information for transformational people

Micro 246How nearly everyone can start a microchurch

From a book by Ralph Moore

Ralph Moore is the founding pastor of three churches which grew into the Hope Chapel movement now numbering more than 2,300 churches worldwide. These are the offspring of the 70+ congregations launched from Ralph’s hands-on disciplemaking efforts.

He recently published a short, 70 page book, "How Nearly Anyone Can Start a Microchurch: Plant a Church Without Leaving Your Job".

Ralph asks that maybe you are:

  • Feeling disenfranchised by leaders who don’t recognize your gifts? or
  • Wanting to better serve underprivileged people? or
  • Called to lead a church but didn’t know where to start? or
  • Finding that the prevailing church model is not fitting the leadership styles around you or the types of new believers you know?

His book offers practical ideas based on Scripture’s truths and examples as well as our context to help your friends encounter God and help you lead small groups or microchurches. You can keep your job, remain in your home church, and still lead a small congregation of people who might not otherwise come to know God.

The book has the following chapters:

  1. Old but still learning - telling Ralph's story about his involvement in church planting and growth.
  2. The first church ever - a look at Acts 1 and 2 church, especially Acts 2v41-47.
  3. What is a microchurch? - Microchurches meet anywhere so 'house church' is a misleading label. It simply defines a small group of believers gathering around the activities in Acts 2, wherever that might be; parks, boardrooms, cafés, etc. Functions common to all would be; teaching God's Word, fellowship (real community), worship (living surrender), mission. Christ-serving people on a mission, learning to be church in whatever circumstances they encounter.
  4. Why start microchurches? - Are we focused on kingdom? Jesus told us to go but instead we stay where we are and try to build bigger congregations. We're shrinking. Pastors are leaving the ministry post-Covid. Traditional churches are hard to lead - the larger the church, the more admin skill, charisma, money and programs are needed for attraction and retention. Microchurches are simple and easy to lead. Starting a small church in a home, park, coffee shop will not solve the problem but if we start enough of them... Ralph then goes into possible reasons to plant a microchurch e.g., returning to a New Testament model, unfulfilled calling, craving spiritual intimacy, use of gifts, expanded reach, etc.
  5. Who should start a microchurch? - We need to embrace the specialisation born of spiritual gifts as a priesthood of every believer. Some leaders; apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, teachers need to equip others for the good works God has for them to do (Eph 4). Most microchurches are led by bi-vocational, single-salary leaders who maintain their secular employment. They would rather multiply small churches than build a big one. Multiplication trumps addition if you want to change a culture. The criteria for a person planting a church becomes someone who knows and loves God while knowing and loving people.
  6. How to start a microchurch. You do need to hear from God and know your calling. You must have a specific group of people in mind. This could a neighbourhood, an ethnic group, a work group, etc. Ask the Lord who you should reach. Have a plan. Thoughts could be; purpose, what you offer, how you operate. Building a church through relational disciple-making is slow to start but yields exponential growth as long as you expect to multiply. Make disciples. train new leaders, prefer multiplication to addition (especially when a group grows to 10-12).
  7. A template to modify. Each group is different and Ralph's suggestions need to modified for the context. A group might; eat together, make sure it is relational with all contributing, ask questions, set times and places to meet, be rooted in Christ then mission then ecclesiology, keep it orderly, make disciples not churches. Ralph also looks at tensions that will be encountered; people who leave, people who want to add rather than multiply, controllers, doctrine fighters, 'professional' criticism, etc.

Included in chapters are stories of microchurches from across the world and there are Appendices on tips for running a group.

See also the articles; 4 million micro churches planted in less than 30 years, The Underground, Contrasting 'Church as we know it' and 'Disciple-multiplying movements', Repositioning church as a mission agency

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From a book by Ralph Moore, 03/01/2023

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