Mt. Bethel Project-Update No. 38

How To Start A Church Planting Movement – Luke 10:5 – “What do we say to a Person of Peace?”

One of the more intriguing and difficult to understand parts of Luke 10 for me has been the instruction in verse 5 that when we enter someone’s house we are to say. “May peace be on this house.” Saying “peace be on this house” is an awkward statement that will not get the conversation off to a good start.

But we need to understand what it is that Jesus is instructing us to do. The word “peace,” which is the Hebrew word Shalom, is understood to contain all the blessings of God, both temporal and spiritual. What Jesus is saying is that when we come into a house we are to bless it. Matthew 10:12 explains it this way, “when you come into a house, salute it.” In this instance, “salute” means to bless.

So the instruction of Jesus is to bless the person of peace and their household.

Luke 10, verse 6 makes clear that the instruction in verse 5 is a command to bless the person and their household by saying “If those who live there are peaceful, the blessing will stand; if they are not, the blessing will return to you (NLT).”

It seems that what God is asking us to do is to bless the people that we meet. If they receive the blessing then we know that we have found a person of peace.

So, knowing how to bless someone is a critical part of finding a person of peace.  Recently Rick Slingluff gave me a book written by a man in Wales that talks about the work of blessing people. This book, “The Grace Outpouring” is the story of Roy Goodwin, who ran a small retreat center that was not prospering. In strenuous prayer he came to the understanding the purpose of the retreat center was bless people.

His prayer led him into a simple ministry of blessings people. Immediately after his “Lord if something doesn’t change I’m leaving” prayer, a couple showed up at the retreat center asking: “What is this place?” Roy gave them a tour and when they were about to leave said: “We have a rule here, we like to bless people before they leave, May I bless you?”

When they agreed he prayed a simple blessing. He said, “I bless you in the name of Jesus to know God, his purpose for your life, and his blessing on you and your family and the situations of your life. Amen.”

Immediately the couple began to weep. The presence of God was tangible in the room. Roy left them so they could be alone, but in a short while they sought him out and he was able to share Jesus with them.

This simple act led to a revitalization of the ministry of the Retreat Center. God began to send many people to them who needed a blessing, and God continued to work in supernatural ways in the lives of people who received the blessing. Here are the words of Roy:

“So we bless every household, we bless every marriage, we bless the relationship between family members and different generations, and we bless their heath and their wealth. We bless the work of their hands. We bless every wholesome enterprise they’re involved with, that they may prosper.”

Roy Goodwin’s story is the story of learning to bless people and the supernatural work of God that was manifest in people’s lives after he blessed them. This is the work that God has called us to do, to find a person of peace and bless them and their household so that God can continue his work in that person’s life.

When we go into a new community and look for a person of peace, we should go with the awareness that our role is to find the person the God has prepared to receive his blessing, and then we should bless them and their home with the good news of the Kingdom.

The Mt. Bethel Board

At a recent Acts 12:24 Churches Board of Administration (BOA) meeting the board agreed to create a new board for the Mt. Bethel Project.  Below is the full text of the recommendation that was approved.

Recommendation to the BOA for the Formation of a Mt. Bethel Project Board

Submitted by Supt. David Harvey

One of the three Enduring Initiatives that Acts 12:24 conference has adopted is to start a church multiplication movement. Church multiplication is different than church planting in that multiplication begins when fourth generation churches are planted.

This multiplication effort is now called the Mt. Bethel project. There are over 100 people in the conference actively involved in the Mt. Bethel project in some way. The two primary hubs are the Wilkes-Barre district and El Remenente church in the Bronx, NY.  Pottsville River Church, Brooklyn 16th St., and Baltimore Vida Santa are also actively involved in Mt. Bethel Project work. There are a significant number of other churches in the conference which have used different multiplication resources for training; either from Bruce Bennett, T4T or RAD.

