Practical Steps to Take Back Dominion over the Earth

By Jane Johnson Founder of Ecclesia Framework

dominion_earthWe are created to have dominion (gen 1).

Here are some practical ways of doing this spiritually:-

Realise you were created to be a king over the earth . Not a slave, friend, orphan or servant but having all the rights of royalty of a son.

Move towards becoming a manifest son as all creation is groaning for you to be manifest. ( areas for new people page shows a possible pathway).

Build a nest in the tree of life for a city or area so they are safe. (ie Deal with Giants and dragons, create benches over scrolls, legislate in heaven, discern and release heavenly blueprints onto the earth, and multiply your life by imparting what you have to other faithful men).

You are a light being so can vibrate or brood over an area ,so shining the blue light of government  over your mandate.

Intimacy with the father is a priority so we are not getting our security from dominion but balancing this is important with responsibility of acting out our kingly authority .

Entangle with the seven spirits and work through engaging them individually for a period .( see seven spirits page )

Stretch or expand your spirit over the area, person, situation or room.

Move from prophet to oracle (oracle speaks directly from heaven, prophet has elements of their own words in it).

Move from apostle showing the vision to legislator in the courts releasing heaven where the real difference is made.

Mandate angels particularly higher spheres of angels.

Come into agreement with the  men in white linen aligned to your scroll who have a similar scroll.

Build a court case then present it and take it to the court of chancellors for authorisation and court of scribes to have it placed in legislation and then go to the court of war for strategy. Can place papers in your belly and then plant in your garden.

Take your divorce papers to the storeroom of Melchizidek and  your treasury room for storage so you can draw on them later and re- enforce verdicts.

Use your spiritual weapons – mantle, swords, orb, sceptre, crowns as authority in dealing with principalities.

Restore crowns that have been  taken from you. Walk in the reality of your crowns.

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Join our Facebook page: Ecclesia Framework to receive regular updates and daily updated content.

Click here to sign up to the Heavenly Realms page. 

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JaneJohnson new smallCEO. Jane Johnson B.Com Grad Dip LD, Dip Coaching.

Jane has worked in many different leadership capacities from being a professionally qualified Christian Leadership Coach for 13 years to many Christian leaders, to leading a ministry with the Navigators, to being a Senior Learning and Development Manager of a multimillion corporation, advising the management team on strategic approaches to get the best out of their people. She has developed considerable experience with Investors in People taking several companies through to successful accreditation and training as a consultant for them. Hence she understands the amazing impact a tool based on this principle can have.

Connect with her on LinkedIn athttps://www.linkedin.com/profile/viewid=287940854&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile

 

8 WAYS TO TREAT CYNICISM SICKNESS FROM A RECOVERING CHRISTIAN CYNIC

Slide01-compressor-4-e1445377565952by Frank Powell

Hello, my name is Frank Powell, and I am a recovering Christian cynic. I was disillusioned about the church. I didn’t sign up for church ministry. I was drafted by God. I also didn’t grow up heavily involved in a youth group. I attended church sporadically to appease my parents.

I tell you this because when God drafted me, I had a picture of the church. This picture was shaped by my limited experience in church and my idea of what I thought “church” should look like.

In my mind, church ministry would be easy.

I would baptize new Christians all the time. Everyone would be receptive to my plans and teaching. In no time, I would have a mega-church. I knew I could do it. I was friends with several 20-somethings on Facebook and Twitter who pastored mega-churches.

I quickly realized “church people” are often frustrating and resistant to change. Not everyone enjoyed my teaching. Progress was slow. For nearly two years, I fought disillusionment. And, slowly, I made strides.

Then came the bombshell.

Another minister at the church where I worked sent me a scathing e-mail. He attacked everything, from my competency in ministry to the future salvation of my family.

That e-mail was the final straw. I wanted out.

Ever been there?

Thankfully, God kept me in ministry. I accepted another position and battled more disillusionment. But on the other side of my latest season in ministry, God restored my hope. It’s not because people changed. People will always be people. It’s not because the church is different. My hope is restored in the church and in God’s work in the world because God awakened me to inconsistencies and brokenness in my heart.

Here’s the reality. Cynicism plagues our culture. It might be the greatest threat to the present-day church. Cynicism is toxic. It’s insanely contagious. And, it’s not a respecter of persons. Anyone, anywhere, regardless of age, background, socioeconomic level, or race is susceptible to cynicism.

Cynics live without hope (the anchor of the Christian faith), void of compassion, lacking trust in everyone and everything. And without hope, compassion, and trust, what do you have? Seriously?

I want to share what I learned about cynicism. And I want to challenge you to start (or continue) fighting against cynicism. Cynicism is a sickness. It’s not from God.

Here are 8 ways to treat cynicism sickness.

1.) NEVER BECOME FAMILIAR WITH GOD.

If familiarity breeds contempt, then religious familiarity breeds unholy cynicism.Margaret Feinberg

Familiarity with God turns blind faith into dry legalism. The church needs a larger view of God. The church needs to rediscover the God who created stars with his breath. God’s people are desperate for a new, fresh perspective of what it means to be all-powerful and all-knowing. There is no mountain God can’t move. There is no place to hide from God. If you travel to Pluto, he’s there. If you travel to the furthest known galaxy in the universe, MACS0647-JD, 13.3 billion light years from earth, God is there.

Familiarity with God turns blind faith into dry legalism.

Write this down…the smaller your God, the larger your problems. And when your problems are too big for God, cynicism will plague your life. Rest in God’s power to do anything, anywhere, anytime.

But also rest in God’s knowledge, which far exceeds yours. God might not answer the way you want. It’s not because God doesn’t hear you. It’s because he sees the trajectory of your life. And, he weaves your requests with his will to form an unbreakable cord that lasts for all of eternity.

2.) DON’T FIGHT RELIGIOUS BATTLES. JUST SERVE PEOPLE. 

Several years ago, a tornado ravaged a suburb in Jackson, MS. A group of teenagers and adults from my church spent the day helping those affected. It’s interesting. That day, I served alongside Christians from other denominations. I realized, despite what I was taught, they weren’t from Satan. They actually loved Jesus. A lot.

Cynicism thrives in a culture where Christians are idle and bored.

You know who doesn’t spend time debating ideals? Christians actively engaged in the mission of Christ. These Christians are too busy actually doing what Jesus said to debate whether Jesus actually meant it. What a novel idea, right? You see, cynicism thrives in a culture where Christians are idle and bored.

Show me a culture where Christians are cynical, I will bet my son’s salary (because he’s three) that church is focused on themselves and not others. I will bet my other son’s salary (because he’s two) a disproportionate number of Christians simply fill pews. Few Christians in cynical churches serve and few church leaders challenge people to serve.

