Around the world we see numerous examples of the church growing through networks of multiplying small, simple communities, or microchurches. It is the mission and heart desire of Restoration Fellowship to encourage and facilitate this movement. It is our hope that these simple gatherings will remain affiliated with Restoration Fellowship Network in a role of fellowship and cooperation in continuing the microchurch multiplication mission. We choose to describe these Communities as "SIMPLE ORGANIC CHRISTIAN COMMUNITIES,” to emphasize that:
These are simple and easily reproducible, there are no demands for performance or certain things that have to happen, the relationships are more important than the structure, in other words, people based rather than program based.
They are organic in nature in that they are a dynamic organism rather than an organization or institution. Each community is as unique as the people in the community, everyone is involved in giving and receiving ministry to each other, as led by God which requires trust and flexibility.
They are gatherings for believers in Christ to aid in fulfilling the purposes of God together: Community, Mission, and Worship.
They function as a close community or family rather than as a club or a clique. Cliques desire to maintain the status quo and exclude, rather than include. Our Father is overjoyed when we include others in the growing family of God.
It is helpful to unload the baggage associated with the term "church" and instead use terms such as gathering, community, fellowship, etc. (learn more about the Greek word "ekklesia.")
The model is quite simple and reproducible. In general: Multiple means are available to begin gathering individuals committed to simple, organic church principles and practice but the primary means is through committed prayer. Some examples of developing connection are: seeker Bible studies, LifeChange Partners, outreach to non-believers, neighborhood potluck meals, service to others, giving away copies of the DBS Journal, etc.. However, the best place to find a “person of peace” is your current sphere of influence. Link here for a sample outline of the First 4 Gatherings. When there are 4-5 people committed to God and to the guiding principles of being a Simple Organic Christian Community, it should prayerfully be considered whether you want to officially commit together as a Community. You may choose to mark this occasion with a celebration of new beginnings, or signing a Covenant of Commitment. You can find recommendations on How To Meet, as well as using an easy to follow Bible study format called Disciples Bible Study, also explore our Frequently Asked Questions.
As the Community grows together, it must also grow outwardly by members launching new communities, creating an organically connected network of Simple Organic Christian Communities. We think it works best to follow a “Chain Link” Principle. This encourages each person to remain connected to two groups, the one they are in now, which is their “family of origin,” and the one they are starting or have started, their new “nuclear family.” This helps people not feel like they are losing connection with family yet can still fulfill the kingdom mission of launching new communities.
Periodically, the Communities join together in a “family reunion” for special occasions of prayer, teaching, and/or worship. It may happen as often as monthly or as infrequently as quarterly.
As disciples move to different cities or countries, either due to work/family reasons or purposefully in service to God, launching new communities starts all over again!
Although there are numerous examples of this model, only a few links are given as examples. One is facilitated by well known Christian pastor/author, Francis Chan who stepped down as pastor of a mega-church to start "We Are Church" in the San Francisco area. Similar models given as examples include KC Underground, a network of microchurches in Missouri/Kansas; The Bridge in New York City; Crowded House in the Twin Cities of Minnesota; and Summit Fellowships a network in Portland, Oregon. .
(Restoration Fellowship Network may not agree with all perspectives presented, however, they generally present universal principles applicable to all)