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,

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