The church should be wearing one those T-shirts that says “Be patient God isn’t finished with me yet.” We are a work in progress. An eternal building project is underway. The church is being reworked.
Phil. 1:6 NLT And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.
No More Church As Usual
That’s a phrase that has been circulating throughout the church world for the past twenty years that I’m aware of. 21st century believers are not looking for a Sunday morning pastime. Those hungry for God have been leaving the current church structure in search of God. Pastors and ministry leaders are stepping away from traditional church roles. The Holy Spirit has been directing and orchestrating a mass exodus. Yes, it is Holy Spirit driven, directed and initiated. Those who insist on adhering to a structure which is coming down may find themselves buried in the rubble.
The Holy Spirit is pointing to a new way of gathering with the saints.
The current structure can no longer support the work of the Holy Spirit. The people of God are finding that church as usual isn’t working for them. Led by the Spirit of the Lord those hungering for God are finding themselves in the relational setting of home gatherings and small group settings. This isn’t about meeting a social need. It’s about the work the Holy Spirit is doing in our generation among the people of God. He is restructuring and reconstructing the church as we have known it. He is repositioning us and reworking us from the inside out.
This isn’t just about changing the old structure. It’s about changing the old you. God is rewiring/reworking His people. It seems He is finishing what He started. Many in their search for what God is doing among His people in this generation find themselves being drawn to what the Spirit was doing in the early church. We are discovering that much of the structure we call church was not what was built by the apostles, but was altered along the way. We are finding out that what Jesus originally intended when He commissioned His Ekklesia, isn’t anything like our modern church experience. And we aren’t satisfied with the alteration. The church, back in the time of the apostles, was identified as people, not a building or religious structure. It was people, transformed through the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ and empowered by the Spirit of God, which has taken up residence within them. They were a force to be reckoned with because they carried the glory of God contained
2 Cor. 4:7 NASB – But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves;
They were human Tabernacles. The apostle Peter referred to believers as living stones built together as a spiritual house (1 Pe. 2:5) The apostle Paul called the saints, God’s building (1 Cor. 3:9) and God’s Temple (1 Cor. 3:16). It can be hard to wrap our brains around the concept but we are God’s structure. We are not only His governing body, we are His spiritual house, the place His presence resides in the earth.
During the days when Jesus walked this earth, however, Ekklesia—the Greek word translated into English as “church”—was not religious in nature or connotation at all. In fact, by the time He first uttered the word in the gospel of Matthew, it had been in use for centuries in both the Greek and Roman empires to refer to a secular institution operating in the marketplace in a governmental capacity. Excerpt quoted from: Ed Silvoso, Ekklesia: Rediscovering God’s Instrument for Global Transformation (pp. 19-20). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Tim Sheets describes ekklesia this way in his book Angel Armies:
Jesus will release His armies to assist the church, who obeys His commands, in binding or loosing some things on earth. This is clearly seen in Christ’s name for the church, the Greek word ekklesia. It is used 113 times in the New Testament, and it is a political word, not a religious word (Strong, G1577). You would think that Jesus would use a religious word, such as temple or synagogue, but He doesn’t. By calling His church ekklesia, He uses a word describing the act of governing. Colin Brown, in the International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, describes the definition of ekklesia as used in Christ’s day. It’s vital to understand: The ekklesia was an assembly of competent citizens of a region who met at regular intervals to govern. – Excerpt from Tim Sheets, Angel Armies (p. 88). Destiny Image, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
Not looking for just another meeting
If you are like me, we are not interested in bless me clubs or superficial social church events. We want more. We want a real tangible relationship with Christ. We want to engage with God, and we want to be with others who want God the same way we do. We are a generation of hungry souls pursuing God like never before. Like many from my age bracket (60+) I have lived through the Charismatic Renewal, the Jesus People Movement, the Shepherding Movement, the Signs and Wonders Movement, the Vineyard Movement, the Brownsville, and Toronto Outpourings of the 90’s, the Prayer Movement, and the Prophetic Movement of the early 2000’s. Now, we are watching the body of Christ transition again. Return to the apostolic groundwork which was built on the foundation of Christ, a new expression of Christ’s Ekklesia is emerging.
The fresh revelation being unveiled to this generation is not any less significant or potent than the revelation revealed to the first century believers. The church is being restructured, realigned and rearranged. We are in the midst of Divine reconstruction.
The emerging Ekklesia of Christ doesn’t look like it did a decade ago. We have shifted, and are continuing to shift. We are being rewired and reworked, and the process is unfolding with new insights every day. I don’t know what we are going to look like when the reconstruction is over. But I can’t wait to see what God has in store.
The apostle John put it this way:
1 John 3:2-3 MSG But friends, that’s exactly who we are: children of God. And that’s only the beginning. Who knows how we’ll end up! What we know is that when Christ is openly revealed, we’ll see him—and in seeing him, become like him. All of us who look forward to his Coming stay ready, with the glistening purity of Jesus’ life as a model for our own.
The apostle Paul wrote:
Colossians 3:10 EXB You have begun to live the new life [put on the new person/man], in which you are being made new [renewed] in the true knowledge of God [knowledge] and are becoming like [according to the image of] the One who created you.
Receive and experience the amazing grace of the Master, Jesus Christ, deep, deep within yourselves. (Phil. 4:23 MSG)
May the Lord supply you with His abundant grace to shift, transition and step into the fresh out pouring of revelation being released to the body of Christ in our generation giving you eyes to see and ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to the Ekklesia of Christ.