Great teaching on the church by Francis Chan and David Platt. It’s a short video, under 5 minutes. Church is all about making disciples. Go to this website for further great teaching on church – http://www.multiplymovemet.com
Sadly, church as we know it, is largely: we gather together once or twice a week and worship a little and pray a little (usually very little) and listen to teaching. After saying hi to friends and small talking with others, we head out into our world until next week.
May I suggest that one of the problems is the structure of the denominational church and the Bible Colleges it has spawned. Few now believe and teach the inerrancy of Scripture and hence have compromised with the world on major issues such as gay marriage and the transgender movement.
This prophetic word that Pastor John Burton delivered to city pastors in Detroit several years ago is revealing.
“He said, I don’t believe it was received well, as most remained silent after I shared it. I do believe it was the Lord, however. It was a word of warning and a strategic call.
I saw an ocean beach on a sunny day. There were many people on the sand, a good number splashing in the shallows and a handful of people swimming in deeper waters.
Those who were on the sand were mostly happy building sand castles, tanning and enjoying the afternoon sun as the cool mist from the crashing waves blew over them. Some were curious about the water and even took off their sandals and walked where the waves met the sand. Others would slowly venture out and start splashing in the shallows, but most were satisfied just where they were.
The people in the shallows were having a good time. They were together, jumping, splashing and swimming. They were in waist-high water and were able to stand on the sandy bottom. They were also satisfied.
I then looked out at the small number of people who were in the deep. They couldn’t stand as the water was well over their heads. They were so hungry to explore the wide-open seas. It made no sense to them why anybody would be satisfied to experience so little. However, these people had nobody to lead them into the deeper waters. You see, the people on the sand, in the shallows and in the deep all represented a single local church.
What I saw next brought clear, obvious revelation to the situation.
I saw a man, the pastor, in khaki pants, a dress shirt and a tie. His shoes were off and his pant legs were rolled up. He had one foot in the water and the other on the sand. He was not dressed for the deep. In fact, he wasn’t dressed for the shallows or the sand either. He determined to remain anchored between the sand and the shallows where the majority of the people were, yet unable to really reach any of them.
The pastor was under great stress, as he would look upon those on the sand, then those in the shallows, and he’d then squint as he saw those who were drifting out to sea. His eyes continually darted between the three groups, attempting to maintain some sort of control over the spiritually diverse congregation. However, he couldn’t. Those in the deep became a nuisance. He found it easier to allow them to go and to focus on the sand and the shallows. He knew those in the low water would not go deeper, and those on the sand were safe. Maybe someday, they would jump in and splash around with the others.
Pastor Burton summed up with: I believe the strategy of the church must radically change. The pastor, the leader, must be in the deep ahead of the people. Just as the priests in Israel led the armies, usually with praise and certainly the blowing of trumpets, understanding that victory will come from the Lord. The priests are called to step into the waters and to lead people into miraculous situations.
“Joshua said to the people, ‘Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will perform wondrous deeds among you'” (Josh. 3:5).
The Gideon Church Growth Principle
Churches have too many people, or at least they have the wrong people. Church missions have been compromised.
Churches and pastors will benefit from applying the Gideon principle, though it will be scary, painful and humbling. Death to self, rejection of selfish ambition and mighty faith are required. I believe God is about to invite leaders into divine wrestling matches as they renounce their fabricated and confused identities and adopt their divine callings and discover their identities in Christ instead of success.
And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and said to him, “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valour!”
Gideon said to Him, “O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.”
Then the Lord turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?”
So he said to Him, “O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.”
And the Lord said to him, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man.” Judges 6;12-13
We know that Gideon was still not convinced God was going to use him to save Israel and He tested God twice with the fleece. God did not get angry with Gideon and He obviously convinced Gideon to trust God no matter what, as he was prepared with only 300 men, to take on the “the Midianites and Amalekites, all the people of the East, who were lying in the valley as numerous as locusts; and their camels were without number, as the sand by the seashore in multitude (Judges 7:12)”.
How desperately we need pastors/leaders who will cry out to God to know His call for their lives, to seek confirmation, to hear God’s voice, to discover their new identity and emerge as a true leader.
A short video with Francis Chan expounding on church as it is, and how it should look as presented in Scripture.
I love that mantra for church, because it makes it clear that the church is not a building but a people who take seriously the GREAT COMMISSION for the church to GO and make disciples.
Torben gives us a simple “model” of what to do when you gather with small groups to disciple each other.
The simple model based on JESUS IS THE CENTRE and IN (fellowship), UP (focus on God, communion a good start) and OUT (take the Gospel to the world)
Another video from Torben that will encourage you as to what God is doing to build His church. Listen to the testimonies of three young people who were sent out as Jesus sent His disciples with no money, no two pairs of shoes. They were to be dependent upon God as provider, and their instruction was to find a person of peace in the town who would invite them into their home. Who is the person of peace – one whom the Holy Spirit is already at work in their life. Jesus told them to stay in that at home and bless them and train them. The stories are powerful and an inspiration for us all to do likewise.
You have to listen to this message from Francis Chan – just 4 minutes on the “last days” church.
Dave Benson gave this presentation “What on Earth are we here for?” at Movement Day in Sydney, a gathering of Christian leaders interested in impacting their community for Jesus Christ. Most people there recognised that institutional church for the most part is not equipping the saints to do the work Jesus commanded us all to do.
You will need 16 minutes to view the video and I would encourage you to share it with other church leaders. Time is short let’s make sure we are in the centre of God’s will for our lives. Start living eternal now.
The Jubilee Year, which started on the Day of Atonement in 2017, is as relevant today as it was when God had Moses introduce it to His people (Leviticus) two thousand years ago. When the trumpet sounded, the land must be returned to its original owners. It was a time of restoration.
In 1917, the land was given back to the Jewish people on a Jubilee year by the British with the Balfour declaration. In 1948, Israel was re-established as a nation by the UN but Jordan is given control over Jerusalem. The next Jubilee in 1967, Israel gets back its capital Jerusalem. This is exactly what is prophesied in God’s Word and therefore proof positive it was God’s plan, it came to pass. What about Jubilee 2017? This is the year that the leader of the most powerful nation, on earth, President Trump, recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moved its Embassy there.
The Jubilee is relevant for all nations as shown by Jonathan Cahn on his trip to Cuba. You must hear his story of what transpired in Cuba. It truly is amazing, I have never heard anything like it before, God was in it, miracle after miracle. Proof of God’s sovereignty, His total control over His universe.
Jonathan believes that in this Jubilee, God is releasing His power to live as the church did in the Book of Acts.
“Arise, shine, for your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For behold darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; but the Lord will arise over, and His glory will be seen upon you.” Isaiah 60:1. It is time for all believers to take up our inheritance. The Holy Spirit’s power will be released, as it was in the early church, for us to accomplish all that He has prescribed for each one of us in these last days.
I have across another great sermon from Francis Chan. He starts in Revelation and its importance for these “last days” including sound teaching on the “Mark of the Beast of Revelation 13:16-18, but he concludes with information on how they are doing church. It lines up with the church we read about in the Book of Acts: small groups that require all participants to use their Holy Spirit given gifts, no buildings, no paid pastors and those small groups giving rise to more small groups – disciples making disciples. The centrality and inerrancy of Scripture is KEY.
Francis Chan is urging the rising generation to reengage the Scriptures about how church is done, stressing that the U.S. model has gotten many things wrong, even though motivated by good intentions.
“I got tired of hearing my own voice,” Chan said, explaining why he stepped down, something he writes about at considerable length in his latest book, Letters To The Church.
“And I felt like people relied on my voice too much and they weren’t getting in the Word for themselves, that they weren’t seeking God on their own.”
Yet because he did not give all of the reasons for why he left, people started making assumptions. Through several conversations with his elders and his own journey of poring over the Scripture about what the church ought to be, he came to the conclusion that he could no longer abide the status quo.
He tried to make some changes he thought were necessary but was unsuccessful, he explained. Compounding the struggle further was the success of his books Crazy Love and The Forgotten God and the proliferation of opinions on social media about what he should doing and be preaching.
“It was a confusing time. I just really didn’t know what more I could do for the church,” he said. “And as my wife and I prayed. Both of us just really sensed there’s something else.” He thought he would be positioned at this church for his entire life; he always respected other pastors who did so. But he continued to sense that the Lord had something new for him so he figured he had better obey that and move on.
In Letters To the Church, he addresses the credentialed, consumerist, and expensive economic model in which America does church.
“I would be going against Scripture to say that ministers can not be paid by the church,” he told Relevant. But in a lot of countries, that is not the way it is, he pointed out, and you must do what is best for the Gospel not what is best for yourself. Somehow, you have millions and millions of believers in China, and it wasn’t about all these paid clergy [where] that was their business. And even in the inner cities of America where most of those pastors are bi-vocational. In San Francisco, one of the most expensive cities in the United States, none of the pastors in Chan’s network of house churches are paid. They do not have a budget like most churches do; all the money they take in goes to the poor and other mission-related activities.
The American way has blinded Christians from staying focused on the advance of God’s Kingdom, he writes in Letters to the Church. Chan recounts in the book one particular occasion when he was speaking with a pastor from the Philippines who has over 30,000 people in his church. The pastor told him that they used to send missionaries to the United States for Bible training but that he would never make that mistake again. He explained that once these would-be missionaries spent time in the U.S., they never came back! Once they tasted the comforts, they came up with all sorts of reasons they were called to take a nice salary from a church and raise their children in America, Chan writes. Sometimes it takes an outsider to point out glaring issues we have become blind to. This pastor now trains missionaries in the Philippines, in an environment where there’s no temptation to stay. It keeps them on mission. In the wild.”