About LOTWM
News and Events
Our Vision and Mission
Pastors
Pastor Ing's Books
Statement Of Faith
What We Do
Fasting and Praying
Partnership
Teaching Manuals
Download
Newsletter List
Newsletters
Contact Us
Meaning of Christmas
Photo Player Flash

Newsletters


Training Center Manual

 

ESTABLISHING TRAINING CENTERS FOR

HOUSE CHURCH LEADERS

AND

TRAINING FUTURE HOUSE CHURCH PASTORS

                                                                                Richard B. W. Ing, D.Min., J.D., Ph.M., B.S.

                                                            Senior Pastor

                                                            Light of the World Missions

www.Lightoftheworldmissions.com                                                 

A MANUAL ON

ESTABLISHING HOUSE CHURCHES FOR THE END TIMES

Copyright ©2005, Richard B. W. Ing

            All rights reserved.  No portion of this book may be used without permission of the publisher, with the exception of brief excerpts in magazine articles, reviews, etc.  For information, address Richard B. W. Ing, P. O. Box 37451, Honolulu, Hawaii 96837-9998.

            All Bible quotations are from the King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

TRAINING CENTERS FOR

HOUSE CHURCH LEADERS - PART ONE

 

INTRODUCTION

1.  INITIAL TRAINING CENTER

            1.1  THE INITIAL STAFF

            1.2  RECORDS AND BOOKS OF ACCOUNT

            1.3  PUBLICATIONS AND TEACHING OUTLINES

            1.4  MATURING THE STAFF

            1.5  SIZE OF CLASS

            1.6  SALARIES AND OTHER COMPENSATIONS

            1.7  TITHES AND OFFERINGS

            1.8  CERTIFICATES AND DIPLOMAS

            1.9  ENCOURAGING MEN

2.  MATURING THE SAINTS

            2.1  MATURING THE SAINTS IS A FEATURE OF HOUSE CHURCHES

                2.2  GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT

            2.3  LOVE IS THE FOUNDATION FOR MATURITY

            2.4  STRONGHOLDS OF A RELENTLESS ENEMY

3.  ENCOURAGING NETWORKING AND RELATIONSHIPS

            3.1  NETWORKING IS NECESSARY DURING TIMES OF PERSECUTION

4.  TRAVELING TRAINERS AND MONITORS

            4.1  THE NEED

            4.2  CHECKS AND BALANCES

            4.3  FIVE-FOLD MINISTRY

            4.4  THERE ARE NO REAL APOSTLES TODAY

            4.5  TEAMWORK

5.  THE IMPORTANCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

            5.1  FOR THE MATURING OF THE SAINTS

            5.2  THE GOAL OF ALL SAINTS

6.  CREATING OTHER TRAINING CENTERS

            6.1  THE NEED

            6.2  COMING PERSECUTION AND ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION

            6.3  EVERY AREA IS DIFFERENT

7.  OTHER MATTERS

            7.1  SALVATION

            7.2  WATER BAPTISM

            7.3  BAPTISM OF THE HOLY GHOST

8.  TRADITION

            8.1  TRADITION IS NOT NECESSARILY TRUTH

            8.2  COMPROMISING THE WORD

            8.2  YOU COULD END UP IN HELL

9.  A PASTOR’S AUTHORITY

            9.1  A PASTOR’S AUTHORITY IS HIGHER THAN YOU THINK

            9.2  EACH HAS HIS OWN JOB AND AUTHORITY

 PART TWO

 TRAINING FUTURE HOUSE CHURCH PASTORS

INTRODUCTION

1.  CHOOSING POTENTIAL HOUSE CHURCH PASTORS

            1.1  ZEALOUSNESS

            1.2  SELF-PROMOTION

            1.3  SERVICE

                1.4  LOVE

                1.5  LOYALTY, OBEDIENCE

                1.6  HUMILITY

            1.7  REVELATION

            1.8  READING THE BIBLE,  PRAYER, ETC.

2.  IMPARTING VISION

            2.1  FIVE REASONS AND GOALS

                2.2  PREPARING FOR REVIVAL

                2.3  PREPARING FOR SURVIVAL

                2.4  PRODUCING MATURE SONS AND DAUGHTERS

                2.5  PRODUCING THE BRIDE OF CHRIST

                2.6  GIVING GOD BACK HIS CHURCH

                2.7  ADVANCING THE KINGDOM THROUGH

                   EVANGELISM

                2.8  IMPORTANCE OF VISION

3.  INSTRUCTIONS AND TRAINING

                3.1  CLASSROOM TEACHING

                3.2  WHY BOTHER?

                3.3  DENOMINATIONAL ERRORS

                3.4  SPIRITUAL WARFARE

                3.5  EVANGELISM

                3.6  PRACTICAL TRAINING

                3.7  PARTICIPATION BY ALL MEMBERS

                   IS IMPORTANT

4.  CONDUCTING HOUSE CHURCH MEETINGS

            4.1  MORE THAN PREACHING

                4.2  SUNDAY MEETINGS

                4.3  BREAKING BREAD

                4.4  SERVING ONE ANOTHER

                4.5  THREE TYPES OF MEETINGS PROBABLE

                   AND POSSIBLE TODAY

            4.6  THE IMPORTANCE OF PRAYER

5.  SIGNS AND WONDERS

                5.1  RESTORATION OF SIGNS AND WONDERS

                5.2  GOSPEL MEETINGS

6.  DEPENDENCE ON THE HOLY SPIRIT

                6.1  DURING PERSECUTION

                6.2  SUBMISSION TO DELEGATED AUTHORITY STILL NEEDED

                6.3  TO TEACH

                6.4  TRUSTING GOD

7.  NETWORKING

                7.1  KNOWING AND TRUSTING THE BRETHREN

            7.2  CHECKS AND BALANCES

                7.3  THE ELDERSHIP

                7.4  WORKING PASTORS

8.  TITHES AND OFFERINGS, REGISTRATION

            8.1  WHERE GOVERNMENT REQUIRES REGISTRATION

            8.2  SUPPORT FOR THE CENTRAL TRAINING CENTER

9.  TWO REVIVALS SIDE BY SIDE

            9.1  BIBLE EXAMPLES

                9.2  DENOMINATIONAL REVIVAL

                9.3  COMING DESTRUCTION

CONCLUSION

 PART ONE

ESTABLISHING TRAINING CENTERS

FOR HOUSE CHURCH LEADERS

INTRODUCTION

            Existing churches that desire to restore the house church format that God gave us in the New Testament have few instructional books to rely on in making the transition.  Although we have models such as the underground churches in China and elsewhere, they often do not give us enough insight to transition into house churches outside of mainland China.  This manual is a humble attempt at giving a few suggestions.  The final outcome, however, is in the hands of the Holy Spirit if we allow Him to guide us.

            This manual is only a brief handbook to start you off.  It is divided into two parts:  (1) Training Centers; and (2) How to Train Potential House Pastors.  Some of the topics are very important to incorporate and some are optional.  Since every geographical area has its own unique character, adjustments must be made to suit the circumstances.

            For convenience sake, we will call a house church leader a “pastor.”  You may choose to call him/her by some other name.

1.  INITIAL TRAINING CENTER

            We are addressing the question - how can an existing traditional church change or transition into a training center/headquarters for house churches?  We also assume that there is at least one pastor and one to three elders, at the least, and at least thirty members in an existing church.  This is so that there will be a sufficient number of trainers and staff.  However, adjustments and exceptions are possible.

            Conceptually, the existing church will be the initial training center for potential house church leaders.  Once the house church movement in a particular area takes off, the initial training center will also oversee groups of house churches.  We start off at a point where the prospective leaders have already been chosen, although Part Two of  this manual addresses that task later.  Another possibility is to open the training up to any member who desires to participate in some way.  This does not guarantee that any participating member will end up being a house church pastor.  We need to keep in mind, however, that past revivals such as the Azusa Street Revival, happened so fast that there were not enough laborers, and people who had been converted as recently as three months previous were recruited to become teachers to the new ones coming into the church in large numbers.

1.1  THE INITIAL STAFF

            The initial staff will no doubt be comprised of the existing full-time staff plus any additional person or persons deemed necessary or convenient to the operation of the training center.  People who are long-time Christians and mature in the Word can also become trainers. 

            Teachers of the Word are the first requirement.  In addition, an administrator (who can also be one of the teachers) who will keep records and accounting will be necessary or convenient. 

1.2  RECORDS AND BOOKS OF ACCOUNT

            It goes without saying that good records should be kept on: (1) the identity of each house church pastor and assistants; (2) members of each house church; (3) accurate accounts of all tithes, offerings and donations received by each house church and also the amounts remitted to the training center by each house church; and (4) any other information deemed beneficial, such as location, size, growth rate, etc.

            In peace time, these records can be kept on a computer, although it should be noted that all information on the computer should be reduced to hard copy periodically and perhaps weekly.  If the computer “crashes,” it is possible to lose all of the information.

            In times of persecution, however, use of a computer could also be dangerous.  When this writer was ministering among house churches in mainland China, the government would look for computers to confiscate.  Despite clever attempts to hide the information, the government was often able to get around the mandatory passwords and obtain information that led to the arrest of house group pastors and other leaders.  It is also possible for computer experts to get into an unsuspecting owner’s computer memory and extract information.  This is already being done all over the world through internet bugs and viruses.

            Another reason for keeping good records during peacetime is the governmental requirement that all churches be registered with the government.  Since most house churches will not be registered individually, there must be a subsidiary relationship with a mother church.  Evidence of the subsidiary relationship between training center and house church is made possible by the books of account and other records.  During persecution, however, all bets are off and registration is ignored.  The existing examples are found in China, Indonesia and the Middle East where house churches abound.

            During peace times, the governmental requirement that all churches be registered with the proper agency will assure that there not be renegade house churches operating legally.  The need for identification as a subsidiary of a registered church will maintain at least a loose bond between the training center and each new house church created by the training center.

1.3  PUBLICATIONS AND TEACHING OUTLINES

            It is a great advantage to be able to print and publish many teaching outlines and manuals so that they can be passed down to house church pastors.  However, many outlines and manuals need to be trimmed down to enable a subject to be covered within weeks instead of months.  Teaching materials used in Bible colleges, for instance, are meant to be taught in modules of three months.  Three months may be too long when a revival is in full force and operation.

            It may be wise to spend a longer span of time to teach the staff and teachers who will become trainers of pastors or itinerant instructors.  The training center should be a place where pastors and trainers can come to obtain teaching outlines, manuals, Bibles and other publications.  During times of persecution, these items will become precious and perhaps scarce.  The example is in mainland China where the government shut down all churches and destroyed all Bibles and Christian literature.  The underground house churches had to laboriously hand-copy the Bible and other writings.

            While it is possible, a training center may consider purchasing a copying machine so it can produce and reproduce these writings.  At the very least, they can use the services of a print shop.

            In anticipation of persecution, it is speculated that all Christian literature will be confiscated and destroyed and possession of a Bible and other Christian publications will be outlawed.  Therefore, it may be wise to store Bibles and other items in safe places in anticipation of persecution and the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet.  Mt. 24:15; Da. 8:11-14; Da. 9:17,26-27; Da. 11:31-33; Da. 12:11..

1.4  MATURING THE STAFF

            You  can’t pass on or teach what you don’t have or know.  An immature leader or teacher will produce immature assistants and trainees.  Therefore, the staff needs to be comprised of mature teachers and senior pastors who understand spiritual warfare and who are born-again, Spirit-filled, tongue-speaking Christians that exhibit all the fruit and gifts of the Spirit.  The object is not just to restore the house church format, but to produce mature saints and a perfect church.  Before you start the training, you may want to spend some time praying, fasting and bonding with your staff.  Any gaps in knowledge should be filled by inviting outside teachers who know spiritual warfare and other deeper subjects. 

            Do not proceed until the teaching staff is sufficiently mature to pass on their knowledge to the trainees.  Once you start, there is no turning back and re-training your staff is difficult, although not impossible.  The problem is that the initial house church  pastors that receive incomplete training will be released into the world and the quality of their house church members may be affected by their relative immaturity.  In such cases, all you can do is pray that the Holy Spirit will make up the deficiencies.

1.5  SIZE OF CLASS

            The size of each class depends on the room available, teaching materials on hand, number of instructors, available resources, and other similar factors.  In the underground house church system in mainland China, there were and are many training centers, perhaps hundreds in a major metropolitan center.  Where the authorities were lax, training centers were as large as 200 trainees at one time.  Where persecution was heavy, five to ten were the norm.  Some larger training centers were located deep in the mountains where access was difficult and afforded protection or early warning against governmental interference.

            Where possible, teaching centers would schedule several classes during the day and funnel two or three groups through the training system at the same time.  Obviously, this required adequate teaching staff and materials.  In peacetime, this was possible, but in times of persecution was made more difficult because of the possibility of detection.  Where handouts are not possible, the students will have to bring their own writing materials.

1.6  SALARIES AND OTHER COMPENSATIONS

            House church pastors of the first three centuries were ordinary citizens who did not attend any training center for pastors.  They were evidently people who worked for a living and shepherding a church was a part-time job in the sense that days were spent earning a living.  In Acts 18:3, the apostle Paul mentioned that Aquila and Priscilla were tent-makers and he joined them in their livelihood because he did not want to be a burden to the churches he was ministering to at the time.  The Bible does not mention that house church pastors were compensated or even that the saints paid tithes and offerings.  However, since tithes played a big part in the Old Testament, especially as required in Malachi 3:8-12, we assume that the custom or requirement was continued in the New Testament.  After all, God hasn’t changed.  “For I am the Lord, I change not;….“  Mal. 3:6.  It is possible that pastors were paid something, but whether it was enough to allow them to not work is uncertain. 

            Whatever the case may be, it is reasonable to assume that a house church pastor continued to work outside the church.  Therefore, we conclude that house church pastors worked and that tithes and offerings merely supplemented their income whenever needed, if at all.

            Although the apostle Paul worked at times, it is not sure that he worked all the time or at every place he visited.  Since the Bible says that the workman is worthy of his wages, it is assumed that taking care of a visiting pastor or teacher was proper and probably widespread.  Paul’s tent-making was most likely optional on his part and participated in where the churches were poor.

            It is proper to require house churches to help support a visiting teacher or five-fold minister.  However, poor churches are not likely to invite visiting ministers if they are required to fully pay for his expenses.  Richer churches should contribute whatever they can to help brethren that have little.  2 Co. 8:1-15.

            We will discuss tithes and offerings from house churches below.

1.7  TITHES AND OFFERINGS

            We conclude that God’s requirement to pay tithes and offerings did not change with the New Covenant.  God still requires the payment of tithes.  The question is - how do we handle the collection and distribution of tithes, offerings and donations?

