My story through the Jesus People Movement, the Charismatic Renewal and the Restoration of apostles today, has taught me many lessons. I have been part of a movement that imploded. I have loved and served in one that institutionalized. And what is most challenging is that church history reports that these are the only 2 long term scenarios that every movement ultimately ends in. But can that be true? Did the Father not place in His cosmic design an alternative conclusion for His divine interruptions? Is that what Jesus died for? Was the cross simply a key that produces a journey of unmet dreams as movements implode or access to a form of faith that simply keeps repeating yesterday, tomorrow? Has the Holy Spirit come, the wind, fire, water and dove Holy Spirit, to a predetermined non existent conclusion of stifling religion?
Please let the dreamer speak...
I am persuaded we can repeat the 63 years of recorded New Testament text where neither of these 2 scripted outcomes occurred. There is another way, but it will need to be sculpted by the sacred text continually, never believing our current grasp on these matters are the final version of truth. Is that not raw arrogance? Some thoughts that may help:
- Abraham was the father of MANY nations. The notion of starting something that must just keep getting bigger than be fashioned by a theology of multiplication, is foolhardy,
- Without faith it is impossible to please God. Fear because of past experiences cannot be the driving agency. The wonder of the text and faith in the God factor must keep us free from the disappointments of the past.
- He gave some to be apostles... prophets... evangelists... pastors... teachers... These ascension gifts simply cannot be reduced to every believer is one, nor can we prefer coaches, mentors and generic middle management teams. History will repeat itself.
- Sons become fathers. As with the family, so with the church — let the sons become fathers and start their own families.
- No longer call you servants, I now call you friends. There needs to be a strong personal, real, honest, transparent relational glue. Being held together by a system, or code just is not in the text.
- I went up to Jerusalem. Paul going to Jerusalem to volunteer theological accountability is a forgotten humility. The absence of a strong theological base will be the ultimate demise of every movement. It is not our ecclesiology, nor our mission that will hold our foundation — just Christ Paul said — but that we have a substantial, processed theological / credal set of convictions.
- My ministry as an apostle to the Gentiles. This text is both missional as well as anthropological. Every movement has to ensure that she is clear about her divinely designed mission [the what] as well as whom the Father wishes for them to reach.
- Garments... wineskins. Movements begin to die way before they know it. Part of the reason lies in the fact that they simply repeat a successful model year in and year out. What is the wind of the Spirit saying now? Forget the former things... behold I am doing a new thing.
- Your name is no longer Jacob but Israel. It is a fascinating thing to see how powerful a name is. I suspect, as with our daughters leaving home and changing names, we may need to be much more open to name changes. They often reflect yesterday's call, mandate and architecture.
- One will put a 1000 to flight, 2... There is still a power of togetherness. Two can simply achieve more. Fragmentation and isolation are the curse of the fall not the reflection of the Trinity. In fact, it was said in the book of Judges - everyone did as they saw fit.
- First of all apostles then prophets...NOT over all but in front of. With a hierachical mindset, the text is so often mistaken to depict CEO styled structure. This will guarantee an institution.
- Timothy my son... The future will surely be more than one generational wonders. Rather fathers who are comfortable to step back and let sons run their own race, forge their own journey.
- You [local church] are the seal of my apostleship... Forget size, notoriety, age, apparent success. True apo future will be seen by the individual churches they journey with — personally, intimately and effectively without creating ongoing dependency or a single system.
- Prophets came down from Jerusalem... Healthy apo ministry will partner with prophets. The prophets will keep exploding the dead wells while the apostles will keep the architecture true to scripture.
Hope these help. Do you have your own conclusions based on your journey? Keep open to His kindness. He aint done with us yet.