Spontaneous Expansion of the Church

If the Church is to be indigenous it must spring up in the soil from the very first seeds planted. One or two little groups of Christians organized as Churches, with their Bishops and priests, could spread all over an empire. They would be obviously and without question Native Churches. But if we establish Missions rather than Churches, two evil consequences, which we now see in greater or less degree everywhere, sterility and antagonism, inevitably arise.

Roland Allen, Missionary to China, 1927, Spontaneous Expansion of the Church

Allen was a missionary to the Chinese. He witnessed the issues first hand when sending agencies, attempting to maintain control of the work, actually crippled the work, rendering it incapable of reproducing disciples. His books Missionary Methods and Spontaneous Expansion of the Church speak to missionaries of any stripe, any denomination, any calling. He stumbled upon important principles which are both spiritual and speak to the human tendency desiring freedom rather than control. He also touches on financial issues which also cripple the church, and to quickly integrating new believers into their righful place as priests in the kingdom according to Peter. Though he is long departed, his words reverberate yet today.

His book Spontaneous Expansion of the Church is available free online.


Steve Addison distilled the writing to a single blog page here.

Steve Addison Blog Post, one page synopsis, excellent

Blurb from Amazon.com Book Section:

Written in 1927 as a follow up to his Missionary Methods, the following was penned in the forward by Kenneth Grubb in 1960: “It is only gradually that Roland Allen’s Spontaneous Expansion of the Church has established its reputation among those who are concerned with the mission of the Church. This is odd since it is in many ways both a more mature work than Missionary Methods: St Paul’s or Ours? and also more relevant to the particular tasks with which churches and missions have to wrestle today.

Nevertheless, the fact that a new edition is called for at the present juncture is, perhaps, a recognition that the book contains much that needs to be said and read just now.” What Allen was calling for 80 years ago and affirmed in the decades to follow has “a lasting validity, and can be studied and re-studied with profit.”

Blurb from Wikipedia:

He was born in Bristol, England, the son of an Anglican priest; but was orphaned early in life. He trained for ministry at Oxford and became a priest in 1893. Allen spent two periods in Northern China working for the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. The first from 1895 to 1900 ended due to the Boxer Rebellion, during which Allen was forced to flee to the British Legation in Beijing. He was chaplain to community throughout much of the siege. After a period back in England, he returned to North China in 1902, but was forced home due to illness.

These ‘early experiences led him to a radical reassessment of his own vocation and the theology and missionary methods of the Western churches’.
Allen became an early advocate of establishing Churches which from the beginning would be self-supporting, self-propagating, and self-governing, adapted to local conditions and not merely imitations of Western Christianity.

These views were confirmed by a trip to India in 1910 and by later research in Canada and East Africa. It is with this background that Allen wrote his book Missionary Methods which was first published in 1912. It has been suggested that his thought was influenced in part by the earlier primitivist writings of Anthony Norris Groves and by the Brethren movement .

Allen’s approach to Mission strategy for indigenous Churches is based on the study of Saint Paul’s missionary methods as he is convinced that in them can be found the solution to most of the difficulties of the day. He believed it was the recognition of the church as a local entity and trust in the Holy Spirit’s indwelling within the converts and churches which was the mark of Paul’s success. In contrast was Allen’s belief that the people of his day were unable to entrust their converts to the Holy Spirit and instead relied in His work through them.

His views became increasingly influential, though Allen himself became disillusioned with the established churches. He spent the last years of his life in Kenya. Near the end of his life Allen wrote The Family Rite. In this essay Allen advocates that the family again becomes the center of the Christian church and its ministry. Allen died in Nairobi.[1] His funeral was conducted by the Bishop of Mombasa and his gravestone can be found in Nairobi’s City Park. A simple stone cross with the inscription on the pedestal reads: “ROLAND ALLEN, CLERK IN HOLY ORDERS, 1868-1947, I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE SAITH THE LORD”

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Create in Me a Pure Heart, Psalms 51

Create in me a pure heart, O God and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me. Psalms 51:10-12

Sometimes even Christians blow it. David sure did just before this psalm was written down. If there is one thing we need, it is a steadfast spirit within us.

