Here is my ‘top 5’ wish list of what I would like to try in a home church.
1. Build a community around spiritual formation by making disciples (learners) rather than adopting a traditional church format and trying to make disciple-making fit into it. Decide what best accomplishes disciple-making, draw a line around that and call that ‘church’. (God commissioned us to make disciples and said He would build the church. We need to keep our job descriptions straight.)
2. Build experiential learning into the model. Instead of ‘Just-in-case’ learning of something we might use someday, do ‘just-in-time’ learning, what we need for the next step. As people are out there applying the Scriptures, organize the teaching in topics and frequency on what they need to know to do next. (In Spanish it says “The verb became flesh and dwelt among us”. It is interesting when we move from noun to verb, we may not need more teaching, which might give us an excuse to remain passive, rather we may need opportunities to reflect on what we have (not) been doing as a result of the teaching, or celebrate or risk etc. See 5 verbs of learning below and proximal zone of development.)
3. Mobilize the church with 5 simple tools for disciple-making. (While 5 tools are suggested here, they can be improved or substituted.)
a. 7 Signs from John: a simple investigative Bible study for those wanting to know more about what it means to be a Christ follower. (Target: evangelism that anyone can do)
b. DNA plan: Dynamic truth (weekly reading activity practiced in pairs), Nurturing relationships in the context of devotional life (accountability questions), Apostolic mission. (Target: 1 on 1 reproducing ministry)
c. Pray Luke 10:2 at 10:02 every day, asking for labourers for the harvest. Amazing what God does in us as we pray that regularly. (Target: Apostolic mission)
d. Home church meeting built around the 5 verbs of learning: Imagine, connect, risk, reflect, celebrate (Target: kingdom community)
e. 4/11 training (From Ephesians 4:11) where occasional times of equipping are organized to help build understanding in the ministry, use of gifts etc. (Target: equipping for the work of service.)
4. Use the Rule of the Power of Five to improve structures and remain flexible. We need to start somewhere, forming temporary structures that can be improved or substituted. The importance is giving agency to learners, room for them to experiment, fail, try again, learn and pass it on rather than creating perfect structures that do not mobilize.
5. Use technology to permit increased access of those at a distance, while not requiring everyone to be a geek. As people become learning agents and network into their spheres of influence, it is probable that some of those involved are at a distance. Technology can help them interact with the local community as they prepare to reproduce in a local context.