Here is a summary of statistics that we have gathered from the places where church multiplication principles are being used:

  • Number of people who have been through the church planter training material – 80
  • Number of people who have been through the eight week discipleship material – over 100
  • Number of conversions resulting directly from Mt. Bethel efforts – about 25
  • Number of new groups/churches started – 13
  • Number of hubs where this work is being done – 4

In addition the Mt. Bethel Project publishes a regular e-mail “Update” and has held a two-day Strategy Coordinator training which eight persons attended.

The leaders of the Mt. Bethel Project in different regions of the conference meet together quarterly for training, sharing, and prayer.

The leaders of the Mt. Bethel Project have set the following five year goals:

  1. To have 15 hubs out of which multiplication will be happening with trained Strategy Coordinators leading each hub.
  2. To have 400 initiated churches
  3. To have trained 400 pastors
  4. To have partnered in the work of multiplication with at least two other groups

In addition to the work of multiplication the Mt. Bethel project is considering two other initiatives which we think are necessary to have a church planting movement in Western cultures. We want to start a Christian Households movement which will assist parents in creating households based on the multiplication values of faith, faithfulness, hospitality and encouragement, and also a media company that will make the case in secular culture that these values are important human values.

When Mt. Bethel project was formed by the conference, the board was designated to be the District Leaders.  But it seems clear to me that for Mt. Bethel to get to the next level it now needs a board that only oversees the Mt. Bethel project. The purpose of this board would be to develop the mission and vision of the Mt. Bethel project, to create ministry policies that would guide the work of the Mt. Bethel project and at the appropriate time prepare budgets for approval and hire staff.

The Mt. Bethel board would be accountable to Acts 12:24 Churches and its Board of Administration.

I am recommending that we form a new Mt. Bethel Project board by allowing Superintendent David Harvey to name a board of five to seven people who would be approved by the BOA executive committee. A majority of the board members will be lay or clergy members of Acts 12:24 Churches. These initial board members would all serve four year terms, after which Acts 12:24 Churches will take responsibility for board member selection.

Be With Him…

“Let us then throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles and let us run with perseverance the race marked out before us” (Hebrews 12:1).

Mt. Bethel Project-Update No. 37

How To Start A Church Planting Movement – The Role Of Suffering

I have always been a person who did not pay too much attention to those in the West who claimed they were suffering for their faith. While suffering for the cause of Christ is very real in our generation in other parts of the world, few of us really know what it means to suffer for our faith. After all, we live in the richest country in the world and we can freely express our beliefs. Not only are we free but the church is not really very powerful in our culture which means that our suffering for the cause of Christ is also not very powerful.

But since I started working toward a Church Multiplication Movement my views of Christians suffering for the cause of Christ have changed. I have been in this work towards multiplication long enough to know that many who enter into this work also enter into a new season of suffering.  I have witnessed this in my own life and in the life of others who are seeking to lead this work.

It is a risky venture to label what may be regular struggles of life as suffering for the Kingdom, but I have witnessed a number of times now the beginning of new suffering that is correlated with someone’s response to a call to seek to multiply the church.

The suffering that I have seen takes different forms. Some have suffered from direct spiritual attack, even to the point of having difficulty functioning in their daily routine.  Others have experienced new suffering in the lives of their children, and many have suffered from the onset of new physical illness.

There has also been significant onset of physical illness among those who have received the training for multiplication. I personally have witnessed several different occasions in which those who were trained in multiplication and ready to start a new church have been struck down with physical illness that prevented them from moving forward.

This suffering produces great stress and real pain in our lives. The apostle Paul describes his suffering with these words, “We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life” (2 Cor. 1:8). Those who have endured suffering for the cause of Christ can identify with these words and know the depths of this kind of pain.

Recently I was re-reading David Garrison’s booklet, “Church Planting Movements” and read this paragraph on suffering:

“Missionaries suffer

A list of missionaries who have been engaged in Church Planting Movements reads like a catalog of calamity. Many have suffered illness, derision and shame. In some instances the suffering was due to their own self-destructive behavior; in other cases it came at the hands of opponents. Students of Church Planting Movements suggest that the affliction may be related to a higher spiritual price required for rolling back the darkness (Rev. 12:12). Whatever the cause the disproportionate degree of suffering by missionaries engaged in Church Planting Movements is noteworthy. Missionaries intent on this course of action are well advised to be on their guard, to watch, fight and pray.”

