Meeting or Movement?

We go to church meetings … one, two, three a week

Mary had a little lamb
She grew up to be a sheep Then she became a Christian And died from lack of sleep

Jesus did not come to establish a “meeting” He came to establish a “movement”

Jesus is not really focused or interested in another “meeting” He is looking for His people to release a “movement”

Meetings – something we do, an activity
Movement – helping the church to be and working to become

Bringing transformation and change to lives everywhere Jesus did not say, “Go into all the world and hold meetings”

He did indicate that we were to “go into all the world and multiply (make disciples)” Multiply = disciples making disciples who make disciples who make disciples

This is what The Great Commission is all about

Matthew 28:18-20 “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Jesus said that to pour out “new wine” (a movement, a new move of the Spirit) That He would need new wineskins

Old wineskins can no longer stretch or expand so if you pour new, still fermenting, wine into them the gas released by the fermentation process will destroy the wineskin as it cannot expand

And then the wine is lost as well
Wineskin = a new form of the church build according to the New Testament Wine = a fresh move of the Holy Spirit

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An Apostolic Understanding – Part Twenty-four

As we saw earlier, the pastoral and the apostolic church are like two different operating systems. Trying to get a pastoral church to operate in fivefold ministry is like trying to run Apple software on a Windows PC. They are not compatible! Let’s continue this thought and look at the contrast in these two operating systems.

1> The goal of ministry

The goal of the pastoral model of the Church is to meet needs. A church with a pastor as the main leader wants to make sure that those who attend are cared for and comforted when needed. This is a pastor’s heart and what motivates him or her in ministry. Now, it is a good thing to meet needs if and when the Lord directs you to. Everyone, at one time or another, will need a loving person to confide in and a sympathetic shoulder to cry on. But, this does not need to be the paid professional pastor. And, God has more for His Church to accomplish in His Name other than to comfort the afflicted and feed the sheep. Remember, Jesus gave us “another Comforter” who is the Holy Spirit. It is His task to counsel and comfort the followers of Jesus as we fellowship with Him (2 Corinthians 13:14).

The apostolic church on the other hand, is vision oriented. And, that vision is to see every believer equipped and empowered to help with the expansion of the Kingdom through *planting churches and seeing people saved. An apostolic church wants to see every disciple of Jesus learn what their calling is and then become trained to step into and fulfil that calling. An apostolic leadership team wants to see every person enter into the fullness of their destiny in Christ.

* Really we don’t plant churches. We plant the seeds of the Gospel (1 Peter 1:23) and as the seeds take root in people’s hearts then they come to a saving knowledge of the Lord. Then the Lord brings these new disciples together and raises up a church. As Paul states, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.” (1 Corinthians 3:6).

To say that we “plant churches” is just not true, although used by most Christian organizations. As well, there is no such ministry role as “church planter.” Again, a non- biblical understanding of how the Church is planted and grows. 1 Corinthians 12:28 states, “First apostles, then prophets…” and does not mention ‘church planters.’

2> The role of church members

The pastoral church assumes the church members are laymen. The term ‘laymen’ means amateur.* Thus the clergy – the pastor – is the expert and the people are the amateurs. Ministry thus belongs to the professional and the amateurs pay the professional pastor to do the work of the ministry. It is okay for the laymen to do some of the low level ministry. And, if the layman ministers really well, he is often then encouraged to go to Bible School and seminary and become an ‘official’ pastor.

*The term ‘layman’ does not appear in the Bible. It sets up a false “class system” within the local church which simply never existed in the New Testament church. And, this division between professional and amateur was never God’s intention nor the plan of Jesus for the Church that He is building. The Church is the priesthood of all believers (1 Peter 2:9) and no one is set aside as THE priest or pastor. Does a local church have leaders? Of course. But, even there the people leading do not need to be ordained** and set apart as the experts.

** Being ‘ordained’ is again a man made concept that sets people apart as the professional and expert. In the New Testament people were simply born again, baptized in water, baptized in the Holy Spirit, and moved in the gifts of the Spirit. Anointed but not ‘ordained.’ Ordination was simply a means of setting up a hierarchy which allowed others to control.

The apostolic church views all Christians as ministers. Every believer and disciple is called to do the works of Jesus (John 14:12) Every believer needs to be trained and equipped to minister. If the members of the church are not ministering effectively, then the leadership team is failing.

3> The role of the leader

In the pastoral church, the leader is the pastor. The role of the pastor is to care for the saints and to oversee the overall ministry of the local assembly. He does not want to equip the saints to minister. He wants the saints to come to him for ministry. Their role then is to come and be ministered to and to financially support the work of the pastor. The result of this non-biblical format is that the people become dependent on the pastor. Many Christians have been taught to depend on their pastor for their spiritual life.

