The Priesthood of All Believers – “The Church of My Dreams” Part 11

We have a spectator model of the Church here in North America and in many others nations of the world. People come to the service on Sunday and watch the experts fulfill their calling as they lead worship, teach, minister, and pray. Then they go home having fulfilled their Christian obligation for the week. Most denominational churches and many Charismatic and Spirit-filled churches function in this manner.

It is an Old Testament model of the priesthood where those select few are ordained and anointed to do the ministry – celebrate the Lord’s Supper, bless the people, minister God’s Word. The New Testament Church did not continue that model of ministry after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ who is the head of the Church. Instead it taught that every member is a minister because every born again Christian belongs to the priesthood of all believers. (1 Peter 2:9)

In the New Testament there was no such thing as the clergy and the laity – simply believers. Yes, there were some specific tasks certain people were called to fulfill – five-fold ministry roles, deacons, helps, administration… but fulfilling one of these roles did not make you “clergy” and if you didn’t have one of these callings then you were “laity.” That is a man-made system and not a God-given structure.

The word ‘laity’ means amature. When I go to the doctor for a medical issue I am going to someone who is the expert and I am certainly a bit of an amature having never even taken high school biology. So, I am expecting him to be the knowledgable one as I am certainly not well informed. But, this was never meant to be the way the Church functioned. Jesus wants everyone in His Church to have a ministry and fulfill the call on the Church to “go into all the world…” (Matthew 28:18).

In the Church Jesus called certain people to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. The task of these five-fold ministers (Ephesians 4:11-16) is to equip the saints for the work of the ministry. It is not their task to do the ministry. Rather it is their job to teach the believers how to minister supernaturally and touch others with the love of God. They are the coaches and believers are the players on the field. However, in most churches it is the coaching staff playing the game on the field while the team sits in the stands and watches. And, we wonder why so many (1,500 a month in North America) are leaving the ministry.

Every believer is called into the ministry and is called to touch lives with the love of God. Every believer has a call and an anointing from God. Every believer has a specific task that they were created and called to fulfill (Ephesians 2:10). Every believer is to follow in the footsteps of Jesus and do what He did. He told His followers just this. “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. (John 14:12)

Now, when you look around and see the people in your world – the needs and the pain in people’s lives can be overwhelming. Don’t look at the big picture. Focus on the one person the Lord has placed in front of you and minister to them. Touch their life with the love of God as found only in Jesus Christ. Malcolm Bane once said, “If you wait until you can do everything for everybody, instead of something for somebody, you’ll end up not doing anything for anybody.” So each day find that one person and touch their lives as a minister of the Gospel and as an ambassador for Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20) and help them to cross the line of faith and be reconciled to God because that is YOUR calling (2 Corinthians 5:17-18).

Each One – Reach One and we will soon see multitudes coming into the Kingdom of God.

Radical Biblical Prayer – “The Church of My Dreams” Part 10

The church of my dreams will be one that is founded upon prayer. Not religious praying but a deep seeking after and crying out to God. This begins with me as the one helping to plant the Gospel in a new area. Nothing can be done until I have first prayed. And then only what the Lord has revealed would then be done. This is how Jesus worked when He came to plant the Gospel. He did what He saw the Father doing and spoke what He heard the Father saying to Him. This is basic. Foundational! Essential. Non-negotiable.

I believe that this means the first part of every day will be spent in prayer with God. Not in the office. Not on the streets evangelizing. Not working my contacts and contacting my network of people. Simply sitting quietly before God waiting on Him and listening for His voice. He will initiate. He will speak first. I need simply respond to what He says. It will be His agenda each morning because it is His Gospel being planted and He is the One building His Church. I will need to pray as if everything depended upon God – because it does!

In the church of my dreams – all those won to Lord will also be taught, right from the beginning of their walk with the Lord, to “be still and know God.” Foundational! Essential. Non-negotiable. All activities of the church will be centered on, grounded upon, surrounded by, covered with prayer. Long before the activity becomes public and takes place many hours of prayer will have soaked the gathering in the power and presence of God. Every detail dictated by the Holy Spirit. Not asking God to bless what we are doing but finding out right from get-go what it is He is doing (or wanting to do) and getting involved because it is already anointed, empowered and blessed by Him.

