On June 10-11, 2019, a diverse group of individuals from around the United States met in Oklahoma City to take part in a house church planting training provided by Evangelism USA (EVUSA) in conjunction with Dynamic Church Planting International (DCPI).
EVUSA’s Executive Director Garry Bryant led the training which focused on the benefits and successes of house church planting–both globally and domestically. This focus stems from the desire to fulfill what Christ demands of his followers, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). It also seeks to accomplish the ARISE 2033 vision set forth by Presiding Bishop Doug Beacham at the 2017 General Conference in Orlando, Florida. ARISE 2033 includes the following goals:
• IPHC congregations in 75% of the counties in the United States
• 3,500 local churches in the USA
• 200 new traditional congregations among new immigrant populations
• House church planting movement across the USA
• An IPHC presence in 150 nations
• 5,000 new IPHC congregations outside of the United States
Bishop Bryant opened the first session by laying a scriptural foundation from John 21:1- 6. From this passage, he shared that Peter had all the resources, but no fish. Jesus tells Peter to cast his net on the other side, and as the story plays out, there was an abundance of fish caught. The principle was simple, “minor adjustments equal major results.” Bishop Bryant stated, “The responsibility is to follow Jesus and let Him make us fishers of men.” He contended that if the lost are going to reach the lost effectively, some adjustments are necessary.
Important information was provided on the current state of the church in the United States. He stated, “The average American church in this nation sees one conversion per year.” He continued by sharing that many American churches see no conversions per year.
The participants were encouraged to hear that house church planting was a primary piece being used for global evangelism. India was used as a present-day demonstration of effective house church planting model, where they are seeing record number of salvations and Christian converts across their nation.
The second biblical foundation for house church planting was provided from Luke 10:1-11. In this passage, Christ sent out the seventy-two to minister in groups of two and gave them specific instructions about ministering in the cities they visited. Bishop Bryant used this passage as the main principle and practice for house church planting and provided the following five main points:
Field 1: Luke 10: 1-11 Seeing empty fields
Field 2: John 4: 1-42 Spreading gospel seeds
Field 3: Acts 2:38-47 Cultivating the fields
Field 4: Acts 2:38-47 Harvesting churches
Field 5: Matthew 28:18-20 Multiplying the harvest
Throughout the training, the class had the unique opportunity to apply the teaching in a practical setting. In one particular instance, the class practiced the principle taught in Luke 10:1-11 by splitting up in twos and leaving the classroom to pray and walk. One of the class members was able to speak to a passerby leaving a local restaurant who was dealing with health and family issues. The team was able to pray with him and show the love of Christ. Another example of hands-on training was when the class engaged with one another in discussions and brainstormed about effectively reaching the lost through house church planting.
Assistant superintendent of the Heartland Conference, Terry Lowder, feels that house churches are an important part of the church’s vision. “The IPHC ARISE 2033 vision compels us to use every available method to reap the harvest. House churches are the future of evangelism in America. The DCPI house church training is an excellent resource, and I look forward to training dozens of planters.”
Pastor Guillermo Rivera also shared his excitement about house church planting, “I am so excited to be a part of something that has the potential to do what it has done before: spread the gospel, multiply disciples, attract new believers, and create a movement that can aggressively reach our nation for Jesus.”
During this time of ministry training, we were provided with an effective globally tested and proven model for house church planting. We were made aware of our challenges here in the American church but gained a renewed commitment to engage new evangelism strategies to see the lost saved, the harvest reaped and the IPHC accomplish its God designed destiny.
This house church planting model is in the beginning stages within the IPHC. If you are interested in being a pioneer and learning about house church planting, please contact the office of Evangelism USA at (405) 792-7146 or firstname.lastname@example.org.