            There are several considerations:  (1) the training center and its full-time staff need to be supported; (2) funds are required to purchase materials and equipment to produce outlines, manuals and other publications; (3) traveling expenses for itinerant teachers, five-fold ministers and visiting pastors are needed; and (4) other expenses of running a training center need to be covered.

            While we trust the Lord that He will provide, God also has a church government and system by which such expenses are covered.  We suggest that all house churches send weekly reports on all tithes, offerings and donations collected to the training center they are under and remit ten percent (10%) to cover the expenses of running a training center.  They are free to use the remaining 90% for their own activities and expenses.  Of course, during times of persecution, this rule may  have to be adjusted.

1.8  CERTIFICATES AND DIPLOMAS

            In order to qualify people to become house church pastors, it may be convenient to issue certificates or diplomas to graduates of your training program.  At the very least, this will indicate the minimum knowledge and training a person has.  These certificates and diplomas have no intrinsic value other than encouraging people to submit to training and to bond the graduates together.  A vicarious benefit is the identification graduates may have in your program.  In training others, they are likely to reproduce the same curriculum, knowledge and qualities in future house church leaders.  Those future pastors and leaders will identify with your program of training and consistently return for further training and send others to your training center.  This is not to promote “empire building” or competition, but rather to encourage unity, minimum quality, networking and to discourage renegade house groups that have no association or affiliation.  Indeed, teaching materials and knowledge should be passed on to other training centers in outside areas.

1.9  ENCOURAGING MEN

            One of the problems encountered in the China house church movement is the over-abundance of women and the under-representation of men.  David Aikman, the author of Jesus in Beijing, quoted estimates from other Western observers that 80% of the Christians in house churches were women.  They concluded that the men were too busy earning a living and too involved with the things of the world.  In South Korea, David Yonggi Cho’s Yoido Church has over 800,000 members and over 24,000 cell groups.  The vast majority and perhaps more than 80% of the cell leaders are women.  In churches all over the world, traditional churches included, it seems that the majority of members are women.  This, of course, was not so in the early church and although times and cultures have changed this phenomenon cannot be fully explained by the obsession for the things of the world. 

            This writer is in a deliverance ministry and has published books on the subject of spiritual warfare.  It is this writer’s opinion that there is a definite spiritual connection between female dominance and Babylon the Great ruling in the end times.  Revelation 17 describes a beautiful woman sitting on a beast.  She is called “MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.”  Verse 5.   Babylon represents Satan’s system on earth and the Book of Revelation clearly states that Babylon the Great will rule the earth in the end times until she is betrayed by the beast she sits on.  Rev. 17:16.

            This worldwide power is a spiritual city much as Sodom and Egypt can be spiritual cities (where our Lord was crucified).  Rev. 11:8.  While many Bible scholars are looking for an earthly and physical Babylon to arise from the desert, it is already ruling the earth.  A study of ancient Babylon reveals a number of characteristics:  (1) infant sacrifice; (2) disdain for marriage; (3) sexual promiscuity; (4) widespread use of mind-altering drugs; (5) witchcraft and astrology; (6) violence and murder; and (7) female dominance.  In America, there are over 1.5 million abortions each year, and worldwide the number is around 28 million.  Over 52% of first-time marriages end up in divorce in America (even higher among Christians) and divorces are increasing worldwide.  Sexual promiscuity is widespread all over the world as AIDS, pornography and sexually explicit movies and TV show proliferate.  Cocaine was invented by the Babylonians (“Mesopotamians”) and was widespread.  Archaeologists have claimed that traces of cocaine have been found in every mummy ever tested in Egypt.  Witchcraft and astrology are widespread around the world. 

            In America, almost every major newspaper, magazine and even major internet websites contains horoscopes.  Of course, the Chaldean tribe of Babylon created astrology.  Is. 47:9, 12, 13.  Violence, murders and wars cover the earth today.  The United Nations claims that when the number of wars around the world drops down to 25, it is relative peace.  One of the characteristics of Babylon ruling is female dominance.  The spiritual leaders of Babylon were women.  Ashtorah (Ashtoreth, Astart, Astar, etc.) was the goddess wife of Baal and  worship to her was even more popular than to Baal.  It featured male and female temple prostitutes (young people gave up their virginity as a sacrifice to the gods and goddesses and spent two years as temple prostitutes), infant sacrifice, temple sleep (use of drugs), sexual orgies and promiscuity, and complete female dominance.

            There is a demonic spirit called Jezebel (1 Ki. 16:31), who was the wife of Ahab, king of Israel.  Her father was Ethbaal, the king of Zion (1Ki. 16:3), where Babylonian worship was widespread.  Jezebel was an intelligent and seductive spirit that usurped the leadership role of Ahab and ruled the kingdom.  That spirit also killed off most of the priests and prophets of God.  1 Ki. 18:4, 13.  She worshipped Babylonian gods and goddess, was the chief priestess of the cult of Ashtorah, and was addicted to ruling.  In the church today, this evil spirit will work itself into a position of power and leadership, but where she rules, spiritual death is the result.  In churches where Jezebel rules, there are many splits and divisions and the women rule.  She is a self-glorifying person.  God is against Jezebel and pastors who allow Jezebel to rule.  Rev. 2:20-23.

            Mind you, not all women leaders are Jezebels.  Some are humble, holy, submissive and obedient.  The difference is that Jezebel is self-promoting and wants to control and manipulate the church and its members for her own benefit.  Righteous women will submit to male leadership, while women with the Jezebel spirit will not unless it benefits them.  The over-whelming presence of women leaders may indicate an invasion of the church by Babylon the Great in the form of female dominance.  After all, the house church format is not a complete shield against evil spirits and will not render us immune from the attacks of Satan.

            In order to counter the effects of the Jezebel spirit, it is recommended that the men be strengthened and encouraged to attend training sessions and become house church pastors.  There should be a better balance between men and women.  While giving women a larger role will fill the church quicker, we are not after sheer numbers. Rather, we desire maturity.  Although fighting Jezebel is primarily a spiritual battle, the leadership must be aware of this false prophetess and take steps to prevent that spirit from controlling the church.  Failure to do so may result in disaster.

 

2.  MATURING THE SAINTS

2.1  MATURING THE SAINTS IS A FEATURE OF HOUSE CHURCHES

            One of the main features of the house church format is a proper environment that can encourage and produce maturity in the saints.  The job of house churches and therefore training centers, is to mature the saints in the Spirit.  It is not enough to merely sit back and fellowship.  There must be a strong intent and purpose to mature the saints.  After all, we are to be conformed unto the image of Jesus Christ.  Ro. 8:29.

            Maturity lies more in the fruit of the Spirit than in the gifts.  Emphasis should be on love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.  Gal. 5:22-23.  There should be clear teachings on the fruit of the Spirit, especially love.  - the constant and obvious character of every true saint.

2.2  GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT

            We are to desire the gifts of the Spirit in order to serve the God more effectively.  However, there should be proper emphasis.  Gifts of the Spirit have very little to do with spiritual maturity.  They are free.  Sadly, many Christians look to gifts and not to the fruit of the Spirit.  God will always look to the heart of man first, and not to his works.  Mt. 7:21-24. 

            Many gifted televangelists can heal the sick, prophesy and do wonderful works.  At the same time, they may be filled with pride, covetousness and doctrinal error.  Many gifted Christians have compromised and joined the ecumenical movement of the Roman Catholic Church, for instance.  Why is this?  It’s because the gifts of the Spirit are a double edged sword.  They can be used to defeat God’s enemies, but they can also lead to pride and ultimate destruction.  Gifts, in and of themselves, will never change your heart.  King Saul had much power from God to defeat God’s enemies, but it never changed his heart.  In fact, it made him proud, covetous, rebellious and stubborn.  In the end, he died a tragic death. 

            Gifts of the Spirit are needed in order for us to effectively spread the gospel to all the world, but if too much emphasis is placed on the gifts, it can lead us to idolatry.  The fruit of the Spirit is what God will look for in our heart.

            In a real sense, in order for the corruption in man’s heart to be exposed, God has to provide the opportunity.  It has often been said that power corrupts and absolute power absolutely corrupts.  In order to reveal the corruption in man’s hearts, God gives him power.  The more power a man has, the more his heart is tested.   Once God puts a calling on a person’s life and gives him or her gifts of the Spirit, He does not take it back.  Ro. 11:29 (“For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.”)  Therefore, do not be deceived by the fact that a person can heal the sick, cast out devils, raise the dead and do miracles in the name of Jesus.  The fruit of the Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit are not the same.

2.3  LOVE IS THE FOUNDATION FOR MATURITY

            Love or the absence of love will separate the sheep from the goats.  Jesus warned us in Matthew 24:12: “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”   The Lord was talking about the church.  Too often, the church has promoted the gifts of the Spirit and ignored the fruit.  People flock to see Christians who can cast out devils, heal the sick and so forth, but have no interest in learning how to love God and mankind more.  Yet, Jesus said,

                        Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.  Mt. 22:37-40.

            1 John 4:8 and 16 say, “God is love.”  Therefore, in order to be like the Lord, one must be love too.  God is not love because He loves; He loves because He is love.  His very nature and persona is love, first and last.  The starting point to spiritual maturity in Jesus Christ is love.  The finished produce is total love. 

            One who truly loves God will not love himself.  There is no space in his heart to love or promote himself if he loves God with all his heart.  Love is the greatest characteristic of a Christian leader.  Any person who promotes himself, seeks position and puts himself above others is not qualified for leadership.

            Jesus spoke of loving one another.  Love for the church and for one another is the one thing that separates the church from the rest of the world.  “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”  Jn. 13:34.35.  “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.  Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”  Jn. 15:12,13. 

            Love is the foundation upon which we must build house churches.  The Book of Acts showed the extreme love the early saints had for one another.  “Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold and laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.”  Ac. 4:34.  If you cannot love your brothers and sisters in the church, how can you love those outside the church?  1 Jn. 4:20,21 says, “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?  And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.”  We are to love one another.

            The true church of Jesus Christ will be characterized by the love the saints have for God and fellow man.

            Out of love come all of the rest of the fruit of the Spirit, especially humility, submission and obedience.  Obedience to his commandments, of course, is the test of love.  Jn. 15:12; Jn. 14:15, 23.  But obedience to God Himself is only one side of the coin.  It is easy for anyone to say that he obeys God, but God rarely speaks directly to His saints.  He speaks mostly through His delegated spiritual authorities.  Therefore, obedience to God’s delegated spiritual authorities is obedience to God, and disobedience to delegated spiritual authority is disobedience to God.

            The church is God’s body on earth.  He chooses to manifest Himself to the world through the church.  Anyone who is close to God realizes that the church belongs to God and to love God is to love His church.  It doesn’t matter how the others treat the church and its leaders.  You cannot love God and disregard His chosen vessels on earth.  Love Him and you love His people.   Christ died for the church.  Eph. 5:25.  “Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it.”  The church is very precious to God.  Through the church, God reaches the world, teaches His people and matures them.  He wants mature sons and daughters just like Him.  He is not just interested in individual saints.  He is interested in the church as a whole.

            Eph. S5:26,27 says, “That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”  The saints are perfected through the church.  God has chosen to use human teachers to guide the saints.  Eph. 4:11 says,  “And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.  Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.”  These people in the five-fold ministry were chosen by God to help mature the saints and the church. 

2.4  STRONGHOLDS OF A RELENTLESS ENEMY

            Satan is relentless and his ultimate goal is to destroy all Christians and the church and to rule the earth.  He already has the world mapped out into geographical areas of control called principalities.  These areas are ruled over by a “prince” or ruler spirit.  In addition, he has a strategy and a plan to neutralize each Christian.  He knows what the Bible says about the bottomless pit and the lake of fire and he is fighting hard to prevent his demise as ruler of this earth in this present age. 

            In truth, his plan for each individual is already in place and probably working quite well.  In order to neutralize individual Christians, he tries to establish strongholds in every person.  2 Corinthians 10:3-5 exposes Satan’s plan:

                        For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; ….

Satan attacks us through our thoughts (mind), our attitudes (heart) and our words (mouth).  Through those strongholds, he controls our personalities, our emotions and our relationships.  Few Christians understand that thoughts can come from three different sources: God, ourselves and the Devil, or if they understand, they still do nothing about it.  In order to reach maturity in Christ, we are to constantly discern where our thoughts and attitudes come from and reject the thoughts planted by the devil‘s workers.  Spiritual warfare is not just binding up spirits or even casting out devils.  It includes the pulling down of strongholds.

            Hebrews 5:14 says, “But strong meat belonged to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”  In other words, mature Christians use their senses to discern where their thoughts come from and learn how to reject and renounce the thoughts that come from the devil.  When they discern that God is speaking to them through their thoughts, they are quick to obey.  Discerning the source of our thoughts and rebuking and renouncing them is an on-going battle, day in and day out, from one minute to another.  Evil thoughts lead to evil deeds and sins.

            Our attitudes are also either good or evil.  “Don’t trust people (men, women, etc.”  “I don’t have to obey anyone.  I just obey God.”  “The Bible is only a book written by men who are not perfect.  It is only their opinions.”  “Christians cannot have demons.”  “Divine healing and casting out of devils is only for a few Christians called by God.”  Etc “I don’t want to preach the gospel because people will reject me.”  Etc.  We need to discern where our attitudes come from.  Satan loves to discourage us through condemnation, rejection and fear.  We will never grow up until we learn how to reject attitudes and thoughts planted in us by the devil.  Many a Christian has been neutralized by Satan through attitudes that do not line up with the Bible. 

            What comes out of our mouth comes out of our heart.  Our words are the issues of our heart.  What is in the heart is exposed by the mouth.  Gossip, criticisms, murmuring and so forth, are not from God.  Words of fear are not from God.  Therefore, they are either our own thoughts or the devils.  In either case, they need to be judged.  Are they good or evil? 

            Much more can be said about the above three areas, but we cannot linger too long on this topic.  Suffice to say that spiritual warfare against evil thoughts, attitudes and words is vital in order for the saints to mature in Christ.  We need to daily pull down the strongholds of the enemy in our minds, hearts and mouths.

3.  ENCOURAGING NETWORKING AND RELATIONSHIPS

3.1  NETWORKING IS NECESSARY DURING TIMES OF PERSECUTION

            The training center should encourage networking among house groups within an area and even outside of their region, and the fostering of close relationships.  In mainland China, despite widespread persecution, the house churches were able to establish a broad network of churches that helped one another.  When a brother or sister needed a place to hide from the authorities, he or she had no problem in finding someone to help.  House churches shared Bibles, tracts and other literature and as much as possible, shared resources.  Although security was strict, they still managed to visit one another secretly and were able to elude the authorities by the grace of God.  News of impending raids by the government were passed from house church to house church through a communications network.

