神的軍隊在動員 - 16
21, Nov 2008 17:57
倘若建造者已經做成他們的工作，人們會更認同在基督裡的工作勝過他們的職業，他們會知道自己的呼召，並會致力於實現它。你若問他們是做什麼的，他們先想到的是屬靈上、而非職業上做什麼。我們若照我們應該的在基督裡成長，我們在祂與祂的身體 ─ 教會裡的身份會優先於其他的身份，包括我們在種族、文化、國家或職業上的身份認同。
(摘自 喬納 word for the week,2008 #16)
The Army of God Mobilizes, Part 16
Previously, we discussed how there is an anointing for mobilizing on different levels or for different size groups, and how some things are accomplished best in large groups and some things are accomplished better in small groups. Vision casting is usually done better in a large group, but some of it needs to be sown into virtually every teaching to a small group, too. People who are motivated with vision will accomplish more.
Also, when casting a vision we need to provide some practical wisdom about how we will accomplish the vision. Wellington Boone once shared in a board meeting something I felt was a profound truth. He said that one of the greatest weaknesses of Pentecostal and Charismatic groups was the devotion to topical preaching rather than systematic preaching. This is true, and I would also add that one of the greatest weaknesses in non-Pentecostal and non-Charismatic churches is the devotion to systematic preaching rather than topical preaching. Both are needed for the healthiest churches, and we need to know how and when to use each.
We also need to cast a common vision and a personal vision. Along with a vision for our church’s purpose, and to some degree a vision of what the universal church is called to do, each believer needs to have a vision of what they are called to do and how they fit into these bigger plans. Then they need clear teaching about how to prepare for and accomplish their purpose. This is one reason why books like Rick Warren’s, The Purpose Driven Life, have been so successful. Studies have shown that the number one question that people have is what their purpose is in life.
I heard a great teacher say many years ago that most churches are not temples made of living stones; they are just piles of living stones that have not been built into anything. This is why so many Christians get easily stolen away; they have not been cemented into their place. Once they know their place and are fitted into it, it will take quite a lot to pry them out again.
This is because it is still very rare to find a true spiritual builder in the ministry of the body of Christ. There are some who do well at building buildings, projects, and even ministries, but it is rare to find those who truly build people. When the apostolic ministry is restored to the church, this will change. There is a builder’s mentality that is often very different from the ones who gather or mobilize. Occasionally, they are found in the same person, but this is rare. This is why true New Testament ministry is a team ministry. It takes a lot to gather, and it takes even more focus to build.
When we first planted our church in the Charlotte area, Steve Thompson asked me what I thought this church would be like. I told him I would not know until I saw the building materials that the Lord sent to us. To a degree, it is always necessary to devise our plans to work with the materials we have been sent. However, this does not mean that we build everything around what people want, but rather around what the Lord wants. This is usually what the people need, but not necessarily what they want.
As I expected, the Lord sent us many prophetically and artistically gifted people. What I did not expect was that very few pastors came to us. Prophetically and artistically gifted people are usually wounded people, and none of our original team was very good at helping such people. I actually announced from the pulpit a number of times that if people needed help with healing spiritual wounds, they should consider going to another church that was better at helping with such things than we were. A good number of people took this advice. In this way, we were able to seed some very gifted people into some other churches, and both benefited. They are still our friends, and we see them from time to time, but I think they are doing much better than if they had stayed with us. Our goal is to build the kingdom and the whole church, not just our congregation.
If we have building materials, or great people we cannot use, but who do not seem to fit in with what we are doing at this time, I often do things to get them to consider other local congregations where I think they fit better. I’m gentle with this, because I want the Holy Spirit to be completely free to place people in the body where it pleases Him. However, if some who come do not fit in with what we are doing at this time, I also have to consider that the Holy Spirit may have some plans for us that I do not know about yet. One thing I try to stay focused on is seeing that every believer is growing in maturity and in their gifts and ministries.
If builders have done their jobs, the people in their work will have their identity in Christ more than their profession. They will know their calling and will have a devotion to fulfill it. If you ask them what they do, their first thought will be what they do spiritually, not professionally. If we are growing in Christ as we should, our identity in Him and in His body, the church, will take precedence over any other identity we have, including racial, cultural, national, or professional identities.
True church life is called to be like a city that is set on a hill, brightly lit so that it captures the attention of all. It is called to be the great society that is a representation of the kingdom of God on the earth. It is also called to be a beacon of hope for good, truth, healing, redemption, and restoration. It is called to be an irresistible force for righteousness and justice.
Here is another factor we must prepare for—the brighter the light of the church becomes, the more threatened those living in darkness will become, and the more they will attack her. Christians who are not prepared for persecution are not prepared. Like it or not, the brighter our light becomes—the stronger we become—the more we will have to fight. Even so, there can be no victory without a battle. The bigger the battle, the bigger the victory will be. We also have the great encouragement that we are on the side that cannot lose if we remain faithful.