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House Church Ministry from the 70's to Today with Bill Fowler

Kingdom Pursuits / Robby Dilmore
The Truth Network Radio
May 4, 2019 12:53 pm

House Church Ministry from the 70's to Today with Bill Fowler

Kingdom Pursuits / Robby Dilmore

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May 4, 2019 12:53 pm

The House Church Movement from the 70's communal experience to today's explosion of house churches across the world.

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You're listening to the network and kingdom pursuits where you hear from ordinary people instilled with an extraordinary passion together we explore the stories of men and women who take what they love and let God turn their passion into the kingdom pursuits now live from the truth. Your host Robbie Gilmore wow do we have a deep dive here for you today on the national day of carp. It shall be a Carper guard I but anyway, we do have a deep dive for you today on kingdom pursuits. Here we have Pastor Bill Fowler in Spokane Washington he's with a modern-day house church movement so I can said were gone deep today.

I'm looking forward to hear this pastor welcome to kingdom pursuits.

Robbie here and I read in your bio I'm so sorry you lost your wife in January. She passed away January window merit 40 more years.

The city was. She was everything to me on the ministry function doing ministry together so change that. But thank you I'm I'm fascinated to hear how God is come for you and that I I'm I lost my father just a few weeks ago when I you know there's a lot going on there is all I suspect it was just I can't even imagine losing my wife or my children.

I have friends that have gone through that so but the house church movement you how did you end up getting involved in that will when I became a Christian I was actually in the hippie movement. At that time and in a backslidden Christian I was sitting on the front lawn of the house in the Portland Oregon and I was talking about, new age levels of awareness and cosmic consciousness now live. One guy looked at me and he was just real uncomfortable and he says don't you sleep. An example but you're deceived Jesus Christ in your heart and it hit me with such force and such power that the he and I went to the park, cannot asking so many questions and everything fellow my face in the parking just repented of my sin.

He said now you need to find a place to get connected and will back in 1973 long-haired hippies were not exactly on the top of the welcome list with most conventional. I wound up going to this ministry called Shiloh ministries and it was Shiloh youth revival John Higgins started it.

I think he started it in 1968, 7069 from the like that but since that time it it was the largest Jesus people communal movement in the United States in 1970 and the he started with one house and toasted Mike Costa Mesa, California and according to some estimates in Wikipedia and other places. There were over 100,000 young people involved in 175 communal houses established during the flock type so it was no small thing. And I met John in 1973 when I was part of the Shiloh home and it was very, very clean, very disciplined, though men studied in one house and the women stayed in another, but it was very evangelistic as well. Our mission was not to sit around the end have Bible study after Bible study, but as soon as we were strong enough and you know it quipped that we went out live another house and focused on evangelism and working in bringing good testimony of Jesus Christ.

Wow wow I'm since I'm really excited to hear me.

I will just keep your place right there because when you get back to that in a minute because that I want.

I deftly want to hear where that went because I had no idea about that and interestingly just to share where I was at the same time because in 1973 MB I graduate from high school and I got into the church of Scientology and ended up in Los Angeles well so you know I'm I'm with you not wear because I did know about the other part. You know what I actually came to Christ in the East when I was in my 30s rather than you were lucky enough to do it when you're young but anyway I gotta get my rental because that's part of getting in pursuit so and will talk about house churches today so speaking of house you know seeing the house and the lifestyle of the pharmacy owners friends and relatives and him and doctors have the same issue of ill-gotten wealth ever thought about that task. Ill-gotten and you may be asking yourself, or you may not be. I found one of my wife's first you today where you use a skeleton well.

If you have never haunted house. It's a perfect place right uses guilt and it's okay to laugh till that's all right this is part of the kingdom pursuits as you have to hear Robbie's jokes as good as you laugh because otherwise I feel very. The only quote the only guest I have I have three people sit in the studio and they can at least act like they're smiling or something.