In the church of my dreams – before any decision is made it have received considerable prayer so that we will know that “it seems good to the Holy Spirit and to us…” (Acts 15). We will be in agreement with one another before moving forward because God blesses when there is unity and oneness of heart (Psalm 133). But, we will first make sure that what we are in unity about is in line with the will of God and the purposes of the Holy Spirit.

Prayer meetings will be daily. But they will be real prayer meetings. Not times of fellowship -but simply times of seeking the Lord together. If we want to fellowship we do so after the time with the Lord. These meetings will be led by God, empowered by God, He will speak and we will respond. Until He speaks we are simply quiet and being still in His presence. These are not times of intercession, prophetic intercession, petitioning, praise and worship – these are times to “seek the Lord” and hear what He has to say. This may give us fuel and focus for another “type” of prayer meeting later in the day or week, maybe even with different people present. But, these daily times of prayer will be singularly focused.

Prayer will be essential, foundational and revolutionary for those who want to be a part of the church of my dreams (hey! it’s my dream) and certainly for those who are called at a later time into leadership as this church grows. But, radical biblical prayer and not religious prayer as seen so often in so many churches.

Gathered and Scattered – “The Church of My Dreams” Part 9

The church of my dreams will walk in power because all of those who call this church their spiritual family will truly believe in the baptism in the Holy Spirit and walk in the attributes of the baptism.

This second experience after salvation (see Acts 8:14-17) means that the believer has been empowered by the Holy Spirit. The believer walks in the same power that raised Jesus from death and the grave. This power came upon them when they were baptized in the Spirit and along with it came one or more of the nine gifts of the same Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:4-11). This power was given so that believers could and would walk supernaturally in a natural world. Afterall, when you were born again you received the gift of eternal life (Romans 6:23b) and this is a relationship with a supernautral God (John 17:3). To enable this relationship to be maximized, God, in His grace, then sent the Holy Spirit to come upon us, empowering us to walk in the supernatural along with Him.

You may, as a Charismatic, say, “I know all that – tell me something I don’t know.” My answer to your comment: If you know it why are you not walking in it on a daily basis? Where is the evidence of your supernatural walk other than you have a private prayer language (not one of the 9 gifts of the Holy Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12 as that tongues is public tongues used in public worship assemblies). If you know it – walk in it. Show me! Demonstrate that you have more than a limited head knowledge of this truth but that you are actually walking in the power of God.

Jesus said,On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within him.” (John 7:37-38). In the church of my dreams every believer will know the truth and the truth will have set them free to walk in the power and thus see miracles, signs and wonders as they influence their neighborhood towards the gospel of salvation. More than knowledge – experience. They will truly and deeply believe what the Bible states and be walking in it. Every believer.

And, as they walk in it, that power will increase and touch more and more lives. In Ezekiel’s vision of the river of God flowing from the throne – the river deepen as it left the temple and entered the streets of Jerusalem. As the rivers of living waters are released from your inner spirit – where God is enthroned because you are the new temple of the Holy Spirit – the river will grow more powerful (deeper) the further into the society and world they go. The stronger the power of the Spirit will be. This will be actual, daily truth for every believer in the church of my dreams.

Jesus said,you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you shall be My witnesses...” There’s the key – the power is to be used as we witness to those who do not have a relationship with the living God. Believe it! Do it!

My dream church – people gathered to God and scattered to do His work in the world – sent to seek and save the lost with power. Ah! such a dream!

Faith Focus – “The Church of My Dreams” Part 8

Question: God, what would bring You to the edge of Your seat and make you say, “Wow! I like their faith?”

That is a question I have been asking recently as I think about the church of my dreams. What kind of church would bring God to the edge of Heaven rejoicing and excited about the assembly of His children called the Church?

It would be a collection of Christians who would be attempting the impossible and thus walking by faith and not by sight. They would be believing (applying their faith) for things so great and wonderful that, should they happen, they would be declared to be “miracles” by everyone who witnesses them. It would be a church that believed (had enough faith in) God’s Word to apply it – ALL of it – to their daily lives – ALL of it – ALL of the time.

It would be a group of disciples that believed (had faith) that even the worse sinner could and would repent if loved, accepted, forgiven and given the Turth as found only in Jesus. An assembly that was focused on the lost and not on themselves – believing that God had called them to impact the whole world and not just their neighborhood – and were taking steps of faith to do just that (it is called risk). They would truly believe (have faith) that “Thy will be done of Earth” and “Thy Kingdom come” would become reality in their own lifetime. Their faith focus would be the Kingdom and not their local church.

