Undergroundchurch Blog

Preparing the Church for the future

How Can You Build the Underground Church

Posted by undergroundchurch on September 19, 2009

The UnderGroundChurch is not an organization, denomination or even a “separate church”.  It is an enhancement to the way you do church.

How can you help establish the UnderGroundChurch?

This is quite easy actually.  Start with homegroups in your local church.  The UnderGroundChurch is about community.  The interesting thing about community is that you can’t build community in large batches, it must be grown in small patches.  Jesus built community at several levels, but each level had a different depth of relationship.

I want to thank Rick Warren for the terms, I am using them in relation to the ministry of Jesus.


The first level is the Community level.  This is the group that wanted to see what Jesus was doing.  Most never met Jesus personally, but they heard about the great work he did, so they came for the “show”. This level of community is very shallow. Many of the people at this level aren’t even believers, but are people seeking the truth at some level.  They are a harvest field, but not the UnderGroundChurch.


The second level is the Crowd level. These are the people that come back during big events like the teaching on the mount and the teaching on the flat place (Matthew 5 and Luke 6 respectively), feeding of the 4,000 and 5,000, and the triumphant entry. This is the Sunday morning crowd of which, usually a very low percentage actually involves themselves beyond the Sunday Morning service.  For most of them are usually there to be fed and not feed others. Surprisingly, churches strive to attain this level because it contains “numbers”.  However, relationship isn’t built at this level, and this in itself, isn’t the UnderGroundChurch.


The next level is the Congregation.  These are the disciples of Jesus.  There were hundreds of these people. They have answered the call to “follow Jesus”.  They committed themselves to what Jesus was going to do and his mission.  They support it, work with him and hear more personal teaching from Jesus.  Most do not get to actually eat with Jesus, because the table just isn’t big enough, but they do get to be an integral part of what’s happening.  From this group, you get the worker bees of the larger church.  They love God and are devoted to the mission of the church.  But we still are not to the UnderGroundChurch.


The next level is the Committed.  These take their committment to heart and seek to really grow spiritually, not just exist and work as a believer.  They desire to draw as close to God as possible and are willing to make the sacrifices necessary to see this happen.  These are the apostles of Jesus ministry – the twelve.  They eat with Jesus, hear intimately detailed explanations of his teachings and are being groomed to break out into the whole world to spread the gospel.  At this level, we have started the UnderGroundChurch.  This is a small group that is mobile, can set up camp quickly, can fit in one house, can each spend time with the teacher and walk away with a person encounter.


The final level is the Core.  These are the three – Peter, James and John. Into these three, Jesus poured his heart, soul and passion. John leaned against him at the last supper and took Jesus own mother into his care upon his death; Peter was given the keys to lead the rest of the people to the next level, and James became an evangelist of the Gospel that led him to become the first martyr of the church. This is the core that leads the UnderGroundChurch and empowers the other four levels.  It can only be groomed in small group settings.  In fact, the final two can only be maximized when in an environment that is separated from the larger church setting.

An Illustration from a Tree

Like a tree, you have leaves, a trunk and roots.  The most integrated part of the tree is the root system.  They spread and branch out into the smallest capillaries.  It is those small capillaries that actually pull in all the water and food for the tree.  The big roots get all the glory for being roots, but don’t really do much to feed the rest of the tree. It is the small insignificant roots that give life to the tree.

The UnderGroundChurch are the small groups within your larger church setting.  They are people getting together for real prayer and worship and fellowship. They grow together, learn from one another, support one another and become family.  They build relationships.  They aren’t superficial Sunday morning, weather reporting conversationalist. They mourn with those that mourn, rejoice with those that rejoice and live out the Christian walk in an impactful manner. They will endure when the church sign has to come down, when the building is leveled and the finances are depleted.  They are the heart and soul of the church. They are the UnderGroundChurch!


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