I’ve been on a bit of a journey and rather than open up to much about the internal journey (which has been incredibly painful, yet incredibly productive) I will expose some of my thinking mechanisms in a slop-fest sort of collage.
I’ve spent a huge part of my life studying and immersed in church government, architecture (the relational kind), and models…my passion has been the church for the greatest part of my thinking life…
From Watchman Nee, to Peter Wagner, from Abbott Loop and Vineyard to FourSquare and AG I have read Viola, Barnes and Barnhouse, Moody, Finney and the Heavenly Man.
House church, organic, pagan-less, Apostolic, shepherding, purpose-driven, seeker-friendly to drive-through and web-based…
I cut my teeth on Bob Mumford, Derek Prince and Ern Baxter, New Wine, Old Wine, house church, and on and on…have sat under Apsotles, Prophets, Bishops, Deacons, Presbytery, Pastors, Shepherds, Councils and Messianic…
I’ve read and listened to just about every venue and expert on church models, wine-skins and government until I’m frankly tired of it all.
Some has been great, some has bordered on cultish…recently started reading Alan Hirsch, and find him very educated but basically its the same thing I’ve heard repackaged about a thousand times, although it fits a little better in our culture and seems to have a better mission than a lot of other things.
So yeah…I’m kinda a church government student.
But lately…some of my journey has me exploring windows of perspective I have never considered…and I have been revisiting some of the foundational scriptures with a newer perspective and having “what the heck?” moments…
Rather than take you on the journey and how I got there on some of my newer approaches I’ll just unload them here for you to think about.
1. All Apostolic Ministry has as its core design “Establishing Justice as a Covenant Ambassador”
- That means our model of “church planting” is not be the primary function of Apostles (I have scripture)
- “Establishing Justice” may look miraculous, may manifest as healing’s etc, but is ultimately about transforming cultures/nations/people groups…
- Apostles came from the Jewish Culture not the Greek (Paul was actually an Apostle of the Sanhedrin first) so our definition should follow that model.
- (I think healing is a great example of establishing justice, the cross is the legal answer of heaven to the question of disease, whenever we pray for someone and they get healed justice has been administrated into the physical dimension ..THIS is what I mean by establishing justice, this and more)
- I think we miss the fact that Jesus in using the word “apostle” (Luke 6:13) is using a Greek word that is used almost 700 times in the Septuagint from the Jewish “Shaliach” which was typically a legal Representative of the covenant…(even today the “Shaliach Tzibur” is a someone who is sent as a legal ambassador)…it simply means “I send this one” in Greek…
2. All Five-Fold Ministry is temporary and transient:
- The verse that gives us five-fold has a big ol’ “Until” we tend to ignore
- The New Testament model we have been given is transient and follows the contours of the culture
- The church as an entity is actually temporary itself, it ultimately becomes a Bride, there is no temple in the New Jerusalem.
- According to Eph.4:14 the purpose is to raise up adults who can think and speak for themselves, once they are adults, by definition they are on their own…
3. Our current Western Model is not working:
- Big Homer Simpson “D’Oh” right here…
- At best, the very best of our best churches will only ever reach 39% of the city they are in…
- (The REAL number of the population that is actually transformed by our church model is frankly an indictment, so the question needs to be asked what is the real purpose of the church/Revelation 1-3 seems to place the purpose in a different context than our current church culture does)
- 10% of the people in the average church do 90% of the work and get burned out/bitter/used up
- 90% of our congregations are not being equipped in their own specific calling/vision/assignment they just do what the <1% tell them to do.
- James 1:27 is not being done on the average, and whats worse is not even a priority, if this is Gods idea of religion how many other things have we missed?
- Our missions efforts mostly replicate whatever model we are in, this alone testifies we’ve missed the assignment.
- Stats for this group are worse than for traditional churches
- Not sure we’re even supposed to be making new wine, Jesus in Luke prefers the Old.
- House-church, organic, whatever you want to call it seems to eventually mimic the model it came out from.
- Protestants on the average are more legalistic than the Roman Catholic Church we protested from, if you doubt that try asking questions of those in leadership and see where that gets you.
- The New Testament example of the “message” focused on repentance because Jesus had been raised from the dead, not the second coming.
- Jesus was resurrected in a PHYSICAL body, this fact is critical to the gospel message and is not primarily about salvation from sin, it is about restoring the planet.
- The resurrection of Jesus was a greater act of creation than the Genesis vignette, that should mean something to the land.
- Our tendency to ignore land and history smacks of ignorance and arrogance, scripture is full of references to both.
- Greek dualism has corrupted our concept of sacred/secular until we are no longer effective in our communities
- Authority is directly related to taking responsibility and everyone is “local” somewhere.
- The sheep ALL belong to Jesus, even the lead ones, therefore any model that does not release but demands “disciple-ship-submission” is suspect…(Jesus actually released many without discipling them, the Gaderean demoniac is a prime example), we disciple nations by releasing people, not the other way around.
- People on the whole are slaves to an empire that Jesus defeated, our challenge is to release them from every kind of bondage and not control them.
- Land is important to God…it should be to us.
Addendum: Let me be clear that I am not making hard and fast rules here, these are simply observations and notes I am taking on this experiment, nothing here is conclusive…I reserve the right to completely re-write all of my models since I’m doing it now…that alone should tell me that I need to hold to these concepts loosely and try to find a place of wonder and reverence between the borders of what is and what is to be…I’m not suggesting any of this as definitive answers since frankly we haven’t even begun to ask the right questions yet…these are formulated notes and not answers…that much should be obvious by the “snarky” tone that is typical of someone who drinks to much coffee late at night.