            While there is still relative peace and Christianity is able to work openly and legally, it would be wise to plan and establish a broad network to prepare for hard times.  Some house churches keep in touch with each other through elaborate communications using short-wave radios, walkie-talkies, CB radios and the like.  There are many ways to do this and we cannot stop to handle this aspect.

3.2  COLLECTIVE LEADERSHIP

            There should not be a separation among church leaders.  House church pastors, traveling instructors, five-fold ministry and other leaders should be in perfect unity and have singleness of heart.  House church pastors should not feel intimidated but should welcome outside ministry in the fear of God.  Outside ministries that provide checks and balances are to benefit the pastors and the pastors should desire that their doctrines and practice are correct and true to the Word and pleasing to God.

            House church pastors should make a concerted effort to meet and work with other house church pastors and churches.  There should be no jealousies and competition. 

            Every quarter or so, the pastors should assemble with the training center, the traveling trainees and five-fold ministers (if available), to discuss matters of concern and to create a camaraderie among all elders of the church.  Even during times of persecution, there should be an attempt to do so.  A few years back, I was visiting the church of Dennis Balcombe in Hong Kong where I met a young man who had just been released from jail in China for preaching the gospel.  He related to me that he was returning to Beijing in two weeks where a meeting of 200 house church leaders was to be held in secret.  He explained that it was important to maintain contact and he was going to help organize and plant more house churches.

4.  TRAVELING TRAINERS AND MONITORS

4.1  THE NEED

            There is a need to have trainers and pastors who can travel around the countryside to attend house church services and meet with various house church pastors to discuss doctrines, practices and other subjects.  In the Bible, the apostle Paul operated out of Antioch where he returned after each of his four extended journeys to preach the Word and to visit churches he had helped established on prior trips.  Other apostles such as Peter and James, the brother of the Lord, operated out of Jerusalem.  Both Antioch and Jerusalem served as headquarters for traveling apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers that journeyed to train and monitor churches in more remote areas. They provided checks and balances for the church.

            Even before a house church pastor graduates from training at the center, he/she should be introduced to the team of traveling pastors or other personnel so that they will be able to form warm relationships and be willing to open their churches to outside ministers.  In order to prevent the rise of cults or wayward groups, it is vital that outside ministry provide checks and balances.

4.2  CHECKS AND BALANCES

            Where a pastor is reported to be preaching strange doctrines or engaging in strange practices, the training center should be active in either visiting him/her or requesting that he/she come to the training center for talks.

            The Book of Acts indicates that there were at least two forms of checks and balances.  One was the existence of a “five-fold ministry” that traveled around the known world, each with his own area of jurisdiction and that dropped in on various churches and stayed in an area for up to a year or more in order to guide and keep the doctrines and practices true to the Word.  The second was derived out of the practice of house church members in visiting and breaking bread daily with saints in other house churches.  The constant contact assured that quick word would get around if a pastor said or did something outside of what was taught by the early apostles.

            Therefore, in addition to resident trainers and teachers, each training center must develop a team of pastors, teachers, etc. who are willing to visit the house churches within their area and to meet with house church pastors to discuss doctrines and practices.  Each house church should receive a steady flow of outside ministers and house church pastors should maintain an attitude of humility and submission.

4.3  FIVE-FOLD MINISTRY

            We believe that God will restore the five-fold ministry once the true church emerges.  At the present time, there are no apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers in the mold of the early five-fold ministry as described in the Book of Acts, especially apostles.  There may be people doing some of the work attributed to “apostles, prophets, etc.”, but without a true church in existence, there could be no “true” five-fold ministers.  By way of example, I’ve met at least several saints who claim to be apostles.  However, I found that they are either limited to their denomination or group of churches and not recognized by churches outside of their denomination or group.  Others do not belong to any denomination and largely minister to independent groups of churches.  There are no clearly defined “independent” churches as each operates within their own set of rules or doctrines and are connected to others with the same rules and doctrines but not other “independent” groups or churches.

            Some “apostles” are sanctioned by apostle organizations that recognize a person as an apostle and give them pseudo-official status.  In a sense, doctor of ministry, theology, religion, etc. degrees awarded by either denominational religious educational institutions or even “independent” colleges mean nothing at all beyond the recognition that some denomination or group has given them that designation.  They are neither recognized as a leader outside of their own denomination or group of churches, nor considered qualified to teach outside of their own group of churches.  In much the same manner, an “apostle” in one denomination has no authority outside of his own denomination.  Indeed, quite a few are self-appointed apostles given that lofty status by none other than God Himself, according to them.

            The Bible declares that one is not a leader until the people acknowledge him as their leader and his detractors and enemies are silenced, even after God has anointed him as king.  Although King Saul was dead and David had already been anointed by God to be the next king, God instructed David to go to Hebron in Judah first.  David was made king over Judah by the men of Judah (the southern kingdom).  2 Sa. 2:4.  But, Ishbosheth the son of Saul, was made king over all of Israel (the northern kingdom).  2 Sa. 2:9.  It was not until Ishbosheth died and after all the tribes of Israel came to David and asked him to be king that David began to declare himself king over all of Israel.  2 Sa. 5:1-4.  Additionally, there was not until David began to prevail against his enemies in Israel that “David perceived that the Lord had established him king over Israel ….”  2 Sa. 5:12.

            Therefore, even though a person claims that God has appointed him as an apostle, he is not yet an apostle until the people recognize him as their apostle and submit to his leadership.  Additionally, when that person begins to gain victories in the mold of an apostle, then he has truly gained not only the title, but the position as well.

            In Galatians 1 and 2, we find that Paul stayed in Arabia for three years before he  went to Jerusalem to see Peter.  He then went back to Arabia and did not return for fourteen years or a total of seventeen years during which he prepared himself.  Only “when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me (Paul), as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter” and when they gave the right hand of fellowship to Paul and Barnabas and sent the two unto the heathen, did Paul begin to operate as an apostle.  Gal. 2:7-9.  No one should be able to declare that he is an apostle until he is accepted as such by the body of Christ.

4.4  THERE ARE NO REAL APOSTLES TODAY

            We realize that there are some saints who claim to be apostles and they may even do some of the things that an apostle does.  As this juncture, however, there are no real apostles recognized by the body of Christ as a whole.  The apostle Paul said, “For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.  We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honorable but we are despised.  Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling place; and labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer for it; being defamed, we entreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the off scouring of all things unto this day.”  1 Co. 4:9,10.  We have not seen or heard of any that fit the above description, although it is possible.  My apologies to those who have suffered as Paul did and have manifested signs and wonders in their walk.

            While some so-called apostles do some of the work of an apostle such as prophesy, plant an occasional church and evangelize once in a while, they are still not in the mold of an apostle as described in the New Testament.  For one thing, the apostles in the Bible wrought many signs and wonders.  “And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people.”  Ac. 5:12.  “Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them.”  So, a mark of an apostle are the signs and wonders wrought among the people by him.  The lack of such signs and wonders indicates that he is not yet an apostle.  He may be an apprentice, so to speak, but not the finished product.

            The sum total of this discussion is this: God may restore the five-fold ministry, but do not be hasty in declaring yourself or another as an apostle or other five-fold minister until (a) the body of Christ accepts you as such; (b) you can demonstrate your office through signs and wonders consistent with his position; and (c) your walk emulates Paul’s or is close to it.

4.5  TEAMWORK

            Another characteristic of the five-fold ministry is that they worked as a team and were not renegades.  Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers worked together to minister to the body of Christ.  Apostles worked with evangelists and prophets to plant churches.  The evangelist preached the gospel such as Philip did in Samaria.  Ac. 8:12.  The apostles and prophets thereafter went to Samaria to baptize Philip’s new converts in the Holy Spirit and laid the foundation through their teachings and prophecies.  In Acts 8:14-17, the Bible says,

                        Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)  Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.

They laid hands and put pastors and teachers in place and provided checks and balances through frequent or occasional visits.  As of this time, I know of no teams of five-fold ministers, although there may be some I have not heard of.

            Nevertheless, we need to prepare for the restoration of the five-fold ministry and pray for it.  When the true church emerges, God will restore the five-fold ministry that is needed to perfect the saints and edify the body of Christ, “till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.”  Eph. 4:11-13.  There will be a time when those God chooses will become apparent by the signs and wonders wrought among the people by them through the Holy Spirit.  Quite probably, they will come out of the teachers, pastors and instructors headquartered in training centers all over the land.

5.  THE IMPORTANCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

5.1  FOR THE MATURING OF THE SAINTS

            Without the Holy Spirit, we cannot mature the saints.  Without the new birth in the Holy Spirit, one cannot even enter into the kingdom of God.  Therefore, each saint must be born again of the Spirit of God.  It is fundamental to Christianity and therefore the true church of Jesus Christ.  In John 3:3, Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”   Again, in John 3:5, Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”  Whenever Jesus used the expression, “Verily, verily,” he was about to say something extremely vital.

            Indeed, without the Holy Spirit, one cannot enter the realm of the Spirit.  “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.  But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.”  1 Co. 2:14-15.  Indeed, even when a Christian receives the Holy Spirit and is born again, he is still carnal - a baby in the Spirit.  He still minds the things of the flesh.  “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.  For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace”  Ro. 8:5-6.

5.2  THE GOAL OF ALL SAINTS

            Maturity in the Spirit should be the goal of all saints.  To remain carnal does not please God.  “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.  So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”  Ro. 8:7-8.  “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”  Ro. 8:14.  Make no mistake, one must have the Spirit of God in him in order to reach maturity in Christ.  Those who deny the ministry of the Holy Spirit and who claim that the Holy Spirit returned to heaven once He established the early church, do not have the Holy Spirit and cannot know spiritual things.   If the Holy Spirit already returned to heaven, no one can become mature in Christ today.   If so, that God would be playing a cruel hoax on His people by dangling a carrot in front of them and asking them to become overcomers in the end times.  Revelation, Chapters 2 and 3.  We would have no chance at defeating the Devil.  Since faith, love and the fruit of the Spirit can only be attained through the Holy Spirit, Christians would forever be babes in Christ.  That is exactly what Christians who deny the ministry of the Holy Spirit are today. 

            Intellectualism can never substitute for the fruit and gifts of the Holy Spirit.  It comes from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  The true church of Jesus Christ must be led by the Holy Spirit, not man alone.

6.  CREATING OTHER TRAINING CENTERS

6.1  THE NEED

            As the house churches under your supervision proliferate geographically outward, the house churches on the fringes may become too remote for your training center to effectively handle and train.  At this juncture, it may be time to open other training centers closer to the boundaries of your area.  These newer training centers may be smaller or larger than the initial center, depending on opportunity, resources and other circumstances.  For that reason, there should be an on-going program to train people who will staff the new centers.  Eventually, these new centers will be virtually autonomous, especially when persecution comes.

            Another possibility is to work with churches already existing in the new areas.  It makes little sense to attempt to establish and maintain a training center in the outer reaches of your geographical boundaries when there are groups of saints available to become teachers and staff members residing in the area.  One can help train these groups of saints and then either release them to function on their own, or maintain a working relationship with them.

6.2  COMING PERSECUTION AND ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION

            The Bible is clear that in the end times, Satan’s beast or one of the horns on the beast is going to war against the saints and prevail or overcome them.  ; Rev. 13:7,8; Da. 7:21, 25.  Christianity is going to be made illegal and the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet will take place.  Mt. 24:15; Da. 8:11, 24; Da. 9:26-27; Da. 11:31.

            Therefore, we cannot ignore God’s warnings.  In the end, the saints will win, but in all probability, they will be few.  It is most probable that only the mature in Christ will make it through.  All the rest will either fall away from the faith (2 Th. 2:3), or be martyred.  Already, many are in apostasy and are deceived.  Most Christian leaders have joined the Roman Catholic Church’s Ecumenical Movement to create a One World Religion.  Others are deceived into believing that the Church is going to be “raptured” away to meet Jesus in the clouds before tribulation and will thus, escape the persecutions and destruction to come.  Still others are deceived into believing that Christians cannot have demons and that Satan and demons are not real.

            The first line of defense is to accept only those doctrines that were taught by the early apostles and not accept another Jesus or doctrines and practices not taught in the first century A.D.   “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.”  Gal. 1:8.  Also, 2 Co. 11:3,4; 2 Ti. 4:1; Titus 1:9,10,11,13; Jude 3; 2 Th. 3:6, 14, 15.

            The second line of defense is to be mature and strong in the Lord.  We are called to be overcomers in these end times.  “And they overcame him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb; and by the Word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.”  Rev. 12:11.  Knowing spiritual warfare and deliverance will be important in the end times. 

            The third line of defense is to know the Holy Spirit.  He will keep you safe from the enemy.

            The fourth line of defense is to prepare as best you can for persecution and the abomination of desolation.  That is why house churches are vital for the end times.  In reviewing the house church movement in China and the Middle East, it is clear that the government will seek and destroy all church buildings first.  Bull dozers will come and destroy any building identified as a church building. 

6.3  EVERY AREA IS DIFFERENT

            There is a difference between the circumstances surrounding the house churches in mainland China and other places such as Indonesia and the Middle East.  In these places, the society remained intact and Christians were a part of a bigger picture.  In the coming persecutions and abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet, there will probably be gigantic social and political upheavals that will impact the entire community and even country.  In China, the government, economy and social structure remained relatively intact.  In the coming holocaust prophesied by the Bible, entire governments and societies will be impacted

            In the event of all-out war between nations or religions, the community’s political, social and military will be in total upheaval.  Therefore, we will not have just the government to contend with.  The economy may be in shambles.  Food and water may become scarce.  Christians will not be the only victims of disorder and confusion.  Nevertheless, the ultimate purpose of such wars and upheavals will be the destruction of the church and all Christians.

7.  OTHER MATTERS

7.1  SALVATION

            Restoring house churches is only the beginning.  God is looking for a “glorious church not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”  Eph. 5:27.  Therefore, the true church must have its doctrines and practices true to the Word of God. 

            One of the doctrines that has been distorted, compromised and twisted is the doctrine of salvation.  There is no such thing in the Bible as a “sinner’s prayer.”  A sinner’s prayer has never produced a true Christian in and of itself.  Biblical salvation requires three things:  (1) belief in Jesus and repentance; (2) water baptism; and

(3) baptism in the Holy Ghost. 

            On the day of Pentecost, Peter preached Jesus to the on-lookers.  They were guilty of crucifying Jesus, who is both Lord and Christ.  Acts 2:37-38 says, “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?  Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”  Therefore, three elements are needed for salvation:  REPENTANCE, WATER BAPTISM and receiving the HOLY GHOST.

