Please review the previous three blogs to refresh your memory of what we have already said about this topic…
I have been looking at what I believe are major issues in the Church today. Let me continue in this direction for one more day. Then maybe we can look at what I believe is the solution for some, if not all, of these issues and others I won’t even mention.
17> There is a serious lack of real prayer in many churches today. We either see little to no prayer or man-cantered prayer where we fail to listen for God and simply talk. The prayer life of the Church, at best, is pastoral and thus focused on our needs, our wants, our issues, our church. In the Book of Acts, the way I read it at least, I see the early Church listening for the voice of God and then responding to what He speaks. I call this prophetic prayer. It is God-centred and not man-centred. It is prophetic and not pastoral or pathetic. It is, in my heart and mind, the way prayer is meant to be.
18> Our salvation comes from God initiating and our responding to Him. Romans 5:8 states that while we were still sinners God sent Jesus to die for us. We responded. We did find Jesus as He was not lost – we were. He found us and we responded to His love and His offer of salvation. So, we began in the spirit with God initiating and us responding. Paul, in Galatians 3:3 asks why have we reversed that and now we initiate and expect God to respond? “How can you be so stupid,” the verse states, “having begun in the Spirit why are you now trying to fulfill it in the flesh?” Good question. We need to change this aspect of Church life seen in many countries today. We need to let God initiate as He is God and we are not. Then, we can respond. This is true for all aspects of the faith.
19> Our leadership in the Church is, in most cases, headed up by a pastor. Again, this is not biblical. In the New Testament Church there was always a leadership team and, most times, this team was led by an apostle or a prophet. 1 Corinthians 12:38 states, talking about the Church, that God placed in this Church He is building first apostles and then prophets… The list goes on to name a few other roles and ministries. However, it fails to even mention the ministry of the local pastor or the five-fold pastor. In fact, there is no such thing in the early Church as a local pastor. The word “pastor” only appears in Ephesians 4:12 and is referencing the fivefold ministry of the pastor… working trans-locally as do the other fivefold ministers – apostles, prophets, evangelists,and teachers.
20> We teach to transfer information from the pulpit to the heads of the people listening. But, biblically I believe we are meant to speak life into the heart of God’s people and this life will bring transformation … not simply the accumulation of more knowledge with no accompanying life change. Jesus said that His words were Spirit and they were life (John 6:63). It is the release of this ‘life’ in the inner person that bring about tremendous transformation of heart and soul leading eventually to a change in lifestyle.
21> When the disciples gather we teach. In reality we are suppose to equip (Ephesians 4:12). As a result Christians do not know how to minister and simply leave the ministry to the expert who went to Bible School or seminary to learn to minister. The task or role of the fivefold ministers is to”equip the saints for the work of the ministry.” It is not to do the ministry – it is to teach God’s people, the priesthood of all believers, how to do the ministry. Then, once equipped, the various parts of the Body of Christ can minister to one another. There are, I believe, 26 “one another” verses (commands) in the New Testament. These cannot be fulfilled if we do not equip God’s people and release them to minister.
And the list could go on.
But, there is hope! Jesus is not finished yet. He is working to change His Church and bring it into line with the Biblical pattern. We need to hear His voice, heed His voice, and move forward with the changes He is making. Then His Church will become healthy once again and the Kingdom of God will begin to expand and push back the darkness as lost souls find hope in Jesus.