Category: models


So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-13).

If you claim to be apostolic, prophetic, evangelistic, shepherding (pastoral) or a teacher, are you equipping God’s people for works of service so that we may be built up to the fullness of Christ? That is your calling! The point isn’t achieving your own glory. You are meant to be part of the Church, to strengthen the Church. Alan Hirsch and Michael Frost make the case in The Shaping of Things to Come that these are more than gifts, they are offices/roles of the church. AND, he maintains that God has placed each of these in all of us so that He can call them forth as needed. Are you open to fulfilling these roles as needed? If not, you are robbing the Church of needed function and robbing yourself of full life.

And church – are you allowing yourself to be grown and strengthened by apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, and teachers? If not, you will not become all God desires. Christ himself has designed his Church to function with their help. Notice, by the way, that shepherd is only one role in the equation. Interesting that most churches pay someone to do this, but not to be apostle, prophet, evangelist, or teacher (though many roll shepherd and teacher into one thing). We pay someone to take care of us, but not to challenge us or lead us into new things. Or, what we call pastor is a one-person show that is supposed to somehow fulfill ALL the leadership described above. We need all these leaders to be operating. Is it any wonder we don’t reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God? We are out of balance.

I am not making this up, it’s right there in Ephesians. It is not inappropriate or rebellious to seek balanced and Christ-instructed leadership, especially when we start by asking God how he might want to use US to equip his Church.

 

 

 

 

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It seems like I know quite a few people who aren’t satisfied with their church.  I’m not talking about ultra-consumer Christians or people who can’t ever seem to be “fed” enough. I’m talking about people who earnestly want to grow in their discipleship of Jesus and are absolutely willing to give the time and energy to this pursuit – and helping others in this pursuit.

And I know a number of people who are interested in God, Jesus, or even just what might be termed spirituality. And they’ve tried this religion and that place of worship and their hearts aren’t inspired.

In both cases, we have a case of knowing what isn’t working. What frustrates me, however, is the seeming struggle to move toward something new, something amazing. I’m pretty sure God desires and pictures the Church to be something that is life-changing for us and pleasing to God! So, what’s the problem?

Walter Brueggemann, in his brilliant book The Prophetic Imagination, suggests that when God wants to do something new, there is a need to both criticize what is and energize to what can be.  Criticism without a picture of possibilities generally ends in frustration and paralysis. I find this to be true for many who know what’s wrong with the Church, but can’t picture something different. On the other hand, simply painting continual pictures of new possibilities is so prone to fads and quick-fixes.  Further, my experience has been that people don’t NEED any new ideas if they don’t think the current thing needs fixing. To really engage alternative ideas for Church, we need to lovingly examine what is lacking and courageously experiment with what God is leading us toward.

I am also convinced that too many people don’t believe they have the ability, responsibility, or authority to want more. I’m not talking about any sort of crazy schemes or clearly man-made efforts. But if God wants people doing this Jesus-following together (and God does – more in other posts), then aren’t we compelled to be as faithful as we can to God’s heart? And if our souls are what we are talking about, don’t we want what’s right and beautiful and life-giving? And don’t we want that for others too?  I do. I want that in existing churches. I want that to re-new churches.  I want that in new churches.

I must paint these pictures of possibility with others. Are you up for a little dreaming?