Life Together: A Mutual Dependency


Continuing on with the current series, I will be commenting on the next devotion in the Purpose Driven Life – A Mutual Dependency.  

To read the whole devotion, click here.

How many Christians would see that authentic Christian life can be seen in the word interdependence?  Rev. Warren starts of this devotion by saying,

“In authentic Christian fellowship people should experience a mutual dependency. This mutuality is the art of giving and receiving; it’s depending on each other.”

Now, personally, I don’t  like depending on people.  Honestly, I find it hard to ask for things.  I willingly give of myself, but when it comes to asking … well… ummm… let’s say I’m still working on that.  This devotion cuts across that, though. We are encouraged to depend on each other – for “no man is an island” is the popular adage, right?

I love The Message.  It makes things so clear and understandable.  Check this out:

The Bible says, “The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part” (1 Corinthians 12:25 MSG).

Now that’s clear!  The church is seen as a Body… how much does the ‘smallest’ part NEED the ‘bigger’ parts?  It wouldn’t be a fully functioning Body without every single part!  Interesting thought….

All of us are more consistent in our faith when others walk with us and encourage us. The Bible commands mutual accountability, mutual encouragement, mutual serving, and mutual honoring.

I know that’s true in my own life, for sure.  Who hasn’t tried to work out alone? 🙂  Have you been able to stick it on your own?  No. I didn’t think so…. 😆  Reminds me of one of my most quoted Scriptures –  Ecclesiastes 4:10-12

 10 If one falls down, 
       his friend can help him up. 
       But pity the man who falls 
       and has no one to help him up!

 11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. 
       But how can one keep warm alone?

 12 Though one may be overpowered, 
       two can defend themselves. 
       A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

 Isn’t that powerful? “If one falls down, his friend can pick him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up?”  I’ve been down a lot recently (I’m going through a painful process), and thank God for my friends who are constantly there to help me up – through encouragement, prayer and support – several of them, who don’t live in the same country as me (thank God for Internet friends – long live the Blogosphere!) have independently mailed me books and resources that can help me through this time.  I have cried thinking about how much my friends love me – some without seeing my face in person!  I wouldn’t trade them for the world…. 

*wipes tears*  Ok, where was I?  Right… *cough* *cough*

Rev. Warren next says this:

Over fifty times in the New Testament we’re commanded to do different tasks for “one another” and “each other.” The Bible says, “Make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification” (Romans 14:19 NIV).

Derek Prince makes mentions of the “one anothers” in Scripture.  Over FIFTY TIMES!!!!!! WOW!  I know that when God wants to emphasize something he repeats himself, “I, even I, am the Lord….” So what is he trying to say by repeating the same point over and over? Go figure.  This isn’t supposed to be a solitary faith walk. No sir-ee…

The concluding statement is this:

You are not responsible for everyone in the body of Christ, but you are responsible to them. God expects you do whatever you can to help them.

So, what are you responsible to the Body of Christ with?  What can you help with?  How do you see yourself being of assistance to the Body?

Life Together: Authentic Friendships


Continuing on our journey of discovery, this is the second installment of the Life Together series, where we are exploring corporate life together, with Rev Rick Warren and Purposed Driven Life.

Here’s the devotional in its entirety.

Now, to my thoughts.  The first thing that jumps out at me is this quote:

Authentic fellowship is not superficial, surface-level chit-chat. It’s genuine, heart-to-heart, sometimes gut-level sharing.

Now I know that most people cannot even fathom this level of intimacy in their assemblies, but to me that is a shame – a travesty!  To be known completely and to know completely – oh the JOY of it! You would not know until you stop how limiting living behind masks is.  This goes far deeper than, “How are you?” “Fine.” “How are the children?” “Oh they’re good…”  This level of authenticity is not for the faint-hearted. It is challenging

It happens when people get honest about who they are and what is happening in their lives. They share their hurts, reveal their feelings, confess their failures, disclose their doubts, admit their fears, acknowledge their weaknesses, and ask for help and prayer.

My church family know my weaknesses, my sins .. just recently there was a great healing of my own personal emotions when I went to them confessing something I had done which was pretty serious, but having them all surround me and pray. As fear of rejection is one of the things I struggle with from time to time,  one member prophetically discerned that I was still carrying guilt about the past actions (which went against what I was saying with my mouth!)  

