This reminded me that the basics are the basics and it’s good to keep addressing them.
Today, it is heartwarming to be able to reflect on several youth I know that began house church while quite young. As they grew emotionally and spiritually it was great to see the way they took on more and more ownership of their church family and the gatherings themselves. Today, as high-schoolers (and even junior-highers) they are very engaged in worship and discussions of the Word with the adults in their group with confidence and conviction. It appears to me, from my very partial perspective, that many of them are uniquely articulate in their faith and are spiritual leaders among their peers.
No setting is perfect and nothing can replace the centrality of the nuclear family in imparting spiritual life, but the organic church family does seem to provide a natural support for this process.
In fairness, I must also say that transitioning children who are already older (from late primary grades through high school) is often not easy since they are already accustomed to more traditional settings. In these cases, we have no difficulty encouraging these young people to attend youth groups, if they want, while letting them engage in the house church setting at a pace they are comfortable with.
This is a great topic and I hope we will continue to explore together how to see our children loving and engaging with Jesus as maturing disciples—a trend that is taking place less and less in many of our cultures!
My contention is not that we need fewer leaders, rather it is that we need every member of the Body of Christ to step fully into his/her ‘priesthood’ of influence. One of the benefits that occurred when I accepted the role of ‘senior pastor’ is that I was expected to fully engage in ministry. The result was that I challenged myself to overcome my insecurities, doubts, and other lack of faith in order to step fully into my place as a functional minister. I was forced to see myself, as God sees all of us, as one called to “show forth the goodness of God” by exercising spiritual gifts that are “given to all” in order to “do the work of ministry.”
Now, granted, I believe that assigning someone the role of ‘pastor’ within an institutional system creates many problems including demoting everyone else within that system to ‘lay person.’
But, that is an aside to the point I am making.
Because I was given this position, I pushed past my insecurities and doubts about who I was and whether or not I was capable and gifted and was forced to accept that I was called to step into ministry functions. So, I just did it.
My concern is that too many times we do NOT push past our insecurities and doubts about who we are in order to step into our role as a minister, a shepherd, an apostle, a teacher, a helper, an evangelist, an encourager, or a prophet. The result is that the world does not see Christ as He is meant to be seen—through every member of His Body fully functioning with confidence in all that we have been called to do.
Therefore… the body of Christ does not shine in a world that needs His life because too many of His ambassadors are simply too insecure.
It’s simply not enough to get rid of the priest/laity divide. Rather, we must internalize, each of us, that we are ‘royal priests’ and expect to function in all that this implies. He has gifted and called… you. This is a key ingredient for unleashing the church out of the four walls and into its organic, viral nature that will ultimately transform every segment of our world.
The simplest view of the living church life cycle is this:
At the heart of this process is the imperative to make disciples. Alan Hirsch does a great job of describing one aspect of why this is so important.
I am hosting a one-time webinar/conversation on Engaging More of the Supernatural in Life & Ministry. Of course, all of life and ministry is supernatural as we partner with God, but our thinking and actions often keep us from experiencing the full weight of God's activity because of our innate reliance on ourselves.
Time: Thursday, April 18, 5:30 pm Pacific Daylight time.
Limited space available.
If you are interested follow these 2 steps in order:
The video in the previous post (52 churches in 5 years) is part of the inspiration for this webinar. In addition, we will look at some of the key principles of supernatural engagement and share stories with one another on these: