Article by Topher Smith
When we look at the coming harvest of souls we learn that we are not even close to ready to handle what is coming. We aren’t winning souls at the rate that souls are being born, and we are losing 15% of students after high school through the end of college. The numbers are crazy, and at this rate the number of new church leaders that are needed isn’t even going to be possible to generate! We need to do what Jesus intended in Ephesians 4:11-14. We must realize the reality of the priesthood of every believer – every Christian mobilized, setting a fire in the hearts of the people in their spheres of influence, and beyond.
I’m excited to get a holistic approach to a fully functioning apostolic work that sends the members out to impact the world. Kris Vallotton defines the determining characteristic of something that is apostolic in nature as “changing culture”. So how do we go about shifting culture? Do we take pastors and try and make them apostles? No. But the apostolic framework needs to be re-projected over the work that we are doing. The foundation has to be the mission, which is to help people discover their God-given design so that they can function and go into the community to change it. I like the way that Michael Brodeur puts it…”Church should be a destiny incubator,” and that incubator should produce people that maximize the potential that they have in this world.
We need the main thing to be the main thing. And, since Christian means Christ-like, we must make disciple-makers not just disciples. Michael Brodeur has a great analogy that explains reproducing ourselves in ministry. “A mule being the offspring of a male donkey and a female horse generally cannot reproduce itself. Therefore, it’s not easy to make a lot of mules.” The way we have been doing things . . . is it easy to make a lot of Christians? We can no longer afford to have “sterile” Christians. To maintain and sustain church health, each one of us must be training and equipping disciple-makers who are training and equipping disciple-makers.
In the natural world those at the top of the pyramid have worked hard to get there and ride on the backs of all the people under them. In the Kingdom the pyramid is flipped on its top. The building up of all the other people in the pyramid is the focus of the one at the pinnacle or tip. I’m not saying that the church leader does it all; I’m saying that the greatest is the biggest servant. And, the leader should have the biggest heart to serve of them all.
There is a lot that you could read into what I’m saying; but I’m just saying that we simply need to adjust our expression of the way that we do church. There are two important days in your life as Mark Twain points out – the day you are born, and the day you find out why. The priesthood of every believer must cause such an empowering shift in our local congregations that the Body of Christ, fully empowered, supported and sent duplicates itself, advances the Kingdom, and thereby changes the world.