TAKE TIME TO READ THIS AND YOU WILL NEVER BE THE SAME. IT HAS THE POTENTIAL TO CHANGE YOUR WHOLE OUTLOOK ON CHRISTIANITY.
Have you ever wondered why the Christian church is so divided? Have you ever wondered why man-made traditions are rampant in most churches; whether it's old denominational traditions or newer Charismatic traditions?
What do I mean by traditions? It's really following the ways of how it's being done in our lifetime. Some churches follow after what was done during the Reformation. Others follow the Wesleyan period. Others follow the Roman Catholic traditions or the Anglo Catholic traditions. Some follow the Presbyterian traditions and others like to modernize to go with the times. Whether it's a Mega Church or a small country church, they all follow similar patterns. Church buildings are structured to accommodate these traditions. Older building (places of worship) usually have older style church services where newer buildings are usually more contemporary.
Of course we have Missionaries and Evangelists that hold crusades and street preachers who win sinners, but many of their converts are left to themselves and fall away or end up becoming Sunday morning pew warmers in a church.
Whenever a new church is established, or a larger facility to accommodate growth, the people involved hardly ever go back to the source to see what a church really is. They make comparisons to see what others have done. They go to a reputable church architect to have a building built that will attract people. Then they are taken up with building structures, furniture, pews, or comfortable chairs, lighting, sound, altar or platform, pulpit or podium; organ, piano, or worship team. Less wealthy congregations will either rent a building, a shop front, or buy an old empty denominational building before it's turned into a Mosque.
Why all this emphasis about buildings or (houses of worship) anyway. What is the source that I'm talking about? The answer is the New Testament. In a moment you will read an article that could change or even revolutionize your whole approach to what church really is in God's eyes.
We had something very much like this back in England in the early seventies,but it never grew to the size depicted in the following article, although it did developed into a large network of house churches all over the country,where God opened the door in many schools and colleges in different towns and large numbers of students were saved and filled with the spirit and joined the movement. Our book, "Living in Revival," by David and Kathie Walters (Author) tells this story. Here is the article. Twenty one steps to revolutionize our churches.
Mega Church To Meta (Beyond) Church
By Victor Choudhrie
21 Steps to transit from being a barren church to a millionaire of souls.
1. Rewrite the job description of the professional clergy from that of a pulpit orator, sacrament dispenser and tithe gatherer, to that of a shepherd who feeds his flock to be healthy and reproducing, by encouraging them to practice the priesthood of all believers with authority to baptize, break bread and equip fishers of men. He must model a flat church structure wherein brothers and sisters submit to one another, pray one for another, serve one another, exhort, forgive and love each other. John 13:34-35; Matt.18:21-22; Eph. 5:21
2. Move from meeting in temples to gathering in 'houses of peace'. 'God does not dwell in temples made by human hands'; rather He dwells in human hearts. For we are the mobile walking and talking temples of the living God, with a maximum of organism and a minimum of organization. Luke 10:5-9; Matt. 10:11-13; Acts 7:48-49; 2 Cor. 6:16
3. Phase out programmed Sunday 'services' while implementing informal, small gatherings. The Bride of Christ must have intimacy with her Lord every day,not only for a couple of hours a week, lest she become unfaithful. However,discourage cross-gender disciple-making, lest chemistry foul things up. Acts2:46-47; Heb. 3:13
4. Replace Mosaic tithing with Christian sharing, thereby harnessing the enormous, financial resources, hospitality and goodwill available in Christian homes. Believe that God is going to work a work among the nations through you, which will leave you utterly amazed, and also provide resources for it. Deut. 8:17-18; Acts 5:32-34; Hab. 1:5
5. Dispense with wafer-and-sip Holy Communion and promote breaking of bread with simple Agape meals (love feasts) from house to house, that believers take with glad hearts, 'and the Lord added to His numbers daily'. The Lord served roast lamb, bitter herbs, bread and wine 'in a house' for the Last Supper. Father God had lunch with Abraham under a tree and discussed Sarah's pregnancy, Sodom's ruin and Lot's rescue plan. Acts 2:46-47; 1 Cor.11:20-23;Gen Chap 18.
6. Replace professional music with believers speaking to each other in psalms and spiritual songs, making melody in their hearts to the Lord. OT worship required the sacrifice of four-footed beasts; the NT celebrates by offering two-legged Gentiles as a living sacrifice. The meta-church is a discipling hub and not a singing club. Eph 5:19; Col 3:16; Rom. 15:16
7. Shift from being a spectator-oriented church to a 'metastasizing',interactive, participatory, prophetic church. Empower men, women and youth, to get the dragon off the driver's seat. We, the seed of Abraham are blessed; "with multiplying I will multiply you and your seed will possess the gates of the enemy". It is time Abraham's seed got on the driver's seat.1 Cor.14:26-31; Acts 13:13; 18:4; Gen. 22:17-18; Gal. 3:27-29
8. For a powerful synergy, metamorphose mega-churches into city, regional and national networks of 'meta' (beyond) churches. Instead of gathering under one roof, have them gather under a thousand roofs, just like the mega church at Jerusalem planted meta-churches across Judea, Samaria, Antioch, Corinth, Rome and beyond (Gk. meta) that grew in faith and in numbers (both quality and quantity), daily. Rom. 16:3-15; Acts 1:8; 16:5.
