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Structure Your Church Differently

Structure Your Church Differently

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A message by Daniel A. Brown, PhD, while he was senior pastor at The Coastlands, Aptos Foursquare Church. For more information, please visit our website at http://ctw.coastlands.org/.
A message by Daniel A. Brown, PhD, while he was senior pastor at The Coastlands, Aptos Foursquare Church. For more information, please visit our website at http://ctw.coastlands.org/.

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Published by: Daniel A. Brown, PhD on Jun 05, 2010
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08/17/2010

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Structure Your Church (Differently):(Quotes Included) 1
DanielA.Brown,PhD
ctw.coastlands.org
 
S
TRUCTURE
 Y 
OUR
C
HURCH
(Differently)
byDanielA.BrownPhD
C
HAPTER
O
NE
:
T
AKE
A
CTIONAND
S
TRUCTURE
Y
OUR
C
HURCH
Sometimesthemostobvioustruthsescapeourattentionuntilwefindourselvesinanewsetting.Forinstance,eventhoughIhadbeentaughtthetruthofGod’swordfromboyhood,itwasnotuntilafterIbeganattendingaPentecostalchurchduringmycollegeyearsthatIrealizedhowoftentheBibleexhortedmeto“PraisetheLord.”Thenon‐charismaticchurchculturefromwhichIcamemademeinherentlysuspiciousofborderlinedangerpointsthatmightcarrymeawayintoemotionalism—likeliftedhands,spokenpraise,andhymnal‐lessworship.IstilldonotknowhowIhadmissedsuchanobviousthemeinScripture,but“PraiseGod”suddenlymadesensetomeasapersonalencouragement,ratherthanasmerewordsoranemphatic(verbal)punctuationmark.PerhapsthatiswhyImalwaysonthelookoutforobvioustruthsthatunobtrusivelyremainhiddenbehindwell‐meaningspiritualattitudesandclichés.TakeforexampleourearnestprayersforGodto“dosomething”in,at,orwithourchurch;asPentecostalswecelebratespontaneousinterventions,miraculousandsovereignactivitiesoftheSpirit.Andwellweshould.ButasimplereadingoftheBiblerevealsthatwhatGoddoesonearthalmostalwayshappensthroughtheagencyofindividualhumanbeings;HedoesalmostnothingallonHisown,
 
Structure Your Church (Differently):(Quotes Included) 2
DanielA.Brown,PhD
ctw.coastlands.org
 withoutusingsomeperson’sstaff,hands,lips,etc.PeopleareGod’stoolofchoice,andthatiswhyJesustoldustoprayforlaborers,ratherthanfortheharvest(Matthew9:37‐38).I’mnotsuggestingthatitiswrongtoprayforrevival—justthatitisanincompleteunderstandingofhowGod
moves
;thatisunlesswehaveacorrespondingpassiontomobilizeworkersfortheHarvest.Abalancedspiritualapproachoughttoinclude—bothintercessionanddiscipleship—seekingGodandsendingpeople. Andasleaders,wewanttorememberwhyGodemployssuchfalliblecreatures:He wantsthemtoshareHisexcitementbyinvolvingthemintheveryprocessofrescuingandtransformingothers.
S
TRUCTUREISNOT
U
NSPIRITUAL
InthesamewaythatanoverlyspiritualizedviewofGod’sactivityonourplanetcancloudacompletepictureofhowHeactuallydoesthingsamongus,sotoocanourfeelingsaboutadministrationandstructureinourchurches.WewhorelyonfreshleadingsoftheLordinourpersonallivesandministryaresuspiciousofanypotentialhindrancetoGodhavingHisway.TheverymentionofstructurefrightensmanyPentecostalleaders—usuallybecausetheyfearitwillunduly“quench”orinterruptthefreeflowtheSpirit.ButGodisnotconstrainedbyorder;ariverwithanarrowerpassageflowsfasterthanonethatiswideopen,andariverthatspillsoveritsbanksinaswellingfrenzyofunusualrainfalliscalledaflood.JustasGodusesfleshandbloodpeopleas vesselsforHisactivity,
(“thespiritsofaprophetaresubjecttoprophets...1Corinthians14:32),
soHeoftenusesnatural,physicalarrangementstosustainspiritualbreakthroughs.
“GodisnotaGodofconfusion.”1Corinthians14:32‐33
FromtheoutsetofCreationweseeGodbringingordertochaos,settingupboundariestodistinguishnightfromday,developing(eco)systems,jobdescriptions
(“Befruitfulandfilltheearth”Genesis1:28)
andarenasofresponsibility(caretakersoftheplanet).TheBookofNumbersisessentiallyanadministrativehandbookondutiesandarrangementsforGod’speople.ThroughouttheOldTestament,wefindseriesafterseriesof
record‐keeping
,
boundary‐defining
,
tribe‐distinguishing
,
 people‐
 
Structure Your Church (Differently):(Quotes Included) 3
DanielA.Brown,PhD
ctw.coastlands.org
deploying
and
assignment‐giving
.Whatevertheirspiritualmeaningorimplication,theseareadministrativeactivities—thestuffofstructureandlogistics.
OrganicImplications
 WhatoftenescapesourPentecostalBiblereadingisthatspiritualmattersusuallyhavesomesortoforganic(logistical“fleshandblood”)implications.Infact,thephysicalarrangementsarepivotalinmanycases.Oneexcellentexampleofthisisthewell‐knownstoryofMoses’battlewiththeAmalekites(Exodus
17).WhenMoses’handswereextended,Israelprevailed.Thatwillpreach!Andmanyapreacherhasexhortedcongregationstomorefaithandspiritualactivityonthebasisofthattext.Thespiritualimplicationsarehuge—spiritualwarfarebrings victory.Amen.Butnoticeotherdetailsintheepisode:Moses’armsneededsupporttoremainaloft(AaronandHurwereemployedasarm‐lifters);JoshuaandothersfoughtanactualphysicalbattlewithswordswhileMosesbattledonthemountain.WithoutthespiritualpoweractivatedbyMoses’simpleobedience,novictorywouldn’thavebeenpossible,butonlywithphysicalarrangementscouldspiritualvictorybesustained. WeseethissamepictureontheexodusfromEgyptjustafterMosesmeetshisfather‐in‐law—whoisbringingbackMoses’wifeaftertheirlengthyseparation(Chapter
18).MosestellsJethroaboutallthemiraclesGodperformed,andtheyhavequiteacelebrationservice.“Hallelujah!”That,too,willpreach.Ah,butthen wecometothesetellingwords:
“ThenextdayMosestookhisseattoserveasjudgeforthepeople,andtheystoodaroundhimfrommorningtillevening.” 
Exodus18:1
3
 JethroobservedthelackofintentionalstructureinMoses’approachtoministry,andthateverydisputeorissuebottleneckedatMoses’feet.JethroconcludedthatMosesneededanarrangementofpeopleandresponsibilitiestoadequatelydeal withtheongoinglivesofpeopleinthenation.Revivalservicesareexcitingandfantastic,buttheywillinevitablybefollowedby“nextdays,”justliketheone Jethroobserved.Tocontinueministeringtopeoplebetweenmiraculousinterventions,churchleadersneedchurchstructuresdesignedforthosedays—notfortheservices.Weneedstructuresthatwaitonpeoplethroughoutalloftheirdays,notstructuresthatwaitforthefewandfarbetweendaysofrevival.

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