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Apex Phone Conversations
5200 Far Hills Avenue, Kettering, OH 45429   937-432-9022
In Dayton which is about 40 miles north of Cincinnati.
Rob Turner (main pastor)
Gary Palmer  937-238-5065  (first person I talked to - Sept 11, 2009) Dermatologist medical doctor
Rennes Bowers  937-409-6432  (2nd person I talked to - Sept 18 briefly)  Dayton Firefighter
Jason Wing 937-657-5027  full time staff for house churches.  Gary says "contact Jason if you wish to visit Apex"
Greg Zastrow 937-432-9022 x207    937-432-9129 (c?) -- leader, and also a ministry assistant to myself and Rob Turner
2018 Dec 16, 2018 talk with Gary Palmer
  1. How many people at Sunday morning, how many in house churches
  2. In 2009 it was 3,500 Sunday attendance.  Maybe 1400 in house churches
  3. Any split off for a different region
  4. How is developing the co-shepherds going, when we talk in sept 2009 Apex was going to have them go to a leadership training for house churches
  5. It's been difficult the last 2-3 years because founding pastor because of a moral failure, he's been restored,
  6. attendance and financials have suffered, lost other teaching.  Have a good one at cedarville university
  7. Really focused on discipleship model to boost effectiveness.  HC, like small groups, can turn inward.
  8. Have immersion every 6 months.
  9. Michael Green book in building discipleship culture.
  10. House churches, missional community (allow )
  11. It's the culteral.
  12. Say it's 50%
  13. Satelite campus in Zenia it's 80% in house churches
  14. Check with him in January on senior pastor
  15. At peak 2,500 adults + 700 kids. now 1,300 adults
  16. Peak 75 HC, now 70 HC.  With 15-20
  17. In the region he oversee 
  18. 3rd immersion h
  19. Jason Wing is the associate pastor who left.  Maybe Jason and Rob Turner  (senior pastor) were not 100% with HC.
  20. Doesn't look like it grew any in the 6 years before the senior pastor's moral failure.
  21. Ex Senior and Jason Wing may not agree with the focus on house churches.
Jason Wing (around Sept 30 )
Started out as traditional mega church plant
4 years ago started de-cent
Wed - Sun  with work out better
Once every 6 weeks is a 3 hour
Regional (almost every Sunday morning)
11:30 - 2:30 Orientation
Sunday nights and Wed
Tues and Thurs
3 HC meet on Friday
71 Elders with 1,600
Zeons Christian Fellowship 
Washington - Sonma Community  Jeff Vanderselt
Central teachings, made up of people from HC  Columbus Ohio  Shepes (each sphere has it's).  Plus Summer Institute, plus state of the church.  6,000 people
Zee ness
To be an Apex is to be in
Define membership by # in HC
Gary Palmer Sept 11, 2009 Phone conversation (1st one with Apex)
  • Friday Sept 11, 2009 notes
  • Sat night and sunday 2 services.  Most go to the gathering.  3,500 Sunday attendance.  Maybe 1400 in house churches.  They are not for everybody.
  • The small groups are called house churches
  • Church Sign  "Apex: A network of House Churches"  75 churches!!!
  • Sunday services are called "gatherings"
  • HC are only started when there are two leaders (Name for the leader is "Shepherd" and "Co-Shepherd"
  • Once a month all HC shepherds and elders (in a region) meet for 1 1/2 hours and talk about multipication, disciple.
  • Each region has a regional connector.  New people call the regional connector who asks questions and then pairs them up with a HC.
  • DNA  D == Dynamic word of God.  Have to be in God's word  N == Nurturing community  A == Apostic Mission
  • Focus is not gathering, house church, but making disciples.  Allow HS to lead through
  • 5 Elements of a house church  (but theirs do weddings, baptisms)
    1. Jesus is Lord
    2. Worship - communion
    3. Bible -
    4. Community - Meal
    5. Missions
  • 1 Jesus is lord, has to be worship, Bible, missions, community. 
    • cell group does not have missions
    • gathering does not have community
    • house church has all five.
  • Once a month all the regions shepherds get together in talk about what is going on.
  • Don't want a lot of things that will take people away from their house churches.
  • regional elder is responsible for 3 house churches.
  • a mission focus, 70-75 house churches, broken into 5 area.  Northern Cincinnati. The need was to disciple the people
  • Started out with just a house church with staff and elders for 3 months.  It's an elder led board.