Then,  on behalf of the group, she  publicly recieved me and accepted me … that broke me – I fell on my face sobbing, as the guilt poured out in tears! After a long time of them literally surrounding me and praying over me as I was crouched on the floor, I was able to stand, whole, healed – and accepted! 

Authenticity is the exact opposite of what you find in many churches. Instead of an atmosphere of honesty and humility, there is pretending, role-playing, politicking, superficial politeness, and shallow conversation. People wear masks, keep their guard up, and act as if everything is rosy in their lives. These attitudes are the death of real friendship. 

It’s dangerous to be this open:

Of course, being authentic requires both courage and humility. It means facing our fear of exposure, rejection, and being hurt again. 

That’s the sad truth.  Instead of havens of holiness… most churches represent political parties – bickering and one-upmanship abound!  It’s disgusting…  rather than a place of peace and safety – a ‘city of refuge’ where those hurting can come to be healed and protected, most churches attack more than they assist – especially their own.  Thank God it is not all like that!

Echoing the devotion’s question – who would want to take the risk of being ridiculed, ostrasized and hurt – again?

Because it’s the only way to grow spiritually and be emotionally healthy. The Bible says, “Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed” (James 5:16 MSG)

My own experience bears this out.  My prayer is that for those hurting, the Body of Christ would again represent healing and wholeness rather than separation and pain.  Like others (Jonie, Jennifer, Annie, to name a few….)

And you don’t have to look into a ‘traditional’ gathering in a building to fine authentic friendship in the Body of Christ!  I have found authentic friends for life right here on the blogosphere – either by commenting on their blogs or having them commenting here on mine!  The friends I have found here have borne me through some crises in my own life and have become wrapped around my heart – all without seeing them face to face (yet!)

Is there authentic friendship in your life?  Do you see life together either with a group, either online or offline?

 

 

 

Life Together Series: A Shared Life


I remember the last time I did a series off of my Purpose Driven Life devotionals that come up in my in-box. They were on love – love is an action, a decision, a habit, and others.  This is another series from the same source.  

Coming off of the last two posts on The Shape of the Church (part 1 and part 2),  this series, taken from the Purpose Driven Connection – the weekly email devotional from Saddleback Church and Pastor Rick Warren is called the “Life Together” series – dealing with the focus of the church.  The first devotion deals with “A Shared Life.”  

To read the devotion yourself, click here.

Rev. Warren starts off with this:

God intends for us to experience life together. The Bible calls this shared experience “fellowship.”

Today, however, the word has lost most of its biblical meaning. Fellowship now usually refers to casual conversation, socializing, food, and fun.

Isn’t that the truth?  But what is the real meaning of ‘fellowship’?

The Greek word for ‘fellowship is “koinōnia” and according to the Blue Letter Bible its definition is “fellowship, communion, communication, distribution, contribution, to communicate.”

Real fellowship is so much more than just showing up at services. It is experiencing life together. It includes unselfish loving, honest sharing, practical serving, sacrificial giving, sympathetic comforting, and all the other “one another” commands found in the New Testament.

That’s so true… as Rev. Warren also comments in this devotion:

When it comes to fellowship, size matters: smaller is better. You can worship with a crowd, but you can’t fellowship with one.

Once a group becomes larger than about ten people, someone stops participating—usually the quietest person—and a few people will dominate the group.

The small group is the heart of fellowship – of sharing life.  My own home assembly is about ten people and I see this in practice – even although we can learn to do it so much more practically!  It’s really humbling to see the entire church come out to help when one member is sick, or in need… I remember when I was low on funds for an extended period of time and some of the money we were collecting as tithes showed up unanounced under my door one evening – and a couple members of the church felt the need to contribute out of their pockets as well.  All in all that day my wife and I saw about 3 envelopes that had almost $1000 all collected!  All this without asking for any assistance!

Rev. Warren comments that, “The body of Christ, like your own body, is really a collection of many small cells. The life of the body of Christ, like your body, is contained in the cells.”  This is the goal for small groups, although in practice I have found that when ‘small group ministry’ is tacked on to a larger assembly’s DNA it doesn’t always achieve the fullest potential.  Instead of a small group of people learning how to have real koinōnia through extended periods of sharing life by being vulnerable, being real – when it is tacked on to a larger assembly participants tend to retreat into the big meetings and never really connect.  