Because of their faith they would live very committed lives – committed to the Kingdom and the King as found in the expression of their local church. Because of their faith they would invest their money, time, effort and emotion in the plans and purposes of God as expressed in and through their local church. Because they believe (have faith) they would be willing to uproot and move if the Lord would ask them to and help establish another Kingdom outpost on the frontiers of spiritual darkness. Their faith would draw them away from focusing on themselves, their comfort, and their own agenda. They would be “fluid” and not “settled.”

The Bible says that by faith we please God (Hebrews 11:6). Jesus asked the question, “will He find such faith when He returns?” (Luke 18:8). Faith can move mountains (Matthew 17:20). Jesus said, “It will be done to you according to your faith!” (Matthew 9:29). Must I go on? You are believers and know all these faith verses…and the many others in the Bible – your Bible!

Question: God, what would bring You to the edge of Your seat and make you say, “Wow! I like their faith?”
Answer: Seeing His people actually believing what He said and acting upon it, walking by faith and taking the world for the Kingdom one person at a time.

The dream church would do just that in every aspect of its life.

Only Unreasonable People Need Apply – “The Church of My Dreams” Part 7

My dream church would have but one focus – the winning of the lost. Everything it would do would include an element of influencing non-believers for the King and the Kingdom. The people would be equipped on a weekly basis to win the lost. Every service or assembly would have a presentation of the Gospel and an opportunity to respond. The Great Commission would be the driving force behind the life of this dream church.

We would keep the mission of the church front and center all of the time. We would let pople walk away from the church who desired more of an inward focus. In fact, I would be willing to lose people in order to reach people. I would openly encourage people to leave if they were not intertested in winning the lost. In other words, if you do not like that hyper-focus on evangelism, then there are better churches for you. The mission would be very focused on people who are far from God and as long as one non-believer lived in the city this would continue.

One of the great reformers, Francis Xavier, charged the apathetic European students of his day to “Give up your small ambitions and come and preach the gospel of Christ.” Those would be my words to any believer who wanted to attend this dream church.

George Bernard Shaw is quoted as saying, “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends upon the unreasonable man.” As Sean Smith states, “Reasonable people try to fit in; unreasonable people try to get other people to fit into God’s plan.” So, all progress will depend upon the unreasonable people of the Kingdom. I think others call them fanatics.

Fanatics are people who love Jesus so much and are so committed to His mandate and cause to win the lost that they won’t give up, let up, or shut up, until they get up, rise up, and take up the call upon their life to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). The mission of this dream church would be very focused on people who are far from God.

Need inner healing – good, let’s get you healed so you can “go into all your world and win the lost…” Need to learn how to handle finaces biblically – good, we’ll help so that you can release more of your funds to help train soul winners and hold events for the lost. Need to be free of an addiction – we can help. In fact, we will give you something else to be ‘addicted’ to – letting others know of the love of God as found in Jesus. We will pray and work with you until you are free of your bondage so you can go and preach and release others from their bondage. Only one focus…

Those who become part of the life-flow of this dream church would not settle for nominal Christianity. They would want and go for a Christianity that is phenomenal. They would settle for nothing less. There would be great passion expressed for the Lord and for His cause. There would be a radicalness about those who belong to this expression of the life of Jesus – they would not be afraid to be different and would not be concerned with being rejected when sharing the gospel nor would they fear man., just God. They would, when compared to nominal Christians, appear revolutionary. This is good and as it should be.

Only unreasonable people need apply to be a part of the church of my dreams.

Supernatural Words and Actions – “The Church of My Dreams” Part 6

The church of my dreams would be one built upon the five-fold ministry of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher (Ephesians 4:11). The key leaders would be the apostles and prophets (Ephesians 2:20). It would be a living organism and not an organization. Because a local church is a group of believers meeting together it will, of course, have some organization. However, structure must support life for it to be a part of this local church and the structure is removed as soon as it is no longer doing that.

The leaders of this church of my dreams would equip the believers to do the work of the ministry. This is their job description according to Ephesians 4. The believers would be ministers of the Gospel and every believer would be released into the ministry they are best gifted to accomplish. Again, this is according to Ephesians 4:12-16. This ministry would be in the world and not in the church. This would be supernatural ministry to unsaved people who have yet to hear about and accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. Obviously this would be a team approach to ministry with every part of the local church fulfilling its calling and purpose. It would be a church in the world and for the world but not of the world.