In the apostolic church the leaders* went to equip the saints to minister. The mark of a truly successful apostolic church leadership team is that they raise up a church full of disciples of Jesus who know God’s ways and do God’s work. In a new wineskin church, the leaders worse nightmare is to have followers who are dependent on them. Their greatest joy is to have followers who minister more effectively than they do.

* In the apostolic model there is never a solo leader such as a senior pastor. Leadership is always a team affair. There is always a plurality of leadership. The basics of this team would be the fivefold ministry of Ephesians 4:11 – apostle, prophet, evangelist, shepherd and teacher (APEST).

 

An Apostolic Understanding – Part Twenty-three

We are looking at the pastoral model of the Church that man had built. This in contrast to the apostolic-prophetic model that was God’s original intention and plan.

In the pastoral model of the church that most are familiar with, the pastor runs the church. He is the leader. He performs the ministry of the church. He visits the sick and prays for them. He counsels people with marriage problems. He consoles the grieving, and preaches the Sunday sermon.

The pastor knows “the mysteries of God.” If you want to know something about God, you ask the pastor. It is their job to know those things. The pastor has the ‘inside track’ to God. If you need prayer, call your pastor and he will pray for you. He is the “person of God” and God will answer his prayers.

The pastor carries out the rituals of the church. He serves communion and performs baptisms, weddings, and funerals. At fellowship suppers, it is his job to bless the food. He evangelizes, he has a ministry of deliverance, and counsels. He does it all. It is his job. This is what he is paid to do, minister on behalf of the people.

In the church we have known, the pastor is the highest office. When we visit a church, the first thing we want to know is, “Who is the pastor?” This tells us who is in charge, who does the ministry, and who we look to for our needs to be met. In many places the pastor is the one who is known and is treated with almost super-star respect. Like Hollywood has its stars so we, the church, have stars … and if I named a few well known authors who also pastor you would recognize their names. Often people go to those churches just to be with the ‘big name.’

One of my recent team members on an overseas trip was thrilled that upon his return he was heading to another state in the United States to visit a certain church. I asked him why he was spending the time and money to do so. The immediate answer was to see (read experience and admire) the pastor who is well known among those in their 20’s and 30’s. He is a very charismatic leader and a great preacher. So, they go to hear and experience his ministry – not see and hear and experience God. This is the status of many pastors and churches today. They are, in many cases, personality cults.

The pastoral model is good, I suspect, in many ways. But a pastoral model was never God’s plan. The pastoral church is an old wineskin that cannot hold God’s new wine. And, it never was and still is not God’s plan. To experience resurrection power, the Church must become a new wineskin! That why God has been calling His Church to change. For the last 40 years, God has been speaking about apostles, about fivefold ministry, and about equipping the saints for ministry. When I was born again 40 years ago this was the first message that the Lord gave me (Ephesians 4:11-15).

But very few leaders and even fewer churches have received the message and changed. There are only a handful of churches in most nations that have embraced the fivefold ministry and that are operating as apostolic-prophetic churches helping the Kingdom to spread to every nation.

The question then is, “Why hasn’t the Church shifted?” It is because it is hard to fit the Bible’s teaching on the Church into the present, traditional structure.

In the pastoral church one generic ‘pastor; is paid to do the work of ministry. It’s his job description. It is expected of him. In the apostolic church, the fivefold ministers equip every believer to minister.

If you begin with a traditional church structure and start talking about equipping the saints to minister, the result is confusion. It does not fit. You cannot pour the ‘new’ into the ‘old.’ New wine needs new wineskins.

Current day pastors (the non-biblical paid position of a local pastor) who try to train their people to minister are sometimes accused of shirking their responsibilities. After all, they are paid to do the ministry – not equip the people to minister but to just do the ministry on their behalf.

To get a new, biblical church, we need a new understanding so that we can receive and embrace a new wineskin. The pastoral church and the apostolic church are like two different operating systems. Like a PC and an Apple computer. Trying to get a pastoral church to operate in fivefold ministry is like trying to run Apple software in a Windows PC. They are not compatible!

So, next time we will look at the two ‘operating systems’ and see how they are vastly different.

 

 

 

 

Belonging, Not Believing

Human beings – you and I – don’t appreciate nor do we embrace change

We unconsciously resist change – sometimes consciously

We prefer what we know than what we don’t know

We like to feel safe, secure, and comfortable

So, we resist change because it will cause us to go where we have never gone before

And that is uncomfortable, not safe, and certainly offers little security or certainty

Mark Twain once said, “The only person who likes change is a baby with a wet diaper” Read more