. . . posts on faith and life
Appearances are often deceiving. And despite what the title of this site might make you think, I actually have a very extreme amount of hope for the future of the Church. Why? Because the fire of God is His passion for His people (see Deut. 5). Christ gave himself up for the church, to make her holy and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or blemish (Eph 5:25-27). This gets close to the root of what IT is all about, what God is doing in His creation through history.
Unfortunately, our application of our eschatology encourages us to do very little in actively pursuing God’s vision for His bride. We assume that this is one of those things, from a list of things, that He will do when He returns. So, we have decided to leave it alone. I personally believe that not pursuing the maturity of the church is a great mistake. And that we will be held accountable for whatever we decide to do or not to do in regard to this matter. I also believe that you do not have to believe that the ‘perfection’ of the church will take place before the parousia of our Lord in order to catch a vision for the ‘perfecting’ of the church while we wait.
If our churches are going to contribute to the perfecting of the Church then we will have to ‘awaken the sleeping giant’ (Eph 5:14). If any sort of radical change, revival, reformation, awakening, or movement is going to come across this earth it will happen as the people (the laity) are awakened, mobilized, equipped, and released into the world. Leaders in the church (apostles, prophets, evangelists, teachers, pastors) will have a key role obviously, but they will not be the source of the greatest amount of direct impact. Since most of us who comment on here are church leaders/ministers, I want to emphasize our role in unleashing the much larger role of ‘the people.’ I am sure that all of us need to awaken some things in ourselves first, before we can adequately shine the light that will awaken the people of God. So, I want to start a series of talks that I’m going to categorize under ‘vision.’ I hope to catch some vision from each of you about how to awaken, mobilize, equip, and release the people into the world.
Here are a few things that are bouncing around in my head currently:
(1) People want to ‘experience’ the mission of the church through direct ‘connection’ and ‘vital participation’ (3 of the 4 points in Sweet’s EPIC model).
(2) The church has a future in disaster relief. Emergency response, preparedness strategies, Critical Incident Stress training, quick mobilization teams, and second stage relief are not only going to be HUGE in the 21st century, but they are also exactly the kind of things that can help us get men interested in plugging back into church (not that there aren’t women interested in this as well).
(3) Given the continuing ‘flattening’ of our world, people generally expect and desire to ‘think globally and act locally.’ People want to be plugged into the globalized world, not running from it in fear.
I know that many of you have other thoughts about the importance of unleashing this army of God’s people. I also know that many of you are already finding very tangible, practical ways of doing this in your church. So, I’m wondering what your thoughts, ideas, and current ‘promising practices’ are?