Brian Medway CROSSLINK CHRISTIAN NETWORK, AUSTRALIA Tuesday, September 01, 2009




CHURCH and HEART CHANGE The only tool that God has provided for the completion of his work on the earth is the church. The biblical definition of church has much more to do with function than it does with structure. If we get the function right we won’t run into the problems that have arisen over the years, especially in western cultures related to structure. The restoration of function is primarily a heart or internal change. Unless the change we seek is a change that happens in the heart, we can change what we like about times, places, styles, agendas, theological systems and the like and we will end up with the same result. REFORMATION The change that is needed is comprehensive to the point that it could be compared to another “Reformation.” As such need to consider what we are doing in the light of Biblical and subsequent reformation experiences in order to measure and inform the process. APOSTOLIC LEADERSHIP At the core of this need for reformational change is the restoration of apostolic (and prophetic) leadership. Since Christian leadership has been so badly compromised with the leadership values of our 1 secular/paganism. Even though there have been many attempts to define the core identifying function of apostolic ministry as it is revealed in Scripture we have to keep working at this until we see leadership in the church that has a real chance of serving the fulfillment of God’s revealed purposes. CITY OR REGION The most important place to develop reformational ideas is in the context of a city or region. Instead of the endless array of imported franchised ministries seeking to extend their empire by having a franchise in the region we need to see the formative influence beginning in a region and impacting beyond the region. LEADERSHIP COMMUNITY The function of genuine apostolic leadership can only be fulfilled if it is seen through the requirement of authentic leadership communities and in accountable equipping of saints. FOUR HEART OPERATIONS There are four important heart changes that need to shape our experience of apostolic leadership and, of course, normal Christian experience. These heart values represent four things that God has intended but have never been realized in the experience of the church even after two thousand years. These are the Biblical values of holiness, oneness, fullness and completion. When the coordinates for the fulfillment of these values are understood by their reference to Jesus Christ they challenge leaders and non-leaders to a lifestyle that would genuinely make the presence of Jesus known in all his fullness.







The dictionary understanding of paganism refers it to the polytheistic and hedonism of the Roman Empire in the Christian era. The modern equivalent is found in the lack of systemic ethics and values in so much of our western society – and so much of it is built on hedonistic motives.

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ONE: CHURCH Known by function not structure

It must have been a special moment for Jesus in Caesarea Philippi when Peter responded to the question about his Messianic identity. The exciting part for Jesus was not just the answer but how he got the answer. In the moment of 2 exclaiming, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God” he was owning up to a transaction between himself and the Father. Based on such a response, Jesus announced his intention to build a brand new human relationship collective that would be unique in history. He announced that this collective would be the power base for a work that would carry His presence and therefore the message of the kingdom of God to the ends of the earth. He was speaking about 3 “church. ” He went on to say that “church” would have both authority and responsibility for destroying the portals of dark kingdoms; its authority would come from the fact that it would possess keys that would enable the advancement of the kingdom of God. “Church” would be shaped by the experience of the cross and therefore by self-sacrificial risk4 taking discipleship. In this way the “church” would be the last tangible form of the presence of Jesus Christ on the earth. Wow! That was some big idea. We are now on the end of nearly two thousand years of the church era. This Messiah built, cross based, discipleship driven, strategic strike force weapon was what Jesus had in mind when he talked about church has often failed to live up to its calling. We This Messiah-built, 5 now have approximately 40,000 world franchises of various kinds and most kingdom-proclaiming, of them are defined by buildings and institutional structures and programs cross-based-discipleshipthat have far too little to do with what was mandated by Jesus. Not only so driven, but every city or region in our nations finds numbers of these franchises are strategic-strike-forcerepresented. Their presence is so unlike heaven, their governance comes weapon from outside the city, their shape and style is imported and it is hard to see anything that represents the headship of Jesus Christ or the immanent power was what Jesus had in mind of the Holy Spirit. In counties like Australia theses local franchises compete with each other for a decreasing proportion of the overall population. The fact is that the church in western nations (and maybe more broadly) has a number of serious heart problems. They are probably not terminal, but unless we see some major cardio-vascular surgery, the intentions of Jesus will not be reaized. What we have seen in recent years are all kinds of responses to the situation. In most cases they represent a series of head solutions trying to solve heart problems. It is as if we have invited a team of neurosurgeons to perform cardiovascular operations. Head solutions always sound and feel better. Head solutions provide a flood of ideas and 6 therefore words. They will generally produce new structures, programs and methods, none of which will deal with the heart problems. Even when we search the Word and the Spirit for solutions we need to fight against our cultural predisposition toward structure solutions and steel ourselves for the greater rigour of heart surgery. Only then will we buy the chance to see lasting transformation rather than transitory turbulence masquerading as transformation. Such is the testimony of Biblical and subsequent experience. We find ample evidence of the grace of God visiting undeserving people similar to us. Unfortunately most examples of divine visitation we know about speak much more of the desperation of God’s mercy and favour than of the capability of the human vessels to handle it. History declares our consistent misappropriation of divine favour. The aura of God’s presence is so quickly usurped by pride or A fear and is quickly crushed under the weight of human flaw. On the other hand, history also testifies to glimpses of great glory. History also carries some of the records of humble, faithful, persistent men and women of God who have sown in the soil of hardship and often ignominy. Like many artists and musicians, their greatness has often been appreciated only after their passing, their greatness being seen in their legacy. Because of these, we can learn much of the ways of Holy Spirit restoration

