Hi Revival Church team!!! Thank you SO MUCH for my birthday card and gift!!! You know my love language!!!
There are some key truths that will assist our ministry and any other as we advance into uncharted territory.
In order to move forward, it’s going to take quite a unified advance… I’m praying about what this looks like, and one significant step I’m calling the entire church into is:
- Praying non-stop in the Spirit together for one hour from 5-6pm on Sundays.
The groans, the flow of intercession as the Spirit prays through us is critically important… and it’s also important that we do it as a unified team.
I understand that ‘life happens’ to all of us, and it’s so easy to get hit… the enemy is nasty and very active… and based on my own experience in seasons like this there are two mission critical areas that tend to take the hit first:
We have to jealously guard against anything that would hinder either of these focuses. We need to be proactive and preemptive.
We have to be very intentional in loving each other deeply and holding hands in prayer-fueled advance. If we do this, life will be amazing and we’ll blast through barriers with ease.
The very first element in our strategy (20 Elements of Revival) is agreement in the place of prayer. Revival and mission advance can’t happen if either of those two elements are minimized.
I’ll include chapter one from that book below…
It’ll give us a good picture of the importance of being together in fervent prayer continually. If you haven’t read the entire book, I’d strongly recommend you do asap.
**We can be in the building Sundays before 5pm (in fact, we need help at 4:30pm setting up)… and then dive into praying in tongues together right at 5pm.
**For those of you who are in the i1 or i2 intercession team… PLEASE ensure you are on the call every Monday night at 9pm.
If you have thoughts, words, dreams, visions, etc. please let me know!! You are the best of the best! Thanks for all you do and for who you are!!!!
Here’s chapter 1:
Acts 2:1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
The way this ancient and emerging Church was birthed is the way it was meant to continue. God drew zealots together to actively wait.
As we step through these twenty elements, it’s critical to prayerfully consider the step-by-step process. It is flexible enough to allow God to infuse your Church growth experience with your own DNA, yet the underlying principles simply must not be violated.
This first element is the most critical, yet is probably the most neglected. In the pursuit of establishing a new Church, or in the development of an existing one, the pure adrenaline of it can cause us to become impatient. This first Church could not have been planted from a human perspective.
Good teaching, proven programs, intimate small groups, evangelistic crusades and other methods would not work at this stage of the process. These are actually parts of future elements that will take root and develop further in the Church planting process.
So, what is this first element?
Element One- Agreement
The verse tells us that they were ALL in one accord AND in one place. This depicts a mature and hungry team of radically devoted believers who understand the massive commitment it will take to fulfill the mission.
To launch, there must be a strategic team of mission-minded owners of the vision.
A tragic mistake that is often made at this initial phase of ministry is the improper focus on relationship. Fellowship will become a staple of the Church experience well into the process, but to entrust the strategy of fellowship as a foundational element at this phase will result in failure, stagnation and a lack of power.
Being in agreement is very different than being in fellowship. An attitude of agreement results in corporate strength that will bust through many barriers the enemy will set up in the early stages.
A strategy of fellowship alone is incredibly susceptible to offenses taking root, gossip, frustration, disagreement and the fostering of an Absalom spirit. Fellowship is simply not strong enough to be a foundation of a local Church. Agreement, however, easily is.
I’ll often hear pastors state that they are launching a new Church on a foundation of fellowship. They have a plan of worshiping together, inviting friends and developing a new community. Of course, the heart behind this is wonderful. Strategically however it simply rarely works.
This first element of agreement breeds the second element that we’ll discuss further in a moment. The second element is extreme devotion of time. We’ll notice that the first Church was together every day. Why? Because that was how it was birthed. In order to capture God’s heart, hear His instructions, nurture unity and become alert to the directives of apostolic leadership we must be together nearly continually.
If we are fellowship minded, this type of commitment will rarely last. Desire for fellowship is inward focused primarily, but an attitude of agreement causes us to look outward. To be agreed and unified toward an impossible goal that God has presented to the team will both require and result in a continual pursuit of that goal together.
I often teach that if we are to experience revival, we must do now what we will be doing when revival breaks out. A revival atmosphere results in people craving to be in the Church building night after night. Prayer and worship and breaking under the presence of God never end. If we are contending for that, we must start the process now.
I find it amazing that Churches are eliminating services in response to a very demanding American lifestyle. If we are to experience revival, we must fight that spirit and once again, as in the previous generation, be in the Church every time the doors are open- and the doors should be open night and day!
At the risk of getting ahead of myself, I want to share now what we are contending for. The biblical norm for believers is to experience the weighty presence of the Holy Spirit regularly. The normal experience for a Sunday service, for example, is for us to walk in the door and immediately become influenced by an atmosphere of fire. Brokenness, tears, drunkenness in the Holy Spirit, prophetic unction, repentance and other manifestations should be the expected reality day after day.
We have become satisfied with teaching services, song services, social gatherings and other activities without the baptism of fire that should be burning through them.
I often discuss what I call the ‘money changer principle’. Churches, both new and mature, often have an imbalanced focus on satisfying the needs and desires of the members. Church growth strategies dictate that we must have certain things in place if we expect people to want to come to our Church. So, from the outset, our minds are tilted toward drawing the crowds and in order to do that we ask the question, “What will cause people to come, stay and get involved?”