Can you imagine what would happen if every Christian decided to serve others? This sounds ridiculous, but what if Christians stopped reading about Jesus and started living out what they already knew?

What if…

3.) CHALLENGE YOUR LONG-HELD ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT YOUR FAITH AND GOD. 

In times of profound change, the learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.”Eric Hoffer

Cynicism loves a culture where people hold to their beliefs tighter than the time I held to my wife when we rode the Goliath at Six Flags. And, yes. I screamed like a girl. Don’t judge me.

You are a learner. When you stop learning, you cease to be human. Human beings are the only creations of God with the ability to accumulate knowledge.

Dogs eat, pee, poop, make me sneeze (I’m allergic), and sleep. Dogs don’t reach a certain level of maturity and say, “Hey, I think I’ll learn to drive today.”

Cats eat, pee, poop, annoy people, look scary, and sleep. No one ever walked into your house, looked at your cat, and said, “Isn’t your cat five? Shouldn’t he be in school?”

But you? You were created to learn. If God is all-knowing, it is godly to learn and grow.

Listen to people you don’t agree with. I listen to sermons and podcasts of people from all walks of life and backgrounds. I have even listened to atheists discuss their perspective on the world, humanity, and culture. Do I agree with them? No. Do I have to agree with their views to listen to them? No.

You must listen to viewpoints you don’t agree with. Your church culture won’t do this for you. Most Sunday mornings are glorified pep rallies. Just watch the head nods. Listen for the amens. Here’s what they mean. “Yeah, I knew that. Yep, that’s right. I agree with you.” People come to hear the preacher say what they already know.

To combat the pep rally culture, you must expand your horizon. Challenge your traditional thinking. Be open-minded. Learners will inherit the earth. Are you a learner?

4.) ENGAGE IN CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY.

You weren’t created to be alone. Isolation fuels cynicism. Ironically, cynicism often drives people into isolation. So, there’s a dangerous cycle at work here.

How do you break the cycle? Christian community. Authentic, Christ-centered community removes poison from the veins of cynicism. It reveals, on a smaller scale, what is true on a global scale. Transformation is slow. Ministry is messy. People are broken. Growth comes through vulnerability. The mission of Christ is external. Suffering is inevitable.

You get the idea.

You can’t become the man or woman God created you to be if you aren’t plugged into Christian community.

Through the years, community with other Christians shaped my journey more than anything else. I decided to go into full-time ministry after a Bible study at a friend’s home. When I got the news about cancer, it was my community who prayed for me. I could on and on.

As much as it hurts, regardless of how uncomfortable it is for you, plug into a community of believers. It will transform your life.

5.) BE VULNERABLE AND AUTHENTIC.

Cynicism thrives in a culture where Bible memorization and church attendance are merit badges for your coat of external righteousness. Why? External righteousness isn’t about God. It’s about you. And cynicism begins at the line between selflessness and selfishness.

This is why authenticity is so important. It reminds you that you’re broken. And this brokenness reminds you of God’s perfection.

But, if your church culture is like mine, this isn’t the message you are taught. I was instructed to hide my sins. Good Christian boys didn’t have sex, watch pornography, or drink alcohol. And God didn’t like little boys who did those things. So, when I did them, you know who I told? No one. And it caused me years of shame and pride.

At some point, I decided the Christian game wasn’t very fun and I stopped playing. Regardless of the facade your church tries to sell, don’t buy it. Everyone is broken. Every person who walks in a church building struggles with something. If you think you don’t struggle with anything, you’re wrong.

You struggle with pride…and lying.

Surround yourself with Christians who value authenticity. The more you do this, the less you hide feelings of shame. The more you let go of yourself, the deeper you sink in the sea of God’s unending grace. Cynicism dies where God’s grace lives.

Cynicism dies where God’s grace lives.

6.) BY DEFAULT, TRUST EVERYONE. 

Look, I get it. People hurt you. They hurt me too. But when you don’t trust someone, you throw up a wall to keep from being hurt.

If you don’t trust your spouse, you don’t give all of yourself to them. If you don’t trust your boss, you withhold information from them. And here’s the problem with not trusting people…you can’t point someone to God when there’s a wall between yourself and someone else.

Look, don’t run around like Mary Poppins. Understand people are going to hurt you and disappoint you. But don’t give up on people because they’re broken like you. Treat others the way you want to be treated. You want to be trusted, right? Even when you mess up.

And remember, Jesus will never give up on you. He believes you are good. He believes you are worthy of dying for. What if the Christian community embraced the mentality of Jesus?

7.) DON’T RUN FROM DISCOMFORT. RUN INTO IT.

My default response to conflict is to run from it. And while this response protects me from short-term pain, it creates more long-term pain. If you want to end your life with no friends and overcome with bitterness, run from conflict. Don’t lean into discomfort when it comes.

Don’t miss this.

Almost every promise of God is fulfilled through conflict. God promised Abraham he would bless nations through him. In the meantime, Abraham was asked to sacrifice his son, leave his family, and endure a host of other difficult events.

David was anointed king by Samuel, but he didn’t take the reigns until 20 years after his anointing. In the meantime, David ran for his life. He fought for his life.

And, of course, the reconciling of the world was promised in Genesis and fulfilled at the resurrection of Jesus. In the meantime? Murder. Divorce. War. And, ultimately, the cross. At the cross, God redeemed humanity through pain and discomfort.

This is one of the greatest lessons I have learned in ministry. If you step into discomfort, the short-term might be difficult. But the long-term will be more joyful. Don’t take my word for it. Look at how God rolls.

8.) PRACTICE HOPEFUL REALISM EVERY DAY.

Hopeful realism embraces the dual realities of contemporary evil and forthcoming redemption.Andrew Byers

Hopeful realism, a phrase coined by Andrew Byers in his book Faith Without Illusions is the alternative to both unhealthy disillusionment and cynicism.

So, what does hopeful realism look like? Here are a few examples.

  1. Cynics believe the world is too far gone. Idealists don’t understand the magnitude of the hurt in the world. Hopeful realists look to the disillusionment that surrounds an empty tomb and engage the world with the Spirit’s power.
  2. Cynics turn their backs on the church in disgust. They sit in the stands, silently hoping the ship sinks. Idealists believe the church is without problems. Everyone should be happy and get along. Hopeful realists see the church as the bride of Christ, and acknowledging the church’s problems, refuse to give up on something Jesus died for.
  3. Cynics look at the youthful naivety and disillusionment of the next generation as a product of immaturity and inexperience. Idealists are more concerned with talking about changing the world and less concerned with faithful acts of daily obedience. Hopeful realists never lose the wonder and awe of God but also understand the power of daily obedience.