How should we face suffering?

1. We should be willing to suffer as Jesus did

Jesus came to earth to redeem us from our sin, but redemption came at the price of his suffering “many things” we are told in Scripture.  We cannot grasp what the Bible means by these words “many things” but we understand that the cross was suffering and that he suffered to save us.

There are a number of Scriptures that encourage us in our sufferings by pointing out that suffering is something that we share with Jesus and these Scriptures call us to a willingness to suffer as he did.

1 Peter 2:21 – “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his steps.”

2. We should respond to suffering by advancing our prayer life

We should continue to learn how to impact events on earth through bringing change in the heavenlies and how to move in the power of Jesus’ resurrection.

Matthew 16:19 – “I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

Philippians 3:10 – “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.”

3. We should find our comfort in Christ

2 Corinthians 1:5 says “For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.”

4. We should continue…

– In our task

– Giving thanks to God

– Blessing others

…in spite of our pain because we’ve found our comfort in Christ

1 Peter 3:14 – “But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened,”

1 Peter 4:19 – “So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.”

5. We should look forward to full restoration

1 Peter 5:10 – “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”

We take encouragement from the example of Job who was given twice as much as he had before his suffering. Recently I have been enjoying these words God gave through his prophet Joel, “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten” (Joel 2:25).

We wait patiently for those days.

Some months ago while Dawn and I were struggling with pain in our daughter’s life we came to a low point, a place where we thought we could not take anymore. Then another blow came through a phone call with news that was devastating to us. I remember the moment well, we were walking down a street, it seemed like we had at that moment passed the point of our ability to endure. At that exact moment we both looked up and saw a man walking directly toward us. On his shirt were these words in large letters, “Everything will be alright.”  It was the greatest “God moment” in all of our months of suffering. We both knew instantly that this was a message sent by God to us in our suffering. In hindsight we can look back and see God was at work at that exact moment when we were tempted to our deepest despair. God in his goodness was orchestrating events that could only be seen through the lens of looking backward in time.

This God was working for us when Jesus suffered on the cross, and is working for you and for many others as you seek to multiply the church.

“Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary or lose heart” (Hebrews 12:3)

Report From The Field

Pastor Al Sones has been leading the Wilkes Barre District in what they call their Focus 17 project.  This is a project to multiply churches in the 17 counties of northeastern Pennsylvania.

They have been training workers in “Harvest Training Weekends.” These are events in which participants are trained in the the four stages of a Luke 10 journey to find a person of peace.

Here are the four stages to a Luke 10 Journey:

Meeting – How to meet a new person and discover if they are a person of peace

Moving – How to move the conversation toward spiritual things by telling your story and then God’s story

Ministry – How to share the Gospel pray for the sick in the family and pray for deliverance

Mapping – Gaining agreement on the next step that will be taken

So far the District has trained and sent out on Luke 10 journeys eighteen teams of two people.  They are now moving on to teach the discipleship lessons that need to be taught to new believers. They are gathering at a Retreat Center for a weekend to be trained in the new believer discipleship materials. Look for a report of this weekend in a future Mt. Bethel Update.

Be With Him…

“Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.’”

Mt. Bethel Project-Update No. 36

How To Start A Church Planting Movement – Community Groups – The Missing Link In Church Formation

One of the things that many people have been asking as they seek to get to multiplication is, “How does a group of people get shaped into a church?”

T4T has proposed that all group meetings consist of three parts – Sharing, Bible, and practice.  They suggest that as the group progresses the third part will fall away and the first two will be left and morph into a church service, but we have not seen examples of this happening in our Western Culture.

At our October Mt. Bethel meeting Eddie Ventura from El Remanente Church in the Bronx introduced us to the concept of the Community Group.

A “Community Group” is the key step for them in determining if a group will become a church.  Here is Eddie’s explanation of their process:

Step 1
A group made up of people who live in or near a community in which they want to plant a church will begin to meet to pray for the community and for God to plant a church in that community.

