My mind has been changing about church. After 10 years of pastoral ministry, I was wrecked, but in a good way…
The mother bird pushes it’s young out of the nest to learn to fly…
I think I didn’t want to leave the nest…
Though I received several job offers over the years, and plenty of invitations to speak throughout the conference across provinces, and mentor other pastors and entire church elder boards, I felt deeply loyal to the church that was my home for 5 years before I first became a pastor. It was the church that had adopted me, called me, and equipped me. I loved my teams of volunteers spread throughout the church in multiple areas.
Church, as I’ve always known it, had been a safe place… until it no longer became safe for me… It became dangerous for my health to use my spiritual gifts and exercise my love of disciple making, and engage my heart for prayer… I received more ‘persecution’ inside the church than outside.
At times, when I took one step outside the four walls of the church… BANG! I found myself discipling double digits and baptizing people left and right…
I found myself in a paradigm shifting…
While on a time of rest from pastoring 10 years within a formal church leadership, I was further stopped in my tracks while reading these two books below. These books saved me from utter despair. They gave me hope for the church!
Have we been like Jesus’ parents who left him behind and continued traveling ahead without him?! (Honestly, I always scoffed at that story. What kind of parents of the Messiah were they?!) But, are we that far off as spiritual leaders? Have we completely left Jesus behind in our journey?
Are you confused by the church as you’ve known it?
Are you hungry for more when you read the book of Acts?
Read these two books below which are pdfs you can download into your reader (provided generously by the authors for free). And then share your thoughts…!
Read with caution.
You may have many questions along the way.
Keep reading to the end of each.
You may never be the same…
I feel like Martin Luther approaching the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, and nailing a piece of paper to it with 95 revolutionary opinions that would begin the Protestant Reformation.
“Lord, have mercy on us… Help us to seek your will while choosing to love, as you call us to love…”
I think the modern day prophets are right, we are in a NEW reformation…
Jesus Has Left the Building by Paul Vieira
Read this book first.
If you have been so thirsty and hungry within your church, your heart will cry out like one finding a living spring of water with a fresh loaf of bread! It will take time to chew on each chapter. Don’t read more than a chapter a day or it will go completely over your head.
Book Quote: “God is calling His people to consider their ways and to make sure they are directly connected to Him. These are serious times, not to be taken lightly, or to go on with “business as usual.”
Houses that Change the World by Wolfgang Simpson
Second book to read.
A friend of mine shared this book with me who once lived in a country that intentionally persecuted Christians. She and her family were forced to be the church in the manner the book describes. Today, her heart often longs for that kind of pressure once again in order for church community to be so intentional. The author gives 3 possible ways to stop going to church and start BEING the church once again.
“Church is a Way of Life, not a series of religious meetings. Before they where called Christians, followers of Christ have been called ”The Way”. One of the reasons was, that they have literally found ”the way to live.” The nature of Church is not reflected in a constant series of religious meetings lead by professional clergy in holy rooms specially reserved to experience Jesus, but in the prophetic way followers of Christ live their everyday life in spiritual extended families as a vivid answer to the questions society faces, at the place where it counts most: in their homes.
Time to change the system. In aligning itself to the religious patterns of the day, the historic Orthodox Church after Constantine in the 4th century AD adopted a religious system which was in essence Old Testament, complete with priests, altar, a Christian temple (cathedral), frankincense and a Jewish, synagogue-style worship pattern. The Roman Catholic Church went on to canonize the system. Luther did reform the content of the gospel, but left the outer forms of ”church” remarkably untouched; the Free-Churches freed the system from the State, the Baptists then baptized it, the Quakers dry-cleaned it, the Salvation Army put it into a uniform, the Pentecostals anointed it and the Charismatics renewed it, but until today nobody has really changed the superstructure. It is about time to do just that.”
Could God be pushing us out of the nest, in order to fly in the freedom Christ died for us to know and live out – within His body and church community?
What could God be calling us as His people today?
I welcome your thoughts but AFTER you’ve read the books. 🙂 (At least the first one!) I don’t pretend to have all the answers. I’m just in listening mode to the voice of God and learning all that I can…