Having Second Thoughts About The Next Movement Of God?
I had forgotten an important principle in my life: In order to learn a spiritual kingdom of God principle, I usually have to experience it! Head knowledge for me is never enough!
Although revivals usually work outside the boundaries of the institutional church, I believe the next major movement of God will directly affect present day Church structure. I sense God will work within his own body, the Body of Christ, to reinstitute the Priesthood of Believers as peers, equals, brothers and sisters in the faith where linear relationships built on trust, service, honesty, and integrity will be solidified. The clergy/laity schism will finally be diminished. Like every other revival or movement of God, this must be orchestrated by the Holy Spirit, and obedience to what the Holy Spirit reveals is mandatory.
I believe that this move of God will be a “metamorphic” transformation of present day church structure that is professional, clergy driven, and pyramidal in structure (caterpillar stage) to a laity driven, linear structure of peer relationships among believers in Jesus built on acceptance, equality, and accountability to “one another” (butterfly stage). How does the Church get from Point “A”, the caterpillar stage, to Point “B”, the butterfly stage?
On this path lies the dynamics of this next movement of God, the cocoon stage. As God covers, masks, and builds this cocoon around his Church, unobservable by the outside world, the Holy Spirit will supernaturally reconstruct what was once natural into a butterfly. The butterfly’s structure will not resemble anything the traditional church has ever seen; the old structure will be totally reconstructed. “The old has passed, behold the new!” Infamous for not embracing change, the Church will embrace structural change and how it functions. Since butterflies function differently from caterpillars, this new Church structure will demand new ways, new forms, and new mindsets.
My dilemma: I have believed that my local church, which has embraced drastic changes in the past, would be open to embracing this new movement of God. I became shocked when leadership opposed it, not wanting to hear about it, so conflict arose which has forced me to break ties with that body. It became a power play. Why would a strong, pyramidal leadership structure relinquish their control over the Priesthood of Believers? I have looked “unsubmissive” to their leadership by questioning them. Some have even accused me of “slandering” their office and “defiling” their sheep. One elder advised me to accept their strong, pyramidal leadership style that he thought biblical or leave the fold, the family, that which I have been grafted in for almost twenty years. I told him I am seeking leadership who will be in front of me to lead, behind me to cover my back, and beside me to walk relationally through my faith journey with me, not a leader who dictates what I should and should not do and can and cannot do over me. I am looking for an equal brother in the Lord, not a leader who renders me voiceless, threatening severe church discipline if I make one more mistake.
While what was my local church keeps choosing the path of institutionalizing, empowering clergy and staff, while enabling the Priesthood of Believers into passivity, families are leaving, numbers dwindling, with many of the faithful no longer faithfully attend. I still believe God is working in their midst, for they are entering their cocoon of introspection, and it is painful because inside the cocoon at the center of all this activity is the CROSS!
The Cross is a painful place that brings death. Without death there is no resurrection. Great opposition led Jesus to the Cross. The Pharisees of Jesus’ day could not hear nor see what God was saying or doing. Today is no different, for Pharisees are always spiritually blind and tone deaf. I know; I am a recovering Pharisee. Like Saul, now Paul, I have been there! At the Cross God reconciled himself to man (John 3:16) and reconciled man to mankind (IJohn 3:16). The Cross is the only place God can teach his faithful, his Priesthood of Believers, how to “lay down your life for your brethren,” bringing transformation from dominant leadership to peer acceptance through reciprocal service to and from “one another” as equals. There are no classes of distinction, no offices nor titles in the kingdom of God, only equals, a Priesthood of Believers.
In spite of the opposition, the darkness of the hour, facing the emotional feelings of rejection and abandonment, I still believe God is faithful and moving, and revival IS happening IN the CHURCH right now as it approaches this metamorphic stage. God, give us, the Priesthood of Believers and church leadership everywhere, strength as we go through this dynamic transformation!