2,000 years ago a cry went out, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also….” Jesus’ disciples rocked the world in the first century. The transforming, life-giving, community-changing power of Jesus’ message spread like wildfire.
On the Day of Pentecost, Peter presented the Gospel with clarity and power. Three thousand people repented of their sins, believed the Good News, were baptized and then added to the church. Next, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” Acts 2:42
By AD 100 there were about 25,000 Christians by AD 310 up to 20 Million Christians.
Then came Constantine. The beginning of Christendom. Marriage of church and government. Church buildings, paid ministers, passive Christians. Gradually church became more and more complicated. Momentum slowed down.
How do we regain that original impact for our broken, hurting world today? By following the original example! Keeping things simple is one of the keys. Originally Jesus’ followers met with one another in homes. Many “barnacles” have attached to the word church over the past 2,000 years which can tend to hide what was seen in the first century. Many find it helpful to use words like simple churches, discipleship groups, fellowships, etc. These gatherings are reaching many who would “never darken the door of a church.” Many of today’s traditional churches are positioned well to reach people who are more likely to walk into a church building. For those who would not be drawn to traditional church, we use something different.
Just like in the first-century, we find these fellowships can be planted in the midst of communities of people who don’t know Jesus yet. People who have never heard of Jesus are now meeting Him and eagerly working to start Jesus-Centered Fellowships that reach their families, friends and neighbors.
Jesus said “Wherever two or three gather together in My name, I am there.” For pioneer regions, Loren Cunningham urges us to “Keep It Small and Simple—K.I.S.S.” Fellowships like these have the potential to reproduce rapidly.
One of my friends who worked in Mongolia tells of a Mongol man who met Jesus one morning. The one who led him to Jesus urged him to immediately go share his faith. Joyfully, home he went to tell his family. Before long he went to the neighbors on the right side of his house. He went to the neighbors on the left side of his house. By the end of the day, 24 people met Jesus!
He went back to report the exciting news. Rather than being invited to bring this group of new believers to an existing fellowship, he was taught how to lead this new fellowship in his own home. Thus one fellowship gave birth to a new fellowship.
To start disciple-making movements we need multiplication, following the example in the Book of Acts, we can Keep It Small, Simple, Easily Duplicated—K.I.S.S.E.D.!
Question for reflection: What changes might make your fellowship more easily reproduced in an unreached community?
Kingdom prayer: Lord Jesus help us to multiply small, simple Jesus-Centered fellowships which reproduce daughter fellowships, granddaughter fellowships, great-granddaughter fellowships and on for many more generations. May they be filled with Kingdom Disciples spreading the blessings of Your Kingdom within their families, among their neighbors, throughout their societies and across the nations. In Your name, Amen.