This church of my dreams would be one that is not program centered but whatever activities did exit would have only one purpose – to equip the saints for the work of the ministry. The ministry is reaching the lost at any cost. It is going into all the world … each one-reaching one. The time the saints spend encouraging or comforting one another is maintenance and not ministry; it is not growing the church but simply maintaining what is already there.

This church of my dreams would be supernatural. Anything less and it would simply be another cultural group, social or community club. The church would walk in the power of God at all times.

The apostle Paul stated:
When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power. (1 Corinthians 2:1-5)The church of my dreams would walk in “the Spirit’s power” at all times. And the message proclaimed would not be some self-help message disguised as Bible truth but the basic gospel of “Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”

The church of my dreams would be able to declare, like Paul, that:
I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done — by the power of signs and miracles, through the power of the Spirit. So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ. (Romans 15:18-19)

And, it would not just be the apostles and prophets who would be involved in these “signs and wonders” but the whole church actively winning the lost by ministering supernaturally on the streets and in the marketplace.

We would truly have “rivers of living waters” (John 7) flowing out to the surrounding community.

Bury the Sucker – “The Church of My Dreams” Part 5

As I preach here and overseas in Eastern Europe I often say that we should stop praying for revival. To revive means to breath life into that which is dead. If the Church is dead – do what you do with dead things – bury it. And, in this case, then pray for a resurrection. We don’t need a revival – we need an honest-to-goodness resurrection from spiritual death. Jesus said, “If a grain of wheat is planted and dies…”

To resurrect a spiritually dead church so that it becomes the church of my dreams three things need to happen according to Bill Easum…
1> The church needs a new pastor – either the current pastor experiences a personal resurrection or the church actually gets a new pastor.
2> Next is the resurrection of the leaders of the church either by transformation or replacement.
3> Finally, the church itself is resurrected and turned around through some tactical change.

Looking at all of that and both the time and the work it will take to resurrect a spiritually dead church (see my main web site – resources section – for what a spiritually dead church might look like) makes me wonder if it is simply not easier to walk down the street and start again. You know, get a few people born again and begin to work with people who have never known “church life,” “church as usual,” and are open to doing whatever the Holy Spirit tells them to do regardless. People willing to dream God’s dream.

This dream church would have the following main features:

1> The church would have an outward focus with its people spending more time with non-believers and in the community than going to church meetings and events
2> Jesus, not the institution, would be the object of affection for those who belong to this group
3> The Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) would be the mandate or marching orders and they would measure everything they do by how many new converts they make rather than whether the finances were in the black
4> Membership in the Kingdom will be more important than membership in the church
5> The leader will cease being a chaplain of pastoral care and will become a modern-day equipper of the saints to do the work of the ministry (Ephesiand 4:11-15)
6> Those who try to control the church or intimidate the church at every turn of the road will be shown the door immediately

But then again this too will be hard work because this flies in the face of basic human nature which is selfish and self-centered. But, it appears to me to be less work than trying to resurrect a dead church unless it really wants to enter into new life.

Either way I would need first to focus on myself and my own spiritual walk with the Lord. If this is not renewed, refreshed, revived, resurrected and brimming with God’s life then neither resurrecting a spiritually dead church nor working with a group of new converts is going to be effective. The church of my dreams will never happen until I have had experienced a personal resurrection.

The Greenhouse Effect – “The Church of My Dreams” Part 4

The Church of my dreams (that is what we are talking about these days on my blog) would not be something out of this world or ‘other worldly.’ In fact, just the opposite. It would be something very real and very much in this world. It would be centred in the life of the community it would be serving and relating the gospel to the various aspects and expressions of that culture and life. In other words, it would be “in the world” and serious connecting to that world so that it could share the good news that Jesus saves in a way that those listening could understand and receive. This is not a compromise with the ways of the world. It is simply wise behaviour of those who are going to be “missionaries” (old word) or “apostolic” (new word).

I would not use the word “relevant” to describe this church. I would simply say it would be “real.” There has been too much religion that is disconnected from the culture it is trying to reach. Churches that come across unreal, unrealistic, and flakey – thus phoney. This church of my dreams would be relational and connected. It would be, to give it another descriptive word, “sticky.” It would not be a place unsaved people came to but a place that believers were sent out from to “stick to” others they are already connected to at work and in the community.

