What you will read below are the things spoken to a handful of believers who came together recently in His love. The Lord saw fit to bless us with agreement and revelation as each one participated with what God had put on their heart.
We asked only one question of the Lord, and he gave us fourteen affirmations to consider. Does this include all? Of course it does not. We are only a part of the Body. Is there plenty here to chew on and consider? Definitely! We didn’t take time to professionally fine tune it, but share it as it came out. We pray your hearts will yearn for and desire these things as our hearts have.
Church in the 21st Century
Question; How do we function as the Church in the 21stCentury?
1. People are added by the Lord as they experiment the demonstration and manifestation of Christ Jesus in us.
We have spent much time doing door to door evangelism, outreach programs, citywide events, and church growth seminars. We have followed the latest programs without love and with the sole agenda of increasing the numbers. The Bible clearly states that the Lord adds.
2. People are drawn by love and the desire to be with each other- not a set schedule.
It is interesting that the idea of services and set schedules cannot be affirmed by a serious study of New Testament life. The same verses without the systems translations and studied in context show something totally different than what we have been fed all these years.
3. Also drawn by the hunger for the Lord, His Presence among us, Some ONE is there where 2 or 3 are gathered.
There is no doubt there is a multiplication of His Presence when we come together as one to worship Him. New Testament Christians were not trying to clock into their weekly required visit but were drawn together by their hunger for the Lord.
4. Desire for the Real, Authentic, Genuine, tired of playing church.
Many of us have been part of the system for years. We did everything it asked of us and yet our families, our health, our finances, and our lives suffered terribly. We know there is life in the authentic gospel. Once truth comes to your heart, it’s like scales falling from your eyes. We can no longer continue to play the game of “American Christianity.” We thirst for the genuine. We see no secular/sacred division in life.
5. Desire to be commissioned, sent, by the Holy Spirit- What is on Dads heart? How can we serve Him together as His Body?
We see in Acts 13 that when God’s people get together, the Holy Spirit sends His people on specific tasks. We understand that all His people are ministers, and all have been given gifts to strengthen the Body. We desire to be used of the Lord to do what is on His heart. We understand the system focuses on what happens inside the four walls. We understand true Christianity is a daily lifestyle. We see no Clergy/Laity division.
6. Desire to receive from the Spirit- power over the flesh. Gal 5
Because we understand the evil of these last days, we desire to be cloaked in the power of the Spirit. We need to be built up in our most Holy faith and receive strength to reject the desires of the flesh. We want the victory associated with walking in Holiness, and the power that comes when Satan can find no place in us.
7. Recognize we need each other- we need the other parts of the Body of Christ to be complete in Him.
We do not take the Body of Christ for granted and the fact that the church is made up of many members of ONE body. We do not see anywhere in the New Testament where there are denominations or independent congregations. We do not believe in the governmental autonomy of any one congregation. There is only One Church, and we need each other. No man or no congregation has the fullness of the five fold gifts.
8. Recognize that only real community and family will edify and grow us in love.
We don’t make unity; we allow the unity of the Trinity to express Himself among us. We understand that community and family are natural expressions of the Church life. We stand together, or we fall together. No one holds anything material as his own, but is willing to share with the brethren. We rejoice together, and we cry together not because of duty, but because of love. We make it intentional to care for the widows, orphans, and poor among us.
9. We must replace the human measurements of success with obedience being our primary aim (at whatever level).
For years we have believed the lie that true ministry success is based on size of congregation, buildings, budgets, and baptisms. The church has permitted the world to assign measurements of success to spiritual things. Only God can see the hearts and truly measure the purity of the work. He sees all agendas and understands the personal strivings of pride in man. We seek to hear and obey and leave the results up to God because all the glory belongs to the Lord Jesus. We seek to imitate the faith of those the Lord has placed as stewards and teachers in our life.