 When all  you have is ten people – there is nowhere to hide!  The quiet ones are encouraged to communicate, and the ones who are more dominant are more easily encouraged to let the others particpate.  It’s easier in a small group to share hurts and pains, to confess sins and receive forgiveness,  to ask for and receive practical assistance – and even to keep in contact! 

How many of you really know the people in your church?  What aspects of life  do you share?  Are you comfortable letting down your guard? Being yourself?

Thoughts?

 

Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for ‘fellowship’ in the KJV”. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2009. 19 May 2009. < http:// www.blueletterbible.org/search/translationResults.cfm?
Criteria=fellowship&t=KJV >

The Shape of the Church (Part II)


I’ve just gotten a great post in my Reader today, from Kingdom Grace .. and she’s pointed me to another great website that goes along the same topic as we’re discussing here Wayne Jacobsen’s blog LifeStream is dealing with “Starting A House Church”.   So I’m delving into what even more people are saying about this topic of the shape of the church.

This is part of Wayne’s opening statement:

The unspoken thought is that systems will work pretty well if the right people are in charge. The reality is that systems themselves are destructive to relational and organic growth.

Really? All systems are destructive to relationship and organic growth? 

It seems all of this stems from the fact that we really don’t trust that Jesus is capable of building his church—that he cannot give rise to the reality of his family if we don’t “start something”. It’s as if living loved and loving just won’t be enough to let him do all he wants to do.

Ok, I understand the implications of letting Jesus build his church, but like I say in my previous post,  structure is important, even for fluid organisms, right? I am not a fan of ‘starting something’, either, but the statement seems to demean all structure, which is thinking I’ve had to get away from.

Wayne was having a conversation with a brother, Mike, who felt called to start a church.  Wayne’s responses try to disuade him from ‘starting a church’, per se, but being open to sharing life organically instead.  To Mike’s initial comment that he felt led to start an open church, Wayne says, in part: 

People who start a church end up basing it around their vision or gifts and it will either bog down or simply become the outgrowth of one person. I am convinced real church emerges as an organic outgrowth of relationships people are already sharing. So the question is not, how do we start a church, but rather, how do we facilitate people caring for each other and growing spiritually together and see over time whether or not church life emerges from that reality?

I like what he says here:  “… real church emerges as an organic outgrowth of relationships people are already sharing.”  In my personal experience, “facilitat[ing] people caring for each other and growing spritually together” happens naturally as I extend myself to love – that part I can see.  I’ve grown to love my interactions on the blogospshere because of the deep abiding relationships that have formed and are being formed as I make myself available to love, without the structure.  However, I did find the tendency to build a structure…. was it necessary?  I don’t know – I’m currently in a time of reflection and seeking God. Maybe when I come out I won’t need that structure, who knows? It’s too early to tell….  I do find it easier to just love and be loved, at the moment.

I like this quote: 

I really don’t think we need to start churches. Jesus started the only one that matters at Pentecost 2000 years ago. We just need to live in that reality instead of starting more institutions that only further divide the body. That’s probably not what you wanted to hear, but I honestly thing the way God works is very different than the way we do…

That God works different to us is definitely on target!  Just more to chew over…

He comments that, “If I could encourage you in anything it would be to share your life freely, but look to come alongside someone else’s journey.”  Now that I can relate to.  Coming alongside someone else’s journey is the most fulfilling thing I have found, myself.  I love how God enocurages me as I encourage others….

Once we try to get people to have the experience we have, we’ll manipulate them instead of serve them. Jesus just wants you to come alongside folks and give them truth as they are ready for it. Once we start trying to manage people’s spirituality, people will run from us. God will show you. I love your heart and passion, but church leadership has done this wrong for a long time and its why people are fleeing from the church instead of finding God in her.

Hmmm.  Is ‘church life’ just trying to get people to have the experience we have?  Is it a case of ‘managing people’s spirituality’? In every case?  That’s the question.  You don’t want to throw out the baby with the bath water….