7.2  WATER BAPTISM

            At this point, we assume that the reader knows the importance of repentance.  Many good books have been written about the meaning of repentance and we will not spend time in this area.  We will move on to the need for water baptism.

            In Acts 8:12, the Samaritans believed Philip’s preaching.  “But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized both men and women.”  Note, however, that the Samaritans were only baptized by Philip and had not yet received the baptism of the Holy Ghost.  In verses 14-17, the Bible says,

                        Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)  Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.

              In Acts 19:1-6, some of the citizens of Ephesus had believed and were baptized in water (John’s baptism).  They had not even heard of the Holy Ghost (verse 2).  Verse 6 says, “And when Paul had laid his hands upon them,  the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.”    Thus, water baptism came first and then the baptism of the Holy Ghost in the above situations.  But, in other cases baptism in the Holy Ghost came first and then water baptism.

            In Acts 10 and 11, we read about the godly Gentiles that gathered around Cornelius, a centurion who believed in God.  As Cornelius was praying one day, the Lord instructed him to send men to Joppa.  The result was that they found Peter and brought him to Cornelius’ house.  Acts 10:44 says, “While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.”  Verse 46 says that they began to speak with tongues.  Verses 47-48  then says, “Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?  And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord.”   Therefore, here we find that the household of Cornelius received the baptism of the Holy Ghost first, and then they were water baptized.

            Water baptism is not just an outward symbol of inner change.  A symbol is never as important as the real thing.  But the Bible never calls water baptism a symbol.  It is spoken of as a circumcision of the heart, a cutting off, a burial into the death of Christ.  Romans 6:3-5 says,

                        Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death?  Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.  For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection.

The physical act of water baptism does things for us spiritually.  We are baptized into His death and when we come out of the water, we are raised up from the dead to become members of a new race of people after the image of Jesus.   We are new creatures who are no longer bound by sin.

            The act of being fully submerged in water is the act of burying the dead, and the act of coming out of full submersion brings us out of the grave.  Mere sprinkling of water is not the same.  There are various meanings of the word “baptism.”  One meaning is to be fully covered or immersed. Another meaning is to be washed.  However, when it refers to a burial, it would seem that sprinkling is inadequate.  Full immersion is complete burial.

            Could it be that failure to participate in complete immersion in water robs us of our actual death and resurrection with Jesus Christ; by the Spirit?  Other scriptures indicating both the need to be water-baptized and the need to be fully submerged in water are as follows:  1 Pet. 3:20-21; Titus 3:5-6; Gal. 3:27; Col. 2:12; 1 Co. 12:13; Ro. 6:2-11; Mt. 18:19.

7.3  BAPTISM OF THE HOLY GHOST

            The baptism of the Holy Ghost is not an option.  In John 3:3, Jesus says, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”  In John 3:5-6, the Lord says, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.  That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” 

            Mark 16:17 says, “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues.”   While there may be room for argument regarding whether being born of the Spirit is the same as baptism of the Holy Spirit with speaking in tongues, Mark 16:17 leaves no doubt that those who believe shall speak with new tongues.

            There have been some exceptions.  This writer asked God to accept a sprinkling of water on several people on their death bed and two people who were very elderly and in a wheelchair.  Upon sprinkling of water, the Holy Spirit baptized them and they spoke in tongues.  However, the able-bodied should obey God and be fully immersed in water.

            We realize that the baptism of the Holy Ghost has been somewhat denigrated by denominations that believe that the Holy Ghost is no longer ministering on earth.  Perhaps the more important question is whether or not a person has spiritual power.  No matter how vociferously one may argue about the baptism of the Holy Ghost, if one has no actual spiritual power to cast out devils, heal the sick or raise the dead, he probably does not have the Holy Ghost working in him.  There are some scriptures that indicate that a person can be saved even though he does not have the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  However, the above scriptures clearly indicate that when the apostles ministered the baptism of the Holy Ghost, it was in conjunction with salvation and the result was always the speaking in strange tongues.  It was not optional.  We have chosen the conservative path.

8.  TRADITION

8.1  TRADITION IS NOT NECESSARILY TRUTH

            Tradition can deprive us of the truth and can cause us to live a lie.  The Roman Catholic Church instilled a deadly tradition into its members.  The people were taught that all they had to do was come to mass or church services once a week, go to confession, pray the rosary and if they would be a good Catholic and continue with the “One True Church” until death, they would be saved.  Therefore, the people remained unchanged and immature.  Infant baptism is not what the Bible requires and just going to church once a week did nothing to mature the participants.  Since they did not have the Holy Spirit living in them, they remained blind to spiritual things.

            Although Martin Luther came out of the Roman Catholic Church and the Protestant Movement grew, the tradition was never cast aside.  Even today, people think that being a good Christian means that one must go to church once a week, pay tithes and perhaps attend one or two mid-week meetings and when they die they will go to heaven.  They read the apostle Paul’s exhortations on running the race for the incorruptible crown (1 Co. 9:24-25) and the need to be free from the bondages of the flesh and world in order to be found in Him.  They read about Paul’s desire to know the Lord and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable to His death, that one might attain unto the resurrection of the dead; but, it means little to most.  Phil. 3:4-11.

            There is very little pressing “toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”  Phil. 3:14-15.  Tradition has overruled the truth.  We need to “think outside of the box.”  Either something is the truth or it is a lie.  There is no such thing as “half-truth.”  A door is either shut or open.  It cannot be half-open or half-shut.  Christmas and Easter are either true doctrines of the Church, or they are un-truths or lies.  The problem with these traditions is that they perpetuate a false picture of what Christianity is.  Christianity is not good feelings and entertainment.  It is dying to self and carrying one’s cross daily.  A little leaven leaveneth the whole bunch.  The ends never justify the means.  Many Christians claim that Christmas and Easter must be okay because it can bring people into the church and it brings good feelings of love and brotherhood.  This is a false idea.  What people do you know that were converted because of Christmas or Easter?  Even if they were, the ends do not justify the means.  Christmas is still the birthday of Tammuz, the sun god of Babylon, whose signs are green trees cut out of the forest, stood upright in houses and decked with silver and gold (Jer. 10); and Easter (Ishtar) is still the spring fertility festival of Ishtar, the goddess of Babylon, whose signs are colored eggs and hot-cross buns.

8.2  COMPROMISING THE WORD

            The truth continues to be the truth no matter who believes or does not believe it.  The Word of truth continues to be true no matter who compromises it, twists it or rejects it.  Since we only have one shot at being God’s true church for the end times, we need to be aware of Jesus’ admonition that “many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.”  Mt. 24:11.  “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.”  Mt. 24:24. 

            There are great pressures to compromise the word to please men.  First, there is a compromise designed to please Christians so that they will keep coming back to church and pay tithes and offerings to support the ministry.  Instead of giving them what they need, pastors have a habit of giving them what they want.  Repentance is no longer preached because it is a hard message and people who are upset by it do not come back.  One pastor I know of has a large church and is considered by many to be the most successful in his city and state.  He magnanimously offered to teach other pastors how to grow his church, so he gave a conference/seminar.  One of the items on his agenda was the subject, “How to conduct a survey to find out what the people want.”  Once you find out what they want, give it to them.  Needless to say, his congregation had no idea what sin and repentance were.  Two unmarried couples from his church came to see me to ask advice on who should have custody of their children born out of wedlock.  When I asked them if they understood that they were living in sin by having children out of wedlock and living together, they replied that their church had never told them even though they had been there for ten years.  Yet, their church had the largest congregation in the city.

Second, pastors have been known to compromise the word in order to appear politically and/or socially correct.  Compromise does not change the truth; it only creates un-truth.  Being a man-pleaser leads to compromise.  That is the foundation of the ecumenical movement of the Roman Catholic Church.  Many prominent Christian leaders have already endorsed or joined the ecumenical movement because they want to join the crowd and not be left behind or seem to be contrary to popular movements.  Remaining acceptable to men is more important than defending the truth, it seems.

8.2  YOU COULD END UP IN HELL

            Not long ago, this writer ministered in Fiji where one of his students related that she and three other teenagers were slain in the Spirit one night and each was taken to heaven by two angels on each side.  After telling me about what she saw in heaven, she shared that the angels took her down to hell where she saw many born-again Christian pastors.  She also saw the ex-Prime Minister who was a born-again Christian who had died a few years previous.  When she asked her angel why these people were in hell, the angel replied, “Because they compromised the Word of God.”  She appeared on national television and said that the ex-Prime Minister was in hell because he attended Hindu services in order to gain votes from the 50% Indian population in Fiji.  The ex-Prime Minister’s family supposedly contemplated bringing a law suit against the young girl, but thought otherwise when they found that she was just a peasant girl.

            This same girl saw many pastors in hell.  When she asked why they were in hell, the reply was, “Because they compromised the Gospel.”

            The Bible clearly indicates that one can lose his salvation if one does not bear fruit for the kingdom of God.  Mt. 25:14-30; Mt. 3:10; Mt. 7:19; Mt. 13:22; Lk. 13:6-9; Rev. 3:5.  Testimonies have been given by seven youths from Columbia that were taken to both heaven and hell.  In hell, they recognized a number of Christians.  Jesus explained that these Christians had known Him, but they had never served Him and never brought forth fruit.

9.  A PASTOR’S AUTHORITY

9.1  A PASTOR’S AUTHORITY IS HIGHER THAN YOU THINK

            A pastor, or shepherd, is a very important person in God’s government.  While some may think that an apostle, prophet or evangelist is higher in rank, a pastor’s position as leader of a flock is sacrosanct and God will protect His shepherds’ authority over his flock.  Even an apostle, prophet, evangelist or teacher must follow certain rules and spiritual laws regarding spiritual authority when it comes to the sheep.

            A few years back, a talented, young prophet related the following story to me:

                        I had been invited to a large church in Vancouver, Canada and the Holy Spirit’s presence was great as I was able to prophesy clearly and accurately and many members were healed. The next year, I received an invitation and a round trip airline ticket to go back to Vancouver.  I arrived on a Saturday morning and checked in at a nearby hotel.  By evening, I was bored and so I walked the two blocks to the church to see if anything was going on.  Sure enough, there was a prayer meeting in progress, and there were about thirty members attending.  When I  walked in, they crowded around me and greeted me enthusiastically.  About ten of them asked me to pray for them regarding various ailments.  I did and most of them were healed.  I felt good.

 

                        When the meeting was over, I walked back to the hotel.  On the way back, the Holy Spirit suddenly spoke loud and clear.  He said, “Don’t you ever do that again!  Don’t you ever do that again!”  I was shocked and I said, “Why?  What did I do, Lord?”  The Lord answered, “You have no right to walk into a pastor’s flock and minister without his permission.  That flock is not yours!  It belongs to Pastor ________!  No one has a right to lead his sheep without his consent!”  I was stunned.

 

                        When I got back to my hotel room, I fell on my knees and wept, asking for forgiveness.  At almost exactly eleven o‘clock, the Holy Spirit suddenly said, “You’re forgiven.  But tomorrow morning, before you start ministering to Pastor ________’s sheep, you must ask for forgiveness!”  I said meekly, “Yes, Lord.”  Then I fell asleep.  The next morning, the moment I opened my eyes, the Holy Spirit said, “Remember what I told you.  Ask for forgiveness.”

 

                        I was very nervous and apprehensive as I sat down in the front.  When I was finally called up to the pulpit, I went up and knelt down before everybody and explained what happened.  I asked for forgiveness.  There were tears everywhere and they all forgave me.  The anointing was extra heavy that morning but I will never forget the lesson God gave me.

9.2  EACH HAS HIS OWN JOB AND AUTHORITY

            A pastor has the job of protecting and guiding his sheep.  An apostle has his own job and so with a prophet, evangelist and teacher.  When discharging their duties, they must be very careful not to overreach and take away or damage the shepherd’s right to lead and protect his sheep or to injure his spiritual authority in the eyes of the sheep.  An apostle and prophet, for instance, has the responsibility of planting churches and seeing to it that the proper doctrines and practices are being taught.  However, there is a difference between confronting and correcting a pastor in private as compared to doing it in front of his sheep or even addressing his sheep on the issue.  In order to protect a shepherd’s authority, it should be done with least damage to his authority to guide the sheep under his command.  Certainly, there may be situations where it cannot be helped.  For instance, if a pastor must be removed because of immorality, etc., his authority is no longer in effect.  The job of protecting and guiding the sheep has shifted to the five-fold ministry and whoever is chosen to be the next shepherd.

            When an apostle, prophet, evangelist and teacher are acting within the scope of their responsibilities, they are the spiritual authorities for the moment.  However, once that job is done, his spiritual authority gives way to the pastor’s authority.  An apostle has no business walking into a church and taking over the service unless it is part of his job to set the church right.  Even then, there are certain parameters he must follow. 


PART TWO

 TRAINING FUTURE HOUSE CHURCH PASTORS

INTRODUCTION

            This manual is directed to trainers who will be operating training centers that will prepare, teach, guide and monitor future house church pastors.  These training centers are intended to not only train future house church pastors, but to provide a constant source of materials, guidance, fellowship and unity among house churches within the jurisdiction of the training center and perhaps elsewhere.

            It is important to constantly train potential house church pastors.  When revival/harvest comes, there will be a great need for already-trained pastors and teachers.  When the Holy Spirit moves, He will move rapidly and completely.  During the Great Welsh Revival, the Azusa Street Revival and other great movements of the Holy Spirit, thousands of new converts converged on every church within a short time.  Unless there are trained pastors who are already in place, there will be a mad scramble to find qualified people.  In most revivals, the churches that were not prepared missed the blessing and some closed their doors when members left to join churches that were ready.

            Initially, those churches that are already existing and functioning in the traditional manner will act as the first training centers for house church pastors.  Supposedly, existing churches have leaders and teachers that have already trained in Bible college and/or have much experience in pastoring.  They are likely well-suited to become the original trainers. 

            These training centers (former traditional churches) will also serve as launching pads for house churches, through their members who are qualified to start house churches.  As house churches in the area begin to proliferate outwardly, trainers may become roving teachers and perhaps even five-fold ministers.

            We need to retrieve what was lost when the original church structure and format were altered including:  (1) enthusiastic participation during services by the members;    (2) a leadership known for being filled with the Holy Ghost and endued with much power from on high; (3) zealousness in evangelism; (4) spiritual maturity and power in all members; (5) loyalty among the saints and leaders; (6) much love, bonding and unity;   (7) the fear of God; (8) obedience to God’s will; (9) liberty in the Holy Ghost.