When I do so, a band of teenagers cruise past my neighbors house and pelted it was Rotten Tomatoes. Jasper is unbelievable the right by their house that's the word for the day, but please describe it as a drive-by fruiting. There was a little chuckle out of them. So I made today at the end of all the shenanigans I will actually have a little that you can call in and went today and I apologize. I didn't do this last week as I was in Georgia and I got overwhelmed them all that I have going on, but I'm back this week with my rental so here's the riddle that you can call in and when which church in the Bible never had a steeplechase because they met in houses which church in the Bible where would you find that in the Bible. By the way, never had a steeplechase because they met in houses. If you know the answer that you can call ended. 866-34-TRUTH 87884 866-34-TRUTH that they can guess I jasper tell him about William Allen two tickets to a game this Friday. Friday, May 10 you'll be dashing not through the snow, but nonetheless dashing over to the – came all you have to do is call us 866-34-TRUTH 87884 answer this question, which churches in the Bible never had a steeplechase because they met in houses 866-34-TRUTH 87884. Come on guys I know, but I know you can you can get that one now and we left our hero Bill. He was if these communal houses and when you use the word communal bill immediately. All our minds go by me and those of us who lived in the 70s were not thinking one house with the men and the women you know that's the way the item. If you've ever been to North Carolina but interestingly you know we had all the time. Think than the people that had the sale in houses and am trying to think Moravians the Moravian church had their communal houses everywhere been here the Moravian type of ministry right that we have an old Salem was founded like a mouse mouse something and that's the part of the same in Winston-Salem. They want smoking cigarettes back then and they want mental but maybe they were but anyway they had what they called choirs, and they had a men's choir in the women's choir and they were like that they had given that that there was a communal thing that fascinatingly you know that the kids were not brought up in their homes when they had children after they got married they would not be allowed to go live in a house by themselves but the children were immediately assigned one of the client that I can find out about your communal housing.

When we come back we are to have good letters are lining up just a got time to get in and when these testing 866-34-TRUTH 87884 so much more can kingdom pursuits where we hear how God takes kingdom today were finding out about house churches with pastor Bill Fowler in Spokane Washington. The modern-day house church movement and church without walls but speaking of houses. We got Sean is in Winston-Salem. He has answer for us.

I hope Sean, your kingdom pursuits.

Good morning good morning are you doing I am wonderful you know which house churches are described in acts chapter 240 wow you have it down to the verse that's good dear absolute steeplechase is the boy they have.

They sure had the Holy Spirit and make sure impacted their home communities and in their culture than absolutely what what I'm wondering Sean, what about that strikes you yeah will you know they were agreeing with the apostles teaching was one of the thing you know we are doing that in our own small group movement is the closest thing to get immediate house. Oftentimes, agreeing with the strategic and the public hearing on a conversation life application on the sermon that's want to find being part of the community means so much because you know I was little disturbed by how many cancer commercials or were in the break, but you not having been diagnosed with cancer. It was the moment where wow and I have that community come around you and pray for you and short story winced. I when I am right after I finished my last chemotherapy treatment. I was crushed between two cars mashed on the lineup and I was transported overnight to Baptist Hospital. When I got there about three in the morning and my Sunday school class. The time might've been 80 or 90.

In it, but about 30 of them that were there at Baptist Hospital that night at whatever time I like I'm there for three and after two or three in the morning and I remember as they were pulling me into the emergency room on the on the stretcher and always people stand there praying for me that the girl that was wheeling me here whatever her position was there. She said the wow. I'll bet you go to that Calvary Baptist Church is when you guys show up man may bring a crowd at what accommodation you know that is for the church and I bet you and your community were something like that to happen to you. They would show up to Whitney, I would agree think so. I know they would would God bless you Sean, thank you for listen. I'm so grateful you called in a new one and I hope you enjoy dashing out to see the – on Friday for lunch or getting back to Bill and I don't want to lose the place where we were.

You had these communal houses you are living in those at that point in time in 1973 unless you want to comment about you know what shame Shauna don't let me stop will I would like to like to go back to the communal house because the real wrong connotation that we were a bunch of hippies cried sitting around. They very seldom and that you know our children and you know what we actually were. We were a highly organized, hard working group of young people who were just absolutely in love with Jesus in the word warehouser Evergreen helicopter crews.