Matthew 16:16 I would like to offer a very basic working definition of church that satisfies the Biblical testimony but does not presume a particular structure. A church is a group of believers, joined and empowered by the Holy Spirit to represent the work of the kingdom of God in a given sphere. 4 Matthew 16:20-28 5 According to the latest figures provided by David Barrett, World Christian Database 6 And will generally involve significant financial outlays that give semblance of legitimacy and make us feel like we are getting somewhere.


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REFORMATION Measuring the milestones We are becoming more accustomed to hearing and seeing the word “reformation” in these days. I fear that it is mostly being used to add reputation to some Christian enterprise rather than springing up out of warranted comparison. There is little that I desire more than to see a genuine reformation of the “strike weapon” Jesus called the “church.” To say that particular examples of things currently happening signify a new reformation can hardly be justified at this point. 7 What may be justified is the desire for it, the will to stand for it and the readiness to pay the price. What we can learn from Christian history is the monumental investment of many people over many decades, if not centuries gave us that word. We must long for it and work for it, but it is hardly ours to claim. For someone to cheaply adopt the tag probably insults the term and the investment of the people with whom it has been associated down through the centuries. We need to follow after whatever it is that we believe God wants to restore and then wait for his endorsement. Then someone else might qualify to use the term. The Reformation whose beginnings were symbolized by a paper being nailed to the door of the Castle Church in 8 Wittenberg was a process that began more than a hundred years earlier and probably did not realize its full apostolic message for more than another century. Those of us whose hearts yearn for reformation ought to take a reality check every once in awhile and ask ourselves which part of that reformation road we think we might be on at present. We must also consider whether we are prepared to be a part of a multi decadal process rather than measuring what we are doing by what happens in an in a meeting or two. By saying this I would not want to justify inertia. I simply want to heed the lessons of history and see our task as part of the much larger picture and the much longer process. I am immeasurably grateful for all God’s reforming and restoring work. I can hardly believe His commitment and patience. All of the reformational acts of God throughout history were known by the permanence of their legacy more than by a specific collection of events. Because of Jesus the new covenant remains and must be served by the old covenant. Because of the early reformational work of Paul the centrality of Christ and the gospel remains. Because of Wycliffe and Hus the authority of Scripture remains. Because of Luther the experience of justification by faith remains Because of Carey and others the re-awakening of Paul’s commitment to all the nations remains. Because of Parham and Seymour the understanding of Holy Spirit power remains. Many Christian leaders around the world have a deep and abiding desire for the church [especially in the west] to be reformed . It seems that God has been drawing particular attention to the restoration of apostolic and prophetic leadership. All reformation will be based on revelation. In this case the revelation we need relates to the Biblical function of those ministries. Biblical record and Christian history will testify to the fact that leadership is key to change that God intends. Has there ever been a time when God brought lasting reformational change to the church without the initiative of leaders who have experienced and embraced revelation. I am not aware of a single example. If the Biblical warrant has to do with leaders receiving and implementing revelation then we must not grow weary in the task of discovering and understanding the message and shaping the tools that will carry it. This is a leadership task and I believe we are beginning a journey that will see not only the apostolic message defined for our time but also a leadership community emerge that will provide a corresponding vehicle for that message to be carried. I doubt that this will be as overtly identifiable as it will be organically operational. Fortunately for those of us who are the


