Get ready for the New Church
Isaiah 43;19 declares: "Behold,
I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not
know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers
in the desert."
A new thing? Try
this one on for size: Just as the Apostle Paul brought the Good News to
the Greeks, today's latch key kids will bring it to the GEEKS!
Here's what I mean. Does anybody remember those radical Jesus Freaks of
the 60s and 70s? They're still around. They became the pot-bellied
Baby-Boomers we know and love today. These people seem to
have become more conservative with age (having children of one's
own will cause that transformation). Many who were
once yesterday's liberals are today's conservatives. They
scorn the vulgar videos and movies of today's youth and turn in disgust
from the their nasty grunge clothes, pierced noses, and tattoos. These
Boomers can't stand the in-yo-face vulgarity and arrogance
of today's young no-commitment "slackers."
To you pastors out there, I hate to break it to you, but these kids are
the new recruits. These young people ARE the new Church.
Together, we Boomers
must get over something that is much more than a generation gap. It's
the most paradigm of paradigm shifts because there is a total
misunderstanding on the part of today's "organized Church." The
Boomers must come to recognize the hidden sorrows faced
by today's "latch-key" kids . . . the heart-rending despair of their
broken homes and the poor parental skills under which they
were subjected as we've all discovered that TV makes a
terrible surrogate parent. This is the stuff of their lives that makes
them act "that way."
Christians, gone are the days of the "one-talking-to-many" mediums, the
talking heads of today's Baby-Boomer Christianity. We are entering
a one-to-one digital medium. These kids want to interact. They desire
interdependency. They want to collaborate and dialogue with others.
Common interests are drawing these kids into common communities. One
quick glance at their Internet chat rooms makes this extremely evident.
They'll discuss anything. They WANT to commune.
SOMETHING OUT OF NOTHING
Can we discern the
spiritual side of all the perceived nonsense they force us to deal
with? What can God do with so big a mess? Consider that the idea of
connecting to one another in another space is inherently spiritual. The
notion of a "covenant network" of allied individuals is certainly
Christian. And, perhaps for the first time in human history, the Body
of Christ can be perceived as being truly global, totally possible, and
walking in more agreement than we ever imagined. how is this being made
possible? By way of the Internet.
Nobody's better at
negotiating the 'Net than today's youth.
"It is important
to fulfill the great commission by getting the saving Gospel message to
the people who need it most," claims Mark Harpt, President of the
World Wide Christian Web. He continues, "The amount of ignorance
about the truth of God is staggering, especially in countries that
produce the greatest technological advances. These people need God and
wireless Internet technology is a great way to let them know that the
God who created the universe wants to enter into a special relationship
with them if they will allow it."
Sadly, many of
today's Church leaders - some of whom were yesterday's radical Jesus
Freaks - have largely missed what is happening right under their noses
because they see the lowly computer as nothing more than a glorified
office machine at best, a tool of the devil at worst. True, the
predictions regarding the information highway may seem like so much
hype today, but the wise Christian leader will prayerfully consider its
impact in regard to tomorrow. Though computers may hardly seem to be of
any significance where the future of the Church is concerned, the way
the Church utilizes this tool may totally change Christianity on planet
Earth as we know it.
The new millennium
is a watershed moment in Church history. The Internet will soon impact
the growth of the Church at a staggering rate and at a global level.
The question is, will YOU be part of it? Some may say, "We're
miles ahead of the game at First Church! We have our own website...."
Wrong! Again, for anyone to find that website, THEY must be
looking for YOU.
The Church MUST make
every effort to go to THEM!
SPIRITUAL CONSUMERS OR SPIRITUAL PRODUCERS?
night, I was almost late for my Coffee Studio Bible study. Why? I saw a
commercial for NBC's Dateline with Stone Phillips in which a ministry
team was performing an exorcism in a condo in North Carolina. Yes, we
taped it for later but we watched it, too. When I finally joined the
Coffee Studio group, some had been watching the TV there and
had caught the show as well. Early in the program, Phillips made the
statement, "As many as 10,000 exorcisms take place annually in the
USA, most by evangelical Christians."
