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Rad Zdero, Ph.D., earned his doctorate in Mechanical Engineering, specializing in biomechanics and bio-materials. He is currently the director of a hospital-based research group in Toronto. Rad has been involved in the house church and small group movement since 1985. He is the author of The Global House Church Movement (2004) and the allegorical novel Entopia: Revolution of the Ants (2008). He is also the editor of Nexus: The World House Church Movement Reader (2007) and The Starfish Files house church magazine. He lives in downtown Toronto, Canada. Email: email@example.com, Web: www.housechurch.ca
As house church leaders, our job is not simply to organize a weekly meeting, but rather to build community between members, facilitate spiritual growth, and create an inviting atmosphere for newcomers. Our job is not unlike that of the apostle Paul, who wrote, “we delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us” (1 Thes 2:8). The house church elder(s) has two roles, namely that of Shepherd and Strategist. ***Principle. What is common sense must become common practice***
Shepherd (nurture, protect, “heart”)
Set tone, boundaries, safety set out protection for people in the group e.g. at the start of each new group or when new people joint, I usually state that (1) anyone can say anything but with respect, (2) group confidentiality Stimulate Relationships bad leader – creates a group whose primary relationship is with him/her good leader – stimulates relationships b/w members e.g. test – from time to time I‟ll leave the room during group to see if activity continues Resolve Conflicts do not need to be „police‟ but will need to be arbitrator from time to time…encourage people to resolve it themselves first … e.g. I have had to ask someone to leave a group b/c they were way too disruptive continually Pray for People nurture an environment of prayer as far as the group depends by praying one-on-one, during group time, and encouraging others to pray e.g. seekers group – I had quiet time at end of group as opportunity to pray…some started to… e.g. shy people - I ask people before hand to if they‟re willing to open/close in prayer or even the day or week before Be Aware of Special Needs be aware of people and their individual needs and wants e.g. intellectual needs – learning tracks – resource individuals with books, seminars, videos, etc e.g. physical – if the person is a shut in or in a wheel chair you can still involve them greatly (I had a friend host our group in his home because he was in a wheel chair and was shut in during cold months) e.g. emotional – does someone need professional counseling that you can‟t give? 1
Strategist (vision, direction, “head”)
Lead and Organize the House Church can share facilitation, but it is important that the HC leader(s) actually lead… leader(s) needs to be there, otherwise things may not get done or way too slowly…don‟t be afraid to lead and make decisions Encourage People to Function in their Spiritual Gifts look for opportunities to involve people, especially to encourage people to function in their “spiritual gifts” during meetings (1 Cor 14:26) and to have a balance of Word, Worship, Witness, and Works e.g. we remember 10 % of what we read, 20 % of what we hear, 30 % of what we see, 50 % of what we hear and see, 70 % of what we say ourselves, 90 % of what we do ourselves (Wolfgang Simson, Houses that Change the World, p.86) Ensure Solid Teaching make sure that sound teaching is present in your house church keep out any flakey or false teachings and/or teachers e.g. encourage those with teaching gifts to give teaching sessions on occasion, encourage people to have regular Bible intake on their own, invite those you trust to visit and teach, use study resources on occasion when a need arises, create a simple “statement of faith” for your house church so that you use it to give to newcomers to avoid confusion later on Identify Emerging Leaders right from your first get together, look for potential leader and begin to mentor them get together regularly to talk about, plan, and pray for the group, pray for each other… potential leaders are not necessarily the most vocal or gifted person, but rather F.A.C.T. - Faithful (keen and eager, they fulfill their promises, consistently do prep work if required) - Available (make time to be there and get involved in other ways…not the person who is last to arrive and first to leave) - Capable (has gifts, abilities, and right timing to function as a leader) - Teachable (open, not big complainer, willing to try things, learner‟s attitude) One-on-One Mentoring of Others in the Group need mentors: non, new, or growing Christians, people in pain, emerging leaders this doesn‟t have to be only you, can be your co-leader or someone else in the group e.g. I had 2 mentors/spiritual dads who met weekly with me for 2 years and 4 years, and I have mentored a number of folks too over extended periods of time, several months to years “Open Chair” – new people, evangelism be open and deliberate about inviting new people and encourage others in the group to do so model it, pray about it, encourage/talk about it e.g. some groups literally have an open chair during their time as a reminder, and spend some time together to pray for the new person who will one day fill it Know when to Multiply your group, Plant a new group, or End your group is your group willing to multiply or plant ? what are the obstacles ? multiply, plant, or end only with the Lord‟s clear direction ... some ideas are … - group gets big (20 or so) - when there are 1 or 2 who feel led and want to plant a new group (at work or school or neighbourhood)…encourage them…commission them …pray for them in some cases it is best to end your group temporarily or permanently, if… - group gets stale or is together way too long…usually if a group does not multiply/plant in 1-1.5 yrs, it probably never will 2
by RAD ZDERO
The Global House Church Movement Rad Zdero gives you biblical, historical, and practical insights for a radical new type of church that is arising all around the world. This book is guaranteed to challenge your understanding of what the church is really meant to be and do! Perfect as a study guide to kickstart a new house church! (paperback, 155 pages) Best price from … www.missionbooks.org
Nexus: The World House Church Movement Reader As the editor of this volume, Rad Zdero has compiled the writings of almost 40 house church leaders and scholars from 20 countries in over 60 provocative articles. Get trained to start your own network of missional house churches no matter where you live! (paperback, 528 pages) Best price from … www.missionbooks.org
Entopia: Revolution of the Ants An allegorical tale written in the tradition of C.S. Lewis’s Narnia chronicles and George Orwell’s Animal Farm. An adventure of grassroots revolution in the hierarchical and ordered world of an anthill. The system must change! Although just a fable, it has challenges for the church to grapple with. Fun for kids of all ages! (paperback, illustrated, 132 pages) Best price from …
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
RAD ZDERO earned his Ph.D. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Queen’s University (Kingston, Canada), specializing in bio-mechanics and bio-materials. He is the director of a hospital-based research lab in Toronto, Canada. Rad has been actively involved in the house church and small group movement since 1985 and is dedicated to encouraging the full restoration of original New Testament Christianity in our day.