It’s a bit like gay activists who want to take the word “marriage” and use it to describe a relationship between two people of the same sex. We Christians object on theological grounds but there is an even greater objection on historical grounds. The word “marriage” has a power and integrity born of a thousand times a thousand men and women who have made a commitment to each other for life. They have struggled and spent themselves to foster a life-long union that begets oneness, provides complementary nurture for children and remains the solid rock of family groups until it is dissolved by death. No one can measure what it has cost to invest such honour the word. For a couple of infatuated [or even caring]men or women to suggest that what exists between them is anything like “marriage” is an insult to the word and to the investment of all those people in all of those cultures over all of those centuries. 8 October 31, 1517


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product of western culture and want to control everything, it won’t be neat enough to sate the appetites. My own belief is that it will only be fully realized at the front line of the battle as it is carried by thousands of ordinary people who have been served, equipped, commissioned, supported and connected by leadership links to leadership communities. It will be much more like a human version of the internet than the company flow chart of Exxon Mobil. Our issue in this Round Table Gathering is to offer our insights in the matter of how church leadership models might be developed that would foster reformation in the context of a city. It is important to see that process and result are the same. If we establish the right process we will achieve the right result. If we sow the right seed we will reap the desired harvest. The choice we have is the kind of seed we sow. We must note well that the church we now see is a harvest of the seed we have been sowing in previous decades, maybe centuries. If the hearts and therefore the operations of churches in our communities are flawed we cannot expect a unified functioning church to emerge from the seed of e.g. religious hearts and institutionalized mindsets. Neither will it be produced by fear or pride. If the church we have is more the product of compromise with our culture, we can only expect that polluted seed will produce fruit after its own kind. At the risk of sounding banally repetitious, we have to deal with the issues of the heart that have allowed our current leadership models to be so consistently fruitless yet so strongly defended. THREE: APOSTOLIC LEADERSHIP Discovering the Distinctive Function If leadership is one of the aspects of “church” that God wants to restore we have to identify which aspects of leadership models are non-functional or dysfunctional. One such issue clearly surrounds apostolic leadership. It was a 9 hot issue in the early church, so we shouldn’t be too surprised that it will be a hot issue today. We would be much better informed about apostolic ministry if we spent our time seeking to find the best way to discover core apostolic function. Many attempts to define apostolic 10 function rely on Greek etymology or limited individual texts. The definition that follows is a summary of what seemed common in many different The presence of the apostolic expressions or applications of the life and ministry of Jesus and Paul. I have will be the presence of the treated the pages of the Gospels, Acts and Letters as a series of “snapshots” plan of God. It might be like and have tried to get a picture what it was that made their ministry someone who has a essentially apostolic. Jesus came to the kingdom of Israel with a message about the kingdom of God. He declared traditional religious practice to be demonized not just well intentioned error. He saw the religious justification of racial prejudice and social alienation worthy only of disdain. His apostolic function was prepared to infuriate the citizens of his home town because he chose to expose their extreme unbelief. He also exposed the conditional commitment of would-be disciples and watched a great young man walk away because of his attachment to wealth. It was Jesus the 11 apostle who walked into the temple and saw contempt for God’s honour in what was happening. We see the apostolic 12 ministry of Jesus even more clearly when he sends messages via the apostle John to the seven churches of Asia Minor . He saw things in them and about them that they are not able to see. Jesus knew what the churches had been called to be and to accomplish. He also saw what was going on. It was apostolic leadership that moved in love to encourage and strengthen and to point out what was threatening their future.

topographical map with a set of coordinates and knows how to read the map in order to get to the destination.

As exampled in the Second Corinthians references to “false apostles.” For example, many people look at Paul’s relationship to Timothy and say that apostolic ministry is spiritual fatherhood. The truth is that many good leaders mentor and provide a father role to other leaders. That doesn’t necessarily make them apostles. Similarly many people plant churches, but that doesn’t necessarily make them apostles. Some people do signs and wonders but that doesn’t necessarily make them apostles. All of these things may well be done by apostles, but they do not define a ministry as apostolic. 11 A lot of people would regard the cleansing of the temple as a prophetic act. The difference between prophetic and apostolic has to do with what can be seen. Prophets speak and act on God’s behalf but don’t always understand the full import of their actions [as is referenced in 1 Peter 1:1—12]. Jesus was operating in an apostolic way because he saw what was happening in the temple in the light of God’s desire for a dwelling place on the earth as represented in the words of Revelation 21:3-5 12 Revelation 2,3


