Book Report – God’s Simple Plan for HIs Church Its time for a S.A.M. Book Report
On: God’s Simple Plan for His Church, by author Nate Krupp
In a S.A.M. report Sam . . .
S. – Summarizes the Message
A. – Analyzes the Content
M. – Mulls Over the Significance
Download the full report:
First – The Set Up
Everything I thought about church has changed over the past twelve months and, God’s Simple Plan for His Church by Nate Krupp has been instrumental. To understand the impact of this book on my life and family you must understand both where I’m coming from on the issue of church and where I’m headed.
First: Where I’m Coming From
For some fifty years, I sat in the pew, sensing that something was wrong, but I just couldn’t put my finger on it. I thought the whole problem was just me, that I just didn’t fit. I felt like Nicodemus, stuck up in a tree, somehow smaller than church leaders. The only difference between Nick and me was that when Jesus (i.e. church leadership) passed my tree, He just kept right on going.
Don’t get me wrong. I have always sensed God’s presence and His hand print has been very evident all through my life. I have never doubted his existence and He has always seemed very real to me. God has used me greatly at times over the course of my life, but I just never seemed to qualify for use in His kingdom (i.e. the organized church). I view my business of producing shows for kids at fairs as a ministry, everything is ministry. It’s just that I have never fit into the traditional, western culture church structure. My personal spiritual life and ministry was not prospering there.
Teaching Myself How to Have Church
My business is a blessing from God. It allows me lots of time to read, think, study, pray and write. Looking back now in perspective, I can see how it has forced me to develop my own spiritual life and kept me from becoming to dependant on “church.” For this I am now very thankful. Most Christians I know define their whole spiritual life by the denomination they attend, while they produce very little for the kingdom.
My view of church began to transform when I married Debbie. She encouraged me to write in the midst of my frustration at the church and life. That writing led to a deeper understanding of God, how His voice works and His plan for my life. In writing I found an outlet and I also learned how to release the flow of the Spirit. Then Debbie and I began meeting around the kitchen table on her days off. There I learned I could receive revelation, teach, and flow in ministry to her. So, my home church began with Jesus, me and Debbie. Around our table we received much from the Lord, often finding ourselves there for several hours and being astounded at what God would say to us out of his word and in prayer. In time the personalized insights and direction, the encouragement we received began to dwarf what we were receiving at regular church. We finished many of our sessions saying to each other, “Wow! This was outstanding! We should be sharing this with other people.” Combine this with the fact that we just could not get our kids and grandkids to go to with us to traditional church and the door of our hearts were wide open to completely redefining church.
Where I’m Going
Over the course of 2011 Debbie and I took stock of our lives, laying everything before the Lord for whatever correction or direction He would give. The topic of church came up and we decided that God was calling us to have church in our home and invite people to come in and join us, so we withdrew our membership from our traditional church and began spreading the word.
Through Spirit led circumstances I found Christian Leadership University where I found a course called House Church, also authored and proctored by Nate Krupp. Through Nate’s course, his volume he recommended called Nexus , God was about to rock my world.
The Revelation and the Shock
I was so excited when I got the course! I picked up Nate’s book the first night and began to read. Page after page spoke right to every question as I we were beginning our house church. I distinctly remember finishing at about two o’clock in the morning. I laid the book down on my chest and looked up at the ceiling and I had the feeling that I had just been freed from the fowler’s snare. I felt like I had been rescued from a life of deception. I couldn’t believe I had been part of such an unbiblical system and I felt like I had been delivered from prison right at the hour of execution. I just kept thinking unbelievable! And, how could we have been so wrong all that time? How could we have read the word all these years and missed God’s true plan for His church? I told God how sorry I was for wasting so much time sitting in the pew, letting the professionals perform my responsibility for me. I praised Him for His word and for revelation that was setting me free to do the very things I felt I had so often been past over for. I determined that my final twenty five years would be spent using my Holy Spirit gifting to bring people to Christ and to teach them what church really is and how to have church with their own families, right in their own home.
