Nick Klinkenberg

Nick Klinkenberg

Website URL:

Would you do life differently?

Published in Blog

I have said a few times to leaders who are in established churches, “Imagine if you were starting a new church, how would you live life and what would your priorities be for ministry?”
 
This is helpful paradigm to help us shift our thinking. What would you do differently? For when we have been in an established church for a long period of time, we think a certain way. Please understand I am talking generalisations.
 
Let’s take a few examples of living in an established church mindset and then we will compare them to a New Church Planting (NCP) mindset:
Finances – they are usually fairly stable and predictable. Budgets are set, cash flows are set, and usually come in somewhere around the target, as you will know if you have been in the church for many years. One usually can see what percentage increases are realistic and the faith projections that could be realised.
 
In a New Church Plant, (NCP) every $ counts. And it’s usually the same for mission and ministry outside of the church. Resources are seen to be in the harvest. 
 
Missions – usually there is a missions team, especially for other nations. A missions budget is set. Mission locally is in place with events and programs. In some churches, it doesn’t seem to bother leaders if people haven’t come to faith or been baptized in the last 6-12months.
 
In an NCP – It’s usually all about mission. It’s why the church was birthed. They are very committed to finding people of peace.

Pastoral – is mainly for those inside the church. I’m not saying it’s wrong it’s just that it demands focus. Paid, professional (part time, or full-time) are the people who pastor those in the church.
 
In an NCP, pastoring the community or the city is the captivating thought. How can people in our new church pastor people in the community? There is a focus in releasing everybody into their gifts. Let’s face it, there are not many people in our church yet.
 
 
Size of the congregation – if we have 1500 or 150 in the congregation, we can feel like we can relax, after all, if we are 1500 people or 150 people in the church you are in the 20% category, above average for church attendance. Wonderful.
 
An NCP looks at those outside of the church. It’s not who’s in the church, it’s who’s outside that’s the focus.
 
Events – these can be put on mainly for the church community, without too much thought of the community around them. That’s just the reality and by the way, it’s good to do for the church community.
 
In an NCP, events have the emphasis to win people to Christ or introduce them to the community of faith. Why? Usually it’s because of limited resources, people, and budgets, so we want to have the maximum impact for the community around us as well.
 
Facilities – are mainly in a building, which is wonderful. Health and safety regulations need to be adhered to, maintenance issues are ongoing, ongoing finances need to be raised for buildings. By the way, buildings are fantastic if used for reaching the community.
 
For an NCP, there usually is no building so renting is needed, and change of buildings can be adjusted when the needs are different and as the church expands. The church is more than facilities and is forced to live this out. Resources can be used for ministry. Homes are used for meetings, coffee mornings, dinners, offices, and evangelism etc.
 
Leadership – professional people lead. Of course it is not intentional, but the size of the church and the length of it’s existence can demand or determine this. Leaders can tend to do ministry for people.
 
In an NCP, usually it’s a team; it has to be because of time and the resources of the church. The leaders do ministry, but they are focused on equipping others and enabling them to do the work of ministry.
 
The list could go on. Please let me remind you that these are generalisations and are not in any way against larger churches. 
 
You will see from the above list that a New Church Plant has many, many limitations. It’s encouraging to note that limitations are not impossibilities or barriers, they are often God’s gifts to us!  Limitations cause us to pray, read the Bible, communicate, use resources, and let us see volunteers’ gifts and time very differently. Limitations push us to God and His limitlessness. They also cause us to think out of the box and help us focus on mission.

Read more...

One forgotten key for spreading the Good News

Published in Blog

Today I want to give you a key to successfully spreading the gospel.

“Oikos…It’s God’s Key to the natural and rapid spread of the Good News”!
Tom Wolf.
 
The oikos is one of the keys in evangelism in every local church - it’s a key for the newly planted church. Why?  Because the new church is small and people know full well what they can’t do because of limited resources.  A new church will be able to use this straight away.
 
Oikos is the Greek word for a household - a house of people.

“Believe in the Lord Jesus and you shall be saved, you and your Household”[1]

Mission Professor Dr Tom Wolf says an oikos is, “a social system composed of those related to each other through common ties and tasks.  It is God’s key to the natural and rapid spread of the Good News.”
 
Did you know that the average person has 20-30 people in his or her sphere of influence, with a number of these being non-believers.
 
Oikos and the Old Testament
The Old Testament pictures the household as including several generations in a family - usually four generations including men, married women, unmarried daughters, slaves, persons without citizenship, and sojourners or resident foreign workers.
 
In Genesis 12:3. “All families of the earth shall be blessed.”[2]
 
Oikos and the New Testament
God continues to focus on households, i.e. friends, extended family, relatives, those with common interest and the same work environment.
 