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In a similar way Paul fervently and consistently fought for the purity of the message and ministry of the gospel. When Peter, the pillar from Jerusalem, came to Antioch and then withdrew from association with Gentiles because of the 13 presence of conservative Jewish believers, it was Paul who could not be silent . This was no turf war, nor personality battle. He was contending for the truth of the gospel. When it came to the work of the conservative Jewish teachers in the Galatian region it was the apostolic function that saw their “gospel” as the “no-gospel” gospel. When it came to the Corinthians it was Paul’s apostolic mantle that saw disunity as an affront to Christ. It was his penchant for a pure and sincere devotion to Christ that caused him to challenge the ministry of some in Corinth who called themselves apostles. In these and all of the interactions with different churches, Paul was seeing things in the light of God’s ultimate purpose and encouraging, teaching, exposing and challenging what was going on. I have noticed that some writers see church planting as being apostolic. The fact is that even though apostles often do plant or oversee churches, others also do that and they are not apostolic. The same is true for signs and 14 wonders. It is assumed from Second Corinthians that signs and wonders are the credentials of apostolic calling, but other people do these works who are not apostles, so they cannot be the definitive mark of apostolic ministry. What we do see Jesus and Paul doing is referencing every situation they are engaged with to the fulfillment of the plan of God. In the case of Jesus it is the coming of the kingdom of God and with Paul it is the message of the gospel to all nations. In Paul’s case he is always calling people to a greater experience of Christ. When we read that the church is to be built on the foundation of apostles and prophets with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone there could hardly be a sharper image. These two leadership ministries call people to Jesus and keep on calling them to more of Jesus and then call them to even more of Jesus and the purposes represented by Jesus. We also know from Ephesians that apostolic ministry 15 provides one of five primary equipping functions in a church that becomes the fullness of Christ. It follows that apostles will carry an aspect of the ministry of Christ not carried by the other four [and vice versa]. The enduring hunger for the fulfilment and completion of the work is everywhere in the ministries of the New Testament apostles we know. Apostolic ministry is unique because it makes the ultimate relevant. Apostles carry revelation of the fullness of Christ and the fullness of the purposes of God in Christ. They are people who have seen the map and know both the destination and something of how to get there. These days we would probably talk about them in terms of a GPS receiver. God has placed inside Apostolic ministry of genuine apostles a set of coordinates and the information they provide keeps on is unique because referencing where you are to where you are ultimately heading for. You can see Jesus it makes and Paul doing this all the time. When Paul writes any of his letters his GPS the ultimate relevant. coordinates are commenting on all kinds of things that are going on: legalism, division, discouragement, immorality etc. He is not just pointing out things that are wrong. He is showing them what they need to do to fulfil their God ordained destiny. Jesus does the same thing as he tries to shift the focus from the Kingdom of Israel to the Kingdom of God. Apostolic ministry anywhere will be genuine only where the apostolic persons know where the fulfillment coordinates are and where the church is and be able to bring the message that will get them from here to there.

FOUR: THE CITY OR REGION Fundamental locus When it comes to the matter of God’s purposes for a city, the work must be served by this kind of leadership function. We have no church in a city because we have no leaders of that church. We have no leaders because previous and current values are based on human cultural values not on revelation. If we get a right view of the function we will then have a better idea of what to pray for and what to look for in terms of apostolic leadership in a city or region. God put certain things in the hearts of Jesus and of Paul. He also gave them the authority to speak and act to see the plan of God implemented. As certainly as God had Moses being prepared in the desert to appear one day with the divine credentials that enabled him to lead a united people out of slavery, I believe the Holy Spirit has been working in the hearts of people preparing and credentialing them for the task of apostolic leadership in cities and regions. Genuine apostolic calling has much more to it than revelation. It relates to character just as powerfully. It is what makes Barnabas go to Tarsus to get Saul. It is what fills Saul with the courage to confront Peter. It is my observation that many
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Galatians 2 2 Corinthians 12:12 Ephesians 4 cites the primary leadership function as equipping saints and enabling them to do the ministry.

