Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Whatzit Look Like?

Wow! This morning I had a wonderful revelation. Church is never going to happen if you and I don't get involved. And it requires the Spirit of God. I know, you already knew that. However; today, it's rhema.

Did you know the church cannot function without vision? Nope, and most of us either embrace the pastor's personal vision, or we find ourselves rejected and left out. This is good for those that embrace it and tough on those that don't. The Bible says that the people perish for lack of vision. (Proverbs 29:18) So, we gotta have vision. The problem is that a pastoral vision is incomplete. Ouch!

Every vision is subject to the Biblical principals. As the president of the United States may have vision, he is still subject to the laws of the land. His vision couldn't include some sort of illegal policy. It is the same with church vision. Spiritual vision cannot violate God's principals.

I want to take a look at the overall mission of the church so that we can attach a local vision to it, and get something done in our community for Jesus. The overall mission of the church is to preach the Good News, and get out there and heal the sick, cast out demons and use other types of "power" and "love" ministry to advance the kingdom of God. The vision of the local church needs to achieve this mission. The actual work is done through the church, and the individuals in it. From the macro view, "what" to the micro view "how," that is how we need to look at this.

The problem with the personal vision of a single leader, is they spend a lot of time trying to get everyone to adapt to it. It will ultimately fail the mission even though it may grow a local church. The fruit of the biblical mission is not numbers, it is disciples that can replicate the vision and accomplish the mission! Jesus did it, then he sent out the 70, then the 120, and then He gave the "great commission" for us all to go out.

Many different models have been suggested for replication and church growth. Since the beginning of the church, small fellowship groups models have proliferated. And I think small groups are good, but they replicate a significant problem in the church. Most of them are pastorally led. Many times, they don't do evangelism or outreach, and the small group pastor is usually forced into teaching. While many do not have a prophetic voice.

As much as I love huge celebration services with hundreds or thousands of people, small group is still church. Therefore; it needs to be a collective microcosm of the 5-Fold ministries or roles. Jesus said that where two or three come together, I am there. I am going to suggest that you would want to have the pastoral and teaching roles met, and hopefully add evangelism. The apostolic and prophetic roles certainly can be resident, but they may foundationally support more than one group.

Before we get all legalistic about how to run a small group, there is some very good advice from Paul in 1 Corinthians 14:26-40. The primary point of this passage is that we should, based on our gifting, be prepared to bring something by His Spirit. This would be a hymn (some sort of worship music), a lesson (teaching) and a revelation (prophecy or tongue with interpretation). These are the essential ingredients in a church meeting, and are as valid for a home/small/cell-group situation as a giant celebration.

What has happened with this model, is that the pulpit has become an icon for "church," pushing aside the apostle, the prophet, the teacher and the evangelist.

The "senior pastor" vision is often very unbalanced depending on the gifting of the senior-pastor or small group leader. What I see is leaders that staff to replicate themselves, and not for their weaknesses. The purpose of many churches is to get some sort of pastoral care to the flock. But this does not promote the spreading of the Gospel. It is essential that the local church vision includes teaching, directing (prophecy) , bring in new converts and caring and discipling those that are in. In the process they need to be equipping all the saints to replicate this vision. Why? Because a disciple is one that can give testimony to God's ability to save them, grow them and send them out to produce fruit in the Kingdom of God.

If our 5-Fold equippers have done their job, their small groups will replicate a vision that fulfills the mission of the church on a local and regional level.


photogr said...

This was a mouthfull with some excellent points.

Over the years I have been in Small Churches to Mega Churches. The pastor is the leader of the flock. The bigger the church the harder it is to manage or lead thus comes the title of associate or assistant pastors along with the ministers of this project or that project.

Only the Lord Himself can do that flawlessly but it also has ramnifications if the follower go off on a tangent opposed to the teachings of the Good News. Those are the ones that end up on the wrong side on Judgement day.

No matter what size the church is, the pastor has to have the motivational skills and visions that will inspire his congregation to follow or agree with his direction. Here in comes the theory of Managing through Chaos.

Now here comes the Clevat. The odds of having 200 or 2000 people to agree together on a single issue on how to do something is insurmountable. Now add into the equation of one person to lead them voulntarily to march to the beat of the same drummer or vision. Not an easy task isn't it?

Only if that one leader has the possession of the Holy Spirit and Gods grace can he pull this off with out a hitch and pray that the flock has the same inspiration. A few definitely will not but that is life in any group.

I think the Bible has laid out the process quite clearly what is expected of of our services to God and the Body of Christ. To follow another vision is Heresy and damnation.

I will take a spiritually inspired and motivated pastor any day no matter what the size the Church is.

David said...

Thanks for the comment photgr -- good insight. I have to agree, we don't need anymore good ideas, just God ideas. I am working hard to get people fired up about hearing God, using the 5-Fold, in particular, the foundational apostle and prophets to set things in order so that the pastor can do his job, and not everyone else'.

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