Here is an obvious fact: The Stone Age did not end due to a lack of stones. Neat, right? But, you knew that. Look around you – there are stones everywhere. Well, when I heard that the other day (from The Lord) it was a new revelation for me. I knew it was the voice of God speaking. That much I was sure of. I knew what it was that He had said to my spirit. I am a good listener. Now, the full meaning of what I heard has yet to be revealed. But, the Holy Spirit has been shedding some light on what The Lord is telling me. This is good – and I have learned over many years that the fullness of the revelation comes in time. But, there is always an immediate truth that a person can grab hold of and run with.
The Stone Age did not end due to a lack of stones. The Church Age that we are now in will not come to an end due to a lack of churches. But, it will come to an end. And at that time we will see the return of Jesus Christ coming for His Bride, the true Church that He is building. A Church without spot and wrinkle. So, what will bring the Church Age to an end? Well, I believe three things are needed:
1> The Church taking seriously it’s only mandate or task given to it by the Lord of the Church, Jesus. This means that the christians stop “playing church” and begin to take seriously the command to “go into all the world and make disciples.” The believers need to become true “ministers of reconciliation” and “ambassadors for Christ.” They need to have a heart for the lost which translates into an empowered prayer life, sacrificial giving for the work of the Kingdom, and being willing to obey the Lord – proving they really believe that the Bible is the Word of God. This will mean a total shift of focus from “self” to others.
2> The Church needs to be designed according to the biblical pattern and then function biblically. The “senior pastor” as solo leader must disappear being replaced by a team ministry encompassing apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. We need to see massive changes in the focus, function, faith, and fruitfulness of the church. It needs to become a risk-taking organism instead of a self-protecting, safe organization. It needs to be flexible, fluid, and flowing outward into the world enabling the Kingdom to be built and the Gospel to be preached where it has not been heard before. This will happen when the ministry of the apostle is fully accepted and welcomed into the local church.
3> The restoration of everything that has been lost from the life of the Church over the centuries must be made complete. Acts 3:21 states that “Jesus, whom Heaven must receive until the time for the restoration of all things…” I believe we still have a few things to restore within the Church that Jesus is building.These include apostolic-prophetic teams (apostles and prophets ministering together in local churches); the training and releasing of apostolic-prophetic people who are “sent” into the world to form incarnational communities; the introduction of a working “discipling” structure in the local church bringing new believers to maturity where they are reproducing and making disciples; and the end-time harvest during the great falling away where the love of many Christians will grow cold.
The Church Age will not end for a lack of churches – man-made churches will always exist because religion tends to have a strong hold on people’s hearts and souls. But it will come to an end when serious-minded disciples of the Lord Jesus build churches according to the biblical pattern and begin to reach out with passion for the lost and thus fulfill the call and mandate Jesus had on His life to “seek and save the lost.”