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Posts from November 2009

Mission Ship MV Doulos will stop sailing

The famous missionary ship MV Doulos will cease operations at the end of this year. This is a great pity but understandable given the age of the ship - its the world's oldest ocean-going passenger ship.

mv doulos operation mobilization mission ship

"“We recognise God’s faithfulness through these 32 years of wonderful service of the ‘servant’—Doulos — as an outstanding OM ministry, through more than 600 port visits in over 100 countries. Many lives have been transformed, both visitors and those who have served on board." CEO Peter Nicoll, Doulos Updates

I was last on the MV Doulos in Perth, Western Australia. So many memories. Such a great ministry. This will be devasting news for many.

HT: My dear friend John Satterly, who joined OM Ships the same time I did (MV Logos, 1985) and now gives leadership to the MV Doulos at the HQ in Mosbach, Germany, emailed this morning.

John writes: "Dear friends,It is with shock and sadness we pass on news about the Doulos.We need your PRAYERS for the many hundreds of people personally affected and for all the major decisions that now need to be faced very quickly".

How to estimate church attendence

It's a complex thing to measure church attendance but here are a few pointers on arriving at an accurate number based on the attendance figures they give you.

- 50% if its a Pentecostal worship service because they count the legs and forget to divide by two.

- 30% if its a Baptist church because they count members on the roll and not all of them are still living.

+ 10 if its a Vineyard service because those rugs on the floor were actually people!

Continue reading "How to estimate church attendence" »

Rockin' Western Europe's Poorest City

Only 2 weeks until our Rock on Christmas Festival happens down in Olhão , Portugal. They say it is the poorest city in Western Europe. Olhão has been a city based on the fishing industry. There was, until recently, 97 fishing businesses in Olhão, that sustained its economy. But that number has been reduced down to 2. Thats 2 instead of 97. Can you imagine?

Needless to say, unemployment is everywhere and the problems that come with it.

But we are going to ROCK the city of Olhão this Christmas. 9 bands have donated their time and resources to come down for this for-benefit concert, making it affordable (8 "rocks" or 8 euros for the whole weekend) and opening up doors for urban transformation. THANKS to the bands!! You guys rock! And kudos to Denny Hurst who is making it all happen, and to his church back in Penn State for their support [more churches are needed to support the Hurst family btw]. Also kudos to local church pastors who are getting the word out this weekend to their congregations.

We got the posters yesterday. But we still don't have electricity at the warehouse. Anyone else wanna come down? Fly to Faro (really cheap on easy jet) and turn south. Olhão butts up to Faro like two cheeks of a . . . doesn't matter - its right next to it. We are setting up a campsite to make it all affordable for everyone. Bring a tent. And ear plugs.

6 More Types of House Church

The last post on why you can no longer ignore the emerging house church movement generated a few comments regarding the actual size of the movement and how it is estimated. Thanks everyone for your thoughts. I realize the movement is difficult to see, as I have written about before. The article was written by Wolfgang Simson who was one of the key people at last weeks Global House Church Summit in Delhi, attended by 200 participants from 40 countries.

What about those numbers? Is it really that big? Who did the research? Wolfgang and I have chatted on email and he yesterday he wrote down some thoughts which I will blog here. Bold fonts were added by me.

six packAnother Six Pack of House Churches

by Wolfgang Simson

Many underestimate the number of house churches greatly because of a limiting box they could be put into. There are not only those nice, easily counteable house churches (hc’s) out there, some of whom even have web sites! In addition to organized house churches, some of them resourced by 5-fold ministries, there are at least six more groups:

1 Off-the-grid house churches that intentionally do not want to be known, listed or be on anybody's radar. We find out about them by accident or through opinion polling or sampling, the kind of research George Barna does.

These OoCC (out of Church Christians) gatherings contain a lot of the God-yes-church-no crowd out there.

2 Business groups, either house churches within a company or those connecting folks in the business world. This number is huge but hard to track as many business folks believe it’s nobodies business whether they hang out with witches, freemasons or create or join their by invitations-only organic churches for support.

Continue reading "6 More Types of House Church" »

Why you can no longer ignore the emerging house church movement

Don't look for the elephant in the room. Look instead at the colonies of mice that have burrowed inside the furniture and are now taking over the house.