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good men and women of God have apostolic insight but lack the will or the courage to speak and act on what they know from God. It is apostolic to know what the end game is and where the end point is, whether personal or corporate. It is not apostolic to define the work of the kingdom through in terms of a particular theological system, denomination, tribe, culture or a specific aspect of ministry. It is apostolic to know the biggest picture and to speak and act accordingly. The presence of the apostolic ministry brings to people, places and circumstances the presence of God’s revealed character and his unfolding plan. The reason apostles need to equip the saints is so that all the saints will see how they fit into the big picture. It is no wonder that this ministry, when genuinely exercised brings unity and cohesion around the divine Person and Purpose. In the light of this I am convinced that many leaders of denominations and possibly of other movements or networks will not often be apostolic just because they are significant leaders. Those leaders tend to see the road ahead in terms of what will prosper their own tribe or movement. It is the same with many pastors of local congregations. Their capacity to think and act apostolically is so often soiled by the fact that they think through the lens of what will prosper their own group. No matter how you dress that up it never looks or sounds like Jesus. It usually sounds a lot more like the board room of Microsoft or Exxon Mobil or something that comes from a clever advertising agency. It is essential and urgent for this KIND of leadership to be raised up in regions and cities. It is very clear that it will challenge just about every current leadership model simply because of the way they are derived and the way they operate. The usual question associated with the emergence of apostolic structure this focuses on HOW apostles should be IDENTIFIED and how they should be RECOGNIZED. The answer needs to be discovered by asking those questions of the apostolic ministries of Jesus and Paul. Both were raised up by God and both were willing to step out and do the work. In Jesus case he waited until he was thirty years old and in Paul’s case it was following years in relative obscurity – but not limbo. Those who have this message inside them need to humbly allow God to lead them and those who recognize them need to support them. This process has eminent testimony in Scripture. The Israelites called out to God he raised up Moses. When their descendants in Canaan called out to God in their sin-induced oppression he raised up different judges. This is always going to sound horribly imprecise for some people with our brand of culture, but it is the 16 way of God and we can only pursue it as such. The message needs to be carried fearlessly, lovingly and with genuine humility. It must represent a company of leaders, not a committee or a group of people representing theological or spiritual constituencies. If the message of the kingdom and the whole work of God is not in the heart of the leader, they will not be an apostle. This was very much the 17 foundation of Paul’s plea to the Corinthians. I think of this phenomenon as the gathering of seeds. It may well be that God is gathering seeds together to be sown in the soil of our cities and regions. The gospel metaphor is strong. It must be seed because it is the beginning of a work, not the end. It must be the right kind of seed because God wants to do a work that glorifies his Son and accomplishes his purpose. It is a seed because it may begin as something very small and often hidden. I have noticed that this is common in the history of God’s dealings with people. FIVE: AUTHENTIC LEADERSHIP COMMUNITY Apostolic Communities of More I am convinced on both Biblical and spiritual grounds that apostolic must be a word that we associate with community, not individual personality. The communal nature of apostolic leadership is right through the New Testament experience. 18 Consider how Paul visited the apostles in Jerusalem to check out his message and then consider how many people you know who may well have apostolic calling who are more prone to defend their own ego defined turf than seek the company of other apostles and prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers in order to complement one another’s function and give the church real chance at presenting the community with the fullness of Christ. What we are seeing developing in Australia are what we could call (for want of a better name) “Apostolic Communities of More.” I think they represent one of the keys to leadership developing regionally. We need to briefly explain the phrase. Apostolic: The reason we use this term is simply because we are seeking to act and operate on the basis of apostolic gift rather than on the basis of systemic doctrine or on style or culture.


The fact that we would somehow be tied to any aspect of our own culture in preference to the revealed ways of God is frightening in its import. It has always been severe challenge. It was for Jesus and it is for us. 17 2 Corinthians 11,12 18 Galatians 1,2

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Community: With so many Christian leaders in western societies like Australia seemingly addicted to independence the idea of leadership community is strange to many. When we do belong to pastors prayer groups or ministers’ fraternals they are usually characterized by “border security” protection that would do the CIA proud. As such these groups are rarely apostolic in their function. They are either impotent or irrelevant to kingdom advancement. There is another way to connect. That way is through the recognition and acceptance of apostolic leadership. If we remember that the primary task of apostolic ministry is to equip the saints, then we may just avoid the idea that it represents any form of human status. Apostles need peer community and the saints need apostolic communities. More: simply indicates that this is a group of people who, because they belong together receive more of what is useful for their spheres of leadership involvement. It doesn’t refer to any kind of hierarchy it describes function. It is a growing conviction of ours that the best environment for a leader to grow and develop is not to be locked into some kind of restrictive one to one mentorial relationship but to belong to a community of leaders whose salaries they don’t pay and where the obligation is free, bilateral and built on trust. Christian leaders have traditionally been extremely reluctant to foster any kind of egalitarian mutual submission community. The idea of these communities is that they are local or regional and that they have a capacity about them that does add value to what each individual is responsible C for.

