The first seed of church planting
We hear of the rapid church growth in many developing and closed countries and wish it were like that in Australia too. No matter what we call it, church plant, house church, faith community, cell group, New Testament gathering or house meeting, the focus is the worship of Jesus Christ.
In this series, we will be looking at how one couple in Glen Waverley, Melbourne, stepped out of their sixteen years of a mainstream-pastoring role to do church differently from their home. As in any new faith venture, the risks seem great and hopes are high, processes and forecasts are uncertain and total dependence on God is the basic requirement.
In February 2016, Poh Choo and her husband Philip, felt a clear call from God to plant a church.
She equipped herself with more ‘tools of the trade’ by attending training on how to build a Jesus movement through SHIFTm2M (ministries to movement) run by Power to Change. Poh Choo and Philip spent many hours in prayer and discussion on what form the house church will take on.
One seed is planted
‘We started afresh and began with people with the same passion. A couple who we know really well and a friend from Brisbane joined our family’s church launch,’ Poh Choo recalled.
‘We always have communion because it reminds us of Jesus and He is the only reason we are doing this. Worship was kept simple and everyone participates. We sing a few songs, pray and learn from discussions on a Bible passage.
In the early months of formation, they had intended to reach the unchurched but later they realised there were many believers who did not go to church or have backslidden from their faith. Through word of mouth, people began to visit their house church.
Poh Choo’s eyes gleamed and her speaking pace quickened when she said, ‘we are very passionate about empowering and impacting lives by sharing the Gospel and discipleship. Many people have many theories about how to start up a church. Our main focus is discipleship. The people are excited about it and they want to come out with a blue print or simple structure of how to make disciple makers.’
In early 2016, Basic church in Glen Waverley was formed. The concept is to make discipling so simple and accessible that everyone can be a disciple and learn how to be a disciple maker. The key verse for that is in Matthew 28:18-20
18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age. (New Living Translation)
She explained, ’Basic church is about creating a culture of living a very intentional life-style; investing time with new Christians and demonstrating to them how to be disciple makers. Love is demonstrated in the context of community. The task of teaching others is shared by all in Basic church and not by one person behind the pulpit.’
The core discipleship materials they currently use are
· 4 Chair Discipling- Growing a Movement of Disciple-Makers by Dan Spader
· Knowing Him a 50-Day Study in the Life of Christ- movementbuilders.com.au
In Part Two of the series, Poh Choo gives an inside look at how they do church once a week and what happens in between. She shares how Basic Church spread to other suburbs in Melbourne within two years and the testimonies of people from Basic church movement.