Kansas House Church Charge – A New Appointment

On or before July 1, 2014 an elder within the United Methodist Church will be appointed within the Kansas Area to oversee a network of house churches across the state that worship via a live internet stream.

These house church will consist of 12-20 people who meet together for worship, hold each other accountable to discipleship, seek to invite others into relationship with Jesus and watch over each other in love.  As the house church grows to more than 20 people, the group will form two groups and continue to have the opportunity to grow. Committed lay leaders will be trained, equipped and sent out to create and lead these communities of faith in their neighborhood, town or county. This lay leader will be responsible for collecting money for God’s work, visiting the sick, encouraging and discipling members of the house church.

An ordination track elder in the United Methodist Church will be appointed to the Kansas House Church Charge which will consist of up to 12 house churches. This elder will be present with the house church in worship at least every other month to offer the sacraments of communion and baptism. This elder will also be responsible for the equipping and discipling of the house church leaders.  When the elder is overseeing more than 8 house churches, the Kansas House Church Charge will become two appointments to allow the churches to ensure that the equipping, leadership and discipling of the house church leaders is manageable.

This model…

  • would be a catalyst for making new places for new people within the United Methodist Church.
  • is scalable from the house church to the annual conference to the global church.
  • could provide a spark to plant churches that would build a physical building.
  • has potential to help revitalize the denomination.

What is your initial reaction to this potential new appointment?

Thanks to @clifguy for the conversation that lead to this post.

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17 thoughts on “Kansas House Church Charge – A New Appointment

  1. Original Methodism at it’s best. This is Fantastic. I only struggle with the live streaming aspect. I believe we should equip our people to minister to one another with out pumping in ministry from some where else.

  2. I’m impressed that Kansas is trying this non-traditional (and yet very traditional in a Wesleyan sense) appointment. I pray that it goes well.

  3. This strangely sounds like the Methodist church of old,well with the exception of the whole internet thing.

    I do hope this works, it really seems this is how we grew to be the force we once were but then we lost our way. How will they deal with the sacraments? Sounds like the Pastor in charge will be riding a circuit, do they provide the horse? Or maybe they could ride a Hog.

  4. Great movement of the spirit! This is similar to some ideas bubbling in the Alaska Conference. We have to be very creative since our state is so spread out. I will forward this idea to them as well. Thank you!!

  5. I see the future of the Church in this, I call it “Cathedrals and House Churches” I think the “Cathedrals” like Resurrection, Lifechurch.tv, etc will drive content, and the house churches will drive community and discipleship. I love the deep connection to our history as a lay initiated movement. In fact all of Methodism in America began as a lay movement. I was talking about this with my small group (Which is full of babies) and we thought about the idea of gathering a lot of us with little ones in one house…. I think there are going to be a lot of ideas like this emerge. I also think this has the potential to re-unite neighborhoods who, for too long, have only been connected by schools. As we have embraced destination shopping, grocery stores, and Church, we have lost the sense of knowing our neighbors through multiple “Places” of interaction. Perhaps this can begin to reverse that trend. I love it.

  6. Justin – I think that there will be a great deal of interaction among the people and leader of the house church. The worship stream will facilitate the worship, but not be the core of relationships.

    Matt – We will see if it happens. I think that the elder would receive a salary that would be supported by the offerings collected at the house churches. Perhaps a subsidy from the annual conference. Perhaps a dual career.

    Allen – Sacraments would be with the traveling elder that oversees the house church leaders.

    Allen and The Cybernetic Entomologist – Horse optional 😉

    Chuck – I like your suggestion of cathedrals and house churches. Nice language. Would your small group be interested in a potential pilot project?

    UMJeremy – Cool. Would you be interested in an appointment like that?

  7. This sounds great!
    Really interested in seeing how everything unfolds.
    I wonder if that model would work here in the Cal-Pac conference.

  8. You know I think it’s a great idea! I’m glad it will be moving forward. If I were going to start a church (which I’m not going to do) that’s the way I’d do it. A couple of thoughts to help refine:
    1. I think an elder could work with a larger number of house churches than your outline suggests. I would want to maximize the number of house churches an elder would lead so that finances could go the furthest.
    2. I think I’ve said this before, but to me a live stream doesn’t make sense. The church is the only institution left that demands people come on our schedule. I can shop when I want, watch tv when I want, take online classes when I want. Unless there will be an interactive component with the other house churches online (which would be really cool) it doesn’t need to be live. Let the churches meet at whatever day/time works best for the members
    3. To kinda contradict what I just said, I really like the idea of bringing the houses together once a month or quarter for a celebrative worship experience. That would help with a feeling of a greater connection and could be when Sacraments occur.

  9. I also am excited about this opportunity! I think this would offer a way to do ministry that invests more resources in making disciples and transforming the world than a more traditional model that focuses on land, building, and other facility elements. It also allows for people in their more common pathways (arenas of life) to engage one another and encounter/experience God.

    David’s (2) – I think I am in agreement, especially given that it would mean a lot less costs to make this happen. If the live stream is coming from COR, one of the few churches already doing this, then it wouldn’t be a lot of new cost…but if the context was a different location, then it would take significantly more resources if live. I also think that David is hitting on something of finding a time to which the people can committ, instead of requiring a set time.

    David’s (3) – I think that Craig Miller talks about the value of having arenas where people can connect in a size of about 12 for accountability (small group), then to do fellowship and education in groups of 50-80, and then finally to worship in a group that is at least 120. He was working with something different, but I have found the value of those different size of gatherings.

    My other thoughts:
    a) I could see how this might work with other elders in areas across the state (beyond the set appointed ones). Example: A new house church begins in Goodland, and they connect with your video worship material (live or not) and do other discipleship, mission, and evangelism. Instead of an elder in KC or Wichita driving to Goodland (400 miles one way), I could go and offer leadership training, and share in the sacraments. I (or another) would then maybe function as a designated pastor….or maybe more like a mini-DS if there are multiple ones. This maybe more like the cooperative/parish ministry model.

    b) If the worship material wasn’t live, but rather the vision was to have a team with portable equipment, I could see how the conferences (state)could find multiple people in varied contexts able to prepare and deliver very quality sermon series, which then could be employed for house churches (or even traditional) congregations across the state. This could provide churches with a whole repertoire of worship material, with different voices, and with some guidance, hitting on a whole variety of necessary topics/texts. In my ministry I could even see how it would be helpful to have access to such preaching material. I could have a month where I used a sermon series that really hit what I thought my congregation could connect with. Then I would use that time to develop discipleship opportunities that respond to the preaching material.

    What do you think? Dustin

  10. Ever since COR went live, I’ve been trying to promote this idea. I think my local church community could benefit by utilizing the 5 pm service. This could also be utilized by the smaller churches in our charge — IF the problem of high speed Internet access could be resolved.

    I don’t see this as being in competition with my local church but as a way to reach people who aren’t attending church. The recent COR sermon series would have been great to use in this way.

    COR also offers its GPS. Whether you hear the sermon or not, this resource is a great tool for spiritual development. In terms of my church, our pastor does not have the time to develop this type of resource.

    My prayer is that the conference doesn’t wait until 2014 to make this a reality.

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