            This manual attempts to make training as simple as possible and covers the subject in a general manner, since conditions differ from place to place and adjustments must be made.  We recognize that there are many ways to train people.  Therefore, this manual is only a basic guide.  The emphasis is on training many house church pastors in a short time, and hopefully without sacrificing accuracy, depth and absorption.

1.  CHOOSING POTENTIAL HOUSE CHURCH PASTORS

            We must be careful in choosing the right people.  Although God is the one who ultimately chooses, He delegates that task to His leaders and gives us guidelines.  He also gives us discernment and wisdom to do so.  Choosing the right candidates is especially important with the first group of trainees.  They will set the tone and pace for others to follow.  Failure of initial groups of trainees will bring discouragement and disappointment.

1.1  ZEALOUSNESS

            Zeal is a good thing to have.  Therefore, choose those who are likely to respond and go out to form, handle and grow a house church.  One who can teach but has no zeal for evangelism will not likely succeed in expanding his/her house church.  Zeal rubs off on others.  Since evangelism is one of the fundamental requirements of a house church, zeal will play a significant role.  It is difficult to put ardor and boldness into a person who does not already have such characteristics, although anything is possible with God.  It is possible, however, to form teams that exhibit a good mixture of teaching abilities and zeal for evangelism.  A good teacher can team up with a zealous evangelist-type of person.

            On the other hand, if self-promotion and self-glorification is the source of a person’s zeal, it is not the right kind.  Very often, people who desire recognition, fame and position will exhibit great zeal, but it is all out of selfishness and pride.  As Andrew Murray says, it’s difficult to tell between a deceived Christian and a true Christian because the difference is in the heart.  A true Christian does everything out of a heart of love for God and mankind.  A deceived Christian does in expectation of some benefit for self, be it fame, recognition, acceptance, reward or even because it validates his personal doctrines and beliefs.

1.2  SELF-PROMOTION

            Anyone who is over-ambitious and self-promoting is dangerous to the Church.  It would be better to choose someone who is not educated but who loves God, is willing to serve and who is loyal to his/her leaders, than an educated and intelligent person who wants to glorify himself.  People who have their own agenda are often selfish, proud and rebellious inwardly.  They have no loyalty and will wander off on their own.  They will likely flee when danger appears.  During severe persecution, self-promoting individuals will likely lead their sheep astray and even betray them.

            Self-promoting individuals are likely to be wolves in sheep’s clothing.  They will steal sheep from other house churches and cause many other problems arising out of the desire to be known as the best pastor in the area or as having the biggest house church.  Often, they will be disloyal and disdain submission and obedience to delegated authority, on the basis that they take orders from and obey only God. This exposes a heart of rebellion, arrogance and disrespect for delegated authority.  Their competitiveness can destroy any semblance of unity and bonding.  Avoid such persons.   

            In a real sense, house churches help eliminate competition among pastors because the maximum size of a house church is small and hardly anything to brag about.  This feature alone counters the covetousness and competition often seen in temple worship.  Nevertheless, selfish and rebellious persons will somehow find some way to be “better than others,” even in a house church system.   He/She may even attempt to create and operate his/her own training center.

1.3  SERVICE

            Jesus said, “Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.  But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant.”  Mt. 20:25-27.   Therefore, the one who would be a leader must be one who is a servant and minister to all.  The very character of Jesus is to serve others.  “Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”  Mt. 20:28.

            The desire to serve others is an attitude of the heart.  Those who have the heart of a servant automatically seek to serve others in any setting.  Those who have no such attitude will automatically sit back and let others serve them.

            Favor those who already show a willingness to serve others for the sake of love.  On the other hand, people can be trained to serve.  Often, a person fails to serve because he/she is shy and does not want to be in the limelight; therefore, he hides in the shadows.  Secondly, some do not aggressively serve because they are afraid of doing the wrong thing.  Each house church member must do his/her share of work to make the church successful.  At times, it may be necessary to parcel out the duties so that everyone has a job to do.  Don’t leave it to chance or desire.  Delegate responsibilities.

1.4  LOVE

            Love for God and fellow men should be the main characteristic of any leader.

Love is the very nature of God.  God is love.  1 Jn. 4:8,16.  Love can be pretended sometimes, but during times of stress and danger, love is severely tested.  Jesus said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”  Jn. 15:13.  Laying down one’s life for his friends does not necessarily mean dying physically.  One can lay down his life by serving others and putting aside his own personal desires for his life.  All of God’s true leaders must be mature in love.  The more mature a person is in Jesus Christ, the more love in his life.  As 1 Corinthians 13 emphasizes, love is the most cherished attribute.

            You cannot teach what you don’t possess.  Therefore, a pastor must possess large quantities of love for God and his brothers and sisters in order to pass that love on to others.  In Mat. 24:12, Jesus says, “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” 

            In the end times, the world will reject the true God and His people.  The Church will forget how to love.  They will be separated from God even more than ever.  Christians will choose the world and earthly treasures over heaven and heavenly treasures.  Sin will grow and love will disappear.  Jesus was talking about the Church, not about just the world.  Therefore, it is important to guard our heart of love and to increase in love.  True love for God and neighbors will separate the sheep from the goats.

            Choose people who have demonstrated love in their walk.  An observable quantity can be found in a person’s family.  Where there is not enough love, a family will be in turmoil and the spouse and children will be at odds with one another.  That is one of the reasons why the apostle Paul said that a bishop or elder must be “one that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity.”  1 Ti. 3:4.  Rebellious children are usually those who are starved for love and who feel rejected by their own parents.  Rejected parents produce rejected children.

            In a sense, structure and organization are far less important than love.  Love is at the very root of  being a true Christian. 

1.5  LOYALTY, OBEDIENCE

            A good house church pastor will be loyal to both the training center, those above him in position, other house churches and his own members.  He will have singleness of heart and a respect for those above him, those on the same level and those under him.  Loyalty goes both ways.  One must be loyal to the sheep too.  A disloyal person is rebellious towards God and the church.

            Choose people with a proven record of loyalty to church and leaders.  Those who church-hop are suspect, although some may have valid reasons.  In a book entitled God’s Armor Bearers, by Terry Nance, the author points out that God is looking for people who have the heart of an armor bearer.  An armor bearer is one who stands next to his leader and protects and supports him with all his might.  He is not concerned about his own position, promotion, fame or life.  He is more concerned about helping his master succeed.  He is loyal, obedient and quick to defend his master. 

            Elisha was Elijah’s armor bearer (although the Bible does not call him that) and he received the anointing of his master.  Zadok was David’s armor bearer and was loyal to David until the very end.  In Ezekiel 44, God rewarded the “sons of Zadok” by giving them the same reward as their master David.  Jonathan’s armor bearer went with him wherever Jonathan wanted to go and do.  He was willing risk his life even though the glory went only to Jonathan. 1 Sa. 14:1-23.  David was Saul’s armor bearer at one time.  1 Sa, 16:21.  That’s perhaps the reason why David would not lift his hand against Saul, whom he had once vowed to protect.  The king’s armor bearer later became the king.  An armor bearer’s heart is one of loyalty, love and undying obedience - the heart of the Lord.

            Loyalty is not limited to people who stay at the same church for a lengthy period of time.  Loyalty is also expressed in the willingness to help promote one’s leadership and  local church and in doing good things for it without looking for personal reward. 

            People who are disloyal or rebellious are not likely to help support their leaders or church.  They are too busy promoting themselves.

            Obedience to leadership is another characteristic that arises out of loyalty.  Some people are disobedient and have many excuses for not praying or fasting when instructed to do so.  They are too independent and wayward.  Those who are loyal and obedient automatically seek to be loyal and to obey; while those who are disobedient automatically seek ways to avoid obeying the leader when it does not suit them.  It’s in the heart.  A good tree cannot bear bad fruit and a corrupt tree cannot bear good fruit.

            In the final analysis, obedience is God’s test of love.  “If ye love Me, keep My commandments.”  Jn. 14:15.  “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me: and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him.”  Jn. 14:21.  “If a man love Me, he will keep My words … He that loveth Me not keepeth not My sayings: ….”  Jn. 14: 23,24.  Obedience to God and His delegated authorities defines the level of spiritual maturity in a person.  Disobedience to God’s delegated authority is disobedience to God.

1.6  HUMILITY

            How beautiful is humility.  It is an offspring of love.  God warns us against pride and a haughty heart.  As the teacher is, so will the students be.  Avoid proud people and appoint only those who have a quiet and humble disposition. 

            Many can disguise their pride, but sooner or later it will surface.  True, some are good at hiding pride and can put on false holiness, but God will expose the heart in due time.

            Ability alone should not be the measure of whether a person is qualified to be a house church pastor.  In the final analysis, we need to pray and ask God who He wants.

1.7  REVELATION

            One of the characteristics of a true Christian leader is the ability to receive and move in revelation from God.  A true teacher, for instance, does not merely read from teaching outlines and manuals produced by others.  He or she is able to receive fresh, daily revelation from God and every sermon carries the imprint of the Holy Spirit.  He is able to discern what the Spirit is saying even while teaching or preaching.  In the middle of a sermon, a true pastor can know when the Holy Spirit is using his mouth to impart truth, and can easily detour from his original message and allow the Holy Spirit to move the way He wants to.

            Since a pastor or teacher often has to give three or four sermons a week, direct revelation from God is vital.  Otherwise, the individual will suffer because of his duties and teaching will become a burden.  It has been said that it is cruel to appoint someone who is not qualified, to become a leader, a pastor, teacher, and so forth.  He will go through much confusion, labor and insecurity to produce fresh messages every meeting.

            It is true, on the other hand, that it takes much training and experience before one can flow freely with the Holy Spirit and walk in revelation.  In training house church pastors, a course in how to flow in revelation would be very profitable.

1.8  READING THE BIBLE,  PRAYER, ETC.

            We assume that the trainees will be people already familiar with the need to read the Bible daily, pray all the time and fast if necessary.  Therefore, we will not spend time explaining the need to do so.

2.  IMPARTING VISION

            “. . . (W)here there is no vision, the people perish.”  Pr. 29:18.  Without vision, house church leaders will have no goals, inspirations, aspirations or purpose.  When one does not know where he wants or has to go, he will either go nowhere, end up in the wrong place or fail to attain the original objectives.  Vision includes the reasons, goals, purposes and final attainments that God has in His heart for His people and Church.

            “Eye hath not see, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.”  1 Co. 2:9.  While we cannot know all that God has prepared for us that love Him, we can strive to walk in the direction that will take us there.

2.1  FIVE REASONS AND GOALS

            The five reasons and goals of all house churches are broadly stated as follows:

            1.  To prepare for a great revival/harvest for the end times (Mt. 24:14; Mt. 13:39; Rev. 14:6);

            2.  To prepare for great persecution and the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the Prophet.  Mt. 24:15; Rev. 13:7-8; Da. 7:21,25; Da. 8:11, 24; Da. 9:26-27; Da. 12:31.

            3.  To produce mature sons and daughters in the image of Jesus Christ.  Ro. 8:29; 2 Co. 3:18; Eph. 4:12-13.  “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:”  Eph. 4:11-13.  “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning, craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.  But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.”  Eph. 4:14.  Out of house churches will come the true church, the army of God and the martyrs.  Rev. 12.

            4.  To produce the Bride of Christ, a Church without spot, wrinkle or blemish or any such thing.  Eph. 5:27; Rev. 21:2,9 (New Jerusalem are people, not a physical city - Rev. 21:3).  

            5.  To expand the kingdom of God by preaching the gospel of salvation to all nations, peoples, tribes and kindreds.

            Our quest is not just to go back to the house church structure, but to produce mature sons and daughters, perfect the church, and provide the mechanism through which these things can be facilitated. 

2.2  PREPARING FOR REVIVAL

            We desire to: (A) provide a church structure that can accommodate vast numbers of new recruits within a short span of time; and to (B) make it possible to survive the great persecution that is coming right after or during revival/harvest.  We cannot forget that when we pray for revival, we are also praying for persecution.  They go hand in hand in the end times.

            As often stated, the traditional large church structure cannot handle revival.  Even large churches will be quickly filled and there will not be enough time to construct larger buildings or enlarge existing ones.  The lack of funds, especially in Third World Countries will not make it possible.  Even if funds were available, the time required to purchase, plan, design, obtain proper government permits and approvals and construct will be too long.  By the time construction is completed, the revival will probably be over.  Besides, the coming persecution will destroy most large church buildings anyway.  Resources provided by God could be put to higher and better use.

            During revivals such as the Great Welsh Revival and the Azusa Street Revival, there was a great lack of trained teachers of the Word.  Failure to train pastors and teachers before revival comes will have the same sad result today.  Yet, the Welsh Revival involved only 180,000 new converts and about two years in time.  By comparison, we anticipate hundreds of millions of new converts worldwide within 3-½ years.

            We are not talking about ordinary increase through strong efforts made by the saints, but a supernatural revival/harvest that is fueled by the sovereign move of the Holy Spirit, where signs and wonders take place daily, multitudes are convicted of sin without any human coming into contact with them, and visions and dreams are given to the unsaved to bring them to Jesus Christ.  Signs and wonders will be wrought by the Holy Spirit as in the Book of Acts. 

2.3  PREPARING FOR SURVIVAL

            In the process of returning to house churches and in formulating a vision regarding the house church’s activities and direction, we must keep an eye on the coming persecution that is prophesied by Jesus (Mt. 24:15-21; Rev. 12:13-17; etc.).  As earlier stated, along with revival will come persecution and the eventual abomination of desolation. Therefore, a survival network and strategy must be part of the plan, or at least in the back of one‘s mind.  This includes the formulation of possible escape routes, underground survival strategies and a great familiarity with other church leaders in the area - not only the neighborhood, but the entire district, region or even country.

            The modern example is found in mainland China during the past fifty or sixty years.  Despite incredible efforts to extinguish all religions, the communist government was not able to stop the amazing growth of the Chinese underground church.  In fact, persecution fueled the movement and was good for the church, as some Chinese pastors claim.  (Pastor Samuel Lamb, for instance.)  Despite the cruel imprisonment of many of China’s Christians, the Church flourished and grew.  It has been reported that the underground churches in Indonesia are beginning to increase by leaps and bounds at this very moment, despite persecution.

            The house churches in China and Indonesia were birthed during persecution.  We are blessed to have peace and liberty at this time.  However, wisdom dictates that we prepare for hard times.

