Thursday, March 10, 2011

Transforming Cities

OK, here is the question: How do we transform cities? RiverStone’s vision is to bring Community transformation. Bethel Atlanta wants to bring Revival. What do these look like and how do we proceed. That is really the question. Personally I believe that Community transformation and revival is really the same thing just spoken in different cultural languages. So if we are both going after the same thing, what is it and what dies it look like? Then how do we do it?

First and foremost we have to realize that the church in America and the west has not been answering the right questions. We have been trying to get people to come into the church building and then get them saved. We have been trying to get them into the church building and then clean them up. We have been trying to get them into the church building to get them healed. Get them into the church building; Get them into the church building; Get them into the church building; Get them into the church building; Do you see? We have been trying to do the wrong thing!

Instead of getting them into the church building and growing the church, we need to think in reverse. We need to get the people out of the church building and into the cities. Get them out, not bring them in. If we get them out, then healing will take place, salvations will take place, yes, transformation will take place. So instead of our focus being “building the Church” our focus needs to be on expanding the Kingdom of God. If I have read my scripture correctly Jesus never once said go build the church, but many times He talked about preaching the Kingdom of God.

So what should our focus be in the church? I believe our primary focus in the church is to equip, empower and then release believers into the streets. This flies in the face of having nice evangelistic church services to bring people to Jesus or the seeker friendly services that are politically correct. It means the primary focus for our meetings is on the believer and how to motivate them to take what they have learned and are learning to the streets. I’ll probably upset people on both sides of the religious spectrum with this post, but it is in a nutshell what I believe the church should be.

Let’s face reality, probably 80% of our churches are considered irrelevant to the outside world. Why? Because they are either constantly preaching “salvation” to people who are already saved or they are just giving good performances of music and a watered down message that people could hear anywhere. No, the relevant churches are learning that they have to equip, empower and release. Sometimes, no often, they also have to heal someone before they are ready to be equipped. But the primary focus is not that of a hospital. No the primary focus should be like a boot camp reading soldiers for war. Because that is really what we are doing. The “hospital” should be more like a “Mash Unit”, to patch up the wounded and send them back out.
The churches that adapt and learn to think Kingdom and not church will be the ones that make a difference. They will be the ones that really do transform their communities. To transform the cities, first we have to transform our people. My prayer is that more and more of these churches will step forward.

Well I’m feeling better today, still a little weak. But I’m off to Ft Lauderdale tomorrow morning. Hopefully I will be able to get on the first flight. It looks tight, we will see.

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