Another response to Mike:

My response: What should you do? Follow him. If you don’t know what that means yet, just live in his love and love others around you. In time it will be clear what he wants you to do. If you don’t know now, other than to follow someone else’s form, then maybe you are moving ahead of him. I’m really serious about this. We’re just asked to love like he loves us (John 13:34-35), to proclaim the gospel as we have opportunity and to help others follow Jesus who want to follow him (Matthew 28:19-20). We are not told to plant a church, for he said he would build his own. He’s good at this. He knows what to do. Just help others as God gives you grace. 

He continues with an interesting statement:

Don’t try to start something. Don’t try to ‘get people’ to do anything. Live your life before them until they are hungry enough to ask for help. Then help them learn to live loved and follow Jesus. And the gospel will spread…

I like that.  “Helping them to live loved.”  I think that’s a great way to describe how I help.  I’m always showering those who are broken with love, telling them that they are loved – not just by God, but by me.  It’s awesome to see the love of God creep under someone’s defenses until they don’t even know that they are out of their pain…

We must not forget that the ‘early church’ did not arise out of a plan to get people to do anything. The early church emerged out of a revelation of who Jesus is, and hungry hearts responded who wanted to know God and live in his life. There was no recruitment campaign and no strategy to manage people through a hierarchical system. They lived as a family and grew to discover how they could embrace his life together and live transformed in the culture.

One of his concluding statements is

Somehow we have to think differently—that our calling is not to build the church, but to present an authentic demonstration of the Gospel in how we live and what we say. Then, we take the time to equip those who want to know him, how to live in a relationship with him. As a pool of people discover how to live loved and love, then the church can take on a variety of forms and expressions in various times and seasons.

The whole article is well written, but has caused some healthy debate in the blogosphere.  Is he ‘bucking the system’ out of a lack of respect for structure?  Does he think we should just ‘hang loose and let Jesus do his thing?’ as one of his commenters on his blog asked?

I’ve been debating with a fellow commenter on Kingdom Grace’s blog who said, in part:

Jesus personally appointed Paul to ‘plant churches’ amidst the Gentile nations. Yeah, he got persecuted too. Just the term ‘plant’ indicates something organic. But didn’t Paul also place structure into those organic families of believers? Didn’t he have the leaders he mentored (e.g. Timothy and Titus) mentor others for appointment to leadership? There must be some middle ground here somewhere.

He called this post and others like it a ‘backlash against the institution.’

To my and other’s call to ‘obedience to God, whatever it ‘looks like’ he said:

 Having served in both church leadership and in international missions I have had to work with people who were absolutely convinced that they were being obedient to God’s call – and they ended up offending hosts, abandoning commitments, and making my job a whole lot more difficult than it should have been. It got to the point that I became very cynical of those who began their sentences with “God spoke to me … ” or “I feel led of the Spirit … “, etc.

He also said, in part, that

When working with volunteers in the mission organization there needs to be a sense of maturity, and certainly the younger volunteers who may not have had the proper experience to mature yet should at least be under the guidance of a mature leader. A leader who has the wisdom and influence to instruct these youngsters to minimally stick with the commitment they made in the initial agreement.

I agree with Ken’s assessment that leadership is necessary… but I don’t get that Wayne is trumping leadership at all.  In my opinion, he’s saying that the structure of top down leadership misses the mark.  Paul and the other apostles were well known and defined leaders in the early church, yet the early church did not have the goal of ‘starting something new.’  I agree with Ken’s last statement:

Thus, I agree with you up to a point, but from my experience in real life, much of this sounds idealogical. Life and people (yes, even Christians), are unpredictable and messy. I am a father and grandfather and I love my wife, my kids, and my grandkids more than I could ever express in words. But even within our family relationships it takes a lot of work to keep us moving through life together. We all ‘hear from God’ but we don’t always agree on what we’re hearing. It takes structure, collaboration, patience … and leadership. That’s how a healthy family functions.

I agree, brother, I agree…

In my experience, being relational doesn’t divorce from leadership at all… it is necessary, absolutely necessary – in my own network (which some call a house church) there are clearly defined leaders that we all look up to for advice and counsel, even as each group explores what God’s kingdom might mean for them. So I’m agreeing with you, brother… it might seem ideological, but there are places where ideology seems close to reality :)

What are your thoughts on this?