2.4  PRODUCING MATURE SONS AND DAUGHTERS

            From the very beginning, God has purposed in His heart of hearts to have mature sons and daughters in the image of His Son, Jesus Christ.  Ro. 8:29.  The traditional large church system is ill-suited to produce maturity.  Most large churches are focused on paying the rent, mortgage or other expenses and are tailored to bring people into the four walls for that purpose.  They are program-oriented organizations geared to pleasing the people so that they will keep coming back.  Hence, many marginal Christians are produced.  These Christians are entertained, caressed, made to feel good, emotionally charged up and told that they will go to heaven no matter what.  They are helped slightly in solving problems with marriage or personal relationships, earning more money and advancing in the world, but remain immature spiritually.  Jer. 6:14.

            In Mark 16:17, Jesus says, “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils, they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”  This is the basic requirement for all Christians.  Do not believe the lame excuse given by those who cannot do these things - that the Holy Spirit returned to heaven once the early church was established!  The Holy Spirit is still on earth convicting people of their sins and there are millions of Christians who continue casting out devils, speaking with new tongues and healing the sick through the laying on of hands, even today.  Besides, why would the Holy Spirit go back to heaven and leave a bunch of sick, weak and immature Christians?  How can one mature without the Holy Spirit?

2.5  PRODUCING THE BRIDE OF CHRIST

            God’s second purpose in creation is to have a church without spot, wrinkle or blemish.  This perfect church will be the bride of Christ when He returns.  There is no way that the present, traditional church is anywhere near perfect.  It is a compromising, fornicating, immature and deceived church that has become entertainment-oriented and focused on being socially and politically correct.  Most have wrong doctrines and have joined the Roman Catholic Church’s ecumenical movement to create a one-world religion and government.  The body of Christ is largely deceived today, especially in America.

            The house church format does not guarantee that its doctrines will be true.  Since the Holy Spirit is also the Spirit of Truth (Jn. 16:13), we can assume that un-true doctrines is evidence that the church no longer seeks the counsel of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth.  As Jesus says, “… if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.”  Mt. 24:24.  Satan attacks the very doctrines of the church and its testimony in order to produce a false church.  He is too clever to fight religion; so he produces a false religion instead.

            Faith in something that is false is no faith at all.  Doctrines such as pre-tribulation rapture sap the church’s resolve to be prepared to fight a fierce war against the kingdom of darkness.  Dispensationalism leads to the pre-tribulation rapture theory.  Dominion, Latter Rain, Manifest Sons of God and similar doctrines, falsely declare that we are already little Jesus’ running around the earth and at the end of the age, the church will dominate the world.  The Bible says that most Christians will fall away from the faith and there will be widespread apostasy at the end.  The Church will be devastated and only a remnant of overcomers will prevail and be standing when Jesus returns.  The false belief that Satan was once an archangel second only to God in power saps us of our willingness to confront and destroy the demonic kingdom and only brings fear.  We need to start cleaning house by getting rid of false doctrines and practices.

            Secondly, we need to become the militant army of God that Jesus came to establish.  “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.“  1 Jn. 3:8.  Jesus showed that there is a demonic kingdom that is vying for the souls of men and women.  Satan’s kingdom resists every attempt to take back souls and rescue people from hell.  The early apostles battled against demonic forces and recognized that: “… we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”  Eph. 6:12.       

                        Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.  And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.  For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them; and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed.  Ac. 8:5-7.

The apostles understood that the people needed to be made free from demons.  That war has never stopped and will increase in the future and continue until the final battle is won by God’s true church.

            In truth, the Bible indicates that Jesus will sit at the right hand of the Father in heaven until all of his enemies are put under His feet.  In other words, He will not return to earth until His enemies, the demonic kingdom included, are destroyed.  1 Co. 15:25-26; Heb. 10:13; Ac. 2:32-34.  The Church must be a militant army of God.

2.6  GIVING GOD BACK HIS CHURCH

            In going back to the house church format, we are giving God back His Church, as He has commanded.  Therefore, we are obeying God.  However, going back to the house church structure alone does not automatically bring the above results.  Lots of hard work, wisdom, training and preparation are necessary.  Nevertheless, the structure and other features of a house church make it more possible and probable to produce mature sons and daughters and a perfect church.   The traditional large church structure makes it almost impossible. 

            House churches are God’s solution and answer to meet the high demands of both revival and survival from ultimate persecution (abomination of desolation and tribulation) prophesied in the Bible.

2.7  ADVANCING THE KINGDOM THROUGH EVANGELISM

            One of the fundamental features of the house church format is rapid proliferation. House churches are designed to reach out to surrounding neighborhoods and bring the gospel of salvation to the unsaved.  Unlike the traditional church that is inwardly focused, the house church structure reaches out to the world like concentric circles produced in a pond by a falling stone.  A traditional church is stationary and must draw people to it, even from relatively distant areas.  A house church continually reaches out to where the lost are and establishes itself among the unsaved.

            Heavy emphasis must be placed on evangelism.  Multiplication is a vital feature of a dynamic house church.  True, in a Holy Spirit revival, the Holy Spirit will move and convict many.  But, we are in partnership with God and need to learn how to move in concert with the Holy Spirit.

2.8  IMPORTANCE OF VISION

            It is important to instill the above vision and objectives in each trainee, with the result being singleness of mind and heart, at least in the area of vision and mission.  There is a time constraint that we must be aware of.  Already, one-world government, one-world religion and a computer chip small enough to be inserted under the skin with no visible detection are here.  Satan plans to rule the world and destroy the church and all Christians and he is ready to spring his trap.  There is a sense of urgency.

            God wants revival/harvest even more than we do.  However, He will not start the last and greatest revival of all time until the saints and the Church are ready.  He is a God of order and His eternal purposes must be accomplished or made possible before the end comes.  While we are not made perfect and incorruptible until He returns, we must be brought to a point of maturity that will allow us to be perfected in Christ at that time.  Perfection will likely come to those who are seeking it, rather than by accident.

3.  INSTRUCTIONS AND TRAINING

There are two major aspects to training house church pastors or leaders: 

(1) classroom teaching; and (2) practical applications.

3.1  CLASSROOM TEACHING

            It is recommended that classroom instruction cover the following subjects at least:

            1.  Spiritual warfare (including prayer to bind ruler spirits, casting out of devils and inner healing);

            2.  Proper doctrines and practices;

            3.  How to train assistants to become future house church pastors;

            4.  Survey of both Old and New Testaments;

            5.  The Normal Christian Life or Kingdom Living;

            6.  Spiritual Authority or submission, humility and obedience;

            7.  Evangelism, prayer and other appropriate subjects.

These are core subjects and teaching outlines and manuals have already been produced by Light of the World Missions - Philippines in conjunction with New Covenant International Seminary and Bible College.  In addition, many outlines and teaching materials have already been produced by various churches and training institutions.  These subjects should be carefully taught and instilled in the heart of each trainee. Item #2 (Proper doctrines and practices) may cause concern and resistance.  The instructor himself/herself should be convinced of the proper doctrines and practices and be able to defend them.  A true church will have true doctrines and practices.  There can be no compromise.  Either we’re the true church or we’re not.  In the book of Acts, the apostles and elders of  the church came together to decide the true doctrines of the church.  After much prayer, thoughtful contemplation and discussion, they came to their decisions.  Ac. 15:1-22.  We too, must come together if need be, to decide what are the true doctrines and pillars of Christianity as presented by the early apostles.

3.2  WHY BOTHER?  Often, the body of Christ ignores spiritual and doctrinal differences for the sake of social and political unity that is fragile at best.  1 Co. 1:10 says, “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”  (Underlining added) That is to say, we should have the same doctrines and therefore, the same mind.  We are to have the same judgment or doctrines and practices.  We are not to have differences in mind and judgment or conclusions that lead to different doctrines and beliefs.

            Proper doctrines and practices will differentiate between God’s true church and those that are not true to His Word.  We must discriminate between the two in order to produce as true and perfect a Church as possible.  A church that has false and un-true doctrines cannot be pure and perfect by the very nature of the substance. God’s true church will guard its doctrines and practices and not allow pagan practices and beliefs to enter.  A little compromise or leaven will leaveneth the whole bunch. 

            Do not believe the Ecumenical Movement’s motto that love and unity are more important than doctrines or beliefs.  God is still a jealous God.

3.3  DENOMINATIONAL ERRORS

            Every denomination and perhaps many independent churches have their own favorite doctrines and beliefs that they cling to.  Baptists emphasize water baptism and “once saved, always saved;” Seventh Day Adventists promote Saturday as being the only Sabbath Day; Methodists cling to methods; Assembly of God churches claim that Christians cannot have demons in them, and so forth.

            In order for any denomination to sustain itself, it has to hang on to its pet doctrines that distinguish them from other denominations and churches, and at the same time reject many Bible truths; otherwise, it has to admit to being wrong.  Since any admission of error will shake the very foundations of a denomination, they have a vested interest in being wrong.  For instance, most evangelicals (largely denominations that were created over 150 years ago and after Martin Luther‘s reformation) do not believe in the ministry of the Holy Ghost.  They claim that the Holy Spirit went back to heaven once the early church was formed and any so-called miracles on earth today such as divine healing, casting out of devils, raising the dead, and speaking in new tongues, are the work of the Devil.  (Note that the Pharisees accused Jesus of casting out devils through Beelzebub).  Yet, millions of Christians around the world experience divine healing, casting out of devils, raising the dead and speaking in new tongues.  Therefore, in order to maintain their denomination, they are forced to reject large portions of the Bible relating to deliverance and spiritual warfare and so forth and to declare that any supernatural miracle must come from the Devil.

            Even some Pentecostal, born-again denominations, deny the existence of the Devil or that Christians can have demons living in them.  In addition, most of the Pentecostal denominations continue to celebrate Christmas, Easter and other pagan holidays and many believe in pre-tribulation rapture, while others reject the same practices and doctrines.  What are the correct doctrines and practices?  It is vital that we get it right this time around.

3.4  SPIRITUAL WARFARE

            Spiritual warfare is one of the most important subjects introduced here.  It includes prayer to bind ruler spirits in the mid-heavens, deliverance (casting out of devils) and inner healing.  Inner healing is also a part of deliverance and speaks of how the devil and his cohorts are able to enter into a person during times of trauma and to plant lies that affect our attitudes.  Many Pentecostal and independent churches have no training or not enough training in these areas.  In keeping with our belief that we are in a spiritual war against the kingdom of darkness and that Satan is going to war against the saints and As some well-know deliverance ministers have remarked, no military has ever lost a war because it knew too much about the enemy. 

            Additionally, we need to become soldiers in God’s army (2 Ti. 2:3-4), sharp in fighting against Satan’s hordes with the power of the blood, the Word of God and the Holy Spirit.  That’s biblical.  Revelation 12:11 says, “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.”   A war against the powers of darkness is clearly prophesied.  Learning how to battle against Satan’s kingdom is one of the greatest needs in the body of Christ today.

            In order to have power to cast out devils, one must be baptized in the Holy Ghost.  That fact alone eliminates most evangelical denominations since these groups deny the existence of the Holy Spirit’s ministry on earth today.  However, many born-again churches also deny that Christians can have demons living in them. 

            In the event that the training center is short on teachings and experience on this level, it should seek help from outside.  It is vital that God’s true church also be an army.  There can be no mature saints without spiritual ranking or depth (anointing and position with God) and no one can become mature without contending with Satan’s kingdom.  The very strategy of the kingdom of darkness is to prevent the saints from growing up.  Satan is not afraid of milk Christians.  The true Church of Jesus Christ is a mature and militant church.

            1 Co. 15:24-26 says, “Then cometh the end, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.  For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under His feet.”  Hebrews 10:12-13 says, “But this man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; from henceforth expecting till His enemies be made His footstool.”  Also, Ac. 2:34.  Jesus is not coming back until all His enemies are defeated or defeat is imminent. 

3.5  EVANGELISM

            Evangelism is one of the pillars of the house church.  In a real sense, spiritual maturity and sharing the gospel go hand in hand.  One who is spiritually mature will have strong compassion for the unsaved and a desire to bring people into the kingdom of God.  That is not to say that a zeal for and skill in evangelizing proves that a person is mature in Christ.  However, it goes without saying that a person who is mature in Christ will be skillful in evangelizing and zealous in heart.

            It should be emphasized that a house church must divide (multiply) into two parts within six months, or be disbanded and its members reassigned to other house churches.  Of course, there are exceptions and this is not a fast and hard rule.  If each member brings another member into the church every month, a group that starts off with four members will be eight within one month, sixteen within two, thirty-two within three, sixty-four within four, one hundred twenty four within five and two hundred forty-eight within six months.  Therefore, it is not unreasonable to expect the original four to reach around twenty within six months, assuming that the living room can accommodate a maximum of twenty persons.

            Each trainee must be given training in evangelism, depending on his/her level of development.  Many pastors feel that it is not their responsibility to go out and get new members.  Actually, all members have the obligation to preach the gospel, including the pastor.  Mt. 28:19; Mk. 16:15.  In some areas of the world, pastors feel that it is not their responsibility.  They claim their myriad administrative duties prevent them from evangelizing.  However, in a house church setting, there is not such restrictions in terms of duties.  Members mimic their pastor and if he/she is not a soul-winner, they will not likely be soul-winners too.  As the teacher is, so will the student be.  Therefore, much teaching should be provided on evangelism.  Some saints are soul-winners no matter where they are and no matter what the conditions.  Others are not.  All pastors should be willing to evangelize and pursue it with all their heart.

            There will be a great need to resist going back to our comfort zones.  Christians all over the world are worthless to the kingdom of God because they have never brought anyone into the kingdom.  Ray Comfort, in his book entitled Hell’s Best-Kept Secret, points out that Satan is not concerned about Christians who do not evangelize.  He is worried about those who rescue souls that are destined for hell.  The rest are mere bumps on a log.

            Evangelizing may take various forms:  person-to-person, passing out tracks by going house-to-house or at places where people congregate, street preaching and crusade meetings.  The most effective method is person-to-person, especially where the other forms are outlawed, such as in Muslim countries where evangelizing is illegal and sometimes made punishable by death.  The least effective are tract ministries and post card or letter evangelism. 

            Most of the time, continual effort and experience are the best teachers.  Even when one has experience, it doesn’t mean that he will continue to use the abilities he has learned.  Therefore, continued effort is necessary.  Where a person has limited experience, continual effort will eventually provide needed experience and abilities.  There is no substitute for experience. 

            The Holy Spirit will tell you what to say and will convict the other person.  However, the Holy Spirit cannot do anything unless a person is willing to obey and go out to preach the gospel.  There are many books on how to evangelize person-to-person and we will not attempt to detail the various techniques here.  Remember, we are not commanded to go out and save people; that’s the Holy Spirit’s job.  We are commanded to preach the gospel.

