The New Testament Church is an assembly of believers, committed to the Kingdom Mandate, who gather one or more times each week under the Headship of Jesus Christ; who are submitted to each other in love; who support each other’s ongoing work of being and making disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ; who edify, exhort and comfort one another; who submit and relate to elders, ministry gifts and apostolic leaders; who participate in planting and supporting new assemblies of believers to do the same with their prayers, time, finances and material resources. Back to top
2. Our beliefs?
We believe the church has five foundational values that form the basis for all doctrine. Sound biblical doctrine provides clear foundations for the believer (2Thessolonians 2:15; 2Timothy 3:16; Titus 1:9; 2:1) Values increase our ability to walk as one body. The Apostle Paul taught that “…in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that [we should] all say the same thing, and that there may be no divisions among [us], so that [we] may be in complete agreement, in the same mind and in the same opinion (1Corinthians 1:10 Bible in Basic English). The five foundational values we embrace are:
i. The Lordship of Jesus Christ ii. The Priesthood of all believers, iii. The acts and gifts of the Holy Spirit iv. Spiritual and numerical growth through covenant relationships v. No one among us shall lack Back to top
3. What is the difference between a 'cell church' and a 'house church'?
There is a significant difference between a 'cell church' and a 'house church'. In a cell church, the small intimate gathering of believers are part of the larger mother church. They are usually a ministry within the larger church. The leadership of the larger church determines whether or not the 'cell groups' should exist. In a house church, the gathering of believers in the home is the primary church. Each gathering is autonomous but interdependent with other such gatherings in their city or region. House churches exist with or without the larger church. However, we teach that the house churches in each city or region should gather with each other in a larger setting to encourage and strengthen one another. Back to top
4. Why do you use the term 'gathering' to describe each group?
The Greek word ‘ecclesia’ literally means an assembly or gathering. When a group of believers assemble around Jesus Christ, they form the most basic level of the church. We use the term ‘gathering’ to describe the assembly of believers who form the church. The church is not a building or an ecclesiastical corporation with a religious name. The church is an assembly of two or more believers who ‘gather’ in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Buildings are the place where the ‘church’ gathers. Scripture reveals that these ‘gatherings’ often took place in the homes of the believers. Back to top
5. Who leads the gatherings?
We train house church leaders to facilitate gatherings in the home. The bible teaches that whenever the believers gather, everyone should have something to contribute. One may have a song, another a revelation, or another may have a special teaching to share. No one person dominates the gathering. Everything shared is for the purpose of edifying, exhorting and comforting each other. In the gatherings, one person does not preach while the others just sit and listen. Everyone has the opportunity to share. Back to top
6. Who are the leaders in the New Testament Church?
Jesus established the leadership structure for His church. They are the elders who govern and protect the church. There are also five ministry gifts (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers) who equip the believers for the work of ministry. There are deacons and deaconess who primarily manage the resources of the church. All leadership functions serve the church. Their focus is to serve every believer in the church as they fulfill their calling, purpose and ministry assignment. Generally, after an apostle plants a church, he trains and ordains a team of elders to oversee it. Once the elders are in place, they become the governing team of the church in that city or region. Ministry gifts who were either in the local church or sent to them provide the training the believers need to do the work of ministry. Back to top
7. What is the 'work of ministry'?
The work of ministry is to make disciples. The work of ministry is not ushering, singing in the choir or praise team; it is not programs and events – those things did not exist when the Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus (Ephesians 4:11-12). The work of ministry is to go into all the world and make disciples of all nations. That is the primary mission of every believer. As believers make disciples, more souls are saved, and the Kingdom of God is expanded in the earth. Back to top
8. What about soul winning?
Winning the lost to Jesus Christ is the responsibility of every believer. It is not the sole responsibility of church leadership. We teach that every believer should lead and disciple one person every year. We also teach that every believer should be in the process of being discipled by someone else at all times. This is why the five-fold ministry gifts are so important. They equip the believers by building in them the capacity to lead people to Jesus Christ and to successfully disciple them. Back to top
9. Why is training necessary?
Most of us are familiar with the traditional church system. Even though the New Testament structure of gathering from house to house is found all throughout scripture, it has not been practiced for nearly 1,700 years. Therefore, it feels foreign to many believers. Our training is designed to help believers establish strong biblical foundations that will strengthen their gatherings and insure they will continually bear fruit. Back to top
