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Stage 4: Gathering

New believers worship together

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:18-20).

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers (Acts 2:42).

  • Outcome: Group follows a local leader

  • Key Person: Local leader

  • How to Give: Give toward micro-projects initiated by the emerging leader for others, and toward helping them meet together regularly

  • How to Pray: Pray for the new believers to have courage to meet, and for the Spirit of God to be poured out on their gatherings

  • How to Go: Go affirm the new local leader by visibly submitting to their leadership in whatever activities you’ve gone to serve in

  • How to Partner: Partner by supporting and coaching the new leader through the process of birthing a church

Description:

The first convert begins to tell their friends, and as they’re affected by the gospel they begin to meet together. Or, the worker gathers together a few converts and introduces them to each other in Christian community. This stage is complete when the resulting group is meeting regularly for worship under the leadership of local leadership (in a church plant / house church). Mobilization, Connection, and Witness continue under the local leader’s influence.

Biblical Foundation:

Jesus anticipated the emergence of the church, made up of people from all nations who gather around the confession that Jesus is Lord and Christ (Matt 16:18; Acts 2:36). The coming of the Spirit at Pentecost creates the church—a new creation—where those who have been reconciled to God and to each other through Jesus’ death on the cross are baptized by one Spirit into one body (2 Cor. 5:16-17; 1 Cor. 12:13). Jesus’ commission to make disciples of all nations recognizes that his followers have been given the keys to the kingdom because they are called to invite others to live under God’s reign (Matt. 16:19). Water baptism symbolizes both being cleansed by the Spirit at conversion (Titus 3:5) and being incorporated into Christ (Rom. 6:3), in whose body the Spirit unites all members without distinction between male and female, nation, race or caste (Gal. 3:28).

When those who have the Spirit of Christ gather (Rom. 8:9), Christ promised he would be present among them (Matt. 18:20). Central to making disciples who are learners and followers of Jesus, is teaching them to obey everything Christ has taught and to be established in the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2:4). The church is devoted to fellowship—sharing in common, participating together, mutual giving and receiving—as partners in Christ. Just as Christ loved the church, so the church itself is characterized first and foremost by love for one another, which is lived out through reconciled relationships, forgiveness and care for one another (Col. 3:13-14; 1 John 4:11). The church’s regular participation in the Lord’s Supper expresses believers’ reconciliation, peace and unity with Christ and with one another in recognition of what Christ did on the cross and in anticipation of his coming again (1 Cor. 11:23-26). 

Believers should not forsake gathering together regularly (Heb. 10:25) around worship of the Triune God, which offers a transforming encounter with God through the unifying presence of his Spirit, hearing the word of Christ, and acknowledging complete dependence upon the Father through thanksgiving and prayer (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16).

<<Mission Strategy Map          Stage 5: Equipping>>

Stage 4: Gathering

New believers worship together

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:18-20).

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers (Acts 2:42).

  • Outcome: Group follows a local leader

  • Key Person: Local leader

  • How to Give: Give toward micro-projects initiated by the emerging leader for others, and toward helping them meet together regularly

  • How to Pray: Pray for the new believers to have courage to meet, and for the Spirit of God to be poured out on their gatherings

  • How to Go: Go affirm the new local leader by visibly submitting to their leadership in whatever activities you’ve gone to serve in

  • How to Partner: Partner by supporting and coaching the new leader through the process of birthing a church

Description:

The first convert begins to tell their friends, and as they’re affected by the gospel they begin to meet together. Or, the worker gathers together a few converts and introduces them to each other in Christian community. This stage is complete when the resulting group is meeting regularly for worship under the leadership of local leadership (in a church plant / house church). Mobilization, Connection, and Witness continue under the local leader’s influence.

Biblical Foundation:

Jesus anticipated the emergence of the church, made up of people from all nations who gather around the confession that Jesus is Lord and Christ (Matt 16:18; Acts 2:36). The coming of the Spirit at Pentecost creates the church—a new creation—where those who have been reconciled to God and to each other through Jesus’ death on the cross are baptized by one Spirit into one body (2 Cor. 5:16-17; 1 Cor. 12:13). Jesus’ commission to make disciples of all nations recognizes that his followers have been given the keys to the kingdom because they are called to invite others to live under God’s reign (Matt. 16:19). Water baptism symbolizes both being cleansed by the Spirit at conversion (Titus 3:5) and being incorporated into Christ (Rom. 6:3), in whose body the Spirit unites all members without distinction between male and female, nation, race or caste (Gal. 3:28).

When those who have the Spirit of Christ gather (Rom. 8:9), Christ promised he would be present among them (Matt. 18:20). Central to making disciples who are learners and followers of Jesus, is teaching them to obey everything Christ has taught and to be established in the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2:4). The church is devoted to fellowship—sharing in common, participating together, mutual giving and receiving—as partners in Christ. Just as Christ loved the church, so the church itself is characterized first and foremost by love for one another, which is lived out through reconciled relationships, forgiveness and care for one another (Col. 3:13-14; 1 John 4:11). The church’s regular participation in the Lord’s Supper expresses believers’ reconciliation, peace and unity with Christ and with one another in recognition of what Christ did on the cross and in anticipation of his coming again (1 Cor. 11:23-26). 

Believers should not forsake gathering together regularly (Heb. 10:25) around worship of the Triune God, which offers a transforming encounter with God through the unifying presence of his Spirit, hearing the word of Christ, and acknowledging complete dependence upon the Father through thanksgiving and prayer (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16).

<<Mission Strategy Map          Stage 5: Equipping>>