It seems to me that some churches in America are free-falling into ineffectiveness. Are we becoming prey to the religious spirits? Have we become so inner-focused that we ignore the needs of those around us? If we don’t keep the Great Commission in the forefront of our ministries are we prime candidates for lukewarmness and apathy?
Many believers are talking about the new apostolic-prophetic church reformation that is sweeping through churches around the world. I wonder, however, how many ministries are really being restructured to equip every believer for the work of the ministry? It’s one thing to preach and teach the Word of God, but it’s another to train, team up and deploy believers to go out into the harvest fields and reach the lost. Jesus never intended for the work of the ministry to be done by one man standing behind a pulpit. In fact, God never called anybody to work alone. I taught on this apostolic ministry restructuring for reformation in my book about Effective Believers.
We have become experts at “having church.” We offer great music, great preaching, and great programs, but we still haven’t changed the basic pattern the apostolic reformation addresses. For example, some think ministry responsibilities belong solely to the seminary graduate or the chic T. V. evangelist. Others still bring the lost to their pastor so he can lead them to Jesus. Still, others bring the sick to someone in a pin stripped suit for healing. If believers do not make any attempt to lay hands on the sick or lead people to Jesus, then we have failed miserably as church leaders. Have you noticed how unpopular it is to deal with demon spirits, hurts and wounds – and especially deliverance matters? We can’t afford to ignore what we are called to deal with. What about words like sin, cross, repentance or hell?
God didn’t call us to become the best motivational preachers of feel good or the greatest T. V. prophets in the nation. Jesus is building strong local churches that do more than produce earthshaking praise and shattering preaching. He wants all of His disciples trained and launched into ministry – and most real ministry work takes place outside the local church building. After all, how many people do we need to vacuum the floor, teach Sunday School, usher, sing, dance, wave flags, look after the children, and so on?
I love people and want to see them prepared for greatness but ineffectiveness in ministry must be broken. This ineffectiveness in ministry could be the result of losing focus and purpose, and the direct result of the religious spirit (and structure) working overtime to make some carnal and lead others into spiritualism. Is it OK to be this direct? I am not trying to offend anyone, just promote some thinking and prayer.
Recently a man sent me a message asking if I could just tone it down a little. He didn’t like my statement about the dangers of the religious spirit. But I am compelled to share the truth with you because good people are falling prey to the same snares that captured thousands during the dark ages.
Friends, if we don’t get back to what our faith is all about, then we will not be building the true Church of Jesus Christ. Rather, we will be building an ecclesiastical hierarchy erected through the marketing tactics of religious controllers. Didn’t Rome already do this?
We must not forget about the priesthood and kingship of every believer. God gave us five ascension gifts to perfect, equip, train, deck out, and arm believers – not put on a show for them. Jesus said, “I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail.” The apostolic reformation will require a loving willingness to address some difficult issues. But be encouraged! Great change is on the way.
As the late Dr. Lester Sumrall once said, “Jesus is coming soon. Let us fill the earth with His praises. The more fanatical we are, the greater impact we are going to make on this generation. When people see that we are sincere to the core and not playing with religion, they will believe in us.”
(c) Jonas Clark
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