Something I’ve learned through the years on both sides of the spectrum of 1) pioneering a church, and/or 2) taking over an existing work, I believe would be helpful to share with many pastors! Then, add to that the last 17-18 years of now being a prophet/apostle or apostolic father to both of these scenarios:
1) I found it took at least 3-5 years to establish a work from the ground up, and that was to be the basic in having people and leaders established in the vision of the house that were ready to help be a part of a team! It takes that long for the leader to find Himself, and he and his spouse be able to properly relate to the house together.
2) I’m finding more, and this is primarily from now working with existing churches, that it takes 7-10 years when a leader takes over a fellowship that had a history of multiple leaders or a founding pastor, to “weed out” all the former leadership and build the team that comes in with your DNA! That takes about twice as long, and brings many frustrations and burn-out to the pastoral nature of the church. Not to mention the pastor’s wife… smile emoticon
So, now after 40 years of my calling and 37 of those being involved in the many facets of the church, the body of Christ, in its many various forms, I can now say with confidence, NEITHER OF THOSE TWO WAYS ARE THE WAY TO COME INTO A TOWN, CITY or COMMUNITY TODAY! THIS THIRD ONE IS BETTER:
3) The Antioch Model of Acts 13:1-4 (with Acts 11:19-30), combined with the Ephesian model of Acts 19:1-10 establishes the “ecclesia” in a city and the apostolic/prophetic team in a region!!! The first model or paradigm, was of course, the Jerusalem Church. It was a church, even after experiencing great Holy Ghost power, turned inward, and until persecution hit the church, was not fulfilling the apostolic mandate of “being witnesses unto Me in Jerusalem, and in Judea, and in Samaria…” (Acts 1:8) Thank God, Philip, one of the seven, went to Samaria and preached Christ to them and the kingdom of God, and became known as “Philip the evangelist.” Evangelists should be working in cities to help establish the church and the saints in evangelism, not travelling from “church to church”, trying to revive a dead church!
The Antioch paradigm in Acts 13 had the saints established in the word of God, with prophets and teachers serving as elders until the time of the “setting apart” of Barnabas and Saul into their apostolic work! They were now, not just a teaching or training center, but an apostolic “sending” center to empower and establish churches in the cities and regions. Acts 11:25,26- “Then Barnabas departed for Tarsus to seek Saul. And when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.”
The Ephesus paradigm in Acts 19 had Paul finding sincere brethren who were moving in all the truth they had, that of John’s Baptism, but had not even experienced Pentecost! After bringing them into the baptism, he brought them into the ‘synagogue’ (church) but when the system of religion refused the “things concerning the kingdom of God”, he withdrew them and taught them daily in the School of Tyrannus, until after TWO YEARS, they had turned ALL of Asia UPSIDE DOWN with the word of the Lord Jesus, which is, “preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching the things concerning the LORD JESUS CHRIST, with all confidence…” (Acts 28:31)
HOW DOES THAT RELATE TODAY?
Thank God, some local churches are experiencing and embracing the apostolic model of New Testament government and order, therefore with the set leader, are establishing local ministry teams! With the help of apostles and prophets and teachers, they are envisioning, equipping, and establishing leadership and the saints in the “apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in breaking of bread and in prayers…(Acts 2:42) Then, these tran-local apostles and prophets are finding those who are “outside the system”, many who have not even experienced the fullness of the Spirit and stayed within a paradigm that has kept them from maturing, to knowing who they are in Christ and who He is in them!!!
Many times they have to draw them aside, not cut off from the body, but being entrusted to apostolic ministry, be trained, discipled, and raised up as SONS OF GOD, to mature in relationships and instead of following gifts and ministries, they are embracing fathers and relationships for a “kingdom ‘ecclesia’ regional model, instead of the “performance oriented, ecclesiastical church system that have kept many a good man and woman of God “stymied” and frustrated in their anointing, gifts, and calling! May we “SHIFT” forward to SEE true local assemblies established within the apostolic regional centers, in Jesus name!!!