The Simple Church Story, as Told in the Southern Tidings
Simple Church: A Very Old/New Idea
Simple Church is a term used to refer to small congregations that primarily meet in homes. These Sabbath home gathering start with a team of four missionary-minded Christians (commonly called a CORE4 missionary team) who focus on reaching 90% of America’s population (of whom will not likely walk into a conventional church on a given weekend).
Simple Churches are not small groups because they are not a side-activity of a traditional church. They are full churches on par with conventional churches, whose congregations own, lease, or rent a building where worship and ministry are conducted.
Simple Churches tend to be smaller in membership and have a simpler worship format and organizational structure. Research by George Barna (barna.org) reveals 6 million Americans currently attend a church of this kind.
Simple Church is more effective at reaching some groups than a conventional form of church, especially for the unchurched and younger adults. Since the largest number of Florida’s residents are not active in any religious congregation, this is an approach that can be used to successfully achieve the mission of the Church.
This is not a new form of church. The New Testament clearly reveals that early Christian believers met for worship in homes (Romans 16:5, 1 Corinthians 16:19, and Colossians 4:15).
Surprisingly, this is not a new form of church for Seventh-day Adventists, either. During the early decades of the movement, most local churches met in homes or rented lodge halls. In fact, this concept lives on in Adventist heritage under the old-fashioned terminology of “cottage meetings.” Current church attendance statistics indicate that it is time to dust off this old concept and reinvent it for the 21st century.
“Milton Adams has had success with a pilot project here in Florida, where Simple Church was first birthed,” said Florida Conference President Mike Cauley. “He is also directing a Simple Church Global Network for www.AdventistMission.org and the North American Division. The conference is now inviting lay people to explore and pray about the possibility of becoming modern-day missionaries.”
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