The Shape of the Church


For those who don’t know, I’m a part of what some would call a ‘house church.’ We meet in each other’s homes and exist with a paradigm that tries to break ‘Christianity’ down to its essentials – relationship with God, and man. (See Matthew 22:36-39)

Some members of the Body of Christ have been recently making house church as the ‘new thing’, the best thing since slice bread, and crying down the more ‘traditional’ types of church assembly (where ‘traditional’ in this context isn’t just whether you meet and sing hymns, or meet and sing contemporary songs.) 🙂 (Gentle jab to one of my new blog acquaintances and her blog post on modern vs contemporary church services – Hi Lynese!)

I used to be one of them.

But I’ve come to realize that the container doesn’t matter as much as the commitment to the purpose, if you get what I mean. Whether the church meets on Sunday morning, or Tuesday night, whether we sing hymns or just sit in a circle and discuss life – the main purpose for the church is put pretty succinctly in the Scriptures (Matthew 28:18-20 and Mark 16:15-19. )

And now I see a blog post that gives me what I’ve heard recently is an ‘Aha!’ moment!

In Discipling Viral Disciplers, the author had me at the first line: “I no longer try to start house churches.” Wha…. Interesting. Let’s continue.

The post says:

Jesus invited us to join him, organically, in the reproduction of life. (my emphasis) His church is a living, thriving, reproducing organism (Mark 4) that allows life-in-the-Spirit to spread virally from one disciple to the next. His church is alive as illustrated by a seed (Mark 4) that brings forth 30, 60, or 100-fold reproduction. That is the life of the kingdom. His life in me is passed on to the life of another (2-fold) which is passed to the life of another (4-fold) which is passed to the life of another (8-fold), etc. That is the way of organic/viral life and this is what the kingdom IS. This is ultimately what Jesus invited us to become part of: discipling viral disciplers.

I’ve been a part of a house church for over ten years. When the Lord first called me to join it, I turned away from everything that was, in my view, ‘rigid’ and ‘structured.’ It took a couple of years for the Lord to finally get into my skull that even an amoeba (a one celled organism that flows into any shape and reproduces by splitting in half) had a structure.

Amoeba

So I came to realize that house church, in itself isn’t “it” – the author puts it beautifully when he said that:

When I have made house churches the end game, I have discovered that they do not naturally reproduce nor become movements. In fact, house churches have a shelf life. They may serve a purpose for a season, but when that season ends (and it will) the “movement” is over. The influence of a house church is temporary.

He says had commented earlier that “Kingdom life is viral, organic, and, by nature, a movement.” and he expounds on this by continuing:

This explains why Jesus did not ask us to go and “make gatherings or churches.” He did not ask us to go and “make house churches.” He said, “go and make disciples.” This shift from starting gatherings to making disciples (who go and make disciples) goes to the very heart of the matter. Discipling viral disciplers is the end game. This places us squarely in the midst of reproductive life that the kingdom is intrinsically about. We become movement-starters not church-starters. We release disciples who will influence the world throughout their lifetime and beyond as those they disciple disciple still others.

WOW. I couldn’t have put it better myself. This is the missing link in my thinking. But does this mean that we have to look for another container to house the church in? Not according to him – but house churches themselves are not the goal, they are the means to the end of spreading the gospel….

Now, not to confuse the issue, but often in the work of discipling viral disciplers I will be gathering people together in a manner that looks an awful lot like a simple/house church. Absolutely! But the underlying DNA makes all the difference. When I reach and disciple a viral discipler, that person is going to gather with other viral disciplers for encouragement, and then, as each of them reaches others, still more gatherings will take place. So, along the way, house churches are started. But, but rather than being the end game, they become a means to support the life that is being reproduced from one disciple to the next.

Just like the amoeba, “[the] house church gatherings themselves will shift, change, morph, end, and re-establish themselves in new forms but the movement of disciples who are reproducing disciples will continue.”

I like his comment here: “When we start house churches, our focus tends to be on the gathering—what to do, how to do it, what it looks like, etc. We say to ourselves that we are learning to “be” the church 24/7 (and we may even go do missional things), but often our priority remains on developing the structure/form of simple house church gatherings.” I dare say, that this is also the priority of those who gather in more ‘traditional’ settings as well. He contrasts this way of thinking – “church starters” – with being “movement starters” by saying

When following Jesus and inviting others to follow him becomes our focus (discipling viral disciples), we will have to shift from the “gathering” mentality to the “lifestyle-going” mentality. This shift changes the processes we walk out from top to bottom. And, this shift will propel us from being church-starters to movement starters (where churches spring up along the way).

