In 2002 Swedish church planter Charles Kridiotis from Stockholm had a dramatic burnout and as a consequence went into a season of prayer. “This led me on a journey where I founded my identity in Jesus more deeply, and started relearning from the Gospels and the Book of Acts about the Kingdom of God and the kind of church Jesus is building,” he says.
Valeri, an infamous hooligan from Obolon, the most heavily populated region of Kiev, turned to God from a life of drugs, alcohol, and crime two years ago. He is a classic example of what Jesus called a ‘man of peace’. Jesus said, when you find a man of peace, stay in his house. In other words - stay with him in his context. Instead of extracting him from his friends and family, help him reach them. This is a principle we are seeing bear much fruit in the making of disciples and planting of new churches, and especially with Valeri.
Graziano Crepaldi is a house church planter from Switzerland who works in various nations in Europe. After starting and developing a house church network in Switzerland in 2003, he felt God’s call to also invest in his homeland Italy and in Balkan nations like Serbia. In Italy he found a few people whom he trained and coached, and today there are 12 house churches in various localities (of which 8 in Turin) that are part of the Filadelfia Network. Most of these new churches were started by ordinary people who pray and move in the gifts of the Spirit (prophecy, healing, deliverance). Graziano calls this activity ‘treasure hunting’.
“I’ve learned many lessons in simple church planting, but a very important one is: don’t start a house church by gathering Christians,” church planter Ross Rohde said. God called him to plant simple churches in 2001 in Spain. With some friends, he hosted an international conference for house church people. Out of this conference at least 30 new churches were started by gathering Christians. They were all wonderful people, but never won anyone to the Lord. Two friends of Ross, started to plant churches by focussing on reaching the non-believers and using the principles laid out in Luke 10. 30 more churches were started and a lot of people repented and became dedicated followers of Jesus. Read on for his whole story and the lessons he learned in Spain.
Matthew and his family are missionaries from the USA and live since four years in Amsterdam West. Here they intentionally build relationships with people from different ethnic backgrounds in their neighbourhood. They meet in several house churches where things are done very interactive and spontaneously. Every month they have a big celebration and every week they host a kidsclub with 45 children from a Muslim background. They share about Jesus and get in contact with the different families.
How do you develop vision for reaching regions in your country for Christ? Peter J. Farmer tells us how God gave him a vision to see a Church Planting Movement happen in the UK. His story starts with his work among the unchurched in Meadows (inner city of Nottingham) in 2000. Young people and families came for food, prayer, life and the bible. From there God began to speak to him to plant simple churches from harvest and to see hundreds of churches planted across the UK. In 2008 they started to train people based on Matthew and Luke 10 and several simple churches were started.
What are the keys for multiplication in a Western context? Erling Thu, from Kristent Nettverk, shares how their network grew to more than 20 localities. One key for multiplication was just obeying the voice of the Holy Spirit. Besides this, purposely sending out people and finding the person of peace led to the planting of a lot of churches. To further facilitate multiplication, an apostolic team of twelve people regularly comes together to hear from God, encourage each other and strategize to plant new churches in the nation. Read on to learn more.
In 2005 Johan moved with his familty from the Netherlands to the Czech Republic to work among the Roma gypsies. Life was not easy, but the familiy persevered. Johan found out that the Roma people were discriminated and very poor. “It hurt me to see them following the god of money, instead of following God. I broke down in tears. The family was shocked by my emotional outburst. This was a turning point. The man wanted to become a follower of Jesus.” Now, Johan is helping the house churches that have started to reproduce by training leaders to teach others.
Chris Scilla from Bedford, UK, shares how meetings in his house church network are held naturally, where the Holy Spirit is given control. In 2001 Chris and his friend Roger started to meet every week for prayer, talk and mutual encouragement. They invited others and a simple church was birthed. They gathered as friends over a cup of tea and started to chat about life and needs of the people around them. From there someone shares a prophecy, tongue, vision or a word. Most things happened randomly, but at the end everybody agreed that there was a common theme of the meeting.
The house church network ‘Neighbours and Nations’ is living on each others’ doorstep in Coventry in the UK. Their vision is to develop church ‘neighbourhood by neighbourhood’. They build friendships, laugh and serve the community around them. Though they are just starting and do have a steep learning curve, God is working among them to express the kingdom of God in their area.