            Street evangelism and house-to-house preaching are less used and less successful, but nevertheless viable.  Both cases, however, are geared to merely giving you opportunity to speak one-on-one with someone who comes forward.  You still need to talk to individuals.  We need to remember that during a Holy Spirit revival, all forms of evangelism will likely bring great success.  Therefore, every method should be explored.

            Crusades are often successful in bringing fairly large numbers of individuals to the Lord.  However, you need to prepare for it and it often costs money to rent a place and transport musical instruments and chairs.  Crusades also require large numbers of people to assist.  A number of house churches can come together for this purpose.  The crucial phase in a crusade is getting the new converts to come to church.  Since the Bible indicates that a person must be baptized in order to be saved, it is important to inform the new converts of this requirement and provide a method to get them water-baptized and baptized in the Holy Spirit.

3.6  PRACTICAL TRAINING

            It is advisable to give trainees some practical training in house-to-house evangelism and passing out of tracts.  For this purpose, one must publish or purchase many tracts.  Simple salvation messages can be published on a single sheet of paper.  One can form teams to go house to house or to pass out tracts in market places or other areas that are legal.

            Street preaching is also helpful in giving trainees field experience.  One can pass out tracts and preach at certain market places, intersections and sidewalk areas.  Street preaching is not particularly successful unless the Holy Spirit moves and draws many to the speaker.  It has happened before.

            Neighborhood crusade meetings are also useful.  Experience will drive out the shyness and embarrassment often latent in a person who has never done these things before.  Do not neglect this area.

3.7  PARTICIPATION BY ALL MEMBERS IS IMPORTANT

            A member had a vision in which he saw a triangle on its base.  In the next scene, he saw a triangle upside down with its apex holding up the entire triangle.  The broad base was on the top.  Suddenly, the entire triangle fell apart.  Where the responsibilities are all resting on the shoulders of the pastor alone, the church will crumble.  The pastor alone cannot continue to hold everybody up and the members need to share the responsibilities, especially evangelism.  If the members do not respond, the church will eventually die.  It is often said that we should not make a good evangelist into a pastor or give him additional duties that would take away from his time so that he cannot bring as many people into the Kingdom as he could before.

            When weeks go by and no new members are added (assuming there is no intense persecution and closing of churches), the church has reached stagnation and is in danger of spiritual death.  We can never defeat the kingdom of darkness by letting souls fall into hell without a struggle.  God is looking for an army of saints, not just individual soldiers here and there.  A vibrant church fervently expands the kingdom of God and rescues the unsaved from hell.
            While there may be some saints who continue to be passive, the goal is to have all members of a house church evangelize while there is yet day light.

4.  CONDUCTING HOUSE CHURCH MEETINGS

 4.1  MORE THAN PREACHING

            Watchman Nee claims that Sunday pulpit sermonizing is not biblical.  What is more probable (yet still not “set in stone”) is that there were four principal types of meetings the early church observed:  (a) preaching of the gospel to the yet unconverted; (b) fellowship gatherings during which the saints would meet and discuss doctrine, practices and needs, and also to minister to one another; (c) prayer meetings in which time was devoted to praying for various needs; and (d) breaking bread meetings.  Aside from the Bible, there are very few descriptions of early church practices.  Writers such as Eusebius wrote about church history in 275 A.D.  But, that’s like us writing about what the pioneers did before the American Revolution.  Tertullian wrote in 150 A.D.  Obviously, they did much speculating and so with us. 

            In addition to meetings in houses, it was obvious that the apostles would attract huge gatherings during which they both preached the gospel and followed it with demonstrations of signs and wonders.  It was probable that members that recognized new converts as neighbors or friends could direct them to the nearest house church in their neighborhood.

4.2  SUNDAY MEETINGS

            Watchman Nee claims that the Sunday meeting was a time when the saints would come together with those they had convinced to attend a meeting, with the intention that someone with the ability to speak would preach the gospel of salvation and perhaps heal people and cast out devils; thereby convincing them of the deity of Jesus Christ.

            Bringing interested persons to a gospel meeting is somewhat logical when you consider the fact that many were illiterate in those days and there was no New Testament written yet.  It was years before Paul and other apostles committed the doctrines of Christianity to writing.  Therefore, the recent converts would be able to bring family, friends and others to listen to someone who knew the gospel.  They themselves were often not equipped to preach to others yet.  Initially, only the 120 who remained faithful to Jesus, including the original disciples, were qualified to speak out of their firsthand experiences with the Lord.  Later, however, others quickly learned and entered into the ever-increasing pool of preachers. 

            At the very beginning, the saints would assemble outside the temple, in a place called Solomon’s porch.  Ac. 5:12.  That was because they wanted to convert their own people, the Jews.  Failing that and because of the ensuing persecution by temple personnel, the early Christians were forced to abandon such meetings.  Solomon’s porch was a large area adjacent to the temple where people could gather. There were seats and a place where people could address an audience.  But, as the church grew in size and spread outwards geographically, especially outside Jerusalem, most gatherings were held away from the temple.  Ac. 19:10 says that within two years, all of Asia had heard the gospel.  Obviously, the gospel was preached by far more people than just the 120 and the gospel spread far beyond Jerusalem. 

            On the surface, at least, it would seem that Sundays were reserved for the preaching of the gospel of salvation, although the leading of the Holy Spirit was unlimited in scope.  All the saints gathered in designated places suitable for such meetings, in order to have the gospel preached to their friends, family and interested persons.  Even today, new converts should be able to bring friends and family to a meeting designed to preach the gospel to unbelievers, since new converts do not yet possess enough knowledge and understanding to do it themselves.  Even saints who have been Christians for some length of time often do not have the ability or confidence to preach the gospel by themselves.  Of course, salvation meetings don’t have to take place on Sundays only.

            We are not bound to convert the Sunday services into a gospel preaching event.  We can choose another day or evening in the week.  Initially, the Jewish Sabbath day was Saturday.  It was a day when all work ceased; therefore, Saturday was probably the day when the gospel of salvation was preached.  In China, Sunday had become the day of worship (as well as most of the world) and so Sunday was the day the gospel of salvation was preached.  The important thing is to get the saints to start bringing people in.  At the early stages, the members are probably not ready to bring new converts in on Sunday mornings.  I believe that the elders must lead the way. 

            Likewise, getting the members to share testimonies, prophecies, revelations, songs and the like must start with the eldership.  I suggest that each elder or potential leader pray during the week and be prepared to participate at Sunday and other services by sharing, teaching or giving a praise report.  This alone should spark the membership into becoming more involved.  Since pulpit preaching is not exactly biblical in the sense that nothing is said about it in the Bible, the meetings were probably more “open” than what we are used to.  That is, all the members shared about their experiences with the Lord, His goodness in their life and personal revelations that God gave them.  Praise reports and other personal testimonies help get each member to participate in a semi-public forum and prepare them for future service as pastors, teachers and the like.

            Personal experience shows that the elders or leaders of a local church must “break the ice” and once they share, the other members become more bold and willing to share.  In all meetings, the Holy Spirit should be sought and allowed to guide.  There have been many meetings where the author has participated and the Holy Spirit “broke the mold” and moved the meeting into deliverance, healing or some other activity.  Often, the Holy Spirit would speak at the last moment and direct the author to preach on an entirely different subject from that originally intended.

4.3  BREAKING BREAD

            On the day after Pentecost, three thousand souls were converted.  Ac. 2:41.  A short time later, five thousand were added.  Ac. 4:4.  At the same time, it is clear that the church was not yet fully formed in terms of fixed structure and administration.  Peter and John still went to the temple.  Ac. 3:1.  As previously noted, eventually, persecutions made it wise that they not gather at the temple.  The saints began to sell their possessions of lands or houses and give the money to the apostles for the common good.  Ac. 2:44-45; 4:35-37.  This shows great faith, unity and a deep desire that others come to the Lord.  There was complete trust in the leaders that the money would be used to further the kingdom of God.

            Although there were over eight thousand new converts, they apparently did not gather en masse for meals together but did so on a limited scale in the beginning.  In Acts 6:3, the apostles requested that the saints appoint seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom to serve tables.  Seven men could not possibly serve more than one or two hundred people at one time.  Therefore, either there were only a few hundred that gathered to break bread, or there were dinner meetings at various places at the same time.  Since the apostles were all gathered at one place, there was probably only one location where the saints gathered to eat in the beginning and only a few hundred at most, would gather for that purpose at any one time. This also indicates that eating together en masse was not a daily activity and not all saints participated at such gatherings.  Otherwise, the seven deacons would have been grossly overworked. 

            However, Acts 2:46 does indicate that there was such a thing as a breaking bread meeting and also eating together in fellowship by going house to house.  It is probable that the saints were so spread out that only those in the immediate vicinity of the places where the apostles and deacons gathered for meals could participate.  Later, of course, the apostles and other Christians were driven out of Jerusalem because of persecution.

            Assembling outside of the temple was probably a week-day activity, given the fact that there were over eight thousand converts within a short period of time, and that it was a very temporary thing.  It was highly unlikely that the temple would allow large and noisy gatherings at Solomon’s Porch on the Sabbath Day that would disturb the solemn ceremonies going on inside the temple itself. 

            The Bible says that the saints continued “daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart.”  Ac. 2:46.  Therefore, two things are apparent: first, not all the eating was done in large groups; second, the saints began earnestly to greet and feed one another and to bond together with gladness and singleness of heart in their separate houses.  They were united in purpose and zealous in all that they did for the church.

            We speculate also that breaking bread always or usually included Holy Communion on an informal level.  After all, the Lord said that we should remember him as oft as we drink of the wine and eat the bread.  1 Co. 11:24-25.  Ordained clergy are not required to conduct Holy Communion.  An ordinary layman can also conduct the ceremony.

4.4  SERVING ONE ANOTHER

            An emphasis on serving one another is an important feature of the house church.  It is not the sole responsibility of the owner of the house to prepare and get the place ready for meetings, purchase, prepare the food and refreshments for the meeting, and clean up when the meeting is over.  Unlike some traditional churches where the pastor and his wife do all the preparations and most of the cleaning up, every member should contribute somehow.  Some should help to prepare and set up the meeting place and to clean up after the meetings are over.  Every one should bring food for all to eat.  Members can take turns in providing food or services.

            All should help one another in their personal lives.  Each one should be concerned about the welfare of every other member.  We are not promoting getting unduly involved in someone else’s private affairs, but we are encouraging concern and care for one another.  All should be done with joy and love.  This should be one of the main aims or objectives of each house church and is an important part of the maturing of the saints.  Caring for others should be a main feature of house churches and should be taught, encouraged and fostered.

4.5  THREE TYPES OF MEETINGS PROBABLE AND POSSIBLE TODAY

            At least to this point, we find that there were three types of gatherings besides salvation meetings:  (1) assembling to discuss doctrine and similar matters (as in Solomon’s porch); (2) prayer meetings (as when Peter and John were detained by the priests and Sadducees.  Ac. 4:1; and (3) eating together.  In Ac. 5:40, the apostles were beaten by the high priest and captain of the temple.  Therefore, the persecution of the Church drove the early church away from Solomon’s porch.  In Acts 2:46, we saw that the saints began to visit one another in their homes for the purpose of eating together.  Not only does this indicate a strong bonding of saints and a true “brotherhood,” it indicates that a home was a natural meeting place among saints aside from sites set aside for assembling of the saints on a bigger scale.  My speculation is that there were both kinds of meetings. 

            Fellowship Meetings.  On Sundays, all the saints in the immediate area gathered together and during the week groups of saints met at homes to break bread.  This is reasonable since Jerusalem is a large city and many converts lived outside of Jerusalem.  Supposedly, people came to Jerusalem from the surrounding countryside to trade or for whatever reason and returned home after concluding their business there.  These would find it difficult to return to Jerusalem during the week and on Sundays just for the purpose of assembling, although a few would.  Of course, persecution eventually forced the Christians to meet secretly in houses, much the same as is being experienced today in China, the Middle East, Indonesia and other countries that persecute Christians.

            Prayer Meetings.  It is certain that praying together was a chief activity of the early church.  In all probability, they didn’t just pray whenever there was an emergency.  It was a regular thing.  When they came together to pray for Peter and John who were detained by the priests, “the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.”  Ac. 4:31. The saints “lifted up their voice to God with one accord….“  Ac. 4:24.  Therefore, prayer meetings were established away from the temple, at least during times of need and the people prayed in one accord loudly to God.  When they prayed, God answered.

            At one point of time soon after the church was established, there were probably many house churches.  In Acts 13, James, the brother of John had been killed by Herod and since it pleased the Jews, Herod sought to kill Peter.  But, the angel of God opened the prison doors for Peter to escape.  “And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary, the other of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying.”  Ac. 13:12.  We know, therefore, that the early church had many saints who would gather in houses to pray together.

4.6  THE IMPORTANCE OF PRAYER

            The importance of prayer cannot be overstated.  Praying is not something only gifted intercessors and prayer warriors do. Praying is for everyone and every saint must not only learn how to pray, but must spend time in his or her private life communing with God.  As far as I know, there has never been a champion of God that did not spend copious amounts of time in prayer.  Without much prayer, one cannot mature in Christ.  Prayer is fellowship and communing with God.  It is through prayer that we mature in Christ.  It is possible to get into the very throne room of God and we can come boldly into the holiest by the blood of Jesus.  He torn down the veil that separates us from the Father and we now have a high priest that intercedes for us day and night.  Heb. 10:19-20.

Prayers have been divided into separate categories - from supplication, praise and worship, etc., to praying in tongues and thirdly, to intercessory prayer that includes crying, groaning and travailing.  No matter, the main thing is to instill the habit of praying without ceasing

            As the Book of Acts indicates, the entire church came together to pray during emergencies and whenever there was a need.  But prayer went on without ceasing.

5.  SIGNS AND WONDERS

            At the same time, God began to wrought (perform) miracles at the hands of the apostles.  Ac. 4:33; Ac. 5:12.  This is another sign of the true church of Jesus Christ.  Where there is singleness of heart, power flows to the leaders and then down to the least of the saints.  Ps. 133.  Agreement or unity is the source of power. 

5.1  RESTORATION OF SIGNS AND WONDERS

            God is going to do a new thing this time around.  We cannot limit God with our archaic ideas about revival.  He is going to restore the true church and through the true church bring back the same zeal and oneness exhibited by the early saints.  Signs and wonders will be restored as the five-fold ministry emerges.  The true church will be a militant church that will confront the kingdom of darkness and gain the victory at the very end.  A fresh wind of the Holy Spirit will bring boldness to all saints and everyone will preach the gospel. This new-found boldness and unity will bring forth revival/harvest. This coming revival will be the last hurrah for the true church and bring glory to God, and then the end will come. 

