The 21st Century Retooling of the Church – Part XXVIII
So where are individuals to redirect their focus? How is the Church to redirect its focus? Good questions with tough answers. Christians and churches need to realize that their focus and what they do with it will have eternal consequences. If as Christians we believe that accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior is our “new birth” spiritually, and our time on earth is “working out our salvation”, or “sanctification”, or spiritual development until our fulfillment with Jesus in heaven, then we have a lot of “working out” to do during our life time. How do we do that as a Church?
This is why I am so adamant about the influence of the five fold on the 21st Century Church. It provides the tools for total birth, development, and fulfillment during one’s life here on earth. The evangelist’s passion is to win the lost. “You must be born again,” is his plea, then finding ways into leading one into this new birth, this new life in Jesus. The pastor/shepherd then is driven to “walk the spiritual walk” with them, caring for their development into being Christ-like. Jesus spent three years “walking” with his disciples through their spiritual development, teaching them of His relationship to His Father, setting forth kingdom of God principles that they would use for the rest of their lives before releasing them into apostleship upon his leaving earth.
The teacher wants to anchor the spiritual development upon the Truths in the Word of God, the Bible, while the prophet is eager to teach a developing believer into what it means to be in the “fullness of Jesus”, both developing one toward maturity in Jesus. Finally a believer in Jesus Christ can offer an apostolic covering of over seeing one’s personal and corporate spiritual development, calling upon the other four passions and giftings to augment a believer’s growth toward maturity in Jesus Christ.
All this preparation is at the expense of the final “releasing” of the believer to “go out” in the power of the Holy Spirit, grounded on the written Word, the Bible, and activated into a Living, Rhema, Word of “service” while continually growing in the maturity of the fullness of Christ. If it took Jesus three years to develop his disciples, and Paul several years to develop a church in a city before releasing them for “service”, it will take us several years of care, nurture and development before we too must release those under our care to exercise their passions, develop their own character, and continue to move forward toward the maturity in Christ. The five fold is not only for preparation, but also for releasing.
I know of no local church, personally, that trains everyone in their congregation to “serve”, then releases them to actually do it, to actually serve. That is one of the biggest challenges facing the 21st Century Church: the process of nurturing, developing, then releasing believers in “the work of the service”. To do so will take a major retooling. We as a Church must accept the fact that we must do “church” differently if we are to be effective in this century and in the times to come.