From "The Simple/House Church Revolution" Book. The entire book can still be downloaded here.
“Jesus didn’t leave us with a system he left us with his Spirit. He gave us his Spirit as a guide instead of a map.” Wayne Jacobsen
The risk of writing any book on “church” or “Jesus’ way of life” is that we end up looking for formulas and methods rather than allowing God to divinely lead us.
Therefore, I want to stress that the next five chapters are only meant to provide some broad principles—not guidelines, not structures, not formulas, and not methods. The principles can provide some general illumination on the lifestyle Jesus calls us to, but must not be a replacement for listening and following him.
That said, the simple/house church way of life that we see in scripture involves the following five principles:
1. Reach. Reaching out. Loving others with no strings attached. An “outbreak of love.”
2. Disciple. Disciple-making that everyone can do. Influencing others relationally and contagiously.
3. Gather. Experiencing dynamic, participatory body-life with others.
4. Empower. Empowering others. A truly upside down understanding of leading (facilitating) decentralized systems.
5. Multiply. Reproducing yourself. Becoming seed that brings forth a multiplied harvest.
De-Programming These Terms
The most important part of the next five chapters is not just the principles themselves but the need to unlearn our institutional mindset around these principles and re-connecting with their true, life-giving meaning.
Most of us have learned a programmed approach to reaching, discipling, gathering, leading, and reproducing. The result is that we often end up in a “duty” mode: we are serving God for the wrong reasons, reaching out to others with the wrong motivations, and turning people into projects with the wrong results.
Institutions create programs that lead to projects and feel-good piety but are often not integrated into the fabric of who we are and our God-created abilities to love and bless other people. The result is that others often feel manipulated, and we become uncomfortable with ourselves and the programs we have been taught to implement.
In contrast, as we look at these principles, we want to explore their real meaning in the context of the adventure of following Jesus and truly loving others with no strings attached. We do want to see others influenced, but we trust that this can take place naturally, contagiously, and relationally.