I wrote this piece today, explaining our ministry here in Kansas City called KC Underground. It’s what both Rob and I have been doing for almost two years and it has been such a joy. We are helping lead a movement made up of microchurches. I realize that term might need some explanation, so here is what Microchurch is and what it isn’t.
The Church of Jesus is alive and well and will overcome no matter what stands in its way, even a worldwide pandemic that disrupted everything we know about daily life and routines. Jesus is still alive, and God is on the Throne. The Spirit of God is blowing around us and in us and through us like never before and I see the fire of His light alive in the lives of ones just like yourself.
Most of what we have all known of as “Church” is what happens on Sunday morning at the weekend service. No one could have imagined that a disruption of this scale could force us to rethink a model that has worked for followers of Jesus in the past few centuries. Yet, here we are.
I admire and respect the men and women leading these churches, though incredible odds have been stacked against them. I see the spirit of God alive and well in these pastors and church leaders even though they are leading their people through what seems impossible odds. They are not giving up. I see the opposite, a new hunger to learn and a reinvigorating passion for that which they were originally called to.
I’ve been so impressed with pastors and church leaders having the courage to ask tough questions and collaborate for new methods of reaching others with the Gospel of Jesus and the love, grace and redemption he freely offers us all.
It has been challenging for pastors and church leaders to navigate these brand new circumstances we have never before encountered inside the Church. As a result, many large churches are becoming interested in starting Microchurch programs, seeing that a decentralized model of church might be more effective than the gathering of thousands at 10am on Sunday mornings. We are all looking, hoping and praying for a better way.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic began, the leadership of the KC Underground has played a role in assisting 11,000 pastors and church leaders through crisis coaching, as well as continued coaching on the microchurch model. It has been humbling and encouraging all at once.
The KC Underground most certainly does not claim to own the term “Microchurch”, nor do we want to sound like the experts we are not, but we would like to clarify that which we are currently giving our lives to and what we so deeply believe in.
The way the KC Underground lives, breathes, and teaches microchurch is very different than how many large churches define a new branch of their ministry called, “Microchurch.”
We are just clarifying who we are and what we believe the microchurch model has and will continue to accomplish.
Many large churches are advertising Microchurch as a branch of ministry within itself. This is fine and good, of course. Each church must follow the voice of the spirit in all they do and how they serve the ones they are called to equip with the light and love of Jesus.
We define microchurch much differently. It might take a minute, but we firmly believe that this “new” method of church is as old as the very first followers of Jesus recorded in the Bible.
In Acts 2 we read,
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
We are big fans of doing church the way it is described in that passage of scripture. We are living it out.
Here’s what we are doing, practically speaking:
For the past year and a half when the KC Underground was formed, we have seen the Gospel planted in some of the most unexpected places and as a result have seen 25 microchurches sprout up among us. It’s astounding really. Each of those microchurches represent dozens of individuals responding to an invitation to hear about Jesus, build community and grow in faith together. Here’s how we do it:
• At our weekly gathering, members of our equipping team train the Underground missionaries with tools to reach their friends, neighborhoods and networks with the gospel of Jesus
• At our weekly gathering, we also worship, share in communion and listen to one another share about what God is doing in their own lives and microchurches.
• We have pastors who lead and equip. A few men, a few women.
• We don’t usually refer to one another as “Pastor so-and-so” because we believe we are all missionaries called to the same purpose. No one’s voice is the most important voice. We all speak. We all listen.
• We have an elder team who cares for the pastors and missionaries
• For the first three years, the salaries for pastors and staff are raised outside of the KC Underground budget. This is so tithes and offerings that come in can be put right back into equipping emerging microchurches among us and gives us the opportunity to be generous in our community.
And finally, The statements below aren’t meant to be a “Good vs. Bad” comparison of church methodology. If it comes off that way, I sincerely apologize. I have been a part of every type of church imaginable and have seen God move and disciples grown in all of them. It’s just what we love and what we are doing right now.
What Microchurch Is What Microchurch is Not
Is …a gathering of people following Jesus in a space where the gospel has been planted by a missionary.
Is not …a gathering of people who belong to a large church, meeting in the home of a church member to fellowship and study the bible together
Is…. a prayerful and purposefully chosen neighborhood or network where the Gospel of Jesus is planted with the hope of a microchurch emerging.
Is not…Christ followers gathering in the home of a church member to discuss or view the weekend service.
Is….a collective of other microchurches
Is not… a branch of a large church ministry or outreach program
Is…sending out second generation missionaries to plant the Gospel of Jesus in other neighborhood’s and networks not yet saturated with the beauty and love of Jesus.
Is not…a small group that has gotten too large and needs to divide.
Microchurch is usually a gathering of 10-20 people
Microchurch is not a traditional church small group
Microchurches occasionally meet in a home.
Microchurch is not House Church
Microchurch is church at its simplest form
Thank you for taking the time to read this very, very long post. I hope it has been helpful.