The 21st Century Retooling of the Church - Part I
In previous blogs I asked “Who will be the next Billy Graham? What will be the next evangelistic movement in history? “ To those questions I reply, “You are the next Billy Graham! The next evangelistic movement may be the retooling of the 21st Century Church”.
In the make up of the five fold ministry model of accountability, responsibility, and service, who better to ignite a renewal, a revival, than the one who majors in birthing and rebirthing, the evangelist. Evangelism demands change, for “the old has gone; the new has come!” (2Cor. 5:17) Conversion to Jesus Christ takes the total “turning away from the old” and “embracing the newness in Jesus Christ”, yet the Church, as an institutional structure, is known for “holding on to tradition, the old ways, that old-time religion,” not wanting to release the old rather than embrace the “newness in Jesus Christ” that has brought rebirth, renewal, and reformation in its history.
Martin Luther, John & Charles Wesley, Alexander Mack, Johann Guttenberg, William Tyndale, and many others challenged the ingrained institution of the Catholic Church in their day, some paying with their lives, others with their reputations, but ushering the Great Reformation, changing Church history. We have seen Whitefield’s influence on Wesley, taking the Church out of the building and into the forest and fields in England and log cabin itinerant preachers taking the gospel to the American frontier where there weren’t any church buildings. We studied great mass Evangelistic endeavors in huge tents, arenas, and stadiums, again outside built Church structures. I witnessed the Jesus Movement of the ‘70’s meeting in farmer’s fields for the weekend that ushered in the Charismatic Movement, again outside organized Church structures. Then why will the Church not recognize that to experience “rebirth”, “renewal”, or “revival” it must think outside its existing Church structures physically, theologically, and practically?
But every believer in Jesus has experienced a personal “rebirth” and “renewal” reviving their lives. If you are a Christian, and the evangelistic “experience” is so central and vital to your spiritual life, you qualify as a believer in Jesus Christ, to “release” that “evangelistic experience” within you to help “retool” the 21st Century Church (See my blogs on the Priesthood of Melchizedek). We are the ones who are called to be “equipped for the work of the service” (Eph. 4). We will not be individual Billy Grahams, but part of a priesthood of believers, a body, who will “evangelize” the world for Jesus in the 21st Century. We are part of a priesthood of believers, a body, who the Lord Jesus is preparing for His return. His return depends on our preparation as a Body, thus a retooling is needed as part of that preparation if we as a Church are to be “without spot or wrinkle”.
You and I are the “evangelists” of the 21st Century. Let’s examine what that means in the next blog.