The Mt. Bethel Project Update-No. 10

Meeting with David Nelms

Al Sones and I met with David Nelms and his assistant Greg Kappas this week.  David updated us on his church planting work, and our project in Ethiopia. (Their work can be seen at www.ttionlline.org). As you know, I first met David on an airport hotel shuttle at midnight in San Diego; it was a divine appointment. David was the first person I met who had produced rapid Kingdom expansion. Some months after this event I met Bruce Bennett in Thailand. These God-directed meetings provided the impetus for our Mt. Bethel project,–a project to plant thousands of reproducing churches in the United States. This project was born last June at Reframe Conference where both David and Bruce served as our speakers.

While meeting with David and Greg this week we were discussing our beginning efforts to start a movement. They had both read the Mt. Bethel Update No.8 in which I mentioned that we have about thirty people in church planter training. Greg said to us that no one in Unites States has 30 people in church planter training, not even Bob Roberts. Bob Roberts is the author of book “Multiply” and considered by many to be the leader of those trying to start church planting movements in the US. He was a keynote speaker at the Free Methodist Church General Conference in 2011.  Greg Kappas said that Bob Roberts, who is his friend, would “give anything” to have 30 people in church planter training. I was thankful to God for the start he has given to us in the Mt. Bethel Project.

Faith, Faithfulness and Finishing – The keys to starting a church planting movement (Community Church Planting Manual, 9.7.2)

Pray for increased faith to discern God’s Kingdom’s plans in the communities around you and what he is calling you to do to accomplish those plans.

Be faithful to your call.

Finish the task set before you.

Viral Churches

To start a church planting movement will require a culture in which believers, especially new believers, understand that God has called them to expand the Kingdom. If you have read the book “Viral Churches” by Ed Stetzer and Warren Bird you know that it is a summary book about efforts to start a church planting movement in the United States.

In discussing the rapid church multiplication that happened in the early days of the Vineyard movement they discuss this rapid Kingdom expansion culture that was built into the movement from its genesis. They attribute this rapid expansion to the fact that new believers were taught that God had a call on their life to expand the Kingdom, and they needed to obey that call.  Stetzer concludes that, “A return to the salvation=call=obedience equation of the Christian life will have a dramatic impact on your church’s chances of seeing a multiplying movement occur” (pp’s. 60-61).

This concept is also one that Bruce stresses in the Community Church Planting Manual.  Bruce understands 2 Tim 2:2 as a command and says that Christians are called to be obedient to this command.  This obedience is what fuels a church planting movement.

“And the things you have head me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.” 2 Tim 2:2

Bruce sees a total of 15 people in that verse who are trained:

Paul                             First generation          One person

Timothy                       Second generation      Two people

Faithful men                Third generation         Four people

Others                         Fourth generation       Eight people

Total                                                                Fifteen people

When we obey this command everyone will have at least four generations of people trained to start new churches as a result of their obedience. If you understand this verse as a command, then we need faith and faithfulness to finish the task God has commanded.

Last Call for Mt Bethel “Sharing our Stories” meeting

On Wednesday, Mt. Bethel practitioners will be gathering to share our stories.  We want to learn what has been happening, what is working, what is not working.  We want to leave with a clear list of questions that still need to be answered and what issues have arisen as we have tried to learn how to start a church planting movement.

The meeting will be held at Waverly Community Church, 101 Carbondale Road, Waverly, PA 18471.. We will meet from 10:00 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. A pizza lunch will be provided.

Prayer Team

Thanks to all of you who continue to respond to the commitment to pray for the Mt. Bethel project and the leaders of the project. One of the few things we know for certain about starting a church planting movement is that it cannot be done without a solid base of prayer.

Updating the “Update”

The “Mt. Bethel Update” that was started ten weeks ago as an e-mail that I was sending to eighteen people has now grown to an email list approaching 70 people. We are looking to move to an improved format and to make these updates available on a blog or web site.  Watch for updated formats and Internet access for the Mt. Bethel Update in the next few weeks.

“Reframe” Conference progress

The planning for the second annual Reframe Conference is well under way. One of our long-term goals for the conference is to create an event at which we can gather people from all over the country interested in church multiplication. Reframe conference is committed to reframing the concept of church in the United States in a way that it will accommodate rapid multiplication.

Under the leadership Jeff Wojtaszek, Reframe Conference continues to grow and evolve.  As you know Bruce Bennett will be returning as our main speaker. Jeff’s goal is to continue to take Reframe to the next level of effectiveness.

Be With Him

More from “Viral Churches:” in a discussion of why some mission agencies start with great effectiveness and then lose that effectiveness Stetzer concludes that:

“…Missions without a doctrinal framework tend to lose the Gospel’s transformational power.” 

Truth (or doctrine) that keeps the power of the Gospel present in our words and in our work for Jesus is dependent on our maintaining an intimate relationship with Jesus. Without that intimacy we can work for Jesus but will see little transformational power.

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