KEN CHITWOOD’S NEWSLETTER TO PARTNERS IN MINISTRY
After sharing a sermon on Acts 17, I took the time to get to know Rev. Lawrence Gboeah (far left), Borbor and Charles Carter (middle left & right respectively). Borbor and Charles are planting a house church in East Orange, NJ.
The why, how & what of house churches Here’s the statistic that should get your attention: 7 out of 10 people who don’t go to church wouldn’t mind talking about Jesus in a home...they just won’t go to a church building to do it. Enter the house church. If you take a moment to read the book of Acts (and the rest of the NT) you will notice that often times, those early believers were meeting in each other’s homes (Acts 2:42; 5:42; 12:12; 16:40; 20:20; Rom. 16:3-5, 23; 1 Cor. 16:19; Col. 4:15 & Philem. 2). They broke bread together, they prayed together, t hey talked about Jesus, his miracles, his ministry, his death, his resurrection, his promise of life. They shared in the apostle’s teaching and they shared this message with their community. And the LORD added to their number daily.
It’s an exciting prospect, and the need is clear. The United States, let alone far-off countries, is one of the largest missions fields in the world. Unfortunately, too many mainline churches are dying, and from the city to the suburbs, c hurc h buildings stand empty; edifices to a “Christian culture” of the past. House churches are pretty simple in form. They are gatherings of believers who live the rhythm of life with their community, connect with God at home through worship, prayer and study, and share that life and the Gospel with one another in thought, word and deed - serving the community along the way. It’s church...at home, in the community, right next door. House churches are typically small. Anywhere from 20-70 people at most. They replicate of ten, branching off into new areas and
reaching new people. They may focus on a particular area or demographic. Whatever they do, they reach people that would never step foot in a church building. In June I took a team from Memorial Lutheran Katy to New Jersey to learn, serve and pray alongside Charles Carter and his team of house church planters in East Orange, New Jersey. We learned a lot. That’s a good thing. In the Fall we are going to launch our first house church here in Katy, hopefully planting three more in the spring. We are calling these gatherings ACTS Communities. Appropriate huh? Would you pray that these would be beacons of light in our communities? That perhaps through this ministry one of the 7/10 people might come to know Christ? Thanks for your prayers!
The philosophy of the FiveTwo Network is that Christ provides all the Church needs for its mission on Earth (think two loaves, five fish...FiveTwo). In that spirit, the organization is a collaboration between Gospel planters throughout the world that are dedicated to sacramental missions in the name of Christ. It is my distinct honor to be a part of FiveTwo as a catalyst, encouraging missional collaboration in West Houston and stoking the fire for new church plants in our area. Interested in learning more about FiveTwo? Check out their website - www.fivetwo.com or sign-up for the upcoming wikiconference at www.wiki52.com.
Learn more about LINC Houston About nine months ago I was blessed with the opportunity to take on more responsibility at LINC Houston. Since October 2011 I’ve been ser vice as a Media & Communications Specialist. This means I oversee our online news, our monthly supporter’s newsletter and our social media campaigns as well as consult on media liaisons and our website. The best part of the new job is sharing LINC’s story with Houston, partner churches and supporters throughout the nation. If you’d like to learn more about LINC, see examples of my work or sign-up for our monthly newsletter head to our website www.linchouston.org - and sign up at the top of the page! You can also follow us on Facebook & Twitter.
Mission training - wherever, whenever Mission training is my passion. There is something amazing watching Christ mold and shape an individual through intentional quality discipleship and mission training and education. The cool thing about my job with LINC is that I get to do this in a variety of ways. Since March and in the months to come, here are a few of the ways I am training others and equipping them for ministry among their family, friends and community:
1. Summer Travel Plans - After a trip to New Zealand (where I preached in t he Manawatu) and anot her to Newark/New York (working with a house church planting movement) I am headed to California from July 8-19. I will be visiting a couple of churches while I am there and will touch base w i t h f a m i l y, f r i e n d s & f e l l o w missionaries while taking a summer class. In September I am headed to NorCal for a retreat & church visit. In October I am headed to Bethesda, MD & Kenya, the latter with Memorial Lutheran Churc h (see the last newsletter for more information on our church’s mission partnership there). I would love to connect when I am in your area, as I always enjoy touching base wit h suppor ters & fr iends wherever I go! 2. School, school, school- Some supporters, family & friends recently asked about my school experience & training at seminary. I am officially half-way done with my Master’s degree & have two more years left (with the concurrent vicarage in Houston). This summer I will start work on my thesis & my vicarage project (more on that in the next update). I am enjoying my classes and learning a lot about ministry, Scripture and theology. Thanks for supporting me on my vicarage so I can pay attention to my studies!
+For the second year in a row we hosted a group of DCE students from Concordia University Texas for a Missional Leadership class. This intensive class involved cultural immersion, hands-on service learning and intense multi-ethnic/urban ministry training and processing. +As LBI looks to change for the future we are developing more online resources. This will include 180 videos covering topics like urban ministry, multi-ethnic mission, Lutheran theology, leadership and community development. These videos will be posted starting this autumn. I am also constructing webinars, book reviews and other online sources for training in mission ministry. Our videos on YouTube already have over 10,000 views from over 80 countries! +In early June I was in Austin for the Ministerial Youth Retreat (see photo above) where I worked with several high school and college young adults and helped them process their call to ministry and mission in whatever vocation they end up in. +Learning comes quick when it is hands on. That’s why I love experiential training on mission like our New York mission trip where participants learned about house church planting, prayer walking and community connections by being part of all three! +There are churches all over that are in search of quality mission training. Through LBI’s e4 initiatives we can bring whatever training you need to your church’s campus. Interested in putting together a course in your community or at your church? Contact me at email@example.com.
Through it all, I know Christ is at work in this training. He is the one developing people for mission. Just in the last month I’ve seen Christ at work in the lives of over 43 people through this missions training. Thanks for making that possible!
Would you like to contribute? The work I do here in Houston through LINC is 100% funded by donations from my friends, families & partners in ministry. As of June 2012 I am yet to be 50% funded. Consider making a contribution to the mission fund: PLEASE SEND YOUR SUPPORT TO LINC HOUSTON, MEMO: Ken Chitwood (161 West Rd., Houston, TX 77037) or Visit http://www.razoo.com/story/Ken-Chitwood-Missional-Training www.razoo.com/story/Ken-Chitwood-Missional-Training