If we have fallen into sin, we don’t need condemnation, we need forgiveness. That forgiveness is abundantly provided in Christ and through his blood. His blood washes whiter than snow.

We need the presence of the Lord with us. He said that he would never leave us nor forsake us.

There is great joy in the salvation that only Jesus can provide. Repent, shake off any sin, and the burden it brings. Cast your cares on the Lord because he cares for you.

This is my prayer today: Lord for anyone reading these words David penned in the Psalms and those I have written here: Let the annointing break the yoke of oppression, let forgiveness flow from your throne Lord. Raise up your servants to new life. Let your joy flow from that forgiven heart, and may it water those around them and bring forth new life. In Jesus mighty name, Amen.

Here is a song by Keith Green: Create in Me a Clean Heart. Hope the link works.

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The Sign of Jonah Prophecy by Jesus, Fulfilled (via Church, Organically Simple)

Here it is Resurrection morning. He is risen, he is risen indeed. Jesus said to the Pharisees that he would give only one miraculous sign that he was their Messiah. He told them he would rise from the dead after three days and three nights in the heart of the earth, just as Jonah was in the belly of the great fish. Print out the diagram image and study the Jewish feasts that fell in perfect alignment this year of Jesus’ horrendous death and equally glorious resurrection. Mankind was redeemed once and for all, for all eternity. This is the solution to the Sign of Jonah Prophecy of Jesus.

The Sign of Jonah Prophecy by Jesus, Fulfilled Three Days and Three Nights, The Sign of Jonah Prophecy by Jesus Did Jesus fulfill the sign of Jonah which he prophesied days before his death?  Tradition teaches us that Jesus died on Good Friday just before dark.  He was hurriedly buried in a nearby tomb, rushing to beat the approaching time of the weekly Sabbath of Saturday as night fell.  We are told he resurrected bodily before daylight on Sunday morning.  That time line, if it is true, is o … Read More

via Church, Organically Simple

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Neil Cole Quotes from Organic Church

Links to OrganicChurchQuotes by Neil Cole and others from Organic Church the book. Without counting to be exact there are somewhere around 90-100 quotes. I certainly got a lot from Neil’s efforts in writing Organic Church. The Life Transformation Groups idea is incredible as a discipleship tool. I hope you enjoy these quotes and if you don’t have a copy of the book, I think they still sell them at amazon.com and cmaresources.org


One list of Neil Cole Quotes by Guy Muse of Ecuador. https://brucedickey.wordpress.com/2010/12/20/top-ten-neil-cole-quotes/

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Roy McClung explains Simple or Organic Church


By Roy McClung

How to explain simple or organic church to a friend in two minutes.

Click the previous sentence for the YouTube video link. Thanks, Roy McClung in Houston for putting this together, Bruce


Artist McNaught in the UK.  That is our man of peace from Luke 10:5-6  He is simple church.


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A Spiritual House, A Holy Priesthood

1 Peter 2:4-5 As you come to him, the living Stone – rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him – you also, like living stones are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

Peter an apostle of Jesus Christ to God’s elect, strangers in the world, scattered….. chosen according the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance. (paraphrase of 1 Peter 1:1-2)

Peter so beautifully paints with words who we are in Christ, we are priests, part of a priesthood, a spiritual family. So, being like Jesus, we too are after the order of Melchizedek, not Levi. Believers are not Levites who were the priests of the old covenant. No we are part of a new house, a spiritual house, built on better promises, we are a holy priesthood, we belong to God.

This passage applies to every believer of Jesus Christ under the New Testament, paid for with his shed blood. So priest, what are we going to do today? The bible leaves us a few suggestions? No, commandments. Love God, love man, very simple. So God loved us, it’s fairly easy to love him back. Man on the other hand, not so easy, this is the test of a disciple, loving man who may not love in return. This is a principle of investment, of giving, of sowing, of cultivation, of hope, and finally of obedience.

Then there is the commission to go. We are told the fields are white unto harvest and to pray to the Lord of the Harvest for laborers. While we are praying are we secretly hoping that God will send someone else, not you and I but someone else? Our prayer must include ourselves. We too must be planted, we too must be willing to be pregnant with the gospel. We must be willing to die in order to bring forth much fruit, 30 60 and 100 fold fruit.