Step 2
As they pray they will ask God to reveal to them a person of peace. They will assign members of the group to look for a person of peace.

Step 3
They will find the person of peace and lead them to Christ and then through the person of peace find and lead others to Christ.

Step 4
They gather the group together and for eight weeks will do short term discipleship and a brief survey of the Gospel of John, focusing on the “I Am” statements.  They call this group a Community Group.  They purposely do not use the words “cell group” or “small group” or “church.” They call it a Community Group because that is what the original prayer group was praying for– a group in that community.

Step 5
This is the crucial step– after eight weeks of meeting they know if this group is a church or not.  If the group does not have the marks of church they invite the group attend the mother church.  But, if the group has vision to grow and if a leader emerges, they know this should be a group.  They then begin training the person who has emerged as a leader how to be a pastor.  Like Bruce Bennett, they teach this person pastoral care and the Omega Church Planting system, even while this person is beginning to take leadership over the group.

Eddie reports that El Remanente has started about eight Community Groups and three of them are becoming churches after completing the eight week short term discipleship course.

We can learn several important lessons from this:

1. The importance of a group praying for a specific community

2. The importance of the prayer group sending people out to look for the person of peace

3. The importance of leading the person of peace to Christ quickly, and then through that person identifying other people to lead to Christ

4. The importance of the immediate eight week short term discipleship in the group

5. That we are not under pressure for every group to become a church – for now they are a Community Group, and that is fine. If God wants this group to be a church, it will be clear by the end of the eight weeks.

Eddie Venture is going to write more about this process for the Mt. Bethel Update, but I believe that this step of Community Groups is an important part of the work for our culture. We do not have to start by asking people if they want to plant a church or even be part of a church plant. We only ask them to make a short term commitment, then after they have been discipled and have been walking with God, we allow God to show them and us if they should be a church.

Reports From The Field…

Report from Willie Kirchhofer at Clifton NJ, Crossroads Church

1. Englewood group – This group is now able to run on its own. I went this past Sunday for the first time in about 3 months. They meet on Sundays at 4. The group is conducted mainly in Spanish. They average about 10-16 people. The leaders Frank and his wife Rae attend Crossroads but the others do not. They have had several meetings in the Bronx also since a number of the people who attend come from there. The focus is now on training the group and developing Frank as a pastor. A next group in the Bronx makes sense but right now the people from the Bronx are in such moral compromise that it is not advisable.

2. Paterson group – I started this group in May of this year. At present I attend every week as the co-leader – a young man and his wife who attend Crossroads are being trained. I had led them to Christ on New Year’s Eve and they have stuck with it. The Leader Lenny is a natural leader and has great potential. He is 22. This week we had 9 people not counting me and Daisy. This is the highest amount yet. The group is in English and the age is 22-28. This group has great potential because of the age of the group. None go to Crossroads except Lenny and his wife.

3. New Spanish Congregation at Crossroads. Erick Collado is a very good leader and will make a good pastor, his wife Mercedes is also an good asset and they work well together. They have about 8 people regularly now in a Spanish Sunday School class and a small group. I would estimate that by Easter it will be a congregation – the goal is to keep it as a congregation of Crossroads at this point.

Crossroads:

On Easter 2015 we are relaunching the church with a new ministry model. We will go to 2 services – 10am and 11:45am. Sunday School for children will be during the 11:45 service.  This will also simplify our system as new people will be trained in the Masters Mile discipleship program, which incorporates T4T principles. There are 3 levels and once a person finishes level 3 they will move to a point of light group (cell group). There are 7 now. People who seem able to start their own groups of unchurched people will be encouraged to do that. We will start an Adult School of the Bible with a curriculum designed to feed the ministries of the church and develop mature believers. Those who show the ability and are called will be trained in the Ministry Training Center.