10. Understand love takes time, takes work, and we must be willing to pay the price. (the unselfish giving away of ourselves) (listening)
There are no programs to speed up the process of love. Only the sharing of life (persecutions and joys) will produce an increase of love and trust among His people. Only as we love, can our hearts be expanded to greater love. We must look for living examples of Christ’s love for us among His people. As with all physical exercise, spiritual exercise too will cost you. No pain-No gain is applicable. All our love will not always be received, and all our love will not always be appreciated. Real love does not begin until the person you love cannot return that same love to you.
11. There is something about the breaking of bread together. Fellowship releases life together. (Meal time breaks down barriers)
The strength of a congregation is based on the strength of the relationships found there. Relationships require communication. It is hard to establish a relationship staring at the back of someone’s head. Relationships cannot be delegated because of geography (cell groups), race, or nationality. Getting together to share a meal was a part of every New Testament gathering. Could it be that when we come together, the process of sharing breaks down the normal barriers to communication?
12. We MUST have sincerity, humility, honesty, transparency, integrity- too many fakes in the church, (too many empty God bless you’s.)
These five graces are sorely missing in the Church of the 21st century. There is more honesty at the corner Bar than in most congregations. From the external “Sunday clothes” to the fake God Bless you’s, these things are causing the people to leave the system of institutional church in droves. The control and authority of the church over people in the past has now been replaced by a tight scrutiny of leadership and their actions by the world. The Lord himself promised that He would begin cleaning house in the House of God or among His people. We do not need to win one more convert to Christianity until we have a real family to take them to. May the Lord purify his house!
13. Must be watchful to avoid a form of Godliness without the power. 2 Tim 3:5
We have so dumbed down and excused away the manifestation of the Holy Spirit that the real power of God to set the captives free is missing from many congregations. The people are left to be entertained as they perform rituals to cover up the absence of the real thing. In the modern American church, they use million dollar lights, sound systems, and fog machines to replace the simple yet powerful Glory of His presence. The same people fill the altars (front of the building) Sunday after Sunday to get more of whatever because they do not understand who they are in Christ. If spiritual growth is related to attendance, American cities and the World would be transformed by now by His power.
14. We cannot organize or legislate real relationships – they are God ordained, they just happen. Whom we fellowship with is chosen by the Holy Spirit.
There is no power in being in the same location. Being together is not being united as one. The devil does not recognize noise; he only recognizes and fears the symphony and sound of united hearts calling out to their Creator. That is why most Christian events and citywide meetings have little effect on the darkness taking over our cities. We have some mistaken notion that the devil fears a bunch of divided and prideful prophets and apostles. The Lord is not impressed by brass and fancy suits; he is impressed by brokenness and humility. Call all the meetings you want; until we repent for our separated self–centered little kingdoms, nothing is going to happen. Chase all the big names in Christian La La land if you so desire, but you are just wasting your time. There is only One Name upon which His church will be built.
It is our prayer that you will consider what you have read. Don’t just reject something because it doesn’t sound like what you were taught. Do you want to graduate from the religious system, or do you want to grow in God? May the scales fall, and may HIS Name be glorified.
Church in the 21st Century
Jose Bosque and others,
Jose Bosque is Editor in Chief and founder of Viral Cast Media which oversees GodsLeader, JaxChristian now ViralChrist and 15 other websites. He has ministered in Jacksonville since 1987 and served the city since 1992 as a citywide servant leader. Jose is considered a resource and a spiritual father to many leaders in the city and in the 54 nations where the Lord has sent him to serve. Originally born in Cuba, Jose has resided in Jacksonville since 1966. Contact Him at: www.RevivalPartners.net or ForRevival@aol.com Editors Note: Please help us continue to get this word out for free- No amount is too small- Thanks for your generosity! DONATE CLICK HERE
Copyright 2012 Jose L. Bosque www.JaxChristian.com. Permission is granted to copy, forward, or distribute this article for non-commercial use only, as long as this copyright byline, in totality, is maintained in all duplications, copies, and link references. For reprint permission for any commercial use, in any form of media, please contact JaxChristian1@aol.com