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).


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