Dare I Dream?
Everybody has their opinion, vision, or dream of what they think the Church should be, and often go on a journey to find it; most times unsuccessfully. In America we “shop” for a church that meets our needs, our wants, that makes us comfortable. What programs do they offer? A good youth group, share group, children’s ministry, nursery, musical style that appeals to me, etc.? In America Christian jump from church to church, no longer going to the closest location and giving to their community through their local church. Many churches’ roles are coated with move-ins, not people just born into the kingdom. So I began to think, what am I looking for?
An evangelistic church appeals to me, because the Great Commission has called us to “go to all the world”, but not “all the world come into our building”. A local evangelical church advertised this Sunday “free car washes” for visitors in attempt to bring people into their sanctuary. A church the infiltrates the world with the Good News, the Gospel, is a must, and new believer’s enthusiasm is contagious to a congregation.
A shepherding church is mandatory, for if it is to grow, then the new believers, the new Christians, must be developed and be nurtured in Christ-likeness. Small group life sharing everyday walks of faith help nurture this environment
Of course, the church must be grounded in the Word of God, the Bible, but I also want a prophetic church that takes the Logos Word and converts it into the Rhema Word, or living Word. Learning to walk in the Spirit and being taught by the Spirit is mandatory.
All this evangelistic, nurturing, teaching, and prophetic work and life of the church is being done by the believers in Christ, and the older they get, the shift toward nurturing and equipping those newer in the faith becomes evident. It is believers reaching out and developing believers. All this needs to be coordinated by someone(s) who can see the big picture of the congregation, the church, and who encourages, develops, and equips those believers to grow in Christ, never in a controlling spirit, but a serving one.
Have I found this local church? Of course not! Do I think I can find this church? I am pessimistic when looking at church structure, organization, and leadership styles that currently exist in most church paradigms. I do know that God’s Spirit is no longer to be boxed in, and for those who think out of the box, revival is the answer, for there is where God works at the grass roots.
I have been in evangelical churches, nurturing churches, strong teaching churches, prophetic churches, and even apostolic churches, but each has been a separate entity instead of coming together, uniting their strength for the common good of equipping the saints. Often staff has been nurtured and developed, not their people. That dream of unity of the gifts for the development of the saints is still burning within me, and I still have to believer that is the wave of the future for the church. I hope, some day, to be a part of that paradigm. Act 2 proclaims that “old men will dream dreams.” I guess I am one of them!