Note from Pastor Willie:

Everything seems good on a report on paper but everything is extremely fragile and still in the beginning stage.  I have days I am encouraged and days I say, “What happened?”  The big issue is the deep brokenness and instability of the people. The key is to keep working the plan.  Before a crusade Billy Graham would say – I have three things to do: 1. Pray. 2. Pray. 3. Pray.

Be With Him…

“In using all means, seek God alone. In and through every outward thing, look only to the power of His Spirit, and the merits of His Son. Beware you do not get stuck in the work itself; if you do, it is all lost labor. Nothing short of God can satisfy your soul. Therefore, fix on Him in all, through all, and above all…Remember also to use all means as means-as ordained, not for their own sake…”
John Wesley

Mt. Bethel Project-Update No. 35

How To Start A Church Planting Movement – The Luke 10 Instructions – Praying For Workers

Luke 10 contains instructions on starting new churches in new communities.  These instructions have been carefully followed by many people in our generation.  Following these instructions has led to tens of thousands of new churches being planted and millions of people coming to Christ.

It is important to understand and follow the instructions of Jesus as we do His work.  In verse 1 the Lord chose the disciples that He wanted to be involved in this ministry, divided them into pairs, and sent them to the towns and villages that He (Jesus planned to visit).  All of this was preliminary to the disciples actually beginning their work in their assigned village.

Jesus had in mind thirty-five villages, and in each of these villages He had at least one person of peace waiting for the two disciples assigned to that village. But before the disciples were to actually begin their work in the village, there was one more thing they were told to do. They were instructed to pray for workers for the harvest in that village.

Praying that God would send workers into the harvest field of the village is an important step to take before starting work in any community.  Praying for workers in a specific village before starting work there has importance in a number of different ways:

1. It is a prayer that God will prepare the person of peace, not just to be receptive to the Gospel, but to be willing to be trained to reach his family and friends for Christ.

2. It is a prayer that persons reached with the Gospel will have a sense of being commissioned by Christ to reach more people.

3. It is a prayer that there will be an adequate number of workers in this town to spread the gospel in the town.

4. It keeps the people assigned to find the person of peace in the town focused on the fact that Jesus is preparing people to reach a great harvest in that town.  The assigned workers are not the primary harvesters, the people Jesus will send into the harvest field who already live in that town are the primary harvesters.

5. It keeps the assigned disciples focused on what Jesus is trying to do in that town rather than what they, the disciples, are trying to do in that town.

Mt. Bethel Leaders And Workers  Quarterly Meeting

Oct 11, 2014
10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Ironia Free Methodist Church
298 Dover Chester Road
Ironia, NJ  07869

**Bring Your Own Lunch**

Our quarterly meeting for leaders and workers in the Mt. Bethel Project will be held on Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014 at Ironia, NJ. Everyone who has been working in church multiplication is invited, as well as anyone interested in learning more about this work of multiplication.

The meeting will consist of both sharing and teaching. Those who have been working in different areas will share how their work is proceeding, and we will take time to pray for each project.  In addition, we will receive specific teaching on the five fields and how to implement strategies for each of the five fields.  The five fields include: The empty field, the planted field, the growing field, the harvest field and the leadership field.  Some of the teachers on October 11 will be: Storm Hutchison, Edward Ventura and Myller Olivio. We will also discuss the formation of a Mt. Bethel Board to guide our work in the future.

Plan to attend and bring your team. It is crucial that we meet together to encourage each other and pray for each other.

Be With Him…

How God the Father trusted Jesus to do his work and how he wants to trust us… “the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.”  Isaiah 53:10

Mt. Bethel Project-Update No. 34

How to Start a Church Planting Movement –Focus on Getting to a Fourth Generation Church

1. Stop training churched people - Train new Christians rather than churched people. There are church people called to this work who should be trained, but every time you train a churched person who does not start a group you are reinforcing bad patterns in their life. Believe that there are people out there who don’t know Jesus but who Jesus is calling you to train. Having a ready pool of people to train who are in the church is our biggest hindrance. We will not get to multiplication until we are training those who are today in the world but whom God is calling to plant new churches.

The resources are in the harvest not in the church!!!!