I love this comment in his conclusion: “Jesus, the adventurous, undomesticated, on-the-move God invites us to join him daily where He is working.” He challenges that this change of thinking calls us to ‘examine our own “followership” as a starting point.’ (his words)

I will echo his concluding questions: What does this mean for us, to really be the church in the world? I am not calling out those who gather in church buildings on Sunday and saying they’re wrong – they are not. I am asking – what does it really mean to be the church? If we move from starting churches to releasing viral disciplers, how does this change our paradigm? What will it look like?

Thoughts?

Mentoring the Gifts


My friend Annie (http://callingtodeep.blogspot.com) is front and centre in this post today.

She was explaining what she feels she is called to here on our friend Tam’s blog…And I think the vision God is giving is important enough to highlight here

So, Annie – let’s see where God goes with this 🙂

Tam’s post was Don’t Be Ashamed of Your Parts, and she was speaking about the different parts of the Body and each part’s gifting – according to 1 Cor 12 – and then she asked us what we thought our ‘part’ was… this is where Annie’s comment comes in.

I think in some ways I do know how God has called me to ‘fit’ in the Body … and at the same time feel like I have SO much yet to discover.

God is so limitless that we’ll never know it all! There is ALWAYS something new to discover in God. AWESOME!

The Body – fit together – every part functioning. It’s a good thought. I would love to increase clarity among the members. Which, I think, comes firstly from defining. “This is what part you are. This is how you fit.” and also “This is what part they are; this is how they fit.” So many times satan’s tactics are to isolate us, and then convince us that 1) we don’t have a place, and whatever we have to give really isn’t that important to the Body, and 2) everyone else’s place is either a subject of envy or condemnation because we don’t clearly understand what their place is and how we are all just as important regardless of function. yeah. I’m lovin’ this subject.

There are a LOT of people who don’t know where they ‘fit’. They keep asking “What’s my purpose?” “Why am I here?” “What does God want me to do?????” It seems that Annie’s call seems to be helping people figure that out – but not in isolation.

As Annie says:

Well, I feel like … there are a fair number of people (but certainly nowhere near a majority) who have taken a ‘Discover Your Calling’ class to find out what general part they might play in the body. However by and large, there is little more knowledge or productivity that comes out of this.

One of the things the Lord seems to be doing is setting her up to assist the Body as a whole understand itself. It’s bigger than an isolated part of the body understanding its role; that part must understand its role in relation to the other roles in the Body.

On the other hand, I myself have been functioning a bit more in things I am called to and gifted in lately, and am finding that 1) I’d really like it if I knew more about these gifts, and how they function, 2) I’d really like to know what gifts everyone else has that is connected to me and how they function as well.

I usually say that when the Scriptures say that God will grant us the desires of our hearts, it’s because he’s put the desires there in the first place. So, what is God birthing in Annie? This is the first person I know who feels called, not just to find out about what gifts she has or other people have, but how those gifts fit together. She continues:

I liken it to a corporation: If Kraft is asked (by the board) to come up with a new label for all of their cheese products, will they send it to the Maintenance Department? Perhaps the IT group? No … they will send it to the advertisement department, and specifically to the graphic design department. Conversely, if they find that they are interested in expanding business oversees through internet commerce … are they going ask the Personnel Department to look into it? No … they’d send it to the internet development group.

So, areas of specialization, right? If you are good at something, and I know you’re good at something… I won’t ask you to do something you’re not good at if I know someone else who can do what I want better if I know their ‘specialty’. It works in business, so…

So … in the Body of Christ, I find that perhaps we would be better functioning as a whole if we knew and recognized everyone’s strengths and abilities, and could ’source out’ (only in a manner of speaking) certain things that we (as a Body) have need of. For instance: A church finds that there is a large pocket of desperately discouraged single mothers out there. Who to call? Firstly, those with a gift for encouragement. Secondly, those with a ministry of helps. And then perhaps if specialty needs arise, you can call others: intercessors, administrators (if a group should be started) etc.

