10 Ways The Church Might Change:
Point 5 – Part 2
[In previous blogs I have outlined 10 possible changes the Church may face in the future. This is point 5 in the series: Church offices will be replaced by leadership built on relationships, not position. Because of what one does, will one be respected or rejected. This will not be based on works, but on grace, mercy, and obedience to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Leadership will be established by those who are willing to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit and be obedient to that voice.]
I believe that revival in the 21st Century Church will demand leadership built on relationship among the local brethren. That was also the pattern of the 1st Century Church. Paul, listening to the direction of the Holy Spirit, was lead to a city to evangelize or proclaim the gospel or “Good News” of redemption of Jesus Christ to a dying and degenerate world. With new converts, Paul then led them through teaching and personal modeling in this new Christian lifestyle of “holiness”, “righteousness”, and walking in faith, grace, mercy, and acceptance that was foreign to their old ways of life and surrounding culture. As they grew in this faith journey with Jesus led by the Holy Spirit, Paul then trained and equipped them for leadership, so when he left their area, they could stand on their own and grow in faith and in numbers. He never controlled them, only equipped, trained, and encouraged them in their growing faith, in their studying of the Word of God which where Old Testament Scriptures, and relying on the Holy Spirit to interpret those in light of this new Christian culture for Jews and gentiles.
Can you image how grateful the Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Galatians were to their inbreed leadership who were trained and equipped by Paul and other visiting apostles like Barnabas, Apollos, and Timothy for leading them into the knowledge of the salvation of their souls through the death of Jesus Christ on the Cross and the power of his resurrection, for developing, training, and equipping them to walk a life worthy of Christ Jesus, and release them into the gifting of the Holy Spirit for their personal growth and the edification of the entire body of believers?
I know that my wife and I have been spiritual parents to three sets of youth throughout our lives. They still call us Mamma B & Poppa B, but it gives us great pleasure to see their spiritual growth now that they are adults. They have deep respect for us, and that respect is reciprocal as they continue to grow in Christ. As spiritual parents, it is hard to describe the satisfaction of seeing the fruit of your investment. I can understand Paul’s letters to those he has trained and equipped as he sees them grow in their leadership skills.
When there is a revival, there is immediate growth, and often the need for leadership is great. The proper training and equipping of the saints prior to a revival is a necessity, for once revival starts, there is no time for training because so much happens so quickly. When the cause of evangelism begins to produce new babes in the Lord, those with leadership skills in properly nurturing and care, pastoral skills, are needed to develop and walk out this faith journey with these new converts. As they grow, they needed grounded in the Word, thus the need for leaders with teaching skills. They need direction, guidance, and to learn to know the voice of the Holy Spirit and how to be obedient on their own, thus the need for a prophet. Finally, there is a need for someone to pull it all together, to bring together the efforts of the evangelist, pastor, teacher, and prophet for the purpose of spiritual growth and unity in the body of Christ, thus the apostle.
In a day where many are leaving the professional ministry due to burnout, the Church needs to reevaluate how it trains leaders and for what purpose if they truly want to see and be a part of revival. The laity, the saints, need to be drawn out of their passive modes that we have enabled with, and train them for the works of service. Then the Church will be ready for revival.
I truly believe that the Church as a whole has not yet seen revival because it is not ready for it. “Prepare ye the way” is a strong Biblical theme throughout the Bible. The way is “prepared” before the major event occurs. John, the Baptist, was the forerunner of the Messiah, “preparing the way”. The Church, the Bride of Christ, is to be without “spot and wrinkle” in preparation for the Groom’s, Jesus’, return. I believe the Church is in a season of “preparation”, so that will require change. Change in the way we train leadership; change in the way we worship together; change in our leadership structure; change in how we do “body” ministry; and change in our attitudes toward Christian brethren who do not practice their faith exactly the same way we do.
What is the Church going to do during this transitional time of preparation? Are they going to continue their current attitude of doing nothing while clinging to past traditions, or are they going to embrace change no matter how radical it may look.
When, not it, world-wide revival hits, the Church needs to have prepared evangelists, pastors, teachers, prophets, and apostles by equipping them and releasing them to serve. It is a monumental task, but world-wide revival is a monumental event. It is the event that will unify the church while removing its “spots and wrinkles” in preparation for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, the ultimate world-wide revival.