2. Submit to the simple system that God has revealed – This simple five strategy system is being used by God around the world and is the system he has revealed in the Bible. I am convinced that one of the reasons that there is not a multiplication system in the U.S. is that Americans have a difficult time adopting the simple system that God has revealed. Virtually everyone I am aware of is trying to adapt this system to the U.S. I think God is calling us to simple submission to work His system. Take the first step of submission and God will guide us to any necessary changes as we see churches multiply. There is nothing that you have to write or create from scratch. Just see what God is doing around the world and join him.

Adopt don’t adapt!!!!!

3. Do your work seeing the other side – This was a word of God to us in our Mt. Bethel leaders meeting. Everything we do is done with a vision of fourth generation believers and churches and beyond. When you find the first person of peace, see in your mind the fourth generation church that will begin with this person of peace.

See the fourth generation when you see the first!!!

4. Get to multiplication quickly – The goal is a system of multiplication, therefore, your goal should be to get to the fourth generation quickly. When we find a person of peace the goal is to get to the fourth generation new believer. When you start a new church, the goal is to get to the fourth generation church plant as quickly as possible.

Rapid Kingdom Expansion is our goal!!!

Reports from the Field

Brooklyn Living Hope – Pastor Euline Jackson attended Strategy Coordinator Training last fall and went back to her church in Brooklyn and gathered a group of six people and took them through the church planter training.

While the work has been difficult, Pastor Euline reports that their work has borne fruit.  After the training several of the participants have actively sought to find persons of peace. Three people have been led to Christ and they are now working to disciple the new believers and start new churches.

Pottsville River Church – Pastor Storm Hutchison has been leading people in Pottsville into this ministry of multiplication. He originally started with five trained church planters who were each working in a different community. Each of those five became physically ill and was unable to continue with the original plan.

Pastor Storm relates several lessons he has learned:

1. The ground is very hard – some people are dealing with fatigue
2. The work will not happen as quickly as he expected
3. Disciples are made in the harvest field

Pastor Storm reports that now they have reached third generation Christians and are looking to get to fourth generation believers. He also believes that two new churches will be started before the end of the year and that these churches will be multiplying churches.

Be With Him…

“God chooses people committed to His cause. Key workers need to remain intimately connected to God so that they might receive revelation, wisdom and discernment to know the heart of the Trinity in church planting matters.” Bruce Bennett

Beginning next issue – a full review of the seven values of church multiplication based on our two years of learning how to implement the system.

Mt. Bethel Project-Update No. 33

How to Start a Church Planting Movement –Response from Bruce Bennett on “What is a Church?”

In the previous issue of the Mt. Bethel Update I published an article on “What is a Church”  Bruce Bennett has responded to that article with the teaching below.

Dear David and the Acts 12:24 Churches,
From Bruce, called by God to be a church planter
The grace, peace, & joy of Christ be with you.

I am thrilled to hear about your co ntinuing church planting activities, plans & goals. Your discussion on groups, churches, and size is healthy. I pray for your meeting on the 11th, that God will continue looking with favour on the desires of your heart and that “God’s message will keep spreading!!”

I am encouraged about the continuing discussion of what “Church” is. Herewith further thought on this discussion.

The church can be described as the visible outcrop of the Kingdom of God in a particular location where the acts and effects of New Testament community are evidenced (as seen principally in Acts 2:42-47; 4:32-37; 12:24; 1Jn 1:3-7).

The Acts of Community in Acts 2:42-47 were disciples who were:
· Devoted to the Word
· Fellowshipping
· Breaking bread
· Praying
· Met regularly in their homes
· Had everything in common
· Sold possessions & gave to the needy
· Met regularly in the temple
· Praised God

The Effects of this Community were:
· Many wonders & miraculous signs
· People filled with awe
· Gladness
· Sincere hearts
· Disciples who enjoyed favour of all people
· The Lord added daily to those being saved

1 Jn 1: 3-7 teaches us that the Acts of Community are:
· To proclaim the Gospel
· Fellowship with Each other & God

And that the Effects of this Community would be:
· Expanding Community
· Joy Complete
· Cleansing from Sin
· Walking in the Light as He is in the Light.
(You can draw up the same type of lists from Acts 4:32-37, Acts 12 & elsewhere.)

