A Look at Kent Hunter’s “The Future Is Now: How God Is Moving In The 21st Century Church
I came across an ebook by Kent R. Hunter of Church Doctor Ministries entitled “The Future Is Now: How God Is Moving In The 21st Century Church.” I would like to quote from this source since it is so good, and then add a few of my analysis to it.
From Chapter 6 – Flat Changes Everything, Hunter says: “The flat world reflects the repulsion today’s young adults have for institutions that act institutionally. The key for understanding this is that if a church persists to be hierarchical, it will not attract young adults. This concept is reflected in the teaching of low-control/high-accountability. Most churches from the modern era have become extreme, with layers of bureaucracy, politics, bylaws, rules and regulations, titles, offices, and all the trappings of institutionalism. This does not fit the relational world that now exists. It is not an effective platform for sharing the Gospel. The flat world Thomas Friedman [his book The World is Flat (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2005)] describes simply indicates that now people relate horizontally. Not so many decades ago, it was required to get the “secret information” held, for example, by seminary professors at a seminary institution. Now, students can find any of those books on Amazon while sitting in the comfort of their own bedrooms. The flat realities of our present world are a great blessing for the church that returns to the biblical realities of the priesthood of all believers…. The way churches operate and make decisions is often called church government. The institutional and corporate models that betray biblical truth — on more levels than one can imagine — will be replaced by a way of decision-making that models an apostolic theocracy. The word “theocracy” means the rule of God or will of God. It reflects the primary driving force in which churches make decisions: seeking what God wants.”
Hunter hits on several themes I have reiterated throughout these blogs: “This (flat world) concept is reflected in the teaching of low control/high accountability.” The five fold, as I propose it, is a process of “releasing” individual believers in Jesus Christ to do their passion, exercise their point of view, with all the gusto, energy, and heart and spirit felt motivation that is in them with the accountability piece of submitting to the other four passions/points of view through “service”, serving one another. Low control, freedom in being released in the Church, with high accountability, submitting through service and being served by four distinctly different passions and points of view that differ from your own by laying down one’s life for their brethren.
Another key theme: the priesthood of all believers. In my ebook, The Blue Print and my accessory workbook, Breakthrough To His Presence, which I hope to soon offer through this web site, I address this topic. The premise of these books is a study of the actual blue print of Herod’s Temple, the temple Christ himself personally visited, and how the physical divisions of the inner courts exemplifies the walls and barriers that keeps a believer from entering the Holy of Holies. When Christ died on the Cross, the veil in the Holy of Holies was torn from top down, breaking down all these barriers, allowing His Spirit to dwell in any and all believers in Jesus Christ. The Blue Print is a fictional account of this principle while Breakthrough To His Presence is a Bible study workbook of scriptures that actually break down these barriers. In essence, Jesus broke down hierarchal barriers of his time to free the priesthood of believers according to the order of Melchizedek.
The last principle he described as “an apostolic theocracy” model of “seeking what God wants.” Although we may differ on the role of the apostle, it excites me that Hunter recognizes the importance of the five fold in a “God’s Will” seeking model. I believer that all five are empowered to lead when called upon by the Holy Spirit with the backing of the other four to help implement it. If something is to be birthed, the evangelist will rise and lead with the support of the others. If something needs nurturing, care, or developing, the pastoral shepherd will arise. If something needs to be Biblically based, the teacher arises. The prophet arises when the relationship through communication between God and mankind needs emphasis. Finally the apostle will arise to see the big picture, releasing the other four to do their passions freely as he “sees over” what the Holy Spirit is doing.
Hunter is correct in his assumption that the church must become relational rather than hierarchal. I John 3:16 of “laying down your life for your brethren” is relational and brings accountability. The Church must struggle with the reality of what I John 3:16 (horizontal relationships) mean to John 3:16 (vertical relationship) in order to understand how the Cross effects the 21st Century Church.
Good stuff Mr. Hunter!
(Since my ebooks are not yet uploaded, if you email me at email@example.com, I will send you a copy in PDF format of The Blue Print and/or Breakthrough To His Presence FREE if requested by the end of June, 2011 [if I am tech savvy enough to do that!).