If I send out thoughts, articles or devotions it’s usually geared towards the Voice of the Lord, encounter with His Presence, intimacy in prayer, etc. But I believe the Lord has been speaking to me about the church. So if I may share some of what’s on my heart…
Most of what I have experienced as church has been run as a business. We hire people and fire people for jobs, duties and titles. People search for their place in the church based on what they can do (their gifts, etc.). Please don’t misunderstand me… my heart is not to be critical. I don’t think this is necessarily wrong. You bring many people together and organization is needed. There’s so many wonderful things about the Body of Christ, and the Lord has moved in and through His Church regardless of our state.
At the same time I feel a great excitement about the days ahead. I’m convinced the Father wants to bring a dramatic paradigm shift to the Body at large.
What I’m pondering today is one reason why works based thinking and performance mentality may still be an epidemic in the church. Is it because we have approached church life as a business? A business is run completely on performance. Positions are gained and lost based on the quality of the work done. It’s task oriented. But a family is based on unconditional life-long relationship. Family is our blood, our very identity. In a healthy family we do not even think that our performance would threaten our acceptance in the family. We don’t feel insecure about our last name, wondering if we deserve it or not. We don’t question our place in the family, we don’t search for what we’re to do in the family. We just are. In a healthy family we know we belong simply because we were born. The New Zealand saying fits… “I belong, therefore I am.”
What if we truly lived church as a family? What if we built family instead of ministry teams? What if our paradigm switched completely from task orientation to relating and loving people? What if our concept of church leadership was more like mothers and fathers? I’ve been a part of many discussions on this very topic over the last few years. But living it out is a different story. It seems to be so dramatically counter-cultural to our church mindset that I think the shift will need to be supernatural.
The fruit of a healthy family is a strong settledness of identity… a sitting down on the inside kind of security. It’s unconditional love, and life-long commitment. It’s who you are. It’s your name. Life flows out naturally. Rhythms fluctuate with changing seasons and no one stops to wonder why. We don’t “do” family, we ARE family. Can we love each other like this? Can we LIVE church as family and not just talk about it?
Tonight I just find myself wondering where I need adjusting. I find myself asking the Father to change my functioning paradigm (not just my thinking).
It can’t just be about how often we see each other, or what kind of meetings we have. It can’t be defined by how many times we’re on the phone together, if we live in the same building or on the same street, or what kind of outreaches we do together. We can do these things within any kind of system. It must be more about where we’re living life from. It must be more about paradigm, perception and orientation. It has to come from our core belief system.
I feel a deep call to the Body of Christ to pursue the family paradigm. I don’t think it matters what system you’re in currently. It begins in the heart. It starts with the way we see people, and it grows from there.
Lets not be satisfied until we see the fruit that remains.
The Father wants to speak to His children. Lets see where He leads us!