There is no faith without disillusionment. The central message of the Christian faith is that a man (who is also God) lived without sin, died on a cross, was placed in a tomb, and after three days walked out…alive. If you don’t believe in Jesus, the Christian message sounds more ridiculous than flying pigs.

At the same time, there is no faith without face-to-face, hand-in-hand service. Real Christian ministry is really messy. It’s really slow. And it’s really about people, not ideas.

Talking with a college student recently about this, he summed it up beautifully. He said his perspective is to think idealistically and live in reality.

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It’s time to fight cynicism. Yeah, cynicism is easy. That’s why most of the world chooses it. But, Christians don’t serve a God who specializes in easy. Christians serve a God who specializes in taking something hard or difficult and turning it into something beautiful. That’s your mission as well.

It’s time to stop running from the church because of disillusionment. It’s time to stop simplifying the church’s mission to nothing more than programs and steps. It’s time to stop trash-talking churches because their name is different. It’s time to stop bad-mouthing church leaders because they hurt you.

As Jesus says, “You who are without sin cast the first stone.” Translation: if you have never hurt someone, then by all means, trash those who hurt you. Since you have hurt people, you have no right to trash others. But you do have a right to pray for them.

What if every Christian lived with hope and joy? Maybe I’m disillusioned. But if I’m disillusioned, it’s because of the cross. And I refuse to believe God can’t operate outside of my logic. In the meantime, I won’t stop working for the kingdom. I won’t stop writing. I won’t stop preaching and teaching. I won’t stop discipling the next generation. I won’t give up on the church.

I want to challenge you to do the same. God is up to something at your workplace. He is doing something in your family. Believe it. Until then, work hard. Love your family well. Engage in your Christian community. Serve your city.

I love you all. To God be the glory forever. Amen!

COPYRIGHT 2015 FRANK POWELL. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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Alan Hirsch: Organic Systems

THE ECCLESIA I SEE

This is really good video about organic and learning to disciple –

I see this in heaven – I do not see large churches like we have had before with a bench over them.

I discern that benches are over spiritual mandates governing in heaven and so ruling over the seven mountains of society.

I see people using multiple embassies to support organic expressions like three meeting, maybe a small hub , one anothering, groups legislating over mandates,
People listening to material across the world, serving poor in society not in a church building, reaching out in the marketplace and acting as kings decreeing and creating over our workplace!!!! Each can multiply itself then not having to go to bible college and plant a church. Jesus never said plant a church but he said go and make disciples.

Have I missed something?

Setting up a hub/new wine skin ecclesia 

Some ideas:

Getting a group together

We can use this site  to find people who would like to join a online hangout

Speak to friends who may want to start a bench of 3 to build a hub in the future or form a bench of 3 around a scroll (ideally one with prophetic , kingly and apostolic )

Invite a speaker and develop a newsletter to bring a number together then start having regular gatherings which can then break into hubs

Some are key intercessors already leading a group so begin a group that way.

Preparation for the hub

Obtain apostolic input for the nature/ blueprint  of the ecclesia ( we have heavenly blueprint doc on this site for guidance )

Define your values and what you want to see. ( guidance on this site)

Read reimagine church and finding organic church by viola

Always begin building relationship first allowing a lot of dialogue and people to talk about their gifts and passions .

Everyone leads – there is not one leader who imposes a vision . Vision is worked out my the ecclesia .

Encourage people to know their scroll and begin meeting with another for support.

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Join our Facebook page: Ecclesia Framework to receive regular updates and daily updated content.

Click here to sign up to the Heavenly Realms page. 

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JaneJohnson new smallCEO. Jane Johnson B.Com Grad Dip LD, Dip Coaching.

Jane has worked in many different leadership capacities from being a professionally qualified Christian Leadership Coach for 13 years to many Christian leaders, to leading a ministry with the Navigators, to being a Senior Learning and Development Manager of a multimillion corporation, advising the management team on strategic approaches to get the best out of their people. She has developed considerable experience with Investors in People taking several companies through to successful accreditation and training as a consultant for them. Hence she understands the amazing impact a tool based on this principle can have.

Connect with her on LinkedIn athttps://www.linkedin.com/profile/viewid=287940854&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile

 

Want to join us? Vision for our Governmental Hub

24ff0456d6b0a1de44107bed52244983We have been given a mandate to set up a governmental hub/apostolic resource centre to facilitate the emergence of a heavenly Ecclesia.

We believe this will be the emergence of new expressions not run by paid pastors, but by facilitators allowing the full expression of gifts, the callings of all and the building of organic quickly reproducible expressions, which will use resources from all areas. We see at the moment it will be a combination of heavenly realms principles, organic church principles and one United body.

We and many others do not sense that this will be remodelling traditional churches predominately.

Our mandate is to:
  1. Develop materials to enable people to understand heavenly realms  revelations.
  2. Communicate the principles in the heavenly Ecclesia blueprint doc.
  3. See the Raising up hangouts for different levels and going into heaven together and one on one discipling  in the new blueprint who understand multiplication of groups and each other’s lives (not spiritual addition).
  4. Facilitate benches of 3 meeting around a scroll.
  5. Train up hub leaders who understand how to prevent the return to traditional church ethos.
  6. Promote all aspects of the body not just our own to see one United body.
  7. Help understand good learning principles.

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Possible values of a new ecclesia
  • Intimacy with God.
  • Replicating “as it is in heaven”.
  • Raising up the new generation through “one anothering”.
  • Legislating in heaven and responsibility on earth.
  • Only doing what we have a mandate for.
  • Love and honour your neighbour as yourself.
  • We are all one body across the world not just one location therefore freedom to access resources elsewhere.
  • Facilitation and Mutual subjection to one another moving away from clergy / laity divide.

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Join our Facebook page: Ecclesia Framework to receive regular updates and daily updated content.

Click here to sign up to the Heavenly Realms page. 

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JaneJohnson new smallCEO. Jane Johnson B.Com Grad Dip LD, Dip Coaching.

Jane has worked in many different leadership capacities from being a professionally qualified Christian Leadership Coach for 13 years to many Christian leaders, to leading a ministry with the Navigators, to being a Senior Learning and Development Manager of a multimillion corporation, advising the management team on strategic approaches to get the best out of their people. She has developed considerable experience with Investors in People taking several companies through to successful accreditation and training as a consultant for them. Hence she understands the amazing impact a tool based on this principle can have.

Connect with her on LinkedIn athttps://www.linkedin.com/profile/viewid=287940854&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile

 

Joshua Programme

joshua-generation-800x351The Joshua Generation seeks to raise up the next generation.  Multiplication of passionate followers of Christ,  is so important to seriously impact the earth .

For those that are serious about becoming a forerunner and facilitating the new ecclesia – Jane Johnson CEO of Ecclesia Framework is  offering 4  places for the first to meet the criteria.

