proclaiming and possessing enemy territories. (Acts 4:29,30)
6. World demographics is shifting: The rapidly replicating “anywhere and anytime” simple Households of God, led by anyone, “with faith the size of a mustard seed,” are racing towards the finish line. It is leaving behind the church addicted non-performing Christians that never win a soul, who In their revival meetings, yell at God to do something, without themselves doing anything, not even witnessing to their own friends and colleagues. So, God is doing a new thing. New believers from diverse nations – Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Animists and Atheists are, “Filling the earth with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the water covers the sea.” They are catalyzing global movements towards Christ, changing the spiritual contour of planet earth. Soon Communist China, Hindu India, Islamic Middle East, Animistic Africa and many hostile nations will become the epicenters of Christianity. (Rom. 15:19-20; Hab. 2:14)
7. Teaching shifting from Bible schools to Modeling: Yeshua taught by modeling in the harvest field and made disciples that went and turned the word upside down. Theologians give lectures (the most ineffective way of communicating) in classrooms, that produce pulpiteers that turn laity into program/event managers, worship leaders and budget balancers, all being irrelevant for Kingdom advance on earth. On the other hand, practitioners equip the saints to be work-place ministers. Their training module being, “Imitate me as I imitate Christ” (1Cor. 11:1). Focus is shifting from teaching Ecclesiastical garbage, to adding practical discipling tools to their tool belts, like the Great Commission, spiritual warfare, finding person of peace, disciple-making, multiplication, apologetics – how to proactively engage people of other faiths etc. The interactive dynamic of a small mixed group of believers and seekers, is greatly enhancing the ability to convict, convince and convert those who contradict. A healthy church consists of two main sets of people, Equippers and those being equipped for soul saving ministries, the others are mere spectators. (Eph. 4:11,12; Titus 1:9)
8. New wineskins replacing old wineskins: A Christian is no longer known by his denominational loyalty, rather as a networker of Households of God. These movers and shakers are igniting movements that dwarf the present-day mega-churches. The old wineskins will burst if they tried to contain the bubbling new wine. Instead of gathering under one roof, they gather under thousands of roofs, instead of one superstar preacher they have myriads of facilitators, instead of big buck budgets, they recycle local resources and finally unlike the elephantine mega-churches, the mini churches, breed like the rabbit. (Mark 2:22)
9. Vocation changing: Instead of aspiring to be pastors, priests, clerics, worship leaders, reverends, bishops, cardinals and Pope, sitting on top of the hierarchical pile, trying to displace Christ as the Head of the Church; new comers are aspiring to be, laborers in the harvest field, fishers of men, abundant seed sowers and fruit gatherers and seekers of lost sheep etc. They are not confined to one congregation, but rather like the Roman Clergy (Town clerk), shepherd the whole city (Acts 19:39). They equip and empower those inside, to seek and save those outside the fold (John 10:16). Identifying their roles as Great Commissioners, church planters, disciple-makers, apostles, prophets, ambassadors, spiritual fathers and Royal Priests
10. Persecution spiking: Exponential growth is unleashing inhuman atrocities, which will reach its climax at the second coming of Christ. Even as thousands of Christians are being killed, many are denying their faith. Persecution is forcing gatherings to scatter and go below the radar and like cancer cells, metastasize (spread) rapidly to other sites. Multiplying rapidly and remaining small, provides safely and proves more productive. Persecution is a blessing in disguise as it fuels multiplication of the church. Oddly, some of the boldest invaders of the enemy territory are the persecuted. Many end-time predictions like the ‘aliya’, or the return of the Jews to Judea after 2000 years (Eze. 20:34), increase in knowledge, going to and fro (Dan. 12:1-4), nations against nations, wars and rumors of war, false prophets, eclipses, blood moons, asteroids heading towards the earth, floods fires, famines, Tsunamis, earthquakes, epidemics, ethical and moral degradation etc. are being rapidly fulfilled. Yeshua said, “This is just the trailer (beginning of sorrows).” So, be ready for the real show. (Matt. Chap 24)