When the church of my dreams meets it would not seeker sensitive, sinner sensitive, user-friendly, or whatever the latest fade happens to be. I would not be focusing on the fruit – I would be focusing on the environment that produces the fruit. I would run the church of my dreams like a greenhouse where a believer can be planted, grow, develop, be discipled, trained, equipped, mentored, released … Then, each week, applying what they are learning (always practical, hands-on, interactive) in the greenhouse as they rapidly grow into maturity (a real key for this church – a failure for most today) they then “go into all their world and preach…” bringing the new converts (not the sinners) into the greenhouse environment where these spiritual babies can be fed and watered and sent out – with a terrifically short turn around time. The church of my dreams would not be a place where people came to get saved. It would be a place where believers come to grow and mature and rise up to change their world.

In this new church our focus would not be on the fruit – how many are being saved and brought into the Kingdom. Nothing wrong with counting numbers and recognizing the harvest for all the labor you are doing. And, really this is necessary because we need to know if we are still being effective and efficient and that is best determined by the number of new converts and the number of people who were baptized and entered into a discipling process. I would be focusing on the environment that produces fruit – not the fruit. I would let someone else do the counting.

Of course, this will mean changing the leadership culture of the new church. Just in passing – leaders (elders, deacons) would not be chosen for the first two years of public services – most likely 4 to 5 years into the work of building this new faith community. However the leaders chosen to lead would need to people of character. Thy would need to be tried and proven. And, they would need a number of disciplines… I will list them and maybe someday write individual blogs about them.
1> The discipline of self-awareness
2> The discipline of self-management (includes time management)
3> The discipline of self-awareness
4> The discipline of mission
5> The discipline of decision making
6> The discipline of belonging
7> The discipline of aloneness (solitude)

As you study the life of Jesus in the four Gospels these are the self-imposed disciples He had built into His life that allowed Him to accomplish all that His Father sent Him to do. These same qualities need to be found in and seen in each person who aspires to be a leader in the church of my dreams.

So, I would go into my world, get some people saved, meet to disciple them, building the group to a critical mass (numbers). While doing this I would be watching for those the Lord is pointing out are potential leaders (prophetic gifting – showing people’s potential and the opportunity the Lord is offering to them). I would begin (in year three) to focus on these “potential” leaders teaching them these seven disciples from the life of Jesus and do this to the best of my abilities. By year four or five, as they continue to grow in these diciplines and public services begin then they can begin to work with me in a leadership team as they learn the leadership skills necessary to lead people in this day and age.

And, I don’t believe I am day dreaming….and I and not from outer space or out of this world – or my mind for that matter.

Gospel Planting – The Dream Church – 3

In the past those of us interested in seeing new churches happen in a city or subdivision would start with a group of people who became the “charter members” and then open up shop and hold services expecting people to come. We called it church planting. I planted a number of them this way.

Several problems with this way of doing things…

1> We are called to “gospel plant” and not “church plant.” We need to do what we are called to do – “…go into all the world and preach the gospel…” Jesus will do what He said He would do – “I will build my Church.” (see a three part article on this under “Prophetic Sense” on my main wed site – coming soon. Or email me at ralph@ralphhoweministries.com with “Gospel Plant” in the subject line and I will send them to you be return email).

2> People will soimply not come. You may have a great product (we do – salvation) and a tremendous format to present that product – great worship, good preaching, wonderful children’s ministry. But, when you open your doors people will not be arriving in droves – in fact, next to no one if anyone will come.

So, you have a vivid imagination if you believe this is the way to plant a Church or even replant one that has been slowly getting smaller and smaller… It will end up a day dream and not a vision from God. In fact it will more likely be like something out of a science fiction movie of life from another planet. Not real but definitely “out of this world.”

To plant the “Church of my dreams” will take a totally different approach. It is not ‘top down’ but ‘bottom up’. You can no longer come in with a predetermined format, charter, by-laws and programming and hope people will come. It will require a ‘bottom up’ approach. You begin to relate to people in the area you hope to impact with the Gospel, as a trust level is built and people open up and begin to discuss spiritual issues with you – then you have opportunity to lead them to Jesus and disciple them. You continue to do this, meeting in a small group that hopefully continues to grow, until you have a critical mass to launch a local church. This can be as long as two to five years after you initially begin relating to your chosen target area.

