It's time to stop presuming people will only commit to one local church or ministry.
I regularly consider how we are going to see the massive reformation in the church come to pass. The way we see church today will become a distant memory as the entire structure changes.
We’ll need to take intentional steps toward a city church structure, which means the face of the local church is going to morph considerably.
Some preliminary steps:
- Multiple church commitment: We will begin to see people primarily commit to one church and also commit (truly commit, no hopping allowed!) at a lesser, yet still significant level at other churches. When this happens, every church won’t have to be focused broadly on everything, but they will focus intently on the few areas they are called and gifted to facilitate. When the body is expected to connect at only one church, they in turn have no other option but to expect that church to have a broad focus. The current system works against itself. When the reformation comes, a family will connect in one church where they will serve and sit under apostolic leadership that’s running with strength in a streamlined ministry, and on other days and nights of the week they may serve at another church’s youth ministry, Bible study or small group.
An important element here is that instead of limiting themselves to senior leadership at the local level, the various leaders of the churches in the city take on the role of associate leaders of the city church. So instead of thinking of it like people frequenting multiple local churches, they are actually strategically connecting in multiple departments of a single city church. One night they are in the teaching department growing in discipleship and on another night in the prayer department serving in intercession. These departments are actual churches and ministries spread out all over the city.
The five-fold ministry does not have to function in every single church or ministry. It's not realistic for that to happen. One church might be led by someone in a teaching office while another is led by a prophet. Pastors will give leadership to small groups and other ministries. Evangelists will train and lead out in strategic soul winning events. Apostles will govern and serve all of the city's leaders by casting vision, gathering the Ekklesia in the region and instructing at a high level.
Local church pastors will have to surrender their solitary leadership position in people's lives and begin to emphasize the city church more than their own local church. Senior pastors will then lead the way multiple times a month into other events, conferences, prayer meetings, church services and small groups in the region. People under their leadership will truly experience refreshing and renewed passion as they are no longer limited to what a single local church can provide.
- Prayer as a primary ministry: We must start where the first church started in Acts 2- in the prayer room. It’s shocking how absent prayer is in the church, and it’s terrifying how few Christians are intimately connected with Jesus in the place of prayer. I propose we cancel most everything we’re doing in the church and hit our face night and day and pray, and soak, and intercede and declare as a corporate body.
- Connecting with apostolic and prophetic leaders: We need to pray in, invite in and partner with apostolic and prophetic leaders who God is preparing right now. Who is God going to use regionally to help give leadership to a move of God? It probably won't be your local church pastor, but your pastor and everyone in your church should support whoever it is.