"The latest research indicates that the number of house churches in Europe have already reached or surpassed 10,000, Australia could have up to 10,000, and New Zealand up to 6,000 house churches. Research in the US shows that between 6 and 12 million are already attending house churches, making house churches one of the three largest Christian groups in the country. In the case of Bangladesh or India, with many hundreds of thousands of house churches, the various networks of house churches have already become the largest Christian movements in their respective countries."

Wolfgang Simson, in the report he sent me this morning from last weeks summit in Delhi, India. Global House Church Summit report.pdf

Previously on TSK: Tiny is the new small, House churches 1% - 9% in a decade, Emerging house church movement, George Barna on house church, House churches have no sex appeal.

Good morning everyone!

Good morning everyone. Its a beautiful day, just as David predicted and Bono confirmed. This is the day that the Lord has made.

Good morning family of mine. Good morning sexy wife and good morning kids who had to explain the idea of 'fertilizer' in Farmville to me this morning. I must be getting old.

Good morning Matos family who are letting us park on their land. Paulo Matos is the original tattoo artist in Portugal and also the best. And a wonderful host. He is proud of his latest edition which you read upside down for the full effect.


Good morning to my friends gathering at Mission 21, the church planters meeting in Bath, England. Sorry I cant be with you this time. Reinhold, are you there?

Good morning to John La Grou who has been reading Francis Chan's explanation of moving from a larger resource hungry attractional church to a more underground neighborhood network - the same transition I went through in the early nineties, and for very similar reasons. Good morning Francis. We should meet up one day.

Step my step you lead me.


Good morning Rich Mullins, I know you are passed forward but I am listening to your music right now, after thinking I had lost it off my hard drive. I am listening to it on iTunes on my computer that you never saw because you died in Christ before all that cool stuff arrived but hey - I am thinking of you today and want to remind you, as if you didn't know, that you are just as much a part of the church as we are. Some of us have been talking about "deep ecclesiology" again but no one ever gets around to including the people of faith now passed on - before and after Christ - who are a cloud of witnesses and just as much a part of God's people as those living. Somebody needs to read Hebrews. Rich, you rocked our world and continue to rock it. Your understanding of God and his creation was so much larger than the industry that bought your music. We must talk soon . . . but not too soon!

Everywhere I go I see you!

Good morning to Kirk Bartha has been running across Canada promoting his new book Clairvaux Manifesto

Rich, did you make it to the Maritimes in Canada? You would have loved it. Kirk was just in Halifax. I was there a long time ago. Very celtic.

Good morning OD Mafia. Your post on the "robutt monkey" was the funniest thing i read this morning. heh heh heh!!!

Good morning Ed Stetzer, waking up to a second day of a church planters meeting for denominational leaders. Some good tweats. Must be going well.

Continue reading "Good morning everyone!" »

Red-Eye Shift at a 24-7 Prayer Room

Our family took the red-eye shift at the local 24-7 Prayer room on Saturday night. We tagged teamed all night until 6 in the morning. Our kids slept in their sleeping bags until they were tagged. They did well. And they loved it. A lot more colorful and interactive than the boring prayer meetings I used to attend. Not complaining . . those were good times too.

Funny how 24-7 Prayer rooms around the world all look the same. There is always a Bible, a map, coffee or tea, cd player, either paints or pencils, blank paper on the wall with doodlings from previous pray-ers.

It was nine years ago when Pete Grieg started the first one in Chichester. A few months later, Pete was showing me around the prayer room which by then was absolutely stuffed full of art and sculpture and grafitti. The English tend to be messy pray-ers, compared with the other countries who are often hesitant to throw paint on a wall. I took some video of that original prayer room because I thought it was an historic moment. And it was. 24-7 Prayer Rooms have popped up about 63 countries.

Its a great movement and I always appreciate when I get invited to speak to the 24-7 Prayer leaders, esp. that wicked cool time in Spain. I might go up to England next Feb for their Ten Year Birthday bash called IAM10.

Now don't be confused! There are at least two movements with similar names: 24-7 Prayer and 24/7 Prayer. Here's the difference:

Continue reading "Red-Eye Shift at a 24-7 Prayer Room" »