  • Monthly coaching over zoom (live).
  • Unlimited Email support.
  • Access to a small  messenger group to receive and post.
  • Cost – no cost we are fully funded.

Qualities we are looking for – 

Reliable, open to new revelation, available, willing to give up certain things to make time for seeking heavenly realms. Willing to make a 4 month minimum commitment to the program.

Able to articulate their scroll/mandate and see in the spirit.

Disciplined nature- not easily sidetracked.

Passion to restore earth as it is in heaven.

About Jane –

Jane  has been given a scroll to bring reformation to the ecclesia . She has been ordained in heaven with authority, kingly  and apostolic function and been given an orb, fiery sword and blue ring and a role in the higher courts to evidence this.

She has been legislating in the courts  for some time now and is the founder of the Ecclesia Framework, the heavenly realms Facebook page and author of  the  Ecclesia Framework and Heavenly Blueprint of New Ecclesia.

She is a very experienced  and highly qualified christian leadership coach, previous  ministry leader,  author, founder of a social enterprise, chair of the board  founder of 3 online businesses . She resides in Melbourne Australia, has been married for 30 yrs and has 2 adult sons.

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Join our Facebook page: Ecclesia Framework to receive regular updates and daily updated content.

Click here to sign up to the Heavenly Realms page. 

………………………………………………………………………………………………

JaneJohnson new smallCEO. Jane Johnson B.Com Grad Dip LD, Dip Coaching.

Jane has worked in many different leadership capacities from being a professionally qualified Christian Leadership Coach for 13 years to many Christian leaders, to leading a ministry with the Navigators, to being a Senior Learning and Development Manager of a multimillion corporation, advising the management team on strategic approaches to get the best out of their people. She has developed considerable experience with Investors in People taking several companies through to successful accreditation and training as a consultant for them. Hence she understands the amazing impact a tool based on this principle can have.

Connect with her on LinkedIn athttps://www.linkedin.com/profile/viewid=287940854&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile

 

Groups/Mentoring

Wanted hangout group leaders and mentors/ coaches

Want to help others grow in an online messenger group ??church-family-images-_4440318_orig

We are looking for people who feel fairly competent and like sharing experiences and helping answer questions around heavenly realms. Join a great community currently around 40 odd people . Managing the group in future is an option

Anyone else welcome to join – just message us privately and befriend Jane johnson on Facebook to join – https://goo.gl/NK7BLt

Think your calling may be around SETTiNG up a hub in the future ?

We have a messenger group to support you too and understand the heavenly blueprint. Just mention that private message to the group.

WHAT IS COACHING?coaching-signage

Basic Concept-

A – Where you are now.

B – How you are going to get there.

C – Where you want to go.

Coach facilitates coming up with own solutions not giving answers as often own answers are not appropriate for that personality or circumstances – assumption people know what is best for them and can discern this from God

Coaching can involve concepts such as-

  • moving forward, setting goals, keeping you on track, overcoming obstacles,
  • providing resources for moving forward,
  • planning time, directing to professional help, clarity, self-awareness, sounding board, challenge, validation, encouragement/enthusing

Expanding opportunities as opposed to solving crisis situations. If crisis may need to refer to specialist such as eating disorders, depression,

One Commonly Used Process – GROW MODEL

  • Goals – (where do you want to get to) – SMART Goals – (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time bound)
  • Reality – (where are you now)
  • Options – (Strategy)
  • Way forward – (Action points, Time frame, Evaluation of Options, Checking Obstacles and Motivation.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN COACHING/ MENTORING/CONSULTING/COUNSELLING/ DISCIPLING

A. Mentoring-

  • drawing on own experience, not necessarily saying that you recommend doing this

B. Coaching-

  • Independent- keep questioning until they come up with solution, assuming they know best. Can ask about scriptures that they know of or what they feel God is asking of them. Important that listening, questioning and reflecting back represents 80% of the conversation not putting your own point of view or preaching at someone.

C. Discipling-

  • Bringing in more scriptures, maybe words, prophecy, looking at whole walk and assessing elements to work on and including prayer.

D. Consulting-

  • Expert giving advice- recommended course of action- in-depth analysis of situation and then often a report is presented

E. Counselling-

  • Many different models but often more of an emphasis on drawing on past- fixing problem,
  • often -expert presenting solution after questioning,
  • Not so action orientated and goal focused,
  • more dealing with acute, crisis situations rather than trying to make something better.
BENEFITS OF COACHING (IMPORTANT TO KNOW TO KEEP MOTIVATION)church-unity-cross
  • Helps deal with stumbling blocks or fear/ confidence
  • More likely to see change as there is accountability
  • Tailored to an individual where they are – as opposed to teaching
  • Deals with sabotaging behaviour not just knowledge or skills
  • Provides encouragement and acknowledgement which are so important to growth
  • Challenges individual to move out of their comfort zone but can also be a reality check.
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To review the studies included in the Framework and find out why we have concluded these things you will need to see the notes which are available for download here.

Please also share our blog to allow others to review and contribute – we need everyone, not just leaders, to play their part in building a church that others want to come to.

Join our Facebook group to receive regular updates and daily updated content.

………………………………………………………………………………………………

JaneJohnson new smallCEO. Jane Johnson B.Com Grad Dip LD, Dip Coaching.

Jane has worked in many different leadership capacities from being a professionally qualified Christian Leadership Coach for 13 years to many Christian leaders, to leading a ministry with the Navigators, to being a Senior Learning and Development Manager of a multimillion corporation, advising the management team on strategic approaches to get the best out of their people. She has developed considerable experience with Investors in People taking several companies through to successful accreditation and training as a consultant for them. Hence she understands the amazing impact a tool based on this principle can have.

Connect with her on LinkedIn athttps://www.linkedin.com/profile/viewid=287940854&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile

 

The Organic Church

organic-church1By Milt Rodriguez 

WHAT IS IT EXACTLY?

The term “organic church” is often used as a synonym for “house church,” “simple church,” or “home church.” But this is not correct. There are huge differences between an authentic organic church and a group of people who meet in a living room and call themselves a church.

Coined by T. Austin-Sparks, an “organic church” is a church that lives and gathers according to the spiritual reality that the church (ekklesia) is a spiritual organism rather than an institutional organization.

FIVE MYTHS ABOUT ORGANIC CHURCHES 

In organic churches, nothing is organized and everything is spontaneous. Not so. Just as a physical body has a specific expression and contains organization, so do organic churches. The members plan and arrange when and how they meet. Such planning is completely consistent with spiritual life. God Himself plans and arranges.