They used to call us because we were the best workers they could get in all of Oregon and so you know, and our mode of travel was get out on the highway and it chocked up to wherever they needed five Shiloh boys are merely an arm the women you know they did a lot of things that we will eventually developed our own cannery.

We had her own architects.

We were just a bunch of people that didn't have any desire to build and to really integrate into the society around us, very developed and so silent when driving is really a lot closer to what was described in acts of communal living situation really what you absolutely coming you know and and it wasn't why you couldn't come and go, you know, nobody was holding a gun to your head.

But the thing is for a lot of us for people like myself. I don't think I would've gotten very grounded in a conventional church because you meet maybe on Sunday evening. Maybe on Wednesday, but most people today they meet one time a week to go to church one time a week what we had church seven days a week. When we picked apples them a lot Washington. We were called up there when we work for warehouser spreading fertilizer or planting trees.

They always wanted us and we felt like we were evangelizing from the moment we showed up we outworked everybody we felt like that was a testimony and it was a tremendous joy to know those brothers were just what you had to be committed to be in Shiloh if you were just want to, dabble with Jesus in whole little bit.

That was not the place because we didn't just sit around. We were we were working five days a week and then on Saturdays we we went and evangelized on the street and then Sundays we went to conventional churches and really good churches and again we work sectarian. Either we work like us for no more, deal. How many people were there in Shiloh at the time. Well, there were probably a couple of thousand. By the time I arrived at this eventually and I don't mean just in the Eugene area because II went from when I was saved in Portland. I traveled down to Eugene Oregon and we were just across from the University of Oregon, can't remember the name of the street. There was a beautiful three-story house and I think we had about 20 brothers and their and I tell you something about living together and working together and crying together and and all of that is you can on each other's last nerve to so you don't get theorize about brotherly love how this is I was with the I was 21 I believe 21 or 2221 21 how long did that last I stayed in Shiloh eight months and then I wanted to go start a dog with off-the-wall but I wanted to go started Jesus rock 'n' roll back in Texas that's really my home state, so I was passing through Tucson, Arizona, and some brothers in the Lord picked me up and told me about this ministry with this wonderful church out there still there called Grace Chapel, Tucson, Arizona, and from went there and got tied into that ministry and that's where I met Joanne.

We rented Hebrews class together we start, I started going to that church and the church was just growing you on your way to Texas. I how the bus stop in Tucson or what have you checked all your hitchhiking, I didn't have a car man. You document it was nothing but you took it out of the picture. I got to share Jesus with the people and God took you on a detoured to meet your what their son and when I met her. Yeah it not my light salmon and so and of course I didn't come out of a Christian home.

She didn't come out of a Christian home, she came out of a Jehovah witness how and that she never bought into it.

She does couldn't couldn't accept it and felt she was kind of ostracize and then she came to Christ when she was going to. I believe University of Arizona and then course, my family just thought out Looney Tunes and you know who knows what is into next and I became a Christian, you know, they didn't realize for the first time in my life I was actually starting to turn into a sane person but anyway I met Joanne and I Hebrews class that was held in this wonderful church called Grace Chapel so lifelike I had to claim a what's a Hebrews class on the learning I'm sure.

I'm sorry sorry on the book of Hebrews, all on the bookkeepers of yeah yeah… I don't know. I thought great about, but now it was a wonderful heat up study on the book of Hebrews and I I had seen her at in the big chapel service and I think there were probably six or 700 people at that time coming to me. We were adding probably 100 people and they were mostly no hippies that turn to Christ and the Jesus you know they became Jesus breaks them and so this this place was just exploding with growth and by the way, what's interesting about the is a lot of those people who were converted to Christ and went through the kind of season are in the ministry today so one can't count about things that just don't have lasting fruit is the testimony of itself. Well there today arrow still on the tour incidences state table got so much more common hunting ever since course you have a question that I have a thought that Hollis 866-34-TRUTH 878-8474 passion and uses it to build the kingdom and I'm sure if you been listening thus far, you would know that God's given Pastor Bill Fowler in Spokane, Washington, passion for the house church and the church without walls with cheese and a pastor of remember years here.