    • 2nd wave started one for each region
    • after training launched 15-25 hc
      both meal and communion
  • some have accountability groups
  • 10 toddlers in his own group.  Not the commitment of mature leaders .  the whole group meets every other week.  and between have smaller that break into life transformation life groups.
  • don't require them to go over Pastors sermon
  • For most part are not organic (people go to gatherings).  The majority are drawn to a gathering, then to a house church
  • (APP) share Jesus stories, how Jesus appeared in their lives this week.
  • Take shepherds of house churches into more training.  We need something more
  • True organic house church do not go to gatherings.
  • Cell churches have teaching handed down to them
  • give option for people to go in different directions.  Expect regions that might break off
  • They have gifted apostolic sherpherds that can start start from regions.
  • If APEX outgrows its' building they will probably do satellite church.
  • Don't have a woman's ministry staff, it will come up in a house church
  • A region has to sponsor a retreat.
  • At first, ran into troubles to staff the gathering sunday school, handing out bulletins
  • Visited North Point in Andy Stanley's but on purpose kept Children's church  simple.  Not really a seeker senstive church (no drama)
  • Really felt 4 years ago felt this was the way God was leading them.
  • Only had 6 elders.  Staff and recommend people to be shepherds.
  • 17 elders now. 
    • Network Elders over see the church  6
    • House church elders 7 (all elders are welcome to come to it)
    • Administrive team
    • Mission
  • Not using a Sunday school model, bible study.
  • A full time hc pastor.  If groups don't multiply they eventually die.
  • Apex is only 7-8 years
  • Elders have to approve the new shepherds
  • Require that there are 2 shepherds  (shepherd and co-shepherd) with goal of co-shepherd starting his own.
    • Best to have the pastoral gift as opposed to teaching
  • Aim for 15-20 people in house church
  • Kids - take turns taking care of the kids
  • Elders meet for 3 hours on Sunday morning
  • Life Transformational Groups are encouraged.  Ask for a committment for 6 weeks (his son did it)
    • Committment
  • Meet as a group for 3 times and 4th time break up with men and women
  • Wife meets with 2 LTG at same time.
  • Idea is to get people in the word daily.  Their lives can not be changed if they are not in the word.
  • HC really encourage them to meet weekly.
  • 2% just go to HC and not the gathering.  Gary enjoys going to great worship & teaching.  He likes both.  It doesn't have to be either / or.
  • Requires a senior pastor to be humble.
  • How do you handle money?  Not really.
  • His region gets $15,000 a year and splits it up for them to use it for their own missions
  • Shepherd and co-shepherd (Don't have lay elders being shepherd)
  • Apex seems to attract some mature leaders
  • Guy who wanted to do a men's group left to a more traditional church
  • Average age is 30
  • HC does become your family.
  • Senior Pastor tells story about his house church.  Yearly does a 4 week series on house church.
  •  Rob Turner
  • Full time communications staff person
  • Neil Cole had both Green house training and leadership training 2 weeks ago
  • Once a quarter the shepherds get trainning by the elders.  50-70 come.  This is in addition to their monthly regional meeting.
  • Each region has 2-3 elders.  Every 2 months several hc shepherds.  He's the natural elder for
  • Goal to have HC elder for every three HC. 
  • Temporay missionary is shepherding a HC.
  • HC Elders meet every 3-4 months.
Rennes Bowers  937-409-6432  (2nd person I talked to - Sept 18 briefly)
  • Was successful mega church but discipleship was not happening and that was why they went to the HC model
  • Disciple defn (part of)
    • Habit of listening to God's voice
    • Asking the Lord for opportunities to witness for the Lord
  • In the past had men's group, women's groups, small groups, but it didn't work for us.
  • Main difference between small group and house church.
    • Emphasis on Bible study vs actually church meal (listed the 7 points)
    • Gathering to risen JC. 
    • Headship of Christ.  Most people have trouble to own the headship of Jesus Christ.  Everything has to take place on a timely fashion.  If head of the body can't follow JC because parking lot has to be empty.  Pray and ask him to lead the meeting and .  If vocal people speak up too much they are talked to
      • Sometimes Rennes says I'm not
      • Intercessary prayer, B/S that springs out of what was said
      • Everybody lays their hands on them
      • Sometimes social interaction (just handing out)
      • Think of it like a family reunion
    • Their Lord's Supper (as often not infrequently) is done on a weekly basis.  It is a meal, everybody brings food.  1/2 way through the meal Does anyone have a Jesus Story.  How Jesus is working in their life (including answers prayers).  When meal is over, pass chalice and people dip their bread into it.
