The 21st Century Retooling of the Church - Part II
If evangelism means “rebirthing” and “renewing”, it means “retooling”. How is the way we look at evangelism to be retooled? Well, I believe evangelism will shift from one body, one person, speaking to the masses, to a mass of believers uniting as one body to speak to 1) a lost and dying world, and 2) a divided and disarrayed Church, both unprepared for Jesus’ return. An emphasis will move from small local church bodies of believers to being part of the universal Body of Christ. Even though we have an identity as in individual believer, and an association in the coming together as a small group body, the Church is about to be part of a major “graft into the vine” if it is to be “effective” in the 21st Century.
Technology always has help ushered in an evangelistic era. After a century of not embracing change, the Church found itself in the midst of what has been deemed “The Dark Ages”. The evangelistic spirit was almost diminished, and the challenging the Church hierarchy, institutional structure, and theological dogma was labeled heresy with burning at the stake as its source of enforced terror. Guttenberg’s printing press, a new technology, ushered in the “Age of Enlightenment” and “The Reformation” eras, allowing the Priesthood of Believers to read the Word, the Bible, while being taught by the Holy Spirit that resided within themselves, a definite “retooling” of the way the Bible was to be taught and received. With the new technology of the World Wide Web, the Internet, why would there not be a “reemphasis”, a “retooling” of the way the Church is to think of itself, the world, and global evangelism and unity of its Body? The Church is again faced with a “retooling” period of its history as it embraces the possibilities of this new technology and the effect it has on itself and the way it sees the world, and I am sure that the “evangelists” of this new mindset will face the “burning at the stake” of its generation by the established Church who is unwilling to retool and remain unproductive and spiritually bankrupt, another Dark Ages.
I do not want to live in another Dark Age Period, but in an Age of Enlightenment as illuminated by the written Logos Word of God, the Bible, into a Rhema Living Word of God in each and every believer in Jesus Christ who is willing to be “equipped for the work of the service”.
So we need new mindsets, a “retooling” of the way we think of Church and do Church in the 21st Century if we are to impact this World Wide mindset before us. Instead of denominations, we will be forced to go back to the Church by locality. In Paul’s day, when the world wide view was limited, he looked at the Church of Philippi, the Church of Corinth, the Church of Thessalonica, etc. as his sphere of Church influence. The 21st Century World Wide Web Church may have to be looked upon as “continent” localities: not just The Church of North America, but also The Church of Asia, the Church of Australia, the Church of South America, the Church of Africa, the Church of the Orient, The European Church, etc. Denominational lines will have to fall as they have in today’s Church of China, as the Priesthood of Believers have been forced to unite in order to survive.
How is the 21st Church going to invade spiritually the global challenges of Islam, of Hinduism, of Buddhism, of the various forms of the 21st century paganism, etc.? History has taught us not through military means like the Crusades, but through “evangelistic crusades”, as Billy Graham and other evangelists have called them in the past century, only “retooled”. The only way the Spirit of Jesus Christ can penetrate these areas is through a “retooling” of the way the Church perceives an evangelist and evangelism in the 21st Century.
The “retooling” will require a new “point of view” of how the Church sees itself and the world. The Great Commission is still in effect, even in a greater measure, as a “retooled” World Wide view is envisioned. “Without vision, the people perish.” With this “retooled” vision will come a “retooled” passion that can only be “birthed” out of an evangelistic Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus Christ, His Holy Spirit.