Can we make ourselves do it? That is a great question. Are we willing to believe it enough to the point of being a living sacrifice to God? Lord I believe, help me in my unbelief! He has walked this pathway before us, it is narrow, the multitudes choose another path, the wide path. It’s our choice.

Bless you Lord Jesus for calling our names, the voice of a stranger we will not follow. Amen.

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There Am I in the Midst

For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. Matthew 18:20 KJV This is a simple sentence Jesus uttered to his disciples two thousand years ago.

This statement is the simplest definition for church that exists in the New Testament. The word church is that strange Greek word ekklesia. If we think of the ekklesia (or church) as Christ’s body, then Jesus has proclaimed himself head of that body.

If we think of the body of Christ as the church, then it is a living organism, rather than an organization. A living organism will be true to it’s DNA. We think of organizations as man-made, and organisms as God-made. Is it possible to have an organism without the organization? The answer is, yes. The ekklesia being a living organism draws it’s directives from it’s DNA, and the head of the DNA is Jesus.

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What is Organic Church, tell me….

Church, Organically Simple, is all about organic or simple church.

So Jesus loves the church, and gave his life to purchase his bride.

Organic means he is still involved as the head of the church.

It’s not about buildings, but a body.

It’s not about being a spectator, but a participant who is heard.

It’s not about the tithe, but about a cheerful giving heart led by the Spirit.

It’s not about tomorrow so much, it’s about today, tomorrow will take care of itself.

All authority is given to Jesus and he sends his disciples into the world like sheep, to make more disciples.

Now that is organic, plain, simple, doable, unstoppable.

We have caught the vision of the mission and the mission has a church.

Cheers to you, One of the number, Bruce Dickey


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The greatest, over-lords, earthly kings, or benefactors, None.
Servant-leaders? Not in there…..

Lk. 22:24-27 (this passage in bold below, let’s have a look)

A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest.

Jesus disciples were engaged in a dispute, THEY were ARGUING.
The argument was who was considered to be the GREATEST among them.
Obviously they DID NOT INCLUDE JESUS in their argument or it would have it’s solution.
They were EXCLUDING JESUS from their argument.
Their argument was AMONG THEMSELVES.
Their argument WAS SELFISH, and was nothing more than self-promotion.
Their argument was OF THE FLESH and not spiritual at all.

Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that.

Christians are not to be like GENTILE KINGS who wield power over their subjects.
Believers are not to exercise AUTHORITY over OTHERS, elevating themselves in the process.
Brothers and sisters in Christ are NOT TO THINK of themselves as Benefactors.
A benefactor defined: one that CONFERS A BENEFIT; especially : one that makes a gift or bequest.
Jesus told us we are NOT TO BE LIKE THAT.
He taught just the opposite: BE HUMBLE, don’t let your right hand know what your left is doing.
If you want to help someone DO IT IN SECRET and God will reward you openly.

Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves.

The GREATEST among you should be LIKE THE YOUNGEST.
The ONE WHO RULES among you should be like the ONE WHO SERVES.
Goodness gracious, Jesus is telling us to not be respecters of persons isn’t he?
Jesus is telling us to not be high-minded.
Jesus is telling us to be humble.
Jesus is telling us to wash each others feet.
Jesus is telling us to prefer others before ourselves.
Jesus is telling us to be like little children for such is the Kingdom of God.
Jesus is telling us to be harmless as doves (and wise as serpents).
Jesus is telling us to be LIKE HIM.
Jesus is telling us that greater love has no man than to lay down his life for his friends.

For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.

“Who is greater, ANSWER THE QUESTION, the one who is seated at the table being served or the one who serves?” Jesus.
Of course we must follow Jesus logic, THE ONE BEING SERVED IS GREATER.
Do you see the implications there at what Jesus is saying?
I am among you AS ONE WHO SERVES,” Jesus.
Again, do you see the implications here at what Jesus is saying to us?
We are not to be like BENEFACTORS GIVING GIFTS, but servants serving the greatest among us.
Jesus has turned the table on us.
That raises the question, in Jesus’ eyes, WHO IS THE GREATEST among us?
Come on answer the question, who is the greatest?
The greatest are those with the POTENTIAL TO BECOME BELIEVERS, they are the Gentiles, hordes of Gentiles.
Later Jesus sent those same brothers WHO WERE ARGUING in this passage to the world, here it is:

Matthew 28:16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

1. Who are we not to be like?
2. Who are we to be like?
3. Who is seated at the table that Jesus is serving?
4. Do you worship Jesus, and still doubt?
5. Have you ever made a disciple?
6. Have you ever baptized anyone?
7. If you were asked to teach about Jesus could you? Would you?