11. Tithe is changing from cash to food: The church has been fraudulently collecting cash as tithe from ignorant believers. Israel offered their Tithe (food items like animals, grains, first fruits, oil and wine etc.) at the temple three times a year and then ate it with the widows, the orphans, strangers and the Levites (Deut. 14:22-29). The priests got only the tithe of the tithe
(Neh. 10:38). The Household of God is holistic, where believers share food and other blessings, taking care of the physical and material needs of the newcomers. (1Cor. 11:20-23; Jam. 1:27)
12. Racists, reverends, gender benders and teachers of truncated gospel are out: God promised that in the last days he will pour out his spirit on all flesh, “Your sons and your daughters, your menservants and maidservants shall prophesy…” (Joel 2:28,29). Yeshua chose and ordained every believer to bring forth abundant reproducing fruit (John 15:8,16). In the Household of God, there are no strangers and foreigners (Eph. 2:18,19). Men, women and youth, all participate as equals, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Yeshua. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs…” While the fake church is imploding from within due to rampant corruption, the Household of God’s leadership is trending to be multi-gender and transgenerational. (Gal. 3:27-29)
13. Digital church: Digital dementia is now pandemic, afflicting both, saints and the sinners alike. Jesus had prophesied “if you remain silent, the very stones (silicone chips) will cry out” (Luke 19:40). Hence, a significant part of the earthbound brick and mortar church is shifting into cyber-space through Internet, Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, YouTube and Skype etc. Now you can directly email your prayers to God. Using a simple cellphone, a lot of coaching, discipling, networking, even healing and deliverance ministries are trending to be the norm. TV and Social media are reinventing and revitalizing the church and advancing the Kingdom by reaching millions of netizens with the Gospel, even in rogue countries, transforming people, who would never come to the church otherwise.
14. Get ready for the Banquet: People of other faiths, especially the Sons of Ishmael are having direct encounter with Yeshua through dreams and visions. A church is no longer known by how many that come; rather how many that are sent out as disciple-makers. They are not just motor mouths dishing out empty words, but also break bread from house to house and serve a variety of mouth-watering spicy dishes. The Household of God is trending to be multi- cuisine, barbeque, potluck gathering – a foretaste of the banquet being prepared at the second coming of the Lord. Not all Christians, but only the fruitful ones (soul winners), whose names are written in the Book of the Lamb, will be invited to the Banquet. (Rev. 20:12,15; Mat. 7:20)
15. Leaders must humble themselves and learn to navigate the trends, otherwise they won’t be left with much to lead. If you ever hope to fulfil the mandate to disciple all the 16,300 ethnic groups, 6500 languages and 2.5 million villages of the world, then change is your friend and the only option. Yeshua promised, “I will build my church.” He is now radically restructuring the architecture of his church. Do not be deceived, no one, not even David, the man after God’s own heart, made it to heaven, because the heaven is coming down here on earth (Rev. 21:3; John 3:13; Acts 2:29,34; 13:32). He is once again using his Households as the launching pad for planting his Kingdom of love, joy, peace, justice, equality and dignity, to bless every human habitation on planet earth, “until all the kingdoms of this world have become the Kingdom of our Lord and His Christ.” (Rev. 11:15)
Only those faithful stewards who resonate with his will and make a radical paradigm shift will have the privilege to reign with him as priests and kings on planet earth. (Rev. 5:9,10; 19:16). Shalom
Indian Christian movement not phased by Hindu threats 21 Sept 2016
“We aim to have a Christian presence in every one of the 636,000 villages in India by 2020.” This is the attitude of the feisty Indian Christian movement in the face of dire threats from Hindu extremists. Most first generation Christians came to the Lord by miracles. Some people came from the militant Hindus to Uncle V’s village while they were gathering for worship. The Hindus asked the Christians to to worship their god and deny Jesus. An old man said there is no way he would leave Jesus because he was dying and the Christians prayed in the name of Jesus and he was completely healed. They could kill him but he would never turn away from Jesus. All the others said similar things. The militants left, disgusted. This kind of thing is happening all the time.