  • An organic church has no leadership. Not so. Leadership comes from every member of the body at different times. Different people lead according to their different gifts and ministries. In the organic church, all are priests, ministers, and functioning parts of the body just as the New Testament teaches. Leadership is open, participatory, and fluid.
  • Organic church is the same thing as post-church. Not so. Organic churches can be visited. They meet in real locations on a regular basis. They aren’t ghost churches. (Click here to read a critique of the post-church view.)

  • Organic churches always meet in homes. Not so. While organic churches do not own or possess “sacred” religious buildings, they can meet in any location. Whether a home, coffee shop, clubhouse, park, rented building, etc.

*Organic church is a unified movement. Not so. Many Christians use the word “organic church” to describe very different expressions of church, even institutional churches. We’ve recommended some books and articles below to help bring clarity to this term.

SEVEN CHARACTERISTICS OF AN ORGANIC CHURCH

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

  • The members of the church are learning to live by the life of Jesus Christ together and are expressing that life in tangible ways.
  • The members are pursuing Jesus in their life together and sharing Him in their gatherings and community life.

  • There is no clergy/laity divide. Every member functions and participates. All have different ministries and roles, and all contribute in the ministry and decision-making.

  • Jesus is the head in a real discernable way.

  • The church has been founded on Christ, not a certain theological system, a set of practices, a method, or a human personality. While God uses people to root the church in a real on-going relationship with Jesus, such people point to Jesus rather than to themselves.

  • *The church is not a once-a-week meeting. The members of an organic church meet often. They live as a face-toface community.

    • The church stands for and seeks to fulfill God’s eternal purpose. They don’t meet for a special interest such as evangelism, discipleship, social justice, spiritual gifts, church multiplication, but for God’s ultimate intention which may include yet transcends all of these things.

    …………………………………………………………………………………………….

    To review the studies included in the Framework and find out why we have concluded these things you will need to see the notes which are available for download here.

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    Click here to sign up to the Heavenly Realms page. 

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    HEAVEN IS A PRESENT REALITY NOT A FUTURE DESTINATION AND 5 REASONS THIS CHANGES HOW YOU LIVE TODAY

    Slide01-compressor-2-e1438118382824By Frank Powell

    Our two sons attend Snowden Elementary, a public school about one mile from our home in Memphis, TN. So, every school day, like other families who don’t live within walking distance, we park our car two blocks from the school and proceed to cross a six-lane road. It’s a busy intersection that requires two crossing guards and a police officer to ensure children’s safety and regulate awful driving.

    I have grown to love crossing guards. Rain, shine, humidity, and freezing temperatures, crossing guards are there. They always show up. And crossing guards don’t sit in a lawn chair, waiting until the area is safe, wishing children the best as they cross busy intersections.

    “Good luck as you cross the street, guys. Hope you make it to the other side.”

    Instead, they hold stop signs, blow whistles, and walk with children through the road.

    Now, as an author and pastor, I know every metaphor breaks down at some point. But I think the image of a crossing guard teaches us something about the heart, character, and mission of Jesus.

    You see, Jesus doesn’t sit on one side of eternity waving us across to Him. And He doesn’t join us on our side, only to pat us on the back and wish us good luck as we venture through the crossroads of life. Instead, He moves with us through the intersections of life. It is the heartbeat of John 1:14, “The Word became flesh, and moved into the neighborhood.” Could it be that these words are intended to be the heartbeat of the church as well? I believe so.

    The ascension of Jesus has a lot to teach us about what Jesus is up to today. If we are not careful, Jesus’s ascension into the heavens after His death will come to mean that His work was finished, and that One day He will reappear when He comes to judge the world and to set all things right.

    “Good luck as you cross the street of life, guys. Hope you make it to the other side.”

    Not exactly.

    Here’s what Paul writes in Ephesians 4:10, “He who descended is the same one who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things.” In other words, the ascension of Jesus isn’t a way for Him to escape this world, leaving us to navigate the intersections of life alone. It’s a declaration that he stands in the middle of the road, much like a crossing guard.

    And this is important. When Heaven is a future reality, something that seems “way over there,” we are much more likely to hang out on the sidewalk. After all, who wants to cross a six-lane road without help?

    Not me.

    But if Heaven is a present reality, one where Jesus stands in the road directing traffic and walking beside us, we move off the sidewalk and into road with confidence. We step into the intersections of life because Jesus is there.

    Here are 5 ways embracing heaven as a present reality changes how we live today.

    1.) THE GOSPEL BECOMES MORE THAN A SERIES OF STEPS.

    Unfortunately, in many Christian circles, the gospel is reduced to: 1) trust in Jesus, 2) have our sins forgiven, 3) arrive in heaven after we die. Even though Jonathan Storment and I embrace these truths, we wrote Bringing Heaven to Earth because we believe the gospel is larger than a few simple steps.

    Much larger.

    Following Jesus isn’t about crossing our fingers, hanging on tight, and waiting for eternity. It is an invitation to cross the road, to embrace a covenant relationship with the Creator. God gives us the opportunity to join him in all of the ways His mercy and goodness flow through the world.

    When this reality sinks into our hearts, it changes how we see the world.

    2.) GOD, WITH ALL HIS POWER, WALKS WITH YOU TODAY. HE IS A GOD OF THE PRESENT, NOT JUST A GOD OF THE PAST AND THE FUTURE.

    In Exodus 3, God tells Moses He is “The Great I Am.” This becomes the most sacred name for God. It echoes throughout the pages of Scripture. But it also echoes throughout the pages of our lives. At least, it should.

    This is huge: at no point in history does God become “The Great I Was” or “The Great I Will Be Again One Day.” He is “The Great I Am.” The same God today as he was the day He spoke the words to Moses.

    If God is confined to the past or future tense, how will we raise up a generation to follow God in the present? Here’s the reality. The same God who parted the waters for the Israelites and promises to restore all things is the same God who walks with us into the street today. His power, grace, love, and desire to redeem the world are with us.

    3.) SALVATION ISN’T PRIMARILY A MOMENT IN TIME. IT IS A MOVEMENT IN THE WORLD.

    Throughout the New Testament, and especially in the book of Acts, conversions were a central theme. People regularly surrendered to Jesus, confessed Him as Lord, and were baptized into His name.

    Don’t misunderstand me. We believe in conversions, and we celebrate them. Places like Luke 15 show us Heaven celebrates when a soul unites with Jesus in His death and resurrection.

    The gospel says we’re invited into a conversion MOVEMENT, not a conversion MOMENT.

    The message of the gospel, however, is not that we are invited into a conversion moment, but into a conversion movement. Conversion isn’t a life insurance plan, securing our future in heaven. Conversion launches us into the street where we join God’s movement of restoration and redemption. The prayer Jesus taught us to pray, “Your Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven,” is more than a prayer. It is the life we are called to live. It is a life in the street where things are dangerous and unknown.

    But it is also a life where Jesus meets us because the mission of Jesus is in the street.