Krupp’s book is an easy to read, straight forward manual chocked full of scriptures on all the relevant issues. It makes a great study guide for anyone starting a church in their home or for a group of people as they begin to meet together as a house church.
Insights That Stood Out For Me
1. Redefining Church: The very first thing Nate does is redefine church from scripture – as not a building, a place, a meeting you go to or a service, like we are taught in the U.S.A. The church is me and you. Nate goes to the original language several times in his book, but starts with the Greek word for church Ekklesia, simply meaning; called out ones. The church is anyone Jesus calls to Himself to become His body, part of who He is.
2. God’s Simple Plan for His Church helped me see just that, how simple His plan is. It’s not top heavy with buildings and years of seminary schooling, its not professionals performing all the ministry while laity watches. This helped me determine in my own mind and heart that I would focus on the importance of each individual who gathered in our home, on his calling and gifting, and training each member to become effective in leading people to Jesus and equipping them to lead others to faith. I encouraged those committing their lives to Jesus to immediately begin sharing their story, teaching and leading others, just as soon as they were saved, even before they had totally “cleaned up” their lives.
3. One of the first things all our own kids (Now all grown, in their thirties) and many others asked us was, “What do you do with the offering?” It felt really odd at first when we began giving our tithe to our own offering. We had been conditioned for so long to give it to the professionals to buy buildings, support staff and create programs. Debbie and I looked at each other and asked ourselves what we do with our tithe? Nate presented a very clear answer, right from scripture; we would use it to meet the needs of the people who come to meet in our home. I was surprised at how positively everyone, even unchurched people reacted when we answered this question Biblically.
4. As we began to spread the word that we were starting a home church many of our Christian friends in traditional church structures posed many of the same questions; “Are you ordained?” “Who decides what to do with the money?” “What do you do with the money?” “Who leads the services?” “What do you do about worship” “What happens with the kids?” “Who is your authority?” “Who leads communion?” These questions and many more, which Christians are used to answering according to their denominational interpretations, I was able to answer from the scripture because of Nate’s effective organization of all these issues. It has been a surprise and a joy at how answering these questions has often opened the door to minister to people.
Nate’s book covers virtually every issue relative to what the scripture says about church: women in leadership, defining what a church is and how it functions, cities as the scriptural boundary for defining local church, who is really a minister, the role of the Holy Spirit and practical considerations when meeting in the home and much more.
Focus On Children
In our western culture we define “church” as an organization, which we use to provide structure and programs for our children. We have been taught by denominations and secular institutions to expect trained professionals to teach our children for us, and we have bought into the idea that we lay parents cannot provide effective programs like the professionally trained. As a result we boomers have led a whole generation of children behind us that God is not in the home, not relative to real life, that He is only in the box down at the corner. Our enemy has succeeded in removing real spiritual life from our homes and as a result of that the next generation has all but abandoned Christianity as a practical, viable belief system. However, as nervous as Debbie and were about doing having our own home church, we soon found that we could do it well and we loved it! We sang songs and danced around the kitchen to worship music with our grandkids and told Bible stories wacky style so they would find them fun. What realized we were doing the one thing our kids needed; showing them that church was our home, that God was in our home and, most of all, that church was simply who we were. Now when they come to our home, they think they are coming to the house of God! They are seeing God as part of our real, daily lives and they are believing they will grow up to experience God with their families in their own homes. What a novel idea! Or is it really? Maybe this was what God had in mind all along. I know this; If we are going save our grandchildren we must bring real church back into the home!
If we are to do God’s work, God’s way, we must bring church back into the home and Nate Krupp’s book, God’s Simple Plan for His Church: A Manual for House Churches (second edition) will help you get started with a biblical foundation. If you are really serious, obtain all his materials or take his full credit course through Christian Leadership University. And, continue to watch my blog www.samuelsword.wordpress.com for more writing and book reports on making your home your church. It’s the way it was in the book of Acts. Its time we recaptured God’s simple plan.