This basically speaks for itself…

Specifically what I have been thinking lately is in terms of specifically spiritual gifts (rather than practical functions). For instance, in the prayer group I’m a part of there are many gifts represented: word of knowledge in one; word of wisdom perhaps in me (still testing this one), prophetic dreams in another, acting of miracles in another … and all of us are prayer warriors. So when we have a task at hand (an area of prayer) we can lean on certain gifts with more accuracy if we know what they are and how they function. God gave the finger to the body – why not understand how and when and where to use it? Otherwise we may end up sending the elbow to do the ring finger’s job. Makes for a very disjointed and awkwardly functioning body.

And here we get down to starting to dreaming with God – As the word says, “Then the LORD replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it.” (Habakkuk 2:2)

If we were in fact, to be able to discover and define these things, my idea (dream, perhaps) is to then be able to have mentor groups for each gift. In these mentor groups there would be a ‘head’ which would consist of whoever is willing, but preferably has experience and age (the two frequently come hand-in-hand … not always though) who could mentor those who are just coming in and learning, etc. For instance, “I find this is particularly effective for me in this area,” or “This seems to be a common pitfall for those of us with this gift.” The purpose of the mentor groups would be two-fold: 1) to instruct people with what their place and strength is, and ground them in it, and 2) to know how the Body ‘joins together’ – IE: know when and how to lean on the other strengths (represented by the other mentor groups).

I’ve been prophesying for about 10 years now … but I know that I benefited greatly from having someone to bounce questions off of who was able to ‘edit’ my written prophecies, judge them and help me to see what was of God and what was ‘from the flesh’, as it were. Mentorship is such an important concept when learning something new.

Annie concludes her comment with this:

This could be a structure that could be instituted at individual churches, but I think perhaps most effectively online, simply because of the vast people pool there is on here. Mentor groups could be as large or as small as people wanted them to be, and would be duplicatable as well. Prayer groups would be more effective; ministry groups would be better organized (all with the Holy Spirit of course – everything falls flat if it isn’t done with Him and by Him and for Him.)

I just love this! My own calling to the deliverance ministry seemed to be expanding into a community of like minded people, all ministers in their own right, who could call on the whole community to come behind them and pray for them while they were doing what God had called them to do. I could definitely use a mentor, as I was moving out into new areas of ministry… it’s not the same thing exactly, but the concept of strengthening those who need it is there.

I can’t see the entire vision right now, but I feel like this could be a strong thing. At any rate, this is what’s been rolling around in my spirit recently.

Well I’m doing my part, hon…. spreading the word. Love you! 😉

What do you think, guys? Does this sound like something needed in the Body of Christ? How many of you know where you fit, and how many of you want to find out where you fit? And, how many of you, knowing where you fit, would like to know how your place impacts the Body as a whole?

Rhythm of Life – Walking with God with the Church


I had the privilege of reading this great post recently at From Eden to Zion, where the author speaks to his rhythm of life that he commits to as a bare minimum to interact with the body of Christ. You can read the article here.

He also mentions here how he incorporates rhythm in his daily life – his daily rhythm.

For his weekly rhythm he said, “My weekly church rhythm mirrors the following verse from Acts 2:42 – “All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.””

He intentionally builds these aspects into his weekly rhythm and into his interactions with the body:

“I know many of you probably would like to ideally see these four things happen in your life by accident as you value them more but I’ve found, for myself, if I commit four time periods to these elements every week, they actually happen pretty much every week. In the past, when I committed myself to these things but refused to design them into my rhythm (hoping they would “just happen”) I would look back at months where they just didn’t happen.”

The intentional building relationship into his life and ministry is so interesting … I am trying to work out balance in my own life!

What you might find missing are leadership meetings, worship services etc. which are a part of my monthly rhythm but not weekly.

What I like about this is that he has specific things that he has designated to be done and specific times. Reading his post about his daily rhythms is also interesting as well.

I also like what he said shows us what we are committed to

I love comparing rhythms instead of mission statements because what we do in a week better demonstrates what we are actually committed to.

Makes me wonder what I am committed to!

I will echo his question at the end – I commented at the end of his blog, but I don’t think I answered it!

Read the articles, post a comment on his blog, but come back here and discuss:

What elements are a part of your weekly rhythm with other disciples? How do you engage in these areas? How have you determined what elements are essential to do every week?