    4.) YOU PARTNER WITH GOD TO MAKE HEAVEN A PRESENT REALITY.

    God could do whatever He desires by Himself. He doesn’t need us. But from the beginning God engages in a working relationship with human beings. God is eager to use who God saves.

    God is eager to use who God saves. Allow God to use you.

    He doesn’t save people to increase heaven’s future population. He saves people to increase heaven’s present population. God delegates. He gives responsibility. He empowers His people. He equips them with everything they need to live an adventurous life. A life that declares the future of heaven is pressing into our present world.

    That’s a message worth spreading.

    5.) PERFECT LOVE DRIVES OUT FEAR.

    As I write this, chaos is rampant all over the world. Violence is everywhere. Tension is high. And reasons to be fearful abound. Yet, the Bible declares hundreds of times, “Do not be afraid.” Now, I understand fear isn’t always unhealthy. But when fear paralyzes the soul, stunts spiritual development, and hinders the church from loving a world God desperately loves, something is wrong. If we are not careful, fear will drive out love, instead of perfect love driving out fear.

    Hearts that trust Jesus are not called to shrink into a shell. They are called to press into the city. The response in the New Testament when people surrendered their lives to Jesus was not to play it safe. The response was to risk their lives for the sake of the gospel.

    The earliest Christians knew the church was at its best when it gave up home field advantage to meet people where they were in life.


    We wrote our book, Bringing Heaven to Earth, because we believe the good news of Jesus is just that: good news. We believe this good news doesn’t prepare us to die well, but to live well.

    The good news doesn’t prepare us to die well, but to live well.

    We believe Jesus loves this world more than we could ever imagine, and He wants His church to live as if they deeply love this world too.

    IT’S YOUR TURN. HOW DOES HEAVEN AS A PRESENT REALITY CHANGE HOW YOU LIVE TODAY?


    We now have lots of resources at the heavenly realms page on this site and the  support group facebook page  – http://www.churchexcellenceframework.com


    To review the studies included in the Framework and find out why we have concluded these things you will need to see the notes which are available for download here.

    Join our Facebook group to receive regular updates and daily updated content.


    Restructuring the Church to Find Rest (Part 2)

    By Peter Thompson B.Theo Grad Dip Theology

    In Part 1, we had a somewhat detailed look at the “yoke” imagery in the Old Testament, which frequently referred to oppressive human governments in contrast to God’s gracious form of government. Out of this contrast, a further contrast between the structure of the first-century church based upon the fatherhood of God, and contemporary church structures rooted in modern democratic forms of human governance, becomes a little more obvious. In particular, this is a contrast between governance rooted in modern individualism versus the more tried and tested biblical form of governance based upon family relationships.

    rsz_lego-church-building-pictures

    The Yoke Jesus Offers

    As a result of understanding this “yoke” imagery as speaking of governance, it is quite feasible to understand the yoke that Jesus is offering in Matthew 11:25-30 as speaking of the yoke Jesus Himself embraced as a human being under the rule of the Father, but not as the beast of burden in the yoked relationship. In the yoke imagery, the beast of burden did all the hard work, while the farmer yoked to the beast directed the service of the beast and controlled how that service was undertaken. The farmer had the authority, wore the pants so to speak, within the yoked relationship to the beast, usually an ox. Hence, the people in the Old Testament were yoked like oxen to their oppressive kings/rulers.

    Jesus, on the other hand:

    • had the Father hand over all things to Him, even though the Father is Lord of heaven and earth (Matthew 11:25-27; compare John 3:35; 13:3; 1 Corinthians 15:27);
    • had been given all authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18; compare John 5:22-27; 17:2; Colossians 2:10; Hebrews 2:6-9);
    • only did what He saw the Father doing (John 5:19);
    • claimed that it was the Father living in Him who was doing all the works Jesus performed (John 14:10); and
    • only spoke the Father’s words (John 14:24).

    Jesus was yoked to His Father in intimate relationship, proclaiming the coming of the “kingdom” (e.g., Mark 1:15), that is, God’s kingdom, the rule of the Father that Jesus Himself, as the Son, shared in. Jesus as the Son of Man, representing the new humanity in Him, therefore demonstrated the Father’s “yoke” which was not oppressive and burdensome like the yoke of human rulers

    The Yoke Jesus Himself Wore

    I firmly believe that the yoke Jesus offers in Matthew 11:29 was in fact the very yoke Jesus Himself wore as a human being in the service of God’s kingdom, because:

    • the Holy Spirit now speaks to us as Jesus’ present-day disciples whatever He hears the Father and Son say (John 16:13), just as the Spirit spoke to Jesus what the Father was saying;
    • it is the Spirit who guides us and does all the work, both in evangelism and in maturing believers (e.g. John 16:8-11; Acts 1:8; 4:8, 31; 8:29, 39-40; 9:31; 13:2-4, 9-12; 15:28; 16:6-10; 20:28; 1 Corinthians 2:4-5, 10; 6:11; 14:23-25; 2 Corinthians 3:16-18; Galatians 3:1-2; 5:22-23; Romans 8:13, 26-27; 15:17-19; 1 Thessalonians 1:5-6; 2 Thessalonians 1:11; Colossians 1:9-12; Ephesians 3:16-17; 4:1-3; 2 Timothy 1:6-7); and
    • it is the same Spirit Jesus was anointed with in power to do good and heal all who were oppressed by the devil (Acts 10:38).

    This explains why Jesus stated that it was His yoke. This also explains why, in my opinion, Jesus’ yoke was easy, and His burden light! With the Father doing all the work through the Holy Spirit, the Christian community through their relationship with Jesus are yoked to the ultimate power and authority in the universe.

    This Yoke Was Offered to Us Communally

    I am convinced that the yoke Jesus offers us was offered to the whole community of His disciples, not just to the twelve disciples, or to individual leaders or believers, because:

    • the second-person plural “you” is used consistently throughout Matthew 11:7-30;
    • in Matthew 11:7, Jesus had been addressing the crowds concerning John the Baptist, and there is nothing to suggest in the chapter that Jesus had turned from the crowds to address only the twelve disciples as leaders;
    • Jesus was calling out to all who would come to Him in Matthew 11:28; and
    • the yoke speaks of the governance of the whole people of God under the gracious rule of the Father.

    Hence, what arises for followers of Jesus is not some form of a democratically-structured government which is based upon individualism where individual desires, needs and insights are held in fluid, and at times strained, tension with the desires, needs and insights of the larger groups within the community — this results in various forms of political power struggles within church congregations, and across church denominations.

    Instead, a Christian community should be embracing the powerful yet gracious rule of the Father through the Son by the Spirit as a shared experience where the Father does all the work, for the yoke Jesus embraced with the Father as a human being He offers to us as His community of disciples. It is then, and only then, that the Christian community can ever do even greater works than Jesus Himself did (John 14:12), for Jesus was only one man in a very large world.

