Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Need of Exercise

“...from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies...’” Ephesians 4:16
Andy Griffith once described football as a strange game. He said it was best defined as 22 men on the field in desperate need of rest while 50,000 people in desperate need of exercise watched.
This could well describe the church too. Most church books say that 20% of the people do 80% of the work. This is a sad commentary since we are to be the “body” of Christ. What would happen if 80% of our body shut down? Probably we would die. Now, I think that this is not so much an indictment on the people, but more so on the way church is practiced. The common approach really sets people up for failure and lethargy. 
Once we entered the age of the Gnostics, the church has been defending itself from heresy. So, in order to protect, the official approach has been to form a hierarchy (priest rule) and entrust the few with the exercise of the faith. Then once the church codified the faith into sacraments, it needed a few trained professionals who had special access to God. Out of this was formed the laity (the crowd) who were allowed to watch and could have sacraments dispatched to them through the hands of the priests. In essence, a large body of lazy Christians were created, not because they did not want to serve; they could not.
In Protestantism the mold was attempted to be broken, but the accoutrements of the catholic system followed and still is present in all movements today. Thus, the continuance of a system that shuts people out exists to this day.
Counter pointed to this system is the exhortations of scripture which speak of the Body of Christ, every joint supplying, fellow laborers, and ambassadors. The scripture is full of descriptions indicating participation and activity. 
The other contributing factor is the thought that all activity of the kingdom must take place in the church building or programs in the building. This makes the number of opportunities to be active in the kingdom of God small.
So, people enter the kingdom of God happy to be in the Lord, saved, and then they want to serve. Serve because they love God and are appreciative. But where become the question.
The realistic figures that we should strive for is to have 80% of the people involved in ministry of some sort. There are ample opportunities in the church and outside the church to build the kingdom of God. But this number cannot be reached in traditional forms. A complete cultural change needs to take place. 
For years we have talked of being a New Testament Church. What does that mean to you? Some think a New Testament church would be one which holds to the teachings of the NT. Some think it means to be free from legalism. Some think it means we are baptized in the Holy Spirit. Some think of a modern approach to ministry. Some think it is a March back to the 1st Century.
Well, there is no way we are going back to the 1st Century. Obviously in our desire for that New Testament Church we have lapsed back into the familiar forms. To be a New Testament Church we need to function more as a body. Now there was much teaching on the body, but very little action regarding it. Like many of our teachings, they soon are relegated to fine doctrine and poor execution.
However, the problem with pursuing more participation from the whole church is the lack of order sometimes. Body ministry is not a free for all. It is meant to be a coordinated function of a healthy body moving forward, not in a spastic parade, but a coordinated, well trained, efficient body. The fact that body ministry has been interpreted as a free for all, an open mic, “do what you want” has done damage and caused many to revert to the hierarchy system for safety sake.
There is a lot to do in the kingdom and it is not all on Sunday morning. As we progress in growing the church, we will work on body ministry. As we identify the giftings of each, we then hope to employ those giftings to build the kingdom of God.
As we move through the healing seminar, the goal is not just information, but application. How exciting it will be when those on the teams lay hands on someone and they are healed. How amazing to watch as God performs a miracle in front of your eyes. Jesus will be lifted up and praises will fill the house. This is a start in the right direction.
We have much work to do to get more people equipped and deployed. This is a building process. We want the 50,000 exercised and the 22 to get some rest. An army goes forward as all advance and all fight.

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