May I offer that this mind set must change if we are to experience God the way He wants to be experienced. The money changers’ table was overturned by Jesus. He was indignant. He stated clearly that the temple was to be a House of Prayer. What was the sin of the money changers? They went into the temple with the expectation of leaving with more than they entered with. The temple is to be a place of sacrifice! We are to have the expectation of leaving with less than we entered with!
If we as leaders understand this, we will have no problem requiring much from those who are joined with us in mission. We are truly called to die. That perspective must be embraced and shouted from the rooftops.
Let’s look at an interesting passage of scripture. Keep in mind as you read this that Peter was the ‘rock’ on which the Church was birthed. Jesus was making a severe statement not only to Peter but also to the upcoming Church.
Matthew 16:21-25 From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!” But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”
Note an very important statement that Jesus made:
“You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”
Peter unwittingly renounced the cross. Jesus rebuked him in this famous conflict to ensure that the generations to come would be sure to embrace what Peter renounced- daily death under the weight of a cross.
This was exceedingly critical not only for Peter and not only for the generations, but primarily for the structure that Peter represented. The Church.
As we launch or redevelop our Churches according to this New Testament paradigm we must be sure that we avoid a structure that appeals to man ahead of God. Jesus told Peter that he was an offense to Him. Why was he an offense? After all, he wanted Jesus to be safe and comforted. The boldness that we saw in the garden as Jesus was being led away to his destiny with the cross showed itself in this instance as well.
We don’t know what other inner struggles Peter may have been dealing with, but we do know that Jesus didn’t like his reaction to those struggles. He stated clearly that to be mindful of man ahead of God was offensive.
Our Churches must be setup to primarily minister to God on a foundation of prayer, sacrifice, offerings and service. When someone comes into our Church as a visitor they should witness a radical atmosphere of extreme commitment, passion and mission-driven fervor. Instead of forming materials that emphasize what the visitor can expect from their new Church those materials should highlight what their new Church expects from them!
Churches are missional organizations. They exist to accomplish a mission- and to equip the saints to ensure that mission advances with precision. We must be mindful of God and the vision he has given that Church.
I won’t go into much detail here, but I believe the concept of vision must be addressed at least to a point. Agreement will not last without a vivid and easily communicated vision.
I was leading a prayer event at a Church in the area on a Friday night earlier this year. One of the other leaders who was with me that night asked the pastor what his vision was. When it was obvious the pastor was struggling with this question we asked if he had anything written down so we could come into agreement with them during our prayer time. He went searching for something to give us, and finally found a brochure that described the Church’s mission.
Vision for our mission should consume us night and day. If we do not lead from a place of vision, we will go nowhere. If we don’t have vision, we need to ask some hard questions. Are we the one to lead the Church? What alternate role may God be opening up to us?
The process of gaining vision might include something as simple as praying and fasting on a mountain somewhere for three days. God desires every one of us to have clear vision- but to receive that vision takes an absolute dedication to being with God, hearing His voice and obeying. Yes, our dreams and desires may be threatened when God starts talking, but as we walk in the direction of God’s voice, we will shake nations!
Simply, if we don’t have vision, we may need to step down. However, if we do have vision, stepping down won’t even be an option. There is a job to be done!
A trap that captures many men and women of God is to step into a leadership role based on gifting instead of vision and calling. Someone who has a pastoral gifting may not be called to lead a Church at all. A teacher may be called as a small group leader or a lecturer or an author. Or, that person may indeed be called to lead a Church, but if that is the case, vision must burn like a fire in their bones!
I’ll finish this sub-point by saying this- vision is very specific and personal. Vision is not a quote we hang on the wall in our sanctuary like, “Our mission is to grow closer to God and each other”. Vision is precise and seemingly impossible to fulfill. It will cause great excitement and scrutiny to be aroused at the same time. It will usually include geographical information, statistical goals, clear transformational ideas and a laser focus to fulfill that mission. This doesn’t mean it won’t be ambiguous at times- the larger the vision the more difficult it may be to put into words. However, there is an end goal and everybody under our leadership will be willing to pay its great price- and they will celebrate when we arrive together.
So, we discovered a lot in this first verse of Acts Chapter Two. Everybody had a clear vision, was perfectly agreed and together continually. The cost was understood at the very beginning- what was coming required strict adherence to God’s structural plan by everybody involved.
Church planters- if your team is radically agreed to pursue the fulfillment of a vivid vision for their region, then by all means, keep reading! If there are some in your midst who are wondering what is in it for them, then remain in this phase until you have 100% participation.
Existing Church leaders- Your evaluation may be a bit more difficult, especially if you are significantly developed. First of all, don’t be afraid to violate existing structures in the fear of losing people. A great reformation is coming to the earth that will cause Church as we know it to be shaken to its core. Do you have an atmosphere of extreme agreement and passion for a clear and precise vision? Is there great expectancy of what is to come and great commitment to the realization of that dream? If so, let’s move on!
Everybody else- Are you involved with your current Church for the right reasons? Would your pastor be able to say that you are one of his most loyal and faithful partners in ministry? Do you embrace the vision to the point of extreme participation and lifestyle change?