Vibrant Faith Communities

All organizations are organized in some way, whether they be a government, charity or sports club. Even families are a little bit organized.

Organizing is meant to be helpful and facilitate the purpose of the organization.

The purpose of Jesus Followers is to encourage others to grow in their faith-walk, and reproduce more Jesus Followers. Jesus promised that he would build his church. Our mission is to make disciples. So in a simple way we do our part (make disciples), and we let Jesus do his part (he builds his church).

Unfortunately many faith groups have embraced organizational paradigms that are not always biblical, and can destroy the very faith-community they are meant to serve. Professional, Top-Down and Segregated (professionals vs non-professionals) tend to be the pattern that fits the western mind, and cause many organizations to deviate wildly from the pages of the New Testament.

When making disciples, the western mind defaults to “information training”, not the middle-eastern paradigm of an apprentice who emulates the teacher in both theory AND practice. It’s in the “doing” of discipleship that the modern western church seems to be bankrupt.

Often church structure (the organized part) is referred to a “wineskin” or a “container” to foster and encourage a life of worship, prayer, learning, transformation, challenge, relationships and friendships. Redefining the wineskin back to the early Christian pattern means “unpacking” alien customs and traditions that can choke or stifle healthy faith communities.

We see a few core attributes of the original “wineskin” that have helped us design Oasis gatherings and drive our Oasis “culture”.

Here are few core ideas we are intentional about:

Unity, Eating and relaxing together – Yes, having coffee, meals and time together, or any activity that encourages connecting, dialogue and relationship building. The goal is to build unity, like-mindedness woven together in a fabric of simplicity and sincerity. This makes Oasis gatherings safe and genuinely fun.

Lifestyle, not programs – There are no formulated programs, but rather a switch to a new lifestyle of vibrant Godly-relationships, conversations and gathering that add life, not take life away. The “Living Way” is a “Daily” walk of faith, not just an hour a week. Oasis meets from time to time, but Oasis folks are “living out” their faith each day of the week, and in all situations they find themselves. They are all missionaries in their own world.

Everyone contributes, not professional clergy – Each person brings talents and gifts, that are acknowledged, developed and shared. Each person is honoured and regarded as a minister. There are no “second class” disciples, and nobody is paid to lead. All volunteer, all contribute, everybody matters. Oasis gatherings are designed to allow everyone to be heard, be listened to, be welcomed and be loved on.

Dignity, not just a Number – Every individual is precious and has something to add. Each individual also represents the Royal Priesthood, therefore warrants dignity and honour before God. Humans are not just a number. At Oasis we see each person as a valid part of God’s mission. Each one carries their own mission and we deeply respect their mission.

Women are not marginalized – We see women included in all aspects of faith, fellowship and leadership without constraint or condescension. Make space for, and give honour to women. At Oasis its normal to have women speak and lead fro time to time. Women are equal partners in the Kingdom and have a powerful role to play.

Money vs Generosity – At Oasis, we don’t collect any money. Everyone gives and donates where ever they decide. If funds or resources are needed for practical reasons at Oasis, the whole group makes a decision together, based on practicality, need, wisdom and generosity. Furthermore, we no longer invest or give into Church buildings. We sow generously and lavishly into boots-on-the-ground Gospel communicators and Gospel mission builders instead. We have no bank account and don’t accept financial donations of any kind. If we are given funds from any reason (through lavish generosity), we donate those funds to Prison Ministry in the Bali Kerobokan Prisons. We don’t keep the funds. Just like the New Testament Church in Acts. Also, like the Apostle Paul who was very clear about not consuming money from others, we do the same. We serve from a place of generosity. Like parents we don’t take or collect money from the children, it’s just not a Kingdom value for us. We teach tithing as a Kingdom principle, but as it does not appear the New Testament church we don’t teach it as an obligation. If people in Oasis do tithe, then they tithe to wherever the Lord directs them. We don’t accept tithes as previously mentioned.

Servant Leaders, not Dominators – Our leadership model is modelled off healthy parenthood. We are available to help, not judging, not controlling, but driven by kindness and gentleness. Jesus told the disciples “NOT to Lord it over each other like the Gentiles do”. Paul explains in great detail how he loves church members like “children” not subordinates. At Oasis we do the same. Our facilitators do not control or judge, just lead by example, in the way each of us graciously serve others. It’s beautiful, safe and biblical.

Dialogues, not monologues – The ability and safety for each individual to speak, be heard and converse with others is a core pattern in the New Testament. Talk to Jesus, and talk to each other. It’s hard to demonstrate you love someone when you only see the back of their head at an event, or don’t really get to know them as a person. Conversation is vital in getting to know each other. If we have a speaker, we share the speaking opportunity lavishly amongst the group to accommodate every precious voice. Our Oasis gatherings are highly interactive. While this might seem foreign, its actually how the original church functioned when it began.

Size Does Matter – We see small groups that are conducive to open, vibrant conversation are where life and relationships “really happen”. Depending on the personalities of the group and the meeting venue (Kitchen table, Cafe, Board Room, Training Room, Beach, Restaurant, etc) and the timeslot available (Coffee time, Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Weekday, Weekend, etc) will determine the right size. Two(2) to about twelve (12) is about optimal, but there is no hard rule, and no upper limit. Our Oasis gatherings can be as small as 2 and large as 30 depending on where everyone is on any day.

Disciple Making – Helping believers make the transition from being “barren (unproductive)” to “reproductive” disciple makers is is a big focus for us. This is very important reason WHY we meet and HOW we conduct relationships and gatherings. We are all called to BE disciples (encouragers) and to be disciple makers (reproductive). The group works best when all feel comfortable that they have something to add. This is where synergy happens like, 1 + 1 = 3. This format creates a mysterious “synergy” when we gather. We are more than the sum of the parts. Scripture says one puts 1,000 to flight and 2 put 10,000 to flight. This makes discipleship motivating and fun.

Outreach – While Oasis is a very relaxed and safe place to gather, we do not shy away from having an intentional and proactive community outreach focus to share the amazing news of Jesus. We have a fast and powerful interactive method of reaching people one-on-one, in a fun and respectful way that mirrors the exact words of Jesus himself. We also try to welcome and invite anyone of any worldview to participate. We don’t judge. The Word and the Holy Spirit get to do their transformative work in all who gather. Oasis is designed and proven to allow people to invite neighbours and friends along. This is how we have grown, and continue to grow. People love Oasis, and invite friends along… it’s that simple.