10. What type of training do you provide?
Most of the training we provide is 'hands on'. The Apostle Paul taught publicly, but he also taught from house to house (Acts 20:27). We have prepared training materials. The books and training manuals are resources that we submit to the Holy Spirit for His use. We train church elders to oversee the churches in each city. We train those who believe God has called them to serve in one of the ascension gifts so that they can effectively equip believers for the work of ministry. When appropriate, we will send ministry teams to work directly with new gatherings. We strongly believe the Holy Spirit determines what is needed for each new gathering. Back to top
11. Is there a cost for the training you provide?
We do not charge for training. We do however accept free will offerings and donations to support our work. Also, we sell our books and training materials. Beyond that, if specific funds are needed to provide training, we will discuss the matter with the group receiving the training. We may, as the Lord leads, seek others who may assist in helping to cover training expenses. Back to top
12. What happens to my financial giving?
We encourage believers to give generously and often. We believe that each house gathering is an autonomous expression of the church and that what is received from giving should remain with that gathering. For the sake of accountability, the local elders will provide guidelines for handling money received. This summary cannot cover all of the biblical uses of funds received, but generally speaking, if there is a need within a gathering, the members of that gathering should determine how to meet that need. If there is a need in another gathering that its members cannot meet, the local elders should determine their response to that need. If properly done, your giving can be tax deductible. The elders should also provide appropriate accountability for those who desire a copy of their annual giving. Donations to The Center for New Testament Church Development are tax deductible. Back to top
13. Is The Center for New Testament Church Development a church?
No. The Center for New Testament Church Development is not a church or a denomination. It is a church planting ministry. Our mission is to plant regional churches that reflect the values and structure of the first century church. Back to top
14. I am a member of a local church, will you help me start a New Testament Church gathering in my home?
Yes, if your current church leadership approves of you doing so. We strive to maintain unity in the Body of Christ in every community we serve. Therefore, if starting a house church in your home causes conflicts between you and your current church leadership, you should not pursue this ministry. However, if you strongly believe you should be doing this, you should discuss your desire to have a gathering in your home with your current church leadership. If they approve, we will prayfully consider helping you to plant a gathering in your home. Your pastor needs to be aware that if you have a gathering in your home, and if you follow the biblical mandate to be fruitful, multiply, replenish the earth and subdue, it could result in other gatherings being planted by you that may have no connection with your church. Ultimately, our prayer is that your pastor will consider transitioning into a New Testament structured church. Back to top
15. I want to start a New Testament Church gathering in my home, but my spouse in not interested. What should I do?
You and your spouse need to be in full agreement. Do not create conflict in your home over church structure. Before starting a gathering in your home, you you and your spouse should first attend another gathering in your area, or speak to us about starting a house church in your home. Allow the Holy Spirit to lead you and your spouse together in this matter. Back to top
16. Are 'house churches' biblical?
Yes. Throughout the entire New Testament you will find references to believers gathering in homes. It was the most common method gathering in the first century. Beginning in the book of Acts and continuing through Philemon, there are over fifteen references to house church gatherings. The Center for New Testament Church Development is committed to restoring this way of gathering today. House churches are simple, strategic and scriptural. Back to top
17. What is the Kingdom Mandate?
The Kingdom Mandate is the original mission God gave to man in the Garden of Eden. In Genesis 1:28 He commands us to be fruitful, to multiply, to replenish the earth and to subdue it. Man’s obedience would result in biblical dominion where the influence of the rule of God is felt and known throughout the earth. Jesus and the New Testament apostles reinforced this mandate with the message of the Kingdom of God. “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven…” combined with “…this gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world..” and activated by us following the command to “…go into all the world and make disciples…” is fulfilling the divine command to be fruitful, to multiply, to replenish the earth and subdue it. Back to top
18. How do I get started?
Pray and Fast. You should know that the Lord is leading you to pursue this. Consecrate yourself before the Lord and diligently seek His will for you in this matter.
You may be called to lead a gathering in your home. The Center for New Testament Church Development is willing to assist you. Together, we will prayerfully seek the mind of the Lord regarding how to proceed in your area. This will help to provide you with the answer to questions you may have. Always remember, it is the Lord alone who builds His Church and He knows how to establish a work in your area.
Check this site often to see if a New Testament Church forum will be held in your area. Or let us know if you are willing to host a forum in your area. These public forums are designed to answer questions you may have.
If possible, attend an existing gathering in your area. Contact us and we will help you to locate one. Back to top