Gospel planting, like any crop you plant, takes time and effort. Success will not happen overnight.
Gosepl planting doesn’t come cheaply. It demands significant sacrifice – difficult decisions, hard work and a lot of rejection.
Gospel planting requires patience and endurance – you need to be in this for the long haul.
Gospel planting requires that you read and study and come to know the people group you are working at influencing with the Gospel as well as coming to know and understand those things that are influencing and impacting their world as well.
Gospel planting means becoming involved in the community you want to serve.
Gospel planting means being in the world and understanding and relating to the world you are in.
Gospel planting is very relational and cannot take place if you are not spending a great deal of time with the people who are not born again.
Gospel planting requires you to work your network of people and be continually increasing the number of people in that network so that you have more and more fish to catch.
Gospel planting requires a very strong relationship with the Lord as well as good, solid spiritual disciplines.
Gospel planting allows the church to be an expression of those being saved and living in fellowship with one another – and not simply an imported McChurch franchise.

The Church of your dreams can become a nightmare if you are not aware from the start that we are gospel planting and that, out of that, a church will begin.

Going, Going, Gone – The Dream Church – 2

The spiritual DNA of my dream church would include ‘making disciples.’ Jesus told His followers – the original disciples – to go and reproduce. He told them to “go into all the world and make disciples...” (Matthew 28:19). They were to reproduce who they were so that the Church, as an organism, continued to grow. The disciples who followed Jesus in the pages of the Gospels knew right from the start that this was what the Church was to be about – winning the lost and discipling them in the faith. When Jesus called them to “follow Me” He told them right up front that He would mold them into “fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19). No doubt in their minds what they were to do.

In my dream church, if I were to plant it, every believer would be a soul winner. Every believer would be trained in and actively fishing. Every believer would be building relationships with the lost – talking to people, building trust, working at opening doors so they could talk about spiritual matters with others in the hope of leading them, in time, to Jesus. Every believer who attended the Church. They would be trained and equipped to do so from day one. Not interested in doing this – go find another church as this one is not for you. They must also be able and willing to disciple the new converts into the faith and to train them in evangelism as well. Duplicating themselves – making disciples.

For this to be a reality in the church of my dreams every new believer would need to be following Jesus. Sold out to the Master. Radical and ready to “go into all the world.” He is the Master Fisherman. Every believer would need to be allowing Jesus to make and to mold them into His image – a soul winner. Afterall, Jesus came to “seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:10) and commissions us to do the same with His authority (Matthew 28:18). He also empowers us to do the task He has established for us (Acts 1:8). He is reproducing Himself in us – and we are to reproduce who we are (disciples) in others. This would never be a matter of feelings – just simple obedience.

For this to be a reality I believe every believer would need to do the following:

1> Going to God and stay there until His heart becomes their heart. They need to share the heart for the lost that God the Father obviously has. “He so loved the world that He sent His Son…” (John 3:16) and every believer needs to experience that heart for the lost – that passion and focus. Their heart need to be broken with what breaks God’s heart – and that is the lost and the fact that thousands every minute go to hell for eternity.

2> Going into all the world doing what they always do daily in life but making every opportunity to share the Gospel and the night-and-day difference that Jesus has made and continues to make in their lives (1 Peter 2:9 The Message Version). This means they have taken the time to study the way Jesus evangelized and then personalized it for their own life and witness. This means reading about and understanding the culture in which they live and are trying to reach. This means being involved in the community and taking an interest in the lives of other people. This means connecting, building bridges, earning trust and respect, and being in the world but not of it. Not spectacular or spooky – just naturally supernatural. This will need to be daily and intentional.

3> Gone into ministry – every member of my dream church will need to understand that being a disciple of the Lord means that they are in ministry. Ministry is not something the Pastor does – it is something every believer is involved in. No spectators in my dream church. Every member is a minister. It is the “priesthood of all believers” (1 Peter 2:9) that we became a part of when we are born again. And, the disciple would need to understand that their mission field is where they go every day to work and play and that they are being sent there by the Lord to be salt and light – an influence for the Kingdom and the King.

Going – going – gone!

However, here’s the problem and why this is part of my dream for my ideal church plant … Christian in the West have largely neglected what it means to be a disciple of Christ. The vast majority of western Christian are church-members, pew-fillers, hymn-singers, sermon-tasters, Bible-readers, even born again believers or Spirit-filled Charismatics, but not true disciples of Jesus. If we were willing to learn the meaning of true discipleship and actually become disciples, the church in the west would be transformed, and the resultant impact on society would be staggering. This is no idle claim. It happened in the first century.