When believers commit to the Acts of Community the Effects of Community will become increasingly abundant, and Church Planting will become as natural as the air we breathe. Then too, the discussion on the quantitative element, or the size of the church, will have to keep pace with the numbers that God will add daily to His churches.

(You can understand that there might be crossover between the acts & effects of community.)

I am honoured to receive your newsletters
Keep up the good race!!
Please pass my love and greetings to the churches.
In search of increased biblical community,
Bruce

Report from Bruce Bennett’s Work</span>

I recently received Bruce Bennett’s quarterly report.  His system continues to produce amazing results. You will see that he added over 500,000 new believers in the past three months and 2069 new churches. In addition the average size of his churches has grown to 119 people.

It should be noted that these are results from his Africa project.  Bruce is also working with the Free Methodist “Impact Middle East” organization and is planting churches across the Middle East including in Israel.

Into Africa Statistics

Our ministry statistics for the Into Africa project for the quarter ending 15th June 2014 were as follows:

1. Net members grew by 558,362 to 4,500,774 an increase of 14%
2. Net churches grew by 2069 to 37,931 an increase of 5,8%.
3. Average members grew by 9,8% to 118,7 members per church

We have had extraordinary growth in Burundi which is be attributed to four main reasons:
A. A nationwide crusade conducted in collaboration with pastors from EMEC in the eastern DRC
B. An upsurge in refugees due to the instability in Sudan and Western Tanzania
C. The formation of a new denomination under the leadership of Peter Barakamphtiye
D. Insecurity in the nation due to pending elections

In terms of Church Membership, Burundi now replaces DRC as our leader. The top three nations are:
1. Burundi 835,000
2. DRC 814,000
3. CAR 789,000

Two years back, in the CAR there was a major upsurge in evangelical activity just prior to the civil war. It appeared that political instability made villagers more open to the Gospel. In some quarters there is a comparison being made with Burundi. There appears to be a pervasive uncertainty around the pending Burundi election, we must pray this does not spill over to civil unrest.

Reports From the Field-Bronx, El Remenente

Pastor Joel Guzman attended Strategy Coordinator Training last Fall. Pastor Joel decided to take his entire Sunday School class of 40 adults through the training. From that group he has sixteen core people who are called to the ministry of multiplication.  He has been training these people and meeting weekly with them. Of the sixteen people, eight became Conference Ministerial Candidates this year at Reframe Conference, and the other eight are Local Ministerial Candidates.

From this group of sixteen, seventy-eight people have been discipled, three new believers were baptized, and one of those three has led others to Christ. Pastor Joel’s group has set the following goals for their work:

1. To send more workers into the harvest.
2. To teach parents how to disciple children. Healthy families means a healthy church.
3. To be involved in mission outside their own church. At this time they have two groups that meet in the Dominican Republic. There is also a weekly discipleship group that meets by internet with one of the new Conference Ministerial Candidates from the church in the Bronx. One of the church groups in the Dominican Republic is getting ready to begin Sunday services.

Pastor Joel’s ministerial candidates have started church groups in different communities and two of these groups are ready to start Sunday services, led by the ministerial candidate that formed the group.

Be With Him…

And the things you have heard me say int the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.”  2 Timothy 2:2

“Tools and plans dependent upon outsiders to teach or facilitate the movement will not multiply.  The church planter must remember everything needed for the harvest is in the harvest. This includes the teachers promised to the church in Ephesians 4.
-Nathan and Kari Shank in “Four Fields of Kingdom Growth”

Mt. Bethel Project-Update No. 32

How to Start a Church Planting Movement –Start Churches of 20 – 25 People

The first time I heard Bruce Bennett speak I was stunned by a statement I heard him make. He said that to start a church planting movement you first have to decide what a church is. He said that if you don’t know what it is you are trying to start, you can’t succeed.