HEART ISSUES FOR APOSTOLIC RESTORATION Four Biblical Coordinates as Heart Change Destinations 19 We need heart change. It is the only starting point that provides hope for significant and lasting change. From reading and re-reading the Scriptures I have come to see that there are four things that remain unfulfilled in the church and all of them have to do with something that needs to happen in the heart of a person and then work through relationships in the church and wider community. Structure [architecture] can only come after there has been changes in the heart. To put it simply, if you take the same heart and put it in a different structure you get the same result. That’s why it must not be about institutional church v. simple church or any other of the alternatives that are profiled around the world. I can’t speak for the non-western church but I know that the Australian version of the western church has heart issues. It has shifted the operations centre from the heart to the head. I believe God has spoken to me (and us) about restoring the heart as the intended dwelling place of God. The following four values represent values that we are seeking to see restored to the hearts of God’s people, especially leaders. Heart change in these areas will save us from “shifting deck chairs on the Titanic” yet another time. HOLINESS While there have been many who have seen the desperate need for the holy character of God to be lived out by the people who bear his name, it is our assertion that this has often floundered on the rocks of a form of legalism that is clearly Old Testament in character. Something has been missing from much holiness teaching. Our particular focus is to simply try and define the core of holiness as it is exampled in Scripture. This gives us a set of coordinates to work toward rather than a set of fences to build around our lives. Simply put, the definition of holiness is Jesus Christ. He is the 20 tangible expression of the invisible God. It follows that when we see and hear Jesus we are seeing and hearing holiness. As we studied the gospels to try and understand what it was that defined Jesus as holy, it was not just because 21 he didn’t “dance or chew or go with girls that do.” In the first instance we noticed that it was holiness that thrust Jesus among the people of his own day who were considered to be the least “holy” by temple standards. The second thing we noticed was that Jesus’ brand of holiness made sinners love him and be drawn to him. At once we became aware that much of the holiness we had been connected with did neither of those things. So when we came down to it we realized that Jesus was holy because his heart was filled with indiscriminate redemptive love. He loved anyone, anywhere at any time. This love was close enough to be felt and strong enough to give people a chance at being rescued from their sin. If anyone would like to have another look at the two-hundred-and-fifty-plus snapshots of Jesus’ ministry it will become powerfully apparent that what was going on was indiscriminate redemptive love- in an endless variety of expressions.


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See reference to previous reformations and legacy they left for the church Hebrews 1; Colossians 1 As goes the statement of a friend of mine who was raised in one of the holiness churches from one of the southern states of the