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Organic Church Planter’s Greenhouse 1, Frisco, TX

About 75 participants in the church planter training converged on Frisco Texas January 14th Weekend 2011. Trainers for the session were longtime friends Neil Cole and Ed Waken from Los Angeles and Phoenix respectively. Host for the event at the Hampton Inn and Suites Frisco was Ryan Hairston of Waken Ministries.

Neil and Ed wasted no time moving right into the training on Friday night after a session of worship led by Laura Hairston. There was a marathon session on Saturday with a nice lunch intermission on our own. Sunday session started at noon and ended at 4PM. We were on the road within half an hour and made it back to Arkansas in about six hours even with strange car issues and being pulled over by an Oklahoma trooper for blown tag lights.

If you have read these books by Neil you are quite prepared for this training: Organic Church, Search and Rescue, and Church 3.0. Organic Church lays out the broad idea of making disciples in order to plant churches. It also touches on the small discipleship groups called Life Transformation Groups. Search and Rescue develops the LTG’s in greater depth with the stories of success gleaned from the harvest.

Even if you’ve read none of the books and someone with an open heart toward God attends, they will come away with a great appreciation for the hard work of the servants presenting. The depth of scripture and the living out of the great commission, plus the heartfelt sharing of the stories from the harvest will grab their heart, as it did my son Warren who was with me.

Neil sharing the definition of church.

“The presence of Jesus among his people called out as a spiritual family to pursue His mission on this planet.” Neil Cole

Here are some of the session titles: 1. Foundations for Organic Church Planting 2. Cultivating the Soil of People’s Hearts 3. Sowing the Kingdom Seed 4. Growing the Life of the Kingdom 5. Conclusion to Greenhouse Story 1 Here is a quote from The Lord of the Rings – The Two Towers: “It’s like the great stories of old, Mr. Frodo, the ones that really mattered. Folks in those stories could have turned back but they didn’t.” also…. “There is some good in this world and it’s worth fighting for.”

The powerpoint presentations were excellent. It was very helpful to have these nice graphics and photographs depicted full screen. An occasional moving clip demonstrated powerfully some of the points of organic church planting. The quote: “Ride out with me,” sticks in my mind. It related to the job we all have to do in the kingdom of doing exploits for our King, or we have the alternate choice of cowering in the cave and doing nothing.

Seated at my table the first night were: Carmen, Paul, Blake, J. G., myself, Warren, Ken, and Jan. It was a packed house. Her name didn’t come up in conversation, but one of my favorite house churchers was named in the material on page 1-7, Felicity Dale. Here is a quote from her on that page regarding organic church planting: “No empire building. No controls. No personal glory.” Amen sister, amen!

Here is a quote from Morpheus to Neo, “This is your last chance. After this there is no going back. You take the blue pill and the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill and you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. Remember that all I am offering is the truth.” clip from the Matrix.

Oikos is the social web of relationships. We were taught three things to reach people in their oikos: 1. Drink what they drink and eat what they eat. 2. Play games 3. Listen to them. Somehow I felt they must have left out a dozen steps or more but they said these three are the ones needed for success. I think number three is likely the step that challenges most church settings.

My son and I headed into Dallas to visit one of his college best buds on Saturday night. We arrived to find Zack, Allie and three month old Abby ready to go out to eat. Zack is a student at Dallas Theological Seminary and he works at Chuy’s a Mexican Restaurant. Great food and Zack got a 50% discount which was amazing. We had enough carryout for lunch Sunday. Thanks Zack and Allie, Abby is a gift from God and it was wonderful meeting her, oh and their other baby, they had a Bichon pup.

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