He and his wife, who passed away in January. Pastor Bill II I'm sure like everybody else there when and how the world do you get from Tucson to start your own church in the in the things that your new life accomplished in Christ. It helps if I punch on so that people can hear you outside that's a great question something about myself crowded out of the following folder to go but the minute my hometown is Tyler Texas and after my wife and I got married November 9, 1974, the economy, felt through Tucson wasn't a real robust economy that again and so we loaded up our little car. I literally malt and Tyler back to my hometown suggesting we are going to have to correct you know that I go to correctly boycott you know if it got up to you only stick it to you my life and actually my wife is Maybank Texas which is not part all some time, although I don't make me bang it out so yeah so I'm I'm with you. My wife would say were not the heartbeat as well. As you know, salmon. She washes her close email but not out hurting right now should I not operate. So you let the Tyler I'm sorry I left we went to Tyler and we got connected into a fantastic church that became my home church for many years and it still will consider it my home church. My my pastor, Pastor James Walker founded that church and and it just grew and grew and it was all about training up ministry and sending it out. We wanted the church to grow horizontal. Now this was nondenominational church.

It still there but it was just a handful of PD people meeting at Bill's Baptist Church in between care services every Sunday at 2 o'clock one. Joanne and I arrived and I went and we spent the lessee we spent 10 years there and I was trained in ministry and then I was ordained we were there from arrived January 1975 till we were sent out in October. I think of night 1984 and I was ordained into the ministry in 1981, I became the first associate pastor. There and then but I had a passion to go out and plant churches didn't know anyone, so we were sent out by the church and worked under authority is as we always do and still do to this day, and by the way my pastor still with us and so I talked to him pretty frequently and so were still connected in. We have a lot of pastor and elder type friends there in the East Texas area that I'm accountable to.

But anyway we went out and we started a church that we didn't know anybody not a soul in course, Canada, Texas, and then we pastored that church until 1991. We went to Waco, Texas, and that was kind of a transition time and then we moved to Temple Texas started another church pastored that for several years and then we came back to Tyler and started another church pastored that for a while and I just felt like in 2002 was time to I told my wife I said no I working to be in a transition.

I can't even tell you how long but I just know that were done with planning churches in Texas and so we moved to South Georgia son-in-law is my oldest daughter in Valdosta, Georgia, got deep roots. There connected him with a wonderful church called new covenant there in in Valdosta, Georgia, and then I just started traveling and ministering in different churches back in Texas and in Georgia and various places and a friend of mine that I had met who was a businessman when I met him and Tyler. One of them associate pastor. He had started a church in Spokane Washington.

Will this thing grew and it was like over a thousand people, but he wanted someone to come up and establish a good men's ministry and so that's in my wheelhouse. I may not have a real desire to see men trained and learn how to stand together and stand on their own 2 feet and that sort of thing in the spirit and so I've been telling my wife I said for the last six months.

Everywhere I went I said were going to be going somewhere and it's going to be a place for going to be anchored again for a good while and so, sure enough, I get this call and I've already been appear to do a leadership conference on not a conference but retreat and for his church and we were dear friends, we still are and so he called me up and for another leadership retreat and delete just as good for a while and he said would you come up here and and I know you church planning but you know just work with the church were dear to okay so we came up here in 2006. I worked a year there and then I went back to planning churches and we started out conventional church and we called it found a Christian Fellowship and then about three or four years ago, the Lord just laid it on my heart. I want you to convert this to house church, at least I felt impressed that that was what I was supposed to deal felt very strongly back. I woke up dreaming about this and I had the name and everything church without walls, so the rest is history, so to speak. So what is the church without walls well at the house church network, you know, it was interesting because after I had this dream and after I had this vision, told the church and course that unit you can imagine if your pastor came open on Sunday mornings. I guess what we planned and go strictly with a network of house churches so that everybody could go yippee because were accustomed to. What were custom to here in the West, even though it's biblical and even though it's predominately the model bits used throughout the world, especially in the persecuted countries of the world. But anyway, most of them just were very supportive stayed right with it and I have stayed right with it and we love it. It's just wonderful. But then Joanne got sick and so I had met this guy that works for Comcast bill.