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We are convinced that the church must re-discover this kind of holiness. As it does, the world will see, hear, feel and touch Jesus. ONENESS Again we are looking at what we carry around inside of us that goes everywhere we go and shapes what we do. Most of us have been aware that God has called into being “one new man” in Christ. In John 17 Jesus says that the definition of the unity that is to exist between all believers (somewhere at a certain time) is the oneness proclaimed in the relationship between the Father and the Son. The gospel of John as well as the other gospels eminently testifies to the nature of this amazing relationship. There are over a hundred and twenty different references describing this relationship in John’s gospel. Our conviction is that something that was in the heart of the Father toward the Son and in the heart of the Son toward the Father needs to be in our hearts. We see all kinds of substitute expressions of unity that never seem to fix on these clear Biblical coordinates. We are seeking to give our hearts to God so that something inside of us will break the cultural and religious moulds that always seem to torpedo unity – whether it is within congregations or between members of different congregations. We are therefore convinced that the church must have a heart for this kind of oneness. As relationships between believers anywhere take on this character the world will get to see the community of heaven – three Persons of the Godhead existing in perfect oneness. FULLNESS The heart issue here is described in Ephesians 4. It produces what the Bible says is the “whole measure of the 22 fullness of Christ.” What is often overlooked is the process by which this amazing result occurs. The preceding and following verses clearly state that it starts when apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers see their function as equipping and not just doing. They need to have a heart to equip saints. The second essential ingredient is saints having a heart to be equipped by these leaders. The third phase is when the saints take responsibility for doing the work of ministry rather than leaving it up to the few “gifted ones.” Fullness only comes at the end of that process. The heart issues are clear. How many of the five fold ministries tend to DO the work rather than equip? They need the heart of Jesus and need to see their primary role in others doing the ministry. That takes guts. What evangelist would want to come and equip twenty five people in a church rather than do an evangelistic program FOR the church? What kind of heart yearns for the work to be done through the life of another person? That is the heart we need. The same goes for the saints who have been carefully taught to come and sit – or learn to be on the welcoming team but rarely take the ministry of Jesus to their community spheres. They want to leave that to the professionals and the particularly gifted. Saints need to have a heart that yearns to be equipped. Think of anything that you have been equipped to do. I wanted to be equipped as a pilot and spent hours and weeks and thousands of dollars learning to do a whole raft of things that I have never done before and for which my personally was relatively unsuited. What I didn’t have a clue about I learned. What I wasn’t naturally like I became. It is even more true of the supernatural process that Jesus has vested in some apostles etc. The reason why the church is not generally functioning as the “strike force” weapon of Matthew 16 probably has to do with the fact that there are far too few equipped saints taking responsibility for what God wants to do in some part of the community where they live or work. If the fullness of Christ includes the fullness of power, then it is logical that lack of equipping is a major contributor. We believe the church needs to be equipped and that ministry needs to focus on what people are equipped to carry around inside of them every day. The ministry needs to follow the pattern of Jesus – every day everywhere. COMPLETION 23 One can hardly imagine how a church that believes the Bible could face a text like Mark 16:15 and blatantly disregard it in favour of a myriad of alternative activities that mostly do nothing toward its fulfillment. There are some wonderful and passionate gospel proclaimers around. Most of them are in Asia, Africa, India and South America rather than Europe, North America and Australia. I spend a lot of time sitting in rooms with Christian leaders. I haven’t been in single meeting that has been called to see how we might find the way to fulfil this command. Most pastors want people to be saved, but few actually do anything personally to reach anyone lost from God. We have created a whole framework that assumes some people are called to work IN the church and others to work OUT of the church.
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Ephesians 4:13 “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every created person.”

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Rather than going through a whole list of examples, I would rather simply ask what is missing from the hearts of 24 God’s people that we should not share his heart to “seek and to save that which is lost.” The disciples had a similar problem as they were given the opportunity of following Jesus. They loved Jesus, but they didn’t so easily love what he loved in the way he loved it. It always amazes me that people can talk so long and hard about experiencing the presence of Jesus but never gain a heart to preach the gospel to every person. I wonder if it is actually Jesus whose presence they are experiencing. We are talking here about a heart for the completion of the great commission. If the gospel to all nations is hard to think about, it is not hard to just start with a people group that you can count and see what God does inside of you. Once again we are talking about a heart for it more than the plan. If we try to work a plan with no heart we will set up a failure. If we get the heart for it, even if we fail we will still win. I just want to sit in a room with Christian leaders and ask what needs to happen inside of us that would give the great commission a chance at being completed – somewhere, anywhere would be better than nowhere. In our city there are around two hundred and thirty plus church groups in a city of three hundred and fifty thousand. There are twenty five thousand believers. When we did a survey of just seventy of our people recently we discovered that they have collective personal access to around twenty five thousand people who are separated from God. We don’t know how to reach those people but we are trying to learn. Part of that learning is being visited in our hearts by the yearning of God for those lost from him. The church in a city must re-discover its responsibility for all of its citizens. As we move out in simple obedience, we will discover how many things we are prepared to give attention to that keep the lost people separated from the mercy of God. It is a heart issue and a heart issue will only be resolved by a work of God in our hearts.

