Many people have asked the question: ‘What does the new look like?’ We are seeing glimpses of the new and at the same time have felt the warning of the Holy Spirit not to finish His sentences for Him. We are not to complete a sentence if He only gives a word nor a paragraph when he reveals a sentence. We must go low in the place of humility and go slow, patiently waiting on the Lord. Whilst the full picture is emerging, there are several phrases God has been highlighting to us about what the new will involve.
Restoration of the Fivefold
The 40’s and 50’s saw a restoration of the Evangelist; the 60’s saw a restoration of the Pastor; the 70’s saw a restoration of the Teacher; the 80’s saw a restoration of the Prophet and the 90’s saw a restoration of the Apostle. But we are yet to see a maturing of these gifts and of fivefold ministries working together in the fullness. I believe that the restoration of apostles working alongside prophets is critical as a foundation for the reformation of the Church today and the lifting up of the fivefold (Ephesians 2:19-20).
In 1 Corinthians 4:15, Paul talks about the importance of spiritual fathers in the Church. Over the past few years, many churches have asked to be part of the All Nations family so as to come under apostolic covering. I believe that more and more, churches will join together to form apostolic families. I see it happening across the world already and I believe more is coming. It will be in the unity of these wider families that the Church will be empowered to run further than she has run before. This is not about building brands or names, it is not about changing theology or compromising truth. This is about the Church coming together to accomplish the Great Commission. We must not underestimate the power of a united church.
Disciple-making & Church Planting
Disciple-making will be a hallmark of the new that God is doing. Jesus didn’t commission the disciples to get people into buildings, to raise their hand or to say a prayer and yet somehow modern Western Christianity has placed the emphasis on these things. We have sought to make converts rather than disciples. As a result, our churches have more consumers than contributors. Disciples are learners and followers obeying everything the Father commands; as we become disciples who make disciples, we will see many coming into the Kingdom of God.
We read in Acts that the Early Church grew daily with three thousand being added to their number on the day of Pentecost alone. Effective disciple-making leads to churches be planted. Jesus commanded us to make disciples and that he would build his Church and yet many times we build the Church and hope he turns those that come into disciples.
We are embracing smaller missional communities or Home Churches as a key part of the coming exponential growth. There is a place for large gatherings but the smaller groups of believers, praying, studying the Bible with a missional focus in the neighbourhoods will bring societal transformation. Whilst we are not advocating this approach for all churches, I would encourage every church leader to seriously consider whether the way they are doing church facilitates the making of disciples.
- Steve Uppal
- Steve Uppal