    • Tell visitors not to expect a dynamic teacher but that we are trying to be in his presence.  My heart runs out to the Lord.   People can in HC can offer up their praises and thanksgiving
    • In small groups it's hard to get everyone to participate but in HC with emphasis on the priesthood function they do.
  • Frank Viola  "Bethany" on last 6 days of his life in Bethany at night.  The Lord wanted to be with people who genuinely loved him.  That is what we want our gatherings to be. 
  • The western church is so enamored with Bible Study but not much time in prayer.  In their HC sometimes they do Bible Studies.  They start by asking the Lord what to do.  Broken by the brother who shared how his heart was broken.
  • Emphasize constantly you must keep it real.  Really encourage the Christians to share their pain and brokeness to keep it real.
  • Rennes has 6 children.  One is in rebellion, she moved out and living in sin.
  • Keep it Real! 
  • Must have a real atmosphere of love and unconditional acceptance just like Jesus has accepted us.
  • His:  majority is college students.  Meets at 6.  dinner at 6:30.  after cleanup the meeting starts at 8.  10 minutes asking for what direction the Lord wants to take the meeting.  That part goes to 9 to 10.  Sometimes the college students stay until midnight.  15-18.  Used to be 35 and they birthed 2 HC.  They are already up to 30 (from 12).  Sent 4 and up to 15.
  • Ideally he thinks # from 10 to 15 (depends on neighborhood)  house size and parking
  • Really don't know how many HC there really is.
  • One HC has started 7 other churches.
  • Many HC do quads.  Some HC will be trying CO2 groups (John White - Luke10 website )  groups of 2. 
  • They got into house church model because they were not making disciples.
  • How can we most effectively make disciples.
  • One church meets every other week and then the quads on the inbetween weeks
  • Doesn't like young couples house churches.  Send them out after 6 months.  Need wise men.
  • Apex made so many mistakes in their roll out.
    • Trained them in a classroom setting and thought they had understood.
    • Headship of Christ and Priesthood of believers have to be understood. 
  • Start HC now, you have to be with us a year and you are doing shepherding, then you can go out and plant a new HC.
  • Likes plurality of elders.  So 2 elders over 3-6 churches.  3 elders for 15 HC.
  • 937 277 0381 house phone 
  • Started HC by spending a summer with elders, spouses, children
  • Rob Turner said he didn't have time, so he didn't attend.
  • Brought in Frontier Missions at end of summer, they started talking about HC because it's the only thing that works in Muslim world.  Really influnce Rob Turner.
  • Rob Turner (early 30's) working on PHD in leadership.  Such a humble guy, doesn't feel like he has all the answers
  • ---
  • What do you do with the kids
    • Rennes, do same thing as you do at Thanksgiving.  You don't hire babysitters.  You just make it work.  Understanding among the saints that these people are in their child rearing years.
    • They are with them during the meals.  And also downstairs as we lay hands on the people.  But if it turns into a Bible Study then the kids go up.
    • Want our kids to experience the family of believers.  The college guys watch the 11 year old play football.
    • Little ones are a special challenge.
    • Crying is not necessarily bad.  HC is not a big church that has to be very quiet.  Allow little kids to make a small amount of conversation.
    • Other HC has a different couple every week do Sunday School.
    • Want HC to be something the kids want to look forward to.
    • OK for 2 year to walk around during the hc, get them involved in coloring. 
    • Need to convince parent their kid is NOT being disruptive
    • BUT if kid is being disruptive let parent know then
  • Encourage the people to come to the orientation to find out about HC
  • If after 2 years you are looking at the same faces you've become ingrown.
  • View Shepherd and co-shepherd.  Train future leaders by giving
  • No classes.  Everything is pushed out to the house church.  No classes in NT.  Even trained people to do weddings (get them licensed).  Taken a ton of work off the center organization
  • Have not pushed out the teens with a staff.  The HS also meets like a HC in the youth group.  That age groups is special, didn't want to have people not go to Apex because there is not a youth group.  NO college group.
  • How often do shepherds meet? monthly by region (city of dayton itself).  They meet twice a month.  1st is the shepherds and their people they are developing into shepherds.  2nd is leadership team that takes care of administrative issues.  funding for mission trip.  Head up missions within the region, benevolence.
  • India is a very ripe harvest field.

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