Authentic Change Leading to Restoration Print
Thursday, 27 October 2016 09:00


As my mind surveys the stories found in the Bible, I can not help but see that our God is a God who leads us to places requiring significant change and the associated risk.  Abraham, leaving his country; Noah, building the ark; Moses, reluctantly accepting the call; Caleb and Joshua, saying we can not but God can; Esther, risking her life and luxury; Jonathan, standing with David against his father and King; Jesus, the ultimate revolutionary; and Paul, into the desert.  Our God is a revolutionary and He calls us to join Him as revolutionaries who are willing to seek significant change. 

Authentic restoration of the church(es) from their current plight in both America and the Slavic nations will require significant change.  No tweaking of existing systems will be sufficient.  Our current systems are perfect for the results we are getting: DECLINE.

The changes that I am referring to are not new changes, but a return to the apostolic patterns found in the New Testament and a return to follow the life and words of the Head of the Church – Jesus Christ.  There are principles and concepts from the early church, which should lead us into the future.  These concepts and principles are the same for all who wish for and work for restoration.  They are cross-cultural and apply to both America and Ukraine.  They are also counter Christendom.  We will not be able to maintain the hallmarks of Christendom.  There will need to be some deconstruction to take place before we can see restoration.  We need to break our dependence on buildings and professional leadership.  We will need to release baptism and the Lord’s Supper to God’s people.  We will need to seek release from the institutionalism of the church. 

I would suggest the following changes will lead us to the restoration of the church: 

  • Return to the priority of following the message and example of Jesus Christ and the example of the Trinity, which will direct our mission which will direct our understanding and operation of the church.  We far too often are focused on church issues at the expense of following the example of Christ and His work. 
  • Return to organic systems such as simple churches, networks, decentralized organization, and non-hierarchical leadership.  Roland Allen’s foundational belief was that all that was needed to complete the Great Commission is the simple organism of the local church.  Nothing more organizational denominations or mission organizations complex was needed.  e.g. hierarchical 
  • Return to an apostolic environment, which gives a leadership place and recognition to apostolic men and women.  We far too often are dominated by pastors who are stationary leaders looking the calling to extend the church. 
  • Return to absolutely foundational work of authentic disciple-making.  Dallas Willard says the single greatest omission of the church is that we no longer are effective in making reproducing disciples.  Neil Cole adds…  unless we make reproducing disciples we will not have reproducing leaders who will begin reproducing churches which will result in a movement of healthy reproducing churches.  This is the foundation!  Without the foundation, nothing else will stand. 
  • Return to be a church which is incarnational and missional where all are missionaries where they live, work, and play.  This means we need to depart from being primarily an attractional church which sends professional missionaries.

  • Return to being a people who accept risk, danger and challenge as the nature of our calling to follow Christ – live in a way to be called revolutionaries or barbarians.  This means we will give up our grasp on power, prosperity, popularity, and comfort.  
  • Return to open participatory gatherings with celebratory meals, familial nature, and headship of Christ (I Cor. 14:26; Col. 1:18; Eph. 1:22), where the body is mutually edified.  This means giving up our performance-style and spectator style gatherings. 
  • Return to the practice of the priesthood of all believers.  This will mean a return to functional, non-hierarchical leadership and the deconstruction of the clergy/laity divide promoted by vocational professionalism.  Learning to be and live under the headship of Christ developing the ability to listen to Christ.