In Mark 5:19 Jesus told the man he delivered of demons; “Go home to your friends (oikos) and tell them what a wonderful thing God has done for you; and how merciful he has been.”
 
After Zacchaeus was converted Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house (oikos).” (Luke 19:9).  Other scriptures. John 4:53, John 1:41, John 1:44
 
In Luke 10 we see that Jesus appointed seventy to go in pairs ahead of him into every city and place where he himself was intending to visit.  Included in the instructions Jesus (v5) tells them “Whatever house (oikos) you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house’ (oikos).”
 
Verse 6 says that, “if a man of peace is there (in that household/oikos), your peace will rest on him.”  In other words, look for the person who is receptive to the Gospel in your oikos, your household; which includes your friends, extended family, relatives, those with the same interest, and those in the same work environment.  Ralf Neighbour, a Baptist Pastor from America, defines your oikos as being, “Those you spend at least one hour every three weeks with, most people have 20 to 30 people in their oikos.”[3]
 
Today write down your oikos group.
In that oikos find out the ones who are receptive to the Gospel; there should be at least two.
 
Research conducted by the Institute of American Church Growth of Pasadena, California, in 1980 on why people have come to Christ and the church provides tremendous support on the effectiveness of the oikos concept at work today.  Over 20,000 people have been asked the question, “What or who was responsible for your coming to Christ and your church?”  I have done this many times in meetings and the percentages confirm what you see below.
 
Following are the percentages:
1-2%    Special need   
0.5%    Evangelistic crusade
2-3%    Walk in           
2-3%    Church programme
5-6%    Pastor             
4-5%    Sunday school 
1-2%    Visitation       
75-90%   Friends or relatives
 
The facts are, most people who come to Christ become Christians because of a relationship with friends or family; oikos.
 
I agree with Wolf’s words from earlier: Oikos is God’s key to the natural and rapid spread of the Good News. It is still is a powerful key today.

 
[1] Acts 16:31
[2] Also Deut 12:7; 14:26; Joshua 7:14
[3] I heard this from Ralph Neighbour during a lecture he gave to the Baptist Union in Auckland, NZ, in the early 1980’s.
Read more...

Dad I Dug A Hole!

Published in Blog

It’s a line from the movie, ‘The Castle’, which I confess we still enjoy as a family.
 
In the movie the son comes in for dinner and his Dad is asking the family what they have done today, the son replies excitedly, “Dad I dug a hole”. The father is very pleased and commends him.
 
I must admit I have dug the odd hole and taken a picture of it and sent it to my sons! Yes, they got the joke!! But every hole I have ever dug was for a reason. There was a purpose in digging the hole.

Read more...

The Profile of a Church Planter

Published in Blog

This is a common question. I am reluctantly going to give a list. I say reluctantly, because I find God always surprises me with people who I think wouldn’t be able to plant, yet they do!

So here are some key factors that a planter can’t do without. The question to ask after each of these qualities is: where have I seen this functioning in my ministry? How and when have these been tested in my life?

  1. Need a clear sense of God’s call. Church planting is not easy. The call of God constrains us to plant. A wise Christian leader has said, “If you can do anything else, then do that instead”. They need to be serving with consistency in a church, before there is any thought of them church planting. It goes without saying they need to be in a close relationship with God. They have developed healthy habits of prayer, (reading the word), fasting and giving. Matt 6:1-18.  
  2. A self starter. Is able to take initiative. A pioneer. They are able to start from nothing and make it something for God’s glory. 
  3. Has a high level of Faith. They have the belief that, God is able to do this, no matter what. They understand, as much as one is able, it is the supernatural God at work. They are able to dream dreams and see impossibilities become possible. They believe that God will make a way where there is no way. The planter must able to see past the present situation and into the future. 
  4. Perseverance is a key factor. Tenacity is another word. They are able to persevere through difficult and unfavorable situations. 
  5. The planter needs to be able to gather people! They love people and are able to relate to the lost as well as the found. A church planter is a ‘well liked’ person that draws people in. 
  6. They are able to disciple people and train them. The question is, do people follow you? A key priority for church planters (leaders) is to disciple, train and release people for the market place as well as ministry. Ex 18:17-23 esp. v20-21. Also Acts 6:1-7.  
  7. A supportive spouse and family. Is your family on the same page and has the same dream as you? Sustainability long term won’t happen without this in place. 

Rate yourself, 1 = low and 10 = high. If you end up with 35 or less you really need to rethink leading a church plant. Ask a friend or family member to rate you as well. 

 

Read more...
Subscribe to this RSS feed