Now about 50% of the villages in North India have a Christian presence, meaning that there is at least one small group meeting together to pray and study the scriptures. The strategy is that each house church is being asked to adopt one or more villages. It’s a question of mobilising the churches to complete the task. Two days ago Uncle V was in an area where a number of house churches were planning their outreaches. First generation Christians come pre-loaded with a burden for their families. They don’t want to go to heaven until their parents, siblings, children, aunties and uncles and all their relatives are saved too. Their relatives are generally living in nearby villages. The advantage of approaching their relatives is that, though the relatives don’t like or agree with what they are saying initially, at least they don’t bash them up, and will offer accommodation while the Jesus follower stays a few days and patiently explains the Gospel. As time goes by many are won to the Lord.
There is an urgency about this strategy because at the federal level draconian laws are being put into place including anti-conversion, and anti-beef-eating laws. (To Hindus the cow is sacred, and can’t be eaten.) There were 200 instances of persecution in 2017, where property was damaged, idols introduced forcibly, especially in schools, the leaders are bashed up, and in many cases jailed. Often fake news appears in the newspapers accusing the Christians of forcible conversions. Uncle V laughs at the accusation. “How could anyone forcibly convert a person to Christ? he chortles.
The RSS (extremist Hindu organisation whose adherents won the most recent Indian elections) celebrates its centenary in 2025, and they want to declare India as a Hindu nation by making India free of Christians and Muslims. They have 70,000 branches in India, but the Indian Christians in the house church movement know that “no weapon formed against us shall prosper”. The extremists can do what they like but soon at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus is Lord.
21 Sept 2016 Update with Uncle Victor – Robin C
The church planting movements are still multiplying and bringing much fruit. Many of India’s more than 640,000 villages now have an active witness for Christ. A new generation of leaders are now fully trained and are now taking responsibility for leading the CPM’s.
Unfortunately some parts of the once vibrant CPM have been taken over by professional pastors who are career and money motivated and no multiplication is happening in those areas.
Many CPM practitioners are transforming India with the Gospel, and literally millions are coming to faith. Here are links to some of them:
Randeep Mathews: https://www.facebook.com/randeep.mathews?fref=nf
Victor Choudhrie: https://www.facebook.com/victor.choudhrie?fref=ts
There is a huge breakthrough in India today with 1,279,984 baptisms and 56,924 house churches planted in 22 States and 504 people groups (2013 FMF annual report). This is a direct result of what have come to be known as CPM or DMM principles being applied.
Stages of Development of the India DMM (Discipleship Multiplication Movement)
1993 – The founder trained rural peasant women to start simple House Churches
– There were many differences from traditional churches, e.g. more participation
– House Church (HC) members understood it was their responsibility to start new HC’s and train those HC members to plant new HC’s and so on.
This led to a massive multiplication of disciples and House Churches
2009 – on the day of Pentecost 300,000 believers were baptised in small and large groups
TODAY –1000,000 believers are baptised each year. The leaders faithfully follow Jesus’ command
to go into all the nations and preach the gospel to everyone, make disciples and
heal the sick.
In the past few years, this new movement and others like it have led to major changes in the religious make-up of many Indian states. Current persecution in India means that we can’t mention the names of these states but:
1) In one northern state with 20,000+ villages, 7000 villages have an active Christian witness today. Twenty years ago Christianity was virtually non-existent in this state.
2) In another state of 28,000+ villages, 95% of the villages have an active Christian witness.
3) In another state with 45,000+ villages, 10,000 have been reached with the gospel.
By agreement the leaders of the network now have a goal to reach every one of the 600,000 rural villages in India, and also every one of the 400,000 subdivisions in the slums in the cities. This is a massive change from the India of 20 years ago, when rural India was virtually untouched by Christian witness.
This network also sends out “master trainers” to assist believers in any country who can gather a group to be trained in DMM.
Main points we can learn from the Indian DMM
- No church buildings. The churches meet in homes, as in the New Testament
- These house churches are participatory, as in 1Cor 14:26
- Intimacy with God is emphasised.
- Indigenous features in the churches
- Massive prayer.
- Culture of commitment to the Great Commission; commitment to reach every village (there are 600,000 villages in India!)
- Holy Spirit power – 90% of new churches start as a result of a miracle or a healing
- Leaders chosen by results in church planting / disciple training, not academic Bible knowledge.
- Non-Biblical requirements for leaders removed, e.g., no paper qualification is needed
- Master-trainers are appointed to oversee training.
- Elders are chosen by the Timothy/Titus criteria. They have responsibility for non-believers in their area as well as believers.