Regardless of one's
stance on demons and exorcisms, on that same video cassette, a friend
included a segment from the 700 Club, a Pat Robertson interview with
author James Rutz about his new book, "Megashift." When my wife and I
watched it, I was spellbound. After listening to Rutz, I ran upstairs
to read what I could about his book, my wife close behind. I found this
quote, "If you read one 'Christian book' this year, make it
'Megashift' by Jim Rutz." -- Joseph Farah, founder of WorldNetDaily
Another book review
read as follows: "The 1700-year nightmare is over. A
megashift of spiritual power into the hands of ordinary people is about
to overwhelm the world and put it into vastly better shape. Prepare
yourself to take part in a total makeover of Planet Earth!"
It went on to say: "You
are about to discover a new world where...
* Over a billion non-Christians may become highly active Christians in
the next dozen years.
* A whole new form of Christianity promises to bring
a far greater impact than the Protestant Reformation.
* Millions of ordinary people are doing miracles.
* God has brought hundreds of people back from the
dead, mostly in the last 15 years. These are not near-death
experiences, but real resurrections of actual corpses. (NOTE: It's
true. In the last decade, 52 countries report dead being raised and
diseases miraculously cured.)
"New book tells
all: "Megashift" not only documents a wide range of miracles, but also
spotlights hundreds of thousands of house-church teams around the globe
that are producing a new culture of responsible freedom. In these
teams, people are allowed to speak and interact. They often form deep
friendships, dump their heaviest problems, turn into free and powerful
spearheads of worldwide change, and get connected with God and man in
ways that almost defy description. This is a "Megashift" away from
A GROWING OPPORTUNITY: 8% CHURCH GROWTH PER
My home town boasts
a community growth rate of 3 to 4% annually; the local college, about
7% per year. This is for perspective. One item mentioned in Megashift
was this: "There is a hidden world that already has 707 million
evangelical/charismatic Christians who are growing by an incredible 8%
a year. In the center of
this shockwave are roughly 100 million in informal networks of
committed circles who run their own show without buildings, paid
pastors, or sermons. "Megashift" is a startling introduction to that
surge of grass roots power and love, which is forming the culture you
will soon live in."
It appears God is
using the rank and file, willing believers everywhere more and more
these days. Rutz mentioned having met a 7-year old boy in India who
died at age 5. The boy had scars from where he was burned by a power
line. On the emergency room table for two hours, doctors could not
revive him. The hospital contacted a church which called a 60-year old
Indian woman to pray for the boy. She was illiterate; an "untouchable";
the lowest of the low in the Indian caste system. She prayed until 4
AM. The boy was alive with no brain damage or any other physical
problems. When Rutz asked the woman if she had ever done this before,
she replied that she had been involved in sixteen resurrections!
"The Church, as
we have it set up now...is really not set up to handle it all so God is
empowering people to work through small teams, house churches
particularly, school churches, business churches and so forth...small
teams where people are able to interact and work with each other...kind
of like the early New Testament idea of going house to house...,"
Are you ready?
Church leaders, is your Church infrastructure in place, or are you
expecting these young people to come to Church, learn the prayers and
hymns and when to say 'Amen" and listen while you teach them where to
sit, how to act...and expect them to do so for the next 70 years?
Sorry, but young lions gotta roar! I believe that, not only are these
pierced 'n tattooed, navel-flashing latch-key kids our latest raw
recruits but that America's corporate offices are going to be the place
of another huge move of God. Such things HAVE to be so
because we spend so much time there. Is the Church going
to meet them there? Just as Aquila and Priscilla were
there, strategically in place to greet the Apostle Paul after his
Damascus Road conversion, will you be there for these kids when they
need you to be? Again, I'm NOT talking about greeting them at the door
of a church building - I may be talking about going to their campus,
joining forces with other denominations and pooling funds for a youth
event (we had one that included 26 churches, 9 bands and over 1,000
kids) or starting a Coffee Shop Bible study. Anything to show them
that you LOVE (spelled T-I-M-E) them.
I met with 30 people
around a campfire a few weeks ago. We cooked steaks and chicken and
sang with guitars. We prayed about revival, too. People, we were
being the Church and no less than 5 denominations were represented
there. Though it may appear that Satan has strategically managed to
make workaholics out of us and has systematically drawn millions of
mommies out of their homes in an effort to join the workforce, thereby
creating legions of latch-key kids, the TRUTH is that our God WILL get
His Church back (I'm not talking buildings, folks). God WILL have His
way. Satan ALWAYS shoots himself in the foot.
Be a part of this
upcoming revival. It's not going to look like anything any of us have
A servant of God
P.O. Box 633
Stephenville, Texas 76401