The 21st Century Retooling of the Church – Part XXXXVII
Several years ago we had a pastor who claimed he liked to “stretch” us, so he found a six fool rubber band (unstretched) and stretched it until it was almost ten feet long, threatening to “let it fly” when released. Later as a lay witness coordinator, I gave everyone on my team rubber bands to wear around their wrists all weekend to remind them of how we were going to “stretch” their faith that weekend.
A rubber band is really of no value and no use until it is stretched. With tension comes strength. A strong rubber band is one that can be stretched a great distance and hold its tension. There are a multitude of uses for stretched rubber bands. Unfortunately a rubber band whose tension is too great, being stretched too far, can snap, be dangerous, and cause harm.
Often in church, every thing is done to avoid tension. Tradition often compensates the fear of change, the fear of being stretched too far. Church is all about people, people and relationships, and that is the breeding ground for tension, particularly when there is diversity that is unchecked. So what does this have to do with the five fold?
With the five fold, you have five different points of view, five different giftings, five different passions, and if there is not a system of check and balances, you too have the breeding ground for tension and division. Each different point of view and passion tugs and pulls, stretching the others. It would be very easy to dig in, defending ones point of view, creating division, rather than submitting to other’s points of view, creating unity. What can take the edge off of all the tension that could be created? Answer: service and accountability.
With the five fold, each point of view and passion must lay down their lives to each other in service, or there will be no integrity in one’s ministry. When one lays down their life for you, it is easy to submit to them, creating accountability. If the five fold is to succeed, service, the laying down of one’s life, and accountability will the ingredients needed to succeed.
The 21st Century Church needs stretched if it is to be retooled. The tension it can take is the gifting of an apostle who can read the tensions, know to use those tensions for the common good producing productivity while creating unity. If there is ever a time that the apostle needs to be reestablished in the Church, it is today, while the Holy Spirit is retooling the Church! That over sight, seeing over how far things can be “stretched”, but allowing tension to be used in a positive manner, can be an effective tool in the retooling process.
How far will you allow the Holy Spirit to “stretch you”? How far will you allow the Holy Spirit to retool the church you are part of? How far can you “trust” the Holy Spirit, the true measurement of how far you are willing to be “stretched”. The Holy Spirit will not allow you to break, to snap.
A church without tension is a safe church that will never snap, but it will never be very useful either! Come Holy Spirit; come retool the Church today; stretch us!