CONCLUSION 1. 2. There is much that is wrong in the western church. The problem is probably broader but since my experience has been mainly in Australia I am speaking largely from that awareness. This problem will not be resolved by the revival that many people long for and talk about. Most of the revivals we have known would not have happened without the Reformation. It was the Reformation that discovered the revelation that made revivals possible. Since our problems have so much to do with heart compromise with the humanistic excesses of our culture there is a need for a reformation of the heart of the church in order to sustain any benefit that revival might bring. An important part of that is a shift from large franchised Christian movements to city or regional locus. This needs the leadership of genuine apostles and prophets and the added equipping ministry of all five of the fullness ministries. God must raise these ministries up and we must desire, recognize and support what God does. All of this needs to highlight the heart agenda of the Word of God for the church. Instead of trying to “dig wells” of former visitations, I believe we should be focusing more on the things we have never had. George Bernard Shaw once said, "Some men see things as they are and say why - I dream things that never were and say why not." If I could place that idea into the context of God’s sovereign purpose for the church I would make it say, “Some men look at what the church has done and say, ‘Why?’ I dream of what God has said he still wants to do and say ‘Why not.’” Why couldn’t we see apostolic leadership and apostolic and prophetic function raised up on the flood tide of hearts that were filled with indiscriminate redemptive love [holiness], an irresistible bond with other believers [oneness], a willingness to equip and be equipped [fullness] and a heart bold enough to gain and sustain a plan to see that the gospel was fully proclaimed to all people.

3. 4.


Prepared for Revival I don’t expect that even the best of us will ever be prepared for the visitations of God as they have been exampled throughout Christian history. If you take those from Pentecost on you will hardly find worthy human anticipation.


Luke 19:10

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People have found that what God has in mind is almost by definition more than, different from, less imbibed with all of the preferences we tend to have within. God comes to unlikely people in unlikely circumstances in totally unlikely ways. Who would have anticipated a hundred and twenty people with little fires glowing above them worshipping and adoring God in unlearned languages [Pentecost]. Peter certainly didn’t anticipate what happened in Cornelius’ home [Acts 10]. Few would have picked Wycliffe, Hus, Luther, Zinzendorf, Wesley, Carey, Roberts; few would have thought that a couple of elderly women praying beside their fireplace would have precipitated the events that followed [New Hebrides Revival, 1949]. If the first reformation highlighted the WAY people could be reconnected to God I believe a second reformation is needed to highlight the HEART DISCIPLESHIP. We still haven’t learned how to live as representative of God’s character and purpose. This issue is powerfully represented in the words of Peter to the new converts on the day of Pentecost. “With many words he pleaded with them, B Message and Method in times of Restoration: It seems to me that every apostolic message has been accompanied by a method that was also a result of revelation from heaven. For Luther and the reformers the method was the favour of the princes and magistrates; for the Pietists it was the Bible in someone’s home; for Wesley it was the streets and gatherings of common people; for the charismatic renewal it was a bunch of people who were willing to lay hands on someone in their lounge room and wait for the Holy Spirit to come. My own feeling about the current circumstances is that we have been discovering something of the message concerning what God wants to restore but we are still looking for the accompanying method. It is no surprise that it is harder to discover God’s method than his message. If you look at what happened in all of the cases above, you will notice that in all cases the receiving of the message was delightful and rewarding to the person seeking God. The method generally challenged everything about the person or persons involved and usually totally changed their social environment. Perhaps the best example is of John Wesley. The revelation or message came at a Moravian meeting in London. It brought such peace and joy that he was pressed to describe it. The method came in the streets that led to coal mines in Bristol and the streets and their inhabitants became Wesley’s “strange bedfellows” for life. The Oxford don began to love the common people of England and they became his companions for life. That required him to change just about everything he previously preferred. The same was true for Paul the Pharisee who became apostle to the Gentiles. Think of the radical internal shifts that were needed to make these kinds of things possible and then think about what changes we might need to make if our message is to find its method. LeaderLink in the Canberra region: One example of this has been operating in my own city of Canberra for a couple of years. Eight pastors and/or leaders of ministry organizations decided to see how far they could go to work together as if they were the leadership oversight group of all of the churches and ministries represented by everyone in the group and to use this experience as a pilot for what might happen in the broader sphere. As it turned out there were a variety of examples of the five equipping leadership ministries spoken about in Ephesians 4 even though we did not set out to form the group by looking for each of the five. We meet for three hours (occasionally more) once a month and then communicate between meetings through the variety of means available. We genuinely sought to learn about each other’s ministries and genuinely adopted that ministry as if it were our own. The things we meet and pray about are issues that arise in the operation of those ministries. This is not an exclusive group. People have come and gone according to their circumstances. What happens because we have made this commitment is a resource of wisdom, strength and insight that members of the group bring to the areas for which we have primary responsibility. It is not like a pastor’s prayer group, even though we pray together. It is not like a minister’s fraternal, even though we represent ministries around a region. It is a group that adds value to our ministry. Because we receive more by belonging it is rightly called a “community of more.”

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