    Contemporary Church Governance

    My experiences of church leadership and governance leave me in no doubt which form of government operates almost universally in Australian churches. I have found that church leaders to some degree or another:

    • expect their congregation to commit to the vision either the head pastor/minister or the inner core of leaders determines for the church;
    • tend to make decisions concerning the church for and on behalf of the congregation without full congregational involvement and approval, even where churches are supposed to be governed by congregations democratically;
    • tend to resist the giftedness of the whole congregation in order to protect their own status as the more gifted ones in the assembly, which in turn enhances their own prestige, and garners respect and authority;
    • determine in advance how each meeting should be conducted and ordered;
    • seriously struggle to facilitate the supernatural manifestation of the Spirit in church meetings so that church members are genuinely built up and matured into Christlikeness; and
    • have absolutely no idea how the greater church community can ever come to one mind on any one thing, let alone all things (note 1 Corinthians 1:10; Philippians 2:2 and 1 Peter 3:8 in the light of Romans 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 2:16).

    Furthermore, it is rather obvious to me that this present democratic-style rule of the church by privileged office-bearers within the various church leadership structures is not causing the church to impact our nation in any significant way, hence the contemporary church right across the Western World has been in a serious and steady decline, despite the mega-church phenomenon. Burnout and depression among Christian leaders/ministers throughout the Western World is at epidemic levels — this is not the rest Jesus offers us. Things need to change!

    Restructuring Under God’s Governance

    For me, personally, the way forward is to restructure how we do church so that Jesus Himself personally guides and directs us as the Head of His Body through the charismatic giftings across the whole local Christian community, which is facilitated and safe-guarded by all five ministry giftings, not just pastors and teachers. This is, in my understanding, the clear meaning of Ephesians 4:11-16, Ephesians 2:19-22 and Colossians 2:19 in tandem with passages like 1 Corinthians 14:26-33 and 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21. I have experienced such a manifest, supernatural presence of Jesus in the midst of the congregation on some rare occasions where Jesus Himself dynamically, in person, in the here and now, speaks and acts in the midst of His people.

    I am therefore convinced that this can occur regularly when a careful reassessment of leadership structures is implemented on the basis of family, not some form of democracy rooted in individualism. It is time for the church to address its disunity, come to one mind on all things, and grow up into the fullness of the stature of Christ as sons of the Father together in one household. More on how that can be achieved another day.

    It is time to embrace the true yoke Jesus offers, and carefully with humility and appreciation cast off the yoke Christian leaders have put on their respective congregations by not allowing those leaders to solely determine what is best for the Christian communities they oversee. Then, and only then, will the secular community outside the church sit up and take notice, so that eventually, we won’t be such a joke to them anymore.


    To review the studies included in the Framework and find out why we have concluded these things you will need to see the notes which are available by contacting us.

    Please also share our blog to allow others to review and contribute – we need everyone, not just leaders, to play their part in building a church that others want to come to.


    Peter “Thommo” Thompson was born in 1958 in the bulldust of south-western Queensland in the region around the township of Mitchell.  He was converted outside of the church through a supernatural encounter with the living God in Mackay, North Queensland, in February 1979, and embarked upon a long and arduous journey of God dealing with the figurative bulldust in his life.  In 2012, he completed a Bachelor of Ministry & Theology double degree, and in 2013, a Post-Graduate Diploma in Theology, all at Tabor Adelaide.  He currently lives with his two adult daughters in Ipswich, Queensland, and is writing a series of academic novels with the intent of hopefully helping to facilitate a church unifying movement through an unbranded form of Christianity in Australia.


    Copyright 2015 Peter Thompson. Permission is granted to copy, forward, or distribute this article for non-commercial use only, as long as this copyright byline, in totality, is maintained in all duplications, copies, and link references. For reprint permission for any commercial use, in any form of media, please contact us.

     

    Do we need to Restructure the Church? (Part 1)

    Joke or Yoke

    By Ian Thompson B.Theo, Post Grad Thoelogy

    Christianity one could argue  has become something of a joke to the large majority of people in our secularised Australian society. They basically see Christianity as irrelevant to their individualistic lives and often see Christians as weak, gullible people in need of a religious crutch of some sort.

    My adult experience in a variety of Australian churches over the past 36 years suggests that Christians really don’t know how to overcome this “joke” status, and therefore don’t effectively communicate their faith to neighbours, workmates, the media, or community leaders. That was certainly the case for me until fairly recently.

    In my opinion, one central reason the joke-status label sticks has to do with the way we do church in Australia. We appear to be missing one of the most important keys to proclaiming and evidencing the kingdom of God to our local surrounding communities, and  I would argue our church structures are largely responsible for this.

    I believe that this important key, which can help us understand how to start reversing the incredible decline of Christianity in Western World countries today, centres around reassessing the significance of one of the most popular of Jesus’ sayings — Matthew 11:25-30.

    We can start removing the joke-status label that society puts on the church (especially through the media) by putting on the yoke Jesus offered to us. In other words, I am convinced that we can replace the “joke” with the “yoke”! But first, some foundations need to be laid to understand what Jesus meant by the “yoke” imagery in this beloved Matthew passage.

    Western Individualistic Cultural Influences

    The modern Western World culture and its development of democratic political structures has been dominated by individualism for many centuries, and it is obvious that this has resulted in:

    • most public issues these days being assessed on some perceived basis of individual rights, privileges and freedom;
    • tension arising between what a particular individual wants in his or her perceived sense of freedom, and what influential groups within society want in order to maintain their own privileges;
    • minority groups battling against society’s power brokers for a legal recognition of their individual rights; and
    • political power struggles where representative groups are seeking to impose their particular sense of individual rights and privileges upon the whole of society, such as with gay marriage, abortion, euthanasia, and legalised marijuana.

    Common Basis for All Forms of Democratic Government

    Democracy in all its various forms therefore has one particular common factor, ensuring that individuals in power are, to some degree or another, subject to the people they govern. Otherwise, either a dictatorship will result, or society will degenerate into an anarchy, where the strongest individuals with the most physical, military and/or financial power rule.

    Democratic Influences on the Contemporary Western Church

    These democratic forms of government rooted in individualism have tended to universally affect the Western World churches in many ways, including:

    • some form of a hierarchical leadership structure (such as popes, patriarchs, arch-bishops/bishops, priests, senior pastors, head ministers, synods, presbyteries, etc.);
    • some form of accountability for those in leadership;
    • some form of control against the basis of church government degenerating into an anarchy or dictatorship; and
    • some form of control where the church’s doctrines and practices are preserved against strongly opinionated detractors seeking their own agendas.

