The 21st Century Retooling of the Church – Part XIX
A major retooling has to occur in the way we “teach” our faith, the kingdom of God, and the Gospel, or Good News if we are to impact our constantly changing word in the 21st Century. The church still operates under the medieval mindset of head knowledge of facts being poured out by an educated clergy upon the uneducated masses, the laity, causing a class distinction, a division in a Church whose foundation, Jesus’ will, is to be unified. What freed the medieval church from this entrenched mentality came with the technology revolution of the printing press that freed the believer from hearing the oral dogma of the Church from their pulpits to allowing the Holy Spirit to teach the Logos, or written Word, to the masses through the printed Word. The masses, or laity, then began to allow the Holy Spirit to release the Rhema, or Living Word, back into the Church as its members, the laity, began to have the desire to “live out the Word”, and the Great Reformation was birthed. Spiritual life began to come back into the Church.
Today the Church still feels the tension between the medieval design of only the intellectually trained teaching the word and allowing the Holy Spirit to instruct the masses, the laity, how to walk out this Living Word. I chuckle how the male dominated leadership structure in churches allow women to raise their children in a godly manner daily through mothering at home and maybe even permit them to teach the children in a Sunday School, Children’s Church setting, but will not allow women to teach adults because it is only men’s work, as if women are intellectually inferior when it comes to instruction the ways of God.
My dad has always proposed that the way you bring up a child in his first five years is the path the child will follow for the rest of his life. If the child is raised Roman Catholic, he will remain in the Roman Catholic tradition; if raised Protestant, he will remain Protestant. The Roman Catholic Church, realizing this truth, is the only major Christian organization to institute a massive successful system of parochial schools to train their children in their intellectually driven religious dogma. They teach their members to respond to the gospel intellectually through their clergy for the rest of their lives, thus the medieval system of education is deeply entrenched. I feel the 21st Century Church needs to break out of that mold. We will look at the power of teaching our children in the next blog.
The 21st Century Church needs to learn how to release facts into faith, a written Word of Laws into a living Word of Grace and Mercy. The five fold approach would help instruct the Church in “equipping the saints for the work of the service,” for it is a pluralistic approach with evangelists, shepherds, prophets and apostles along side teachers and walking with fellow brothers and sisters in the faith in service, then releasing them to serve. This walking out one’s faith in daily life with other brethren by your side in service, to serve, rather than the clergy/laity mentality established in the medieval Dark Ages, is a novel idea in the way we do Church, particularly in the Western World.
Jesus taught by experience, not by intellect. He wants you to experience the Cross (Take up your Cross and follow Me), experience inner healing, physically, mentally, and spiritually, experience faith, not just talk about it, experience relationships since He is a relational God. To “know about God” is one thing, but to “experience” God is quite different. The key to changing the 21st Century Church’s mindset is to recognize that the Church must “experience” God more than it needs to “know about God”. I guarantee you, we will know more about God when we experience God.