In 1990 Dan and I began a journey of faith that would take us away from church as we knew it—to another way of living in Christ together. For the last 24 years we have experienced our spiritual journey with a smaller group of covenant friends. We started church gatherings called The Summit Fellowships, after experiencing a life altering gathering called a ‘Prayer Summit’. A prayer summit is a multiple day gathering of Christians (often leaders), under the leadership of the Holy Spirit—learning to listen together for His leadership of the Church. I was profoundly changed. Dan was forever changed. We wanted the kind of life that we experienced during those four days together to continue after we returned home.
I have been a follower of Jesus for the last 42 years. My greatest joys have been experienced with the Church along with my greatest lament. It has been the longing of my heart to see the Body of Christ come to maturity. Over the years I have pursued so many initiatives for Bible study in order to see believers mature. Seven years ago the Lord interrupted all of my previous patterns and began to grace me with a picture of what He had in mind. The result is something called the Sonship Study. It has developed from many of the elements we learned at prayer summits that produced such intimacy in prayer. What could happen if those same elements were introduced to our learning in community? And how might this way of learning be passed along relationally—rather than as information?
A closer look at Jesus, particularly from the Book of Hebrews, focused me on the lessons He came and modeled for us of what it looks like to be restored to our intended identity of Sonship (living life in the Son and as a son) and the assignment given (the Great Commission) to turn around and pass it on.
Something incredible began to happen … something that we call ‘The Church of the Heart‘. There are marvelous stories from all of this, but a couple in particular stand out. In Medellin Colombia about 2 ½ years ago. I shared the first year of the Sonship study there with about 20 pastoral leaders. A woman named Magdelena heard and in turn, shared with her husband. They were associate pastors in a traditional congregation. They chose to leave—and using the Sonship study, they began to plant a home church with ALL unbelievers. All came to Christ—and one of those couples took the material and planted another church among unbelievers. They all came to Christ and another couple was raised up and planted a church. This continues. Within a year and a half, four generations of gatherings(all unbelievers) have come to Christ and are maturing in their faith and calling, gathering relationally and passing what they have received on to others relationally.
I also shared this with a chaplain in Wisconsin, who ministers in a large county jail. She introduced it in both the men and women’s pods. Within 3 weeks a majority of the women had responded to Christ. (The entire story can be found on our blog).
We are watching multiplication take place and in ways that move past where we might attend church on a Sunday. These Churches of the Heart are multiplying under His Name and not just our local Church title. Since Sonship is passed on relationally—it has moved past my ability to keep track of all the unfolding. There is so much to share and be grateful for.