9. Infect the barren Bride with the multiplication virus. A healthy mature female (Bride) implies that she is ready to have babies. Rebecca, the Bride of Isaac, was blessed by her family to have millions of children. The time has come for the Bride of Christ to stretch her tent to the left and to the right, to the north and to the south, to produce millions of meta-churches,and fill the earth. Gen. 24:60; Isa. 54:1-5; Acts 1:8
10. Know your identity in Christ: You are a royal-priest, made so by the blood of the Lamb. Dismantle the 'Reverend' culture that divides clergy from layman. Like Melchizedek, the royal-priest of Salem (City of Peace), who served bread and wine, took a tithe and blessed Abraham, bring godly governance to your city. Catch the vision of cloning royal-priests for every city, and run with it. 1 Pet.2:9; Rev.5:10; Hab.2:1-3; Isa. 9:6-7; Gen. 14:18
11. Challenge purposeless churches to enunciate a clear vision and to lay out a road map to translate that vision into action plans to 'do greater things than these'. Armed with maps, stats and the Great Commission go two by two and teach the divine arithmetic of planting just one multiplying church every month. In ten short months, even the least shall plant a thousand meta-churches. John 14:12; Acts 16:5; Luke 10:1-2; Isa. 60:22
12. Unglue from their pews all those Christians who sit, soak and stagnate,and send them to heal the sick, raise the dead, tread on snakes and scorpions (expel demons), bind the 'strongman', plunder his possessions, and demolish the gates of Hell. Doggedly pursue demon demolition drive until 'the kingdoms of this world have become the Kingdom of our Lord and His Christ.' Matt.11:12; 12:29; 16:18-19; Mark 16:17-18; Luke 10:19; Rev.11:15.
13. Resurrect from being a dead organization to a living organism. Replace all extra-biblical, cosmetic titles like Director, Chairman, CEO, and Secretary by appointing fivefold ministry- gifted Elders, like apostles,prophets, evangelists, shepherds and teachers, as equippers. Healthy feeding and leading will keep the flock thriving and fertile and build bridges with the 'other sheep which are not of this fold'. Eph.4:11; Tit. 1:5-9; John 10:16.
14. Empower every Sunday school, Bible school, prayer cell, women's fellowship, and cottage meeting, by calling them full-fledged, authentic churches. They must make disciples who baptize, break bread, equip laborers and send missionaries, and, like the school of Tyrannus, change the spiritual demography. 1 Cor. 16:19; Col. 4:15; Acts 19:8-12
15. Filter out non-performing goats who come only for hatching (baby baptisms), matching (weddings) and dispatching (funerals), and replace them with sheep who take care of the hungry, thirsty, naked, strangers, sick and prisoners. Culling the non-productive sheep is an integral part of the 'best practices' of sheep rearing. God chose David to shepherd Israel because he took care of "the ewes great with young". Matt. 25:31-46; Ps. 78:70-72
16. Simplify disciple making. Get a Bible and invite a couple of truth-seekers for a meal where the main dish is - The Lamb. Redefine authentic church as wherever two or three friends meet to eat, to gossip the gospel, and to multiply. Meta-church is the most cost effective strategy for city penetration and reaching the ends of the earth. Acts 2:46-47.
17. Replace seminary training with sharing the whole wisdom of God from house to house. Sound doctrine is the ability to convince those who oppose. The lost of this world do not need scholars as much as they need spiritual fathers and mothers who bring many spiritual sons and daughters to glory. Acts 20:20, 27; Tit. 1:9; 1 Cor. 4:15; 2 Tim. 2:2; Heb 2:10.
18. Reorient your personal paradigm. Your business, workplace or home,wherever you spend most of your time, is your 'primary nuclear church'. It matters little whether you are the CEO, or the janitor or the kitchen queen; you are a full-time minister there and accountable. Adam and Eve were accountable for the Garden of Eden, and they failed.
19. Recognize 'Hi, there,' 'Hello,' handshaking, Sunday church as your 'secondary, optional church'. A church that does not send you out to 'raise your holy hands to pray everywhere ' and equip you to make Christ 'high and lifted up' in your home, workplace and neighborhood is not worth going to. 1Tim. 2:8; Isa. 6:1
20. Re-set your priorities to preach Christ where He has not been named. For this you do not have to go to church from Sunday to Sunday nor work from paycheck to paycheck. You are "ordained" to be fruitful, to multiply, and to fill your home, workplace, neighborhood and the city with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. Matt. 6:33; Rom. 15:20;John 15:16; Gen. 1:28; Hab. 2:14
21. Adopt a 'completion mindset'. Evaluate your ministry by the Great Commission as its mandate, and for benchmarks the numbers of disciples made, baptized, equipped and sent out. Aim to become a millionaire of souls. Why not? After all, you believe in a great, awesome God for whom nothing is impossible. At the very least, like Peter, shoot for 3000 baptisms by every Pentecost. Or like Paul, plant a multiplying church every day, till you can claim that there are no more places left here for you to 'fully preach the gospel', not just with words, 'but with signs and mighty deeds'. Acts 2:41; 16:5; Rom.15:19, 23.
Shalom and Shalom again.
*Victor Choudhrie is a cancer surgeon by profession. He is a Senior Fellow of the American and British Colleges of Surgeons. He left his position as Director and CEO of the Christian Medical college, Ludhiana, Punjab, India, in 1992, to take up a full-time Church planting ministry in central India. His wife, Bindu, is also in a full-time church planting ministry, equipping women to be house-church leaders and trainers. They now have disciples making disciples in some forty countries. Theirs is presently amongst the fastest growing movements deploying volunteers with no paid workers in the field. God has blessed this ministry abundantly. In the year from Pentecost 2009 to Pentecost 2010, over one million underwent a ‘holy dip’ through their ministry partners. Large numbers of grassroots level leaders have been trained, who, subsequently, have planted tens of thousands of house churches across India and abroad.
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