I read an article and viewed a short YouTube video recently on two different types of new church models or paradigm shifts that raised concerns. Here is the article: Prophetic Churches and here is the video: Future Church .
FUTURE CHURCH VIDEO: My first impressions on this future church model was this: Is it apostolic in nature and function? Is it duplicable everywhere? And what will it compromise to succeed?
It’s interesting that the fastest growing church is in Iran right now. China would be another example. This future church model would definitely not be duplicable in persecuted lands.
I understand the diverse nature of the body of Christ, and for that reason alone I remain open and teachable, but I’m wary of the prominence of the wisdom of man and an absence of the supernatural element in this sort of model. In other words, I have reservations.
It has been my observation that throughout history this kind of wisdom based on the ingenuity of man doesn’t normally produce lasting eternal fruit of generational transformation. One person asked me: How is it determined to be the ingenuity of man as opposed to a strategy from God?
I didn’t want to be dogmatic about it, so all I said was that the strategy could’ve come from God, but I’m just wary of this sort of ingenuity that seems to be an aversion to 1 Cor. 1:26-29.
“For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence.”
Time, experience, and growth in God should cultivate your discernment. The Bible, however, does show a clear pattern in which God does NOT usually use the best, the most talented, the smartest, or the most expected and likely to succeed in the flesh.
We must understand that principles when implemented by anyone will get results. The problem is not with principles per se, but the motivating power and ethics behind the principles. Whom do they honor and serve?
HEAR ME CLEARLY
Again, I’m not saying that the aforementioned church strategy and model the brother received was not from God, but when you’ve lived for the Lord as long as I have, you are slower to embrace the newest, biggest, and fastest growing church strategy or methodology. Due to failures and bad fruit I’ve witnessed over the years, I’m slow to trust the next new thing, as it seems to always fizzle with time. I like to tell believers: God is not always doing a new thing but an old thing. The basics and foundations of the real faith will never change. And as I stated, with time, experience, and some maturity in the Lord, you can be trained to look down the road 10 or 20 years and calculate what it might look like then. This is the reason we need the voice of wise elders and fatherly-like ones in the Lord’s body and learn to be led by the Spirit of God and judge everything by the real anointing of the Spirit.
Personally, what my senses have been trained in is looking for the cruciform nature of Christ in nearly everything pertaining to the kingdom, and many of my judgments are based on that. The gift mix and grace in me looks through that lens most of the time. A businessman I am not. Haha! I don’t believe the church should primarily be run like a business. It is a house of prayer and a soul winning, disciple making organism fueled by the supernatural power of God.
So, what should we make of all this? The good news is that God’s great redemptive plan is enough to sanctify and bless any effort done in faith for Him. He will bless any model, paradigm, or strategy offered to Him in relational faith. He will fill every structure as much as He can. If a perfect church model or methodology was required, there would be no hope for any of us.
On the other hand, we should not presume upon His great grace and redemption to normalize error and continual practices which misrepresent His purposes in the earth, and which could harm the people of God.
PROPHETIC CHURCHES ARTICLE: I have a red flag on this one, too, folks. First of all, I’m always leery of the new buzz words floating around in this contemporary Christian age. Words like “shift”, “atmosphere”, and “prophetic” are overrated in Christianity. Although I absolutely love the emphasis on Spirit-inspired prayer and revival, and agree with many good points in this article, the Church has a propensity to entangle itself in excesses, abuses, and extremes. Yet in seasons of time it takes some extremity to move things from one ditch back to the middle of the road. I believe this is what the article prescribes. The challenge has always been to avoid moving from one ditch to another.
Study the life and ministry of Jesus and it will keep you out of error (John 5:30). Do nothing more and nothing less than what He is leading you to do. One size does not fit all here. As soon as you realize that, you will not fall for the next new fad, trend, or supposed new model of prophetic churches or other paradigms that many are touting today. Pray, and follow His leading.
You need the leading of the Lord and much grace to follow the model of what this article or video are extolling. Again, although I do believe and espouse to several key points in both the video and article, the bottom line is that unless God gives you divine unction you would not have the grace to do what they are saying. Additionally, I also have some reservations about several things in both the video and the article, the biggest of them being the transformation of the church to an enterprising juggernaut (in the video). When the dollar becomes preeminent, history has proven that the church loses its passion for prayer, soul winning, and discipleship.
A friend of mine offered this bit of wisdom: “And while I do like some of the points made in the article it drips with idealism. I have never found idealism (no matter how good it sounds) to be very practical or applicable in its fullest sense.”
May the Lord give you great wisdom and understanding concerning the times we are living in. There are many substitutes for the true grace and wisdom God may be wanting to give you. May you be sober, watchful, and prayerful and live your life with great urgency and an awareness of the wisdom and counsel of the Holy Spirit. The Church and the nation are moving toward greater change and tumultuous times. Just be sure what you are doing is Spirit-led and Word-based, and not consumer driven and image based. Kingdom culture and relationship based Christianity with the Word as our foundation combined with the moving of the Holy Spirit is the emphasis of the Lord in this hour.
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