By: Rev. Jeremiah Yap, Group Senior Pastor, New Life Restoration Churches.
Doing church is hard work. Church growth is not easy. Can churches be as the New Testament early church with its personnel, spread and power? Does it seem like there is an invisible ceiling over you or your church that needs breaking through?
Today’s church is big on preaching success and on needs being met by God. There is truth in these. However, Christ’s message in the Gospels was mainly regarding the kingdom of God. It’s a paradox. When we seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, our needs are better met than seeking God for needs itself being met. This really takes some believing.
The Lord focused me on God’s kingdom-consciousness besides being church-conscious. Jesus preached and demonstrated the kingdom of God while on earth and after His resurrection He spoke for 40 days about the kingdom before His ascension (Acts 1:3). The church primarily is God’s movement for the kingdom of heaven on earth. It is to move in a way that the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. It is forceful and not weak. It moves in power and Christly character.
How do we lead our churches to such a dimension?
In the model of church we have been used to, the idea of ‘Pastor’ is prominent. It follows that people who come to church expect to be under a Pastor – a shepherd. So, we train people to be good sheep. Then we expect them to do things sheep and shepherds don’t do – be the evangelist, teacher, prophet and apostle. Does it surprise us that it has been such an uphill battle for leaders to motivate the church to go out and win souls and only so few actually succeed? Maybe the emphasis on the Pastoral anointing is itself a ceiling that caps churches from enjoying the other gifts needed for a wholesome powerful church.
The New Testament kingdom church started with the apostles and prophets as their foundation. The five-fold ministry gifts have been neglected and a recovery of these faces contention from a church tradition that has been used to their absence. So, the church has to enter a new season of learning how to embrace these gifts for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry so that they may build the body of Christ to attain unity of faith and the knowledge of the Son of God to mature to the fullness of the stature in Christ (Ephesians 4:12-13). This is so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine and human craftiness, but be able to speak the truth in love to grow up into Christ who is the head of the church (Ephesians 4:14-15). Anything short of the input from these five ministry gifts may be inadequate to train such wholesome maturity.
How about us re-looking and learning about these gifts so that we may upgrade to a higher level in the Lord for a greater ministry fruit?