            This idea is bolstered by Revelation 12 where His true church travails, pained to be delivered.  She births a man-child who is taken up to the throne of God.  We believe the man-child is the army of God.  Then, there will be martyrs who willingly give up their lives for the sake of the gospel.  Verse 17.  This “woman in the wilderness” will not be a bunch of wandering and jobless samurai.  They will be united and have singleness of heart like the early saints.  There will be no renegade apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers in God’s true church. There will also be no renegade sheep.  God will do tremendous signs and wonders through the apostles.  We will have a revival patterned after the first few years of the church, brought about by all saints and the Holy Ghost.

            In past revivals, God has used a few men and women and has wrought signs and wonders through His sovereign grace, there being no true church and hence, no true apostles through whom He could do great miracles.   Charles Finney, Evan Roberts and other famous revivalists were not miracle-doers in the mold of the early apostles.  Yes, there were miracles, but not according to the pattern of the early church.  This time around, however, the revival will be complete.  God is going to revive the early church and people will come into the kingdom of God in much the same manner as during the first century and especially the first two years after Jesus returned to heaven. The five-fold ministry will be restored.  That is why the Lord is putting it in our hearts to go back to the structure and practices of the early church, at least to the extent that the spiritual purposes behind them are met.

            House church gatherings should include praying for the sick, deliverance, inner healing and other demonstrations of power.  The preaching should be confirmed through signs and wonders following.  Faith and the ability to be used by God to “wrought signs and wonders” normally does not come all at once but grows stepwise.  Those with a little power should make every attempt to be used even more by God and to do even greater miracles.  After all, Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto My Father.”  Jn. 14:12.  Pray for the restoration of the power and prepare for it.

5.2  GOSPEL MEETINGS

            If, as Watchman Nee says, Sunday meetings should be gospel meetings where all the saints bring people into the church to hear the message of salvation, there are several things that are absolutely necessary to make it work:  (1) all the members must agree to bring people on Sundays to hear a gospel message; (2) agreement must be translated into zeal and actual performance (no use agree and not do it); (3) all saints must be prepared to preach the gospel, although at the outset, the elders will preach; (4) there must be adequate follow-up and water baptism; (5) new converts must be encouraged to join the body by attending meetings, studying the Bible and participating.  When the Holy Spirit moves sovereignly to convict hearts, many will come to meetings without having to persuade them.  

6.  DEPENDENCE ON THE HOLY SPIRIT

            One of the most important features of house churches is the leading of the Holy Spirit.  Although God delegates His authority to humans, it is the Holy Spirit that leads the church.  Every pastor must be able to seek the Lord for direction and to hear from the Holy Spirit.  A sign of spiritual authority and leadership is revelation from God.  Without the Holy Spirit, we are vulnerable to the wiles of the Devil. 

6.1  DURING PERSECUTION

            In times of persecution, house churches may be separated from one another and communications cut off.  There must be complete trust and reliance upon the Holy Spirit at such times.  When persecution comes, some house churches will be forced to be autonomous.  They will be cut off from all the other house churches and will have total dependence on their pastor and the Holy Spirit.  Trust and reliance or dependence on God must be learned long before that.  For that reason, one must choose people who can hear from the Holy Spirit and who are sufficiently mature to guide and teach others.

6.2  SUBMISSION TO DELEGATED AUTHORITY STILL NEEDED

            Dependence on the Holy Spirit does not mean that submission to God’s delegated authorities is unnecessary.  In fact, submission and obedience will be more important than ever.  There is safety in numbers and God always gives different gifts and anointing to various saints so that we are forced to rely on each other.  Every saint is fitly joined to the others so that we all need one another.  Thus, we are forced to bond with one another in love and peace. 

            In Joel 2:7-8, we find that the saints in the Army of God, “… shall march every one on his ways, and they  shall not break their ranks.  Neither shall one thrust another; they shall walk every one in his path: ….”  There will be no disobedience and everyone will walk in his own path given by God. 

6.3  TO TEACH

            In mainland China, the Holy Spirit was allowed to work mightily.  Many house church leaders had minimum training and there were no available Bibles in the beginning.  Watchman Nee often said that he was surprised when he went to preach in remote mountain villages.  He initially felt that the people would not know the word because they were largely illiterate.  However, he was pleasantly surprised to find that the illiterate housewives knew the Bible better than well-educated Christians because they were taught by the Holy Ghost.

6.4  TRUSTING GOD

            In a sense, giving God back His church involves trust and faith that God will care for and lead His true church and saints.  The training center or initial sponsoring church should resist over-controlling the house churches and should limit its activities to training, monitoring, providing checks and balances and supervising the house churches under their jurisdiction without unduly hindering the Holy Spirit’s work.

            There is a difference between cell groups and a true house church.  Most large churches tightly control their cell groups and make all decisions and determinations for each cell group - what to teach, what activities to engage in, etc.  A true house church system is not tightly controlled by a mother church.  It is led by the Holy Spirit.

7.  NETWORKING

            All house church pastors must agree and learn how to network with other house churches.  Acts 2:46 says, “And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart.”  This passage indicates that the Christians met daily.  First, they met in the temple because they were zealous in converting the Jews.  But when the Jews began persecuting them, they met at other places. 

7.1  KNOWING AND TRUSTING THE BRETHREN

            Meeting daily indicates that people lived near one another and perhaps in the same neighborhood.  That’s why it is important that the members come from the immediate area.  If a new recruit comes from another area, he or she should be encouraged to attend a house church near his or her house.

            During times of persecution, members who live too far from the house church will likely be cut off and unable to communicate with the other members.  This would leave them vulnerable to the authorities and the wiles of the Devil.  During peaceful times, daily contact would help bond the members together, encourage them to study the Bible and pray together any day of the week.

            The fact that the saints went from house to house to break bread with gladness and  singleness of heart shows that the early Christians enjoyed each other’s company and desired to meet other Christians.  The people who owned the homes were not over-burdened with cleaning their houses and providing food.  Each Christian brought food, helped clean up and served one another with gladness.  Surely, if no one brought food, failed to help set up and clean up, no wife would tolerate it for long.  Learning to become servants or slaves to one another is an important part of growing up in the Lord.

            Knowing and trusting each other is a vital part of networking.  It is highly

probable that the saints not only knew others in the same neighborhood, but brothers and sisters in far off places as well.  Brethren from far places were welcomed with enthusiasm as the hunger for news abroad was keen.  When this writer was ministering in underground churches in mainland China, people from house churches as far away as two-hours’ ride by train attended his meetings.  They knew all the people in the local house church.

            During times of persecution, this familiarity and networking will be vital.  When this writer was in China, all eleven leaders of the house churches within a certain area were in hiding from the authorities and were not able to attend the meetings.  However, the house groups continued on. These leaders and their families were gladly hidden and fed by other house groups outside their area.  This went on for months at a time.  Since we know that persecution is coming, we need to prepare by establishing networking as soon as possible.

7.2  CHECKS AND BALANCES

            Another reason why networking is vital is the need for checks and balances.  House churches that isolate themselves by choice are apt to fall into deception.  There is a need for all house churches to receive constant ministry from outside.  Outside ministry can come from roving ministers such as the five-fold ministry (This writer believes that God will eventually restore the five-fold ministry once His true church is restored).  These itinerant ministers should all be part of the central training headquarters and not be independent, renegade individuals.  God does not use such people.

            Even in the absence of five-fold ministers, the training center for the area should send representatives in the form of pastors and teachers to provide continuing training in the Word and also checks and balances.  For that reason, all house church pastors should be willing to invite and welcome valid outside ministries.  In the absence of five-fold ministers or even pastors from the training center, other house church pastors from within or outside of the immediate area should provide checks and balances on a continual basis.

            In a way, the free-flow of members from other house churches breaking bread from house to house with members of other groups allows news to travel fast and any strange doctrine or practice is quickly exposed, examined and judged by the saints.  Every house church pastor should gladly submit to a system of correction and coordination and should himself occasionally visit other house churches and provide checks and balances.

            The training center for the area should be in constant contact with each house group and help provide supplies, reading materials, news from outside and various assistance to allow the training center to act as a central governing point.  In the early church, Jerusalem served as the central government for the Jews while Antioch served as the central point for the Gentiles.  In addition, there were probably many other training centers.

            In mainland China, it is reported that a large city such as Shanghai contains hundreds of training centers, with some handling only ten to twenty students and others handling over two hundred at a time.  Some more tolerant areas of the country allow training centers to be out in the open while more strict areas force training centers to be small and operate secretly underground.

7.3  THE ELDERSHIP

            In the Book of Acts, the eldership consisted of all pastors (house church

pastors) and the five-fold ministry (especially apostles).  When important issues arose that required spiritual input, all the elders and apostles came together to pray and decide the matter. 

            God has a government and everyone is subject to the higher powers.  Even the apostles recognized spiritual authority in other apostles.  Ac. 15:6.  The apostles also submitted to the decisions reached by the body of elders when they gathered to solve questions or problems affecting or involving the entire body of Christ.

7.4  WORKING PASTORS

            Since most house church pastors will not be ordained pastors who have spent many years in Bible college, it is assumed that they will be people who have outside employment.  They will be ordinary saints who work for a living.  The Bible indicates that house group leaders had secular jobs.  Aquilla and Priscilla were tent makers and the apostle Paul participated in tent making when he stayed with them.  Ac. 18:3.  Of course, Aquilla and Priscilla were house church pastors.

            The paid leaders will be mostly trainers and the five-fold ministry who work out of training centers full time; i.e., minister to the body of Christ on a daily basis as their primary activity.

8.  TITHES AND OFFERINGS, REGISTRATION

8.1  WHERE GOVERNMENT REQUIRES REGISTRATION

            In the  Philippines, as well as in other countries, churches are required to register with the government.  In America, formal registration is not required to operate a church; however, only a church recognized by the federal government as a non-profit organization [IRC, Section 501(c)(3)] can certify tithes, offerings and donations for tax deduction purposes.  A group that is not certified could be required by the government to report tithes and offerings as ordinary income for tax purposes. 

            Where registration is required and house churches are not illegal, each house church must be “sponsored” by a registered church as a subsidiary, affiliate or other similar organization.  Affiliates, subsidiaries and associated churches may qualify as being under the “umbrella” of a registered church.  However, the government may demand proof of affiliation or other relationship.  One of the obvious proofs is the handling of tithes, offerings and donations.  These items should go through the books of account of the central training center. 

            Of course, pure underground churches such as found in China and elsewhere are illegal and although registration is required by the government, the underground churches merely ignore this requirement.  In times of persecution and the coming abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet, legal registration would be unnecessary and possibly ill-advised.

8.2  SUPPORT FOR THE CENTRAL TRAINING CENTER

            In some areas, the house churches report their weekly tithes, offerings and donations to the sponsoring church (that is registered with the government) and also remit ten percent (10%) to the central training center for its expenses.  In other areas, all the house churches remit 100% of their tithes and offerings to the central training center and the central training center is given the responsibility of re-distributing the funds according to need in their sole discretion.

9.  TWO REVIVALS SIDE BY SIDE

9.1  BIBLE EXAMPLES

            In the Book of Jeremiah, we find that a great revival took place during the reign of King Josiah.  King Josiah did right in the sight of the Lord and he tore down the pagan temples and groves and destroyed the pagan priesthood.  2 Ki. 22-23.  The temples were filled and the prophets and priests were prophesying, “Peace! Peace!” when there was war!  Jer. 6:14.  “The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?”  Jer. 5:31.  In other words, the priests did their own thing and the people loved it.  The prophets and priests were covetous and competed against one another.  Jer. 9:10.  There was a “revival” going on, but there was no true worship.

            We see the same thing today.  The pastors do their own thing and some draw many into their church by using modern public relations, enticing words and great entertainment.  They are not interested in growing the people into spiritual maturity and true worship.  They are only interested in bigger buildings and more money and people to fill the treasury and pay the expenses.

9.2  DENOMINATIONAL REVIVAL

            In all probability, some denominations and even the Roman Catholic Church will copy the house church movement and bring many new converts into their denomination or church.  They will not give up their pet doctrines and practices.  Therefore, there will be two revivals moving side by side, but only one true church - two house church movements but only one true movement.  In the end, only God’s true church will make it through.  Great persecution will weed out the tares.  It is likely that the un-true churches will actually be part of the One-World Religion that will persecute God’s true church.  Those who are not spiritually mature will not be able to withstand the incredible pressures of persecution. 

            When Satan’s beast requires every man, woman and child to receive the mark or the name of the Beast (Revelation 13:15-18), immature Christians will renounce the faith and take the mark to avoid death.  In that day, the whole world will know who sits on the throne in their heart (the body is the temple of God) - the first Adam, who is the Self, or the Last Adam, Jesus Christ.  The first Adam, of course, is the man of sin, the son of perdition spoken of in 2 Th. 2:3. 

            It is axiomatic that those caught up in the false revival will be members of the many denominations and cults.  They will remain spiritually immature and will not escape the great wrath of God.

9.3  COMING DESTRUCTION

            “Notwithstanding the Lord turned not from the fierceness of His great wrath.”    2 Ki. 23:26.  In the end, God allowed the Babylonians to completely destroy Judah and God’s temple.  Most of God’s people were killed and only a remnant remained. 

            Notwithstanding the coming great revival, God will allow Babylon the Great to destroy His people in the end times.  Rev. 17:5; Rev. 13:7,8.  Much of the great revival will involve false worshipers and the un-true church.  As in the days of Jeremiah the prophet, the prophets and the priests will have no inkling that what they are doing angers God and will lead to destruction.  In fact, all the people, prophets and priests, wanted to kill Jeremiah for speaking truth.  Jer. 26:8, 9, 11.

            Do not assume that you will not encounter resistance from other churches, denominations and even members of your own church.  In Jeremiah’s day, the true worshipers were hated and resisted by the majority of God’s chosen people.

CONCLUSION

            Christianity exists in many different countries, environments and situations.  There are also varied resources available to help train good house church pastors and leaders.  Therefore, we have not attempted to detail any specific method of instruction or outline any exact or precise lesson plan or training strategy.  Rather, we have chosen to provide a broad overview of basic subject areas.

            Many prophets have declared that God is waiting for His church to get ready for revival and survival.  Jesus is delaying His return until the saints are in proper position for what is coming in the end times.  It is therefore, incumbent upon all Christians and the Church itself to get ready.  In our present condition, we are ill-prepared for the end times.  We pray that this manual will help bring about world-wide revival and also prepare the saints for persecutions to come. 

            Manuals and church structures alone do not bring about change.  It will take vision, determination, diligence and much faith.  God bless you!        

 


[ First ] [ Prev ] [ Next ] [ Last ]