There has been a great shift in church and ministry the last 10-15 years, but it is certainly coming more pronounced that the line between what’s been called “para-church” ministries and the local church is clearer! What I mean by that, in past years if you began a para-church or evangelistic ministry, it could be considered a threat to the local church or at least in “competition” with the local church paradigm at the time.
Thank God, there is a “bridging of the gap” as we grow in understanding that the local church (assembly/house) is the “birthing ground, the training center” where those that are added to the church are taught and established in the basics of the Christ-Life and who they are in Him. As we are seeing more and more the connection between the kingdom and the church, then we recognize that every area and facet of life is to be brought under the rule of Christ, not just the church!
We are seeing the church as the “corporate” body of Christ in a city/area/region, and seeing the “fivefold” or five-faceted ministry of Christ being restored to a “multiplicity of ministry”! This is causing our “wineskin” or structure to expand and not be so rigid as not to recognize that without divine order in the body of Christ, we will lose the precious oil and wine of the Spirit!
Sometimes we think too “idealistic”, saying that every local assembly must or should have the “fivefold” working in it. The bottom line is, the local church paradigm, as we know it, could not handle or facilitate this. Yet, there is a full five fold operation of the Holy Ghost in a city/region, and if joined together by the Spirit, every local assembly can tap into and receive the benefits from it. It will take both a “citywide eldership” of teaching and evangelistic pastors, as well as the mobile ministries of apostles and prophets, to prepare the saints to transition from “members to sons!”
What will the shift look like? Local training centers are expanding to apostolic kingdom centers, instructors or mentors shifting to an apostolic fathering dimension, and local church staffs to apostolic team ministries. It is here upon us. Every ministry is needed and every facet of body-building is needed, now let’s arise and ascend into divine alignment through the authority of Holy Spirit!
Then we can no doubt see CHRIST…”that upon this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it. And I will you the keys of the kingdom of heaven…” (Matt. 16:18,19)