Trying to define what a church is for those of us in the Mt. Bethel Project has a little different connotation. We have to answer the question: “When does a group become a church?”

One question we face is, “How many people do we have to have meeting together to be a church?” Bruce would say two or three. But in our culture, two or three is not considered a church. So I think we need to have an idea of how many people it takes to have a church as part of our definition of church.

Defining the size of a group that can be called a church is arbitrary work; it is based on cultural judgments and not on Truth. But here are a few facts:

  • Small churches are not uncommon. One half of the churches in the United States are below 75 in attendance on Sunday.
  • Small churches tend to be more evangelistic. Several studies have shown that percentage-wise small churches win many more people to Christ than larger churches.
  • People are used to more informal services so small churches do not have to wait until they have a lot of musicians to start worship services.

But here is the greatest advantage of a small church– almost anyone can gather a group of 20 – 25 people. I remember having with a conversation with another superintendent some years ago. We were talking about planting new churches. The discussion was how large of a group should a planter gather before the conference would support this as a church planting project. We were commenting that people we knew had gathered about 25 people and wanted conference support. I remember the superintendent saying, “Anyone can gather a group of 25 people.” Back then this was a statement of weakness but now I see that for a church multiplication movement, this is a statement of strength. Almost anyone can gather a group of 25 people.

So I would like to encourage you to reproduce groups of 20 – 25 people. 25 people functioning as a church can grow and plant a new church within a year, IF they train and work the five multiplication strategies.

So here is a definition of what a church looks like that we are trying to reproduce:

We are gathering groups of 20 – 25 people who become a church when:

1. There is a leader who is being trained to function as the pastor

2. They have weekly services, usually on Sundays

3. Have received members

4. Take offerings

5. The group has accountability to a board and/or an outside overseer

6. Is training and deploying people in the five strategies with the intent of starting a new church within one year

Here are a few things we should avoid if we want the group to become a church:

1. Don’t let the group turn into a weekly Bible Study. A Bible Study is a group that gathers weekly to learn but not to train to work the five strategies. It has no purpose to expand the Kingdom and the participants are not trained how to do that. Don’t just study the Bible, train regularly in how to live out the Bible in the world through training in the five strategies. Be doers of the Word and not just hearers.

2. Don’t keep the group dependent on outside leadership. Quickly develop leadership from within the group, including training a pastor.

3. Don’t let the group become self-centered. Send the people home each week with an assignment to have devotions and to talk to others (a “to do list”). Then have times each week for “meet and report” when attenders report on how they did with their “to do list.”

Reports From the Field-Mt. Bethel Leaders Set Five-Year Goals

On July 12, 2014, the leaders of the Mt. Bethel Project met at Ironia, New Jersey to share reports on their work and to plan for the future. One result of this meeting was to set five year goals for the project. After careful consideration of the progress so far, the group set the following five year goals:

1. To have 15 hubs out of which multiplication will be happening with trained Strategy Coordinators leading each hub.

2. To have 400 initiated churches

3. To have trained 400 pastors

4. To have partnered in the work of multiplication with at least two other groups

Results so far:
After two years of working at this we understand that the movement is still in its infancy and we are still learning how to work the system. Based on Timothy 2:2 the true test of getting to multiplication is fourth generation Christians and fourth generation churches.  It has been widely shown in multiplication movements around the globe that the move from addition to multiplication happens after the fourth generation.

To date, we have not reached the fourth generation for new believers or churches. But we are working towards that and have several third generation believers. Here is a summary report of where we are now:

  • Number of people who have been through the church planter training material – 80
  • Number of people who have been through the eight week discipleship material – over 100
  • Number of conversions resulting directly from Mt. Bethel efforts – about 25
  • Number of new groups/churches started – 13
  • Number of hubs where this work is being done – 4

The group continues to pray that the Lord will reveal the person who is to be the Champion of this multiplication movement.

The Mt. Bethel Leaders have also agreed to meet together three times a year. The next meeting will be held October 11, 2014.

Be With Him…

“And when they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that ther were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.”  Acts 4:13