A Reformation Letter for the Body of Christ
If there is one thing that I want people to know about me, it is that I am deeply in love with God’s Church. From my earliest memories as a little boy, I remember crawling underneath church pews and playing “army” on a cold hardwood floor while believers worshipped and listened intently to the man of God preaching Hell so hot you could almost smell the burning sulfur. And although I did not give my heart to Christ until many years later, I have always had a love and appreciation for the local church. Looking back, I can clearly see that even from a young age, I recognized the intrinsic value of the Church and possessed a subconscious knowledge that the only hope for the people of this world is the strength and passion found within the four walls of every local church. Because of this appreciation for the Church and her role in the Earth, the following letter is specifically addressed to the men and women of God who lead in any capacity or role within the culture of their local church.
Thank you for all you do for the cause of Christ and specifically for His Church! I know the excitement you feel every time someone comes to Christ through your efforts, the thrill of the days when church attendance is high, and what it feels like when everything is going well. I also understand what it’s like to go through dry seasons, tough seasons, and days when you question if you have been called of God to actually do what you’re doing.
If our nation were a physical body, the Church would be the blood. The blood is the life of a body; it carries life and nutrition and everything the body needs to stay healthy. But there is one thing that blood cannot do on its own – it can’t flow. Blood needs to be pushed and made fresh and renewed. In short, blood has to have a heart. Whether you call yourself a pastor, apostle, elder, deacon or bishop, if you have been given even a small amount of stewardship within God’s Church, our future as a Church and as a nation is in your hands. You are the heart of our country.
I understand the heaviness you must feel when reading those words. The first time I thought of this reality, I began to imagine what it must have been like a hundred or so years ago to be a spiritual leader in Europe. What must it be like to know that the future of your country is at stake and is quickly sliding into a deep, dark, and cold future of post-Christianity. What must it feel like to live in a place where buildings that once stood for great revivals and moves of God have now taken their place alongside other museum artifacts. The only crowds that gather in many of them now are tourists who stand in awe of the architecture of man with no thought or regard for the awesomeness of God. The heart of that nation, for whatever reason, stopped beating.
I believe we are on the precipice of where Europe was several decades ago. Because of the national crises we are currently trying to navigate as a country, the moral collapse of so many leaders from every single realm of leadership (including the Church), and the continual bombardment of threats of terrorism and pandemics, we are at a place in our national history where we, as Church leadership, do not have the pleasure of leading our churches the way we did even ten years ago. Unless, of course, we decide to lazily follow Europe off of the stoney cliff to the chagrin of our current anti-God system.
We must be the leaders of our generation. We must understand that the wine skin of yesteryear does not fit the wine that is being poured out right now. Techniques and even systems of church growth from the 80’s and 90’s will only leave church leadership in a tailspin of frustration and defeat. Instead of a revival of the kind of church we have right now, I dare to say that we need a complete, God-sent reformation.
Leader, always remember that our Boss, The Lord Jesus, knew exactly what He was doing when He placed you where you are. And right now, your people need you more than ever. But not in the way it used to be. You are the answer to what they need. They need you to be strong; they are looking to you for answers that were not asked even ten years ago. They need you to be in their lives – touchable, real, and honest. They don’t want a celebrity preacher; they want you. The days of leading God’s Army from a desk, or even from a pulpit, are over. In these days, the greatest of us will be the ones who are more concerned about picking up a towel and laying aside the fleshly desire for a title. I believe the fire of God is falling mightily in places right now where leaders have the primary goal to serve faithfully The Lord Jesus and to serve His people with the love and passion that truly represents all that Heaven is.
It’s very tragic that so many of us have to go through failures and defeat before we get things right. And sad to say, I am one of those. It was loss, offense, and failure that drove me to a place of understanding that ministry is not for me to build my platform. It’s not a place of power for me to wield my greater knowledge of spiritual truth while having the crowds be in awe at “my” anointing. It’s not a place for me to “work out” my own insecurities, nor a place to fix those around me. Ministry is a place of serving and being a servant. I remind my leadership all of the time that the anointing on any of our lives is not for us, but for the people.
In coming back to my city, and in starting Journey Church, I can say with all honesty that this view of ministry is not always the easiest, but it is the most fulfilling. It’s not always the most convenient, but it is the most long-lasting.
My challenge to you is this – start serving. Look for ways to serve your people and your city. Ask God to give you creative ways to serve and bless others. Instead of looking at your city as something to be conquered, look at your church as a gift to the city. And then, be the best gift you can possibly be. After all, isn’t that what Jesus did?