Thursday, February 14, 2013
It's time for an extreme Church makeover! The Church in America needs an extreme church makeover. It needs to be turned inside out and upside down. We don't need to just tweak a couple of items; we need a whole new operating system as well as a whole new way of doing business that works and bears fruit. Without a radical priority change, we will continue to be ineffective, irrelevant, and fruitless, unable to change our increasingly wicked culture. So we need a new church culture if we hope to reform our world and culture. And it has become clear to me recently that one of our primary callings as a ministry is to help awaken the American church culture out of its present fruitless, faddish, and market driven state.
The Church in America is now much more market driven than Spirit led because it is led primarily by highly-gifted administrators and pastors whose main concerns are the people's salvation, then protection. While this may sound noble, virtuous, and even self-sacrificing, it is neither biblical nor is it in line with what apostolic Christianity looks like in the Book of Acts or the rest of the New Testament. As a result, and due to the significant lack of spiritual discernment in most pastor-led church leadership, the fads and trends that the Church wants, she gets. Whatever she wants to eat, she is allowed to feed on. Very few are getting exercise of their spiritual gifts, and fear and anxiety are the primary forces that move day-to-day operations. It is as if mom and dad are gone and the indulgent aunts and uncles are running things. Due to this, spiritual fruit is virtually nonexistent, and people are somehow content to sit and listen to messages designed for spiritual babies.
Leaders have traded influence and apostolic anointing for a sappy, ineffective, watered-down message with no teeth. Instead of boldness, we hear words like caution as an excuse to avoid becoming a militant, spiritually aggressive church. Instead of the radically sacrificial lifestyles we see the New Testament apostles had, too many of today's leaders are a pompous bunch of rich, spoiled, self-indulgent sissies, too scared to rebuke a cold and too self-indulgent to care. Some ministry behemoths are so quick to compromise and prone to personal excess that large legal expenditures are now included as a significant part of the budget of most big, successful American ministries. Instead of exercising restraint or feeling a twinge of conscience, they say, "Well, so-and-so does it, so I'll do it, too." They have bodies, bucks, and big buildings, but integrity is on the decline. It is amazing the correlation between what is happening with many giant American businesses like GM and Citigroup and these huge American ministries, which suck up huge amounts of resources but are becoming even more self-indulgent and unfruitful. Do these ministry leaders, many of whom are more salespeople than fishers of men, really think the Holy Spirit is going to allow them to run these "ministries" forever? Just as American businesses are going to have to either get rid of the excess and get back to serving customers or die, so these monstrous "ministry machines" are going to go the way of the dinosaur unless they repent and change. They are bloated and ineffective, yet amazingly addicted to millions a day to survive. Being big isn't the problem, and being "persecuted" isn't the problem. Our prayer should be, "Lord put out of business any and all of these supposed `ministries' that have now stopped ministering and have instead become platforms for influence and riches for their leaders instead of serving your Kingdom's purposes.
The King is coming and is requiring an accounting of how they have been `doing the Lord's business.' Come, Lord, and clean house!" The Church needs to wake up because unless authentic apostolic leadership steps in to straighten things out, we are in real trouble. Our message and the representation of Jesus we have been communicating must change! When a well-known minister died a few years ago, the Lord told me that his passing represented a changing of the guard in which "the pointing of the finger" in accusation would end. In its place would come new leaders who would be "pointing their fingers" in order to point people in the direction of their destiny!
Bill Johnson says, "To represent Jesus authentically, we must represent Him and His Kingdom in a more authentic way."' This must be done with great integrity that authentically communicates His values and love yet moves people to focus on their purposes and destinies. God intentionally leaves no mold, pattern, or formula for how the Church is to be established; the main point is to follow the Word and listen to His voice. Apostolic and prophetic churches will be more and more the order of the day while churches that practice the seeker-friendly model will be more and more absent of God's presence as the Lord says, "Enough is enough." While the Lord blesses things He won't inhabit, the difference between a little blessing and His manifest glory will be so stark and clear that only agnostics and the hard-hearted will stick with these religious facades.
Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with Gods people and members of God s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the chief Cornerstone (Ephesians 2:19-20 NIV).
NEW GOVERNMENT, NEW PRIORITIES
Obviously the churches that begin to be led by apostolic messages and mandates will look radically different, and they will have real and lasting fruit. Of course, a new wineskin brings a different set of priorities and governing core principles. Based on the gifts God has set in His order in the Church, as enumerated in First Corinthians 12:28, we have a new "way of doing business."
■ Apostles advancing the Kingdom
■ Prophets seeing this supernatural realm
■ Teachers understanding the Kingdom
■ Workers of miracles (including evangelists and
pastors) engaging in supernatural activity
■ Saints doing ministry (see Matt. 10:7-9) No longer dependent on their district or their denomination's latest mandates, these new churches will follow God's pattern. In addition to having these new priorities, they will then also have new core values.
Wake up leaders! It's getting late!
Marc Lawson. The 166 Lifestyle: The New Normal Christian Life (Kindle Locations 498-500). Kindle Edition.