Nick Klinkenberg

Nick Klinkenberg

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One forgotten key for spreading the Good News

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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.
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Dad I Dug A Hole!

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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.

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The Profile of a Church Planter

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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. 

 

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Is Christianity safe?

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Is God safe? He made pussy cats, puppies and mice. But He also made tigers, lions, bears, sharks and scorpions and spiders of all dangerous kinds. I sometimes wonder if we try to domesticate God? 

I have come to the conviction that God will never be domesticated. Planting a church that aims to plant churches is not easy. At times it’s downright difficult and challenges us at all levels; in our relationships, leadership, families, financially, even our beliefs, our faith. There are wonderful high points and winning power encounters, yet we also know that the dominion of darkness is arrayed against any kind of Jesus Kingdom bleeding into community and beyond. Many of us know the effects of this. Yet the Church (church planting) is still God’s plan A.  

In C S Lewis’ famous work The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the Pevensie children find themselves in Narnia, with news that Aslan the king – a lion! – is on the move.  Lucy is somewhat frightened and asks Beaver, “is Aslan safe?”  (Aslan being a type of Jesus).  Beaver’s reply was “Oh no He’s not safe, but He’s good, He’s the King I tell you!”  

May I suggest Christianity, security, comfort and safety don’t mix easily.  Look at Paul’s life, or John the Baptist, or any of the disciples for that matter, or Jesus!  John and Jesus were killed by the time they were 34!  Paul and the disciples had uncomfortable lives.  

Suffice to say, Safety, security, comfort and church planting don’t mix! Yet it’s still God’s plan that His church is planted and multiplies. Man and women throughout the centuries have willingly and valiantly picked up the challenge of extending God’s Kingdom and that’s the reason many of us are part of His church today! 

Let’s take our opportunity to change history in families and communities… what can you do to forward the mission of His church and bleed His Kingdom into society?  

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