I just curious because it in my mind what what is that look like to be the difference between being a house church in a conventional church in the way that you need in the way that that you live your lives together in a community I mean what if you could you describe that for those of like me who'd really don't have a concept of what your document will brotherly called an earlier you said you know we call life groups and you know we take the pastor's message and we've done that that Tyler got another break, just that I have a question I so afraid to figure out your answer to that is the shortest segment is to have about four or five minutes. Wrap it up. I know that we are all very very interested in where that headed and how what our next place of morning would be a message that you got some back to build the kingdom today were so blessed to have with this pastor Bill Fowler is in Spokane Washington with a modern-day house church movement sullenly, erected you with a break. Bill you were explaining practically what is that feel like to be in a member of this house church to church without walls. Once again I have to press a button because Avenue producers. It puts people in old good were glad your back to go okay yeah what it looks like is a typical house church meeting for us and by the way, we have to house church meetings here with two different house church groups during the week here at my house when my wife was sick. We get home hospice and so wonderful because you know sometimes.

She was so ill she there's no way she could've gotten in the car and driven to a building somewhere to be in church and yet everybody does love on her and love her so much and she could come in in a house coat. It did not matter.

In fact, that's just where you were not were not so laid-back that we don't treat it like a the house of God, but at the same time there.

Think there's a flexibility there's mobility. There's intimacy in a house church that you just simply can't achieve.

In conventional church I pastored both for your pastor, conventional churches much longer than up pastored house church but the way this started other than just getting the idea from the Lord.

I felt is that I had asked this fella to come over and hook up our Internet Comcast and all that so his name will I don't close my map right now. Anyway, he came over and he was looking everything up and we were just talking and enjoying everything and after two hours of just we were both talkers and what you do not want pastor any distant no kitten I would've ever guessed how to take that but but anyway yeah and a civil where you pastor and I said well actually were starting house church network called church without walls. He said I'm in just like that now. I've had people say things out of excitement before the note didn't last.

The water got hot, but Joel is still with us and he one of my right hand people the idea behind these house churches is to train and equip young people.

Young leaders who are ready to step in and you know one. When I'm gone, they shouldn't miss a beat and there's a there's a strength in that the ideas to grow horizontal, not vertical for us. We want to grow go out we want to spread out but the and we were in the process of doing that when Joy got sick and so were going to get back to trying to start some more house churches in the area, but were also very connected in with churches here in the area got a number of pastors that I meet with I support the work because for me the ministry of Christ in the body of Christ is not an either or, it's not either.

All conventional or all house church.

It's whatever helps us equip the saints for the work of the ministry and whatever helps us fulfill the great commission and for us. This is my will out, I'm not a mega past American mega-church pastor and never will be. Don't even aspire to be. So how would you have our listed as response. Do you have a website if they have an interest in this or is there a book or what where when and where would they go well they can contact me old Facebook we can become friends on Facebook Bill Fowler in Spokane, Washington, or they can go to church without walls Facebook page in Spokane.

We had a very nice website and all that but frankly it was work intensive. It was expensive and it was laborious. I just know after a while we did you know we don't need it so were just kind of low-key but would be happy to talk to them they can call me on the phone here, I can get my number if if that's okay.

Okay, it's area code 509-443-4060, and if they're interested in starting house church in their area of courses during the convention if if there are any other church. We are asking them to stay committed in their church were not trying to proselytize or you know pull people out of churches were not trying to be that of all that, if they are kind of out there without having given very word five: so awesome God bless you as you and in your movement out there and what a connection that I got to talk today and for you, listening. Thank you. We are so grateful yes yes thanks you. Listening is such a blessing that you would spend time with us today we present to listen to much truth, not getting her prayer followed by the radio start here now at 12 o'clock so much truth Truth Network

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