The 21st Century Retooling of the Church – Part XXX
To the question I asked in the previous blog, “Who is in control of our churches?” I wish I could reply “the Holy Spirit”, but in reality I know that we are far from that. Leadership meetings are not time of quietness, tranquility, peace, calm, and time to listen to “the still small voice” among us. It is not a time to then respond to what the group hears the Holy Spirit is saying in unity of purpose and direction. In theory we would like to believe it is; in actuality, the truth of the matter very seldom is it ever that way. Then what is our option?
I believe the five fold is not about offices, or power, or about church political influences as the pre-21st Century church has made it out to be, but of points of view, gifting, and passions that are spirit born in every believer in Jesus Christ that is just waiting to be released in them if given the proper conditions. If leadership is not based on titles and offices, then what is its basis? I propose though “service”. It is what “you do” that makes you a leader, not what you say, nor what title you have been given. You are not a leader unless someone is following! Who is following you? If your personal life exemplifies Jesus, then the lost will be attracted to Jesus as their savior, not to you. If you care, nurture and develop them, they will naturally follow you. Sheep follow their shepherd’s leading. If they see the power of the Word in your daily life and the living out of that Word, they will hunger and thirst for righteousness and the Word too for themselves. People follow in response to “your service”.
When the disciples were fighting for positions in this new kingdom of God that was being established, arguing over positioning of who would be on Jesus’ left or right, they were soundly rebuked because the kingdom of God, the Church, is not built on a pyramid position as the secular world of corporate America. There is no C.E.O. or President of the Board, etc. “on top” of the Church structure. The structure of the Church under the kingdom of God is an inverted pyramid of how many you are “serving”, bearing their weight on your shoulders, rather than how many who are under you “serving you” and your every wish and command. The retooling structure of the 21st Century Church should be built on “service”, not political power, influence, or office. Under the new retooled structure there would be no need for “offices” because people would not have to be told what to do, they would do what they see those whom they are following doing: serving!
Evangelism would be retooled because an evangelist would have to “serve” those they wish to win into the kingdom. Most believers came into the knowledge of the saving grace of Jesus Christ, not through large evangelistic meetings and efforts, but through a everyday believer they admired or were willing to listen to who shared heart to heart with them about Jesus. That kind of evangelism has produced longer, lasting, effective results than did huge evangelistic programs, meetings, crusades, or endeavors.
The way we look at pastoring/shepherding would be retooled because the emphasis would be on “service”. Even Jesus, as a human being, could only “serve” or “shepherd” twelve men over a three year period effectively. Small groups, not as a program, but as a reality of number is essential in one’s development. That one-on-one instruction by “experiencing” life with a younger believer in his daily walk is powerful and will stick with that person for life. Pastoring/Shepherding is all about Walking the Walk With the person! It is not about preaching, formal classroom teaching, nor lecturing, as the pre-21st century paradigm has been for the Church, but in the actual involvement in the every day life to teach kingdom of God principles.
As a public school teacher, I know the truth that class size has on the effectiveness of one’s instruction and development of his students. The smaller the group; the greater the effectiveness. The ultimate, one-on-one instruction is always the most powerful. As a Christian for 50 years, I have heard thousands and thousands of sermons, teachings, and intellectual dissertations “about” Jesus, the Gospel, and the kingdom of God principles, but I question the effectiveness of all that “time” of vocal instruction by an instructor sharing their knowledge with me. One of the purposes of the five fold is to increase our “knowledge of the Son of God”. A retooled teacher will be one who instructs “about God” but exemplifies through his own life of service “who God is in his own life” based on principles grounded in the Word of God, the Bible. Personally “experiencing” God will be the retooled way of teaching instead of formal, written or oral instruction “about God”.
“Listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit” and being obedient to what the Holy Spirit “reveals” is the retooled way the retooled 21st Century Church would have to operate. What is the voice of God, the voice of Jesus, the voice of His Holy Spirit saying at this moment, at this time, to this particular body of believers while fulfilling the written Logos Word, the Bible? Upon hearing, obedience will be required, thus the need of the prophetic spirit to be “serving” in each and every local body of believers, the local church.
Finally, a retooled 21st Century Church would have to rethink the role of an apostle in service. The apostle is capable of evangelizing, shepherding, teaching, and releasing the prophetic spirit, but chooses not to do himself, instead releasing others to do it as he trains, develops, equips them in their growth into the likeness of Jesus Christ. A retooled apostle “sees over” his domain of influence, not “over sees” it. He has the innate capability of seeing the big picture, and knowing what to do with it to “complete” the art piece! He leads the other four of the five fold through “service” and by “example”. Respect arises from “what he does or does not do by allowing others to do it”. There is never an issue of “control” because everything is done out of “service”, who he is shouldering, who is covering.
The structure of this “retooled” structure is new, and I am sure will be controversial to the established structure that has reigned over the centuries, but its effectiveness in ministry and bringing unity to the body of Christ as the Church, the Bride, in its preparation to be “without spot or wrinkle” for the returning of Bride, Jesus, in undoubting.