    First-Century Cultural Influences

    In contrast, New Testament scholars these days tend to accept that first-century, Greek-influenced Roman culture:

    • was not rooted in individualism but in family structures;
    • operated on an honour/shame system where individuals were bound to maintain the honour and social status of their family group;church-building
    • conferred shame upon families to enforce the wider society group values; and
    • upheld the authority of fathers, husbands and masters as the cornerstone structure of society, leading to the formation of family-group elders to govern the wider family affairs.

    Most first-century family groups relied on their honour status in society for their very survival, because their capacity to trade or provide services depended upon that status. Consequently, families had to cover up as much as possible any shameful conduct of their individual family members. This meant that the honour of the family far outweighed the rights of any individual.

     

    First-Century Church Structure

    As a result, the New Testament church was primarily structured on the basis of family relationships:

    The church was to exist as the household of God Himself, with the heavenly Father as the primary authority and provider (1 Timothy 3:15; Ephesians 2:19; Hebrews 12:7-11; compare Galatians 4:4-7; Romans 8:14-17; 2 Corinthians 6:17-18);

    • The church under the body of Christ metaphor was to model the coming eternal community, where the whole resurrected people of God will be structured and centred around Jesus as their rightful King (e.g., Luke 11:23; John 17:20-23; 1 Corinthians 1:7-9; 1 Timothy 6:13-16; Hebrews 3:1-6; Colossians 1:13; 2:19; compare Galatians 4:25-26; Philippians 3:20; Ephesians 1:22-23; Revelation 21:22);
    • The church under the temple of the Spirit metaphor are to exist as a single spiritual house wherein God Himself dwells (1 Peter 2:5; Ephesians 2:19-22; 1 Corinthians 3:9, 16; compare Revelation 21:1-3);
    • Individual church members were to seek the honour of others, not themselves (Romans 12:3, 10; Philippians 2:3-4; compare 1 Corinthians 12:22-26);
    • Church leaders were to function like household servants (2 Corinthians 4:5; Colossians 1:7; 4:7; Romans 16:1; 1 Corinthians 3:5; 16:15; Titus 1:7), with the apostle Paul being the household servant-manager over the churches he started (1 Corinthians 4:1; compare Colossians 1:24-25); and
    • The primary purpose of church meetings was for all believers in their Spirit-giftedness to build each other up as brothers and sisters (1 Corinthians 14:26; Ephesians 4:12, 15-16; Romans 15:2).

    The language of family and household are very extensive throughout the New Testament’s description of the early church. I am utterly convinced myself that New Testament church structures based on family relationships were not hierarchical, despite arguments to the contrary by other theologians who, in my opinion, have vested interests in upholding the current status quo in contemporary church leadership structures.

    Understanding these cultural differences between our modern, democratic Western societies and the New Testament Rome-dominated societies will offer what I consider to be a different perspective on comprehending the significance of Matthew 11:25-30.

    Old Testament Language of Matthew 11:25-30

    The language Jesus used in Matthew 11:25-30 was clearly drawn from Old Testament passages like:

    • Jeremiah 6:16: “find rest for your souls” [ESV];
    • Jeremiah 31:25: “satisfy the weary soul” [ESV]; and
    • 1 Kings 12:4: “lighten the hard service of your father and his heavy yoke on us” [ESV].

    The “yoke” imagery in the Old Testament frequently represented service to oppressive kings, usually foreign rulers, who tended to extract hard, burdensome service from their subjects for their own royal ease and prosperity (1 Kings 12:4-14/2 Chronicles 10:4-14; Deuteronomy 28:47-48; Isaiah 9:2-7; 10:24-27; 14:24-25; 47:5-6; Jeremiah 27:6-8, 11-13; 28:2-4, 10-15; 30:8-9; Ezekiel 30:18; 34:25-28; Lamentations 1:14; 3:19-30).

    Note in particular Proverbs 28:3, where a leader/ruler who oppresses the poor is compared to beating rain which leaves no food — both leaders and rain are expected to bring prosperity and growth, but tyrants become devastating rain that destroys and leaves people impoverished.

    Human yokes/governments are therefore hard and burdensome, but God’s yoke, the yoke of His covenant and law, is light in comparison (compare Jeremiah 2:20; 5:4-5; Deuteronomy 30:11-14; 1 John 5:2-3).

    God’s Form of Government

    Therefore, in contrast to human kings, Yahweh as King, Shepherd and Father in the Old Testament:

    • caused His people to walk by brooks of water in a straight path without stumbling, satisfying the weary soul (Jeremiah 31:9-14, 23-28; Ezekiel 34:11-16; compare Isaiah 40:3-4, 28-31; Psalm 23:1-3; 36:7-10);
    • gave His people rest under His gracious yet powerful rule (Psalm 95:3-11; see also Hebrews 3:7-4:13);
    • acted powerfully on behalf of His people with grace, mercy and abundant goodness (Psalm 145:4-9); and
    • lifted up His people’s heads, affirming them and giving them dignity, free from oppression (Psalm 3:3-6; Leviticus 26:13; Psalm 27:5-6; compare Psalm 18:1-3; 110:5-7; Genesis 40:13; Judges 8:28).

    Human governments and divine government, as represented by the “yoke” imagery, are therefore vastly different. This has significant implications in coming to terms with the “yoke” Jesus was offering all those who come to Him in Matthew 11:29, which we will look at in Part 2.

    Peter  Thompson was born in 1958 in the bulldust of south-western Queensland in the region around the township of Mitchell.  He was converted outside of the church through a supernatural encounter with the living God in Mackay, North Queensland, in February 1979, and embarked upon a long and arduous journey of God dealing with the figurative bulldust in his life.  In 2012, he completed a Bachelor of Ministry & Theology double degree, and in 2013, a Post-Graduate Diploma in Theology, all at Tabor Adelaide.  He currently lives with his two adult daughters in Ipswich, Queensland, and is writing a series of academic novels with the intent of hopefully helping to facilitate a church unifying movement through an unbranded form of Christianity in Australia.


    Copyright 2015 Peter Thompson. Permission is granted to copy, forward, or distribute this article for non-commercial use only, as long as this copyright byline, in totality, is maintained in all duplications, copies, and link references. For reprint permission for any commercial use, in any form of media, please contact us.

    To review the studies included in the Framework and find out why we have concluded these things you will need to see the notes which are available by contacting us.

    Please also share our blog to allow others to review and contribute – we need everyone, not just leaders, to play their part in building a church that others want to come to.

    Shifts and Regression in the 21st Century Church

    What you are about to read has taken more than 25 years to formulate in my Spirit. Unlike many “local yokels” who think they and/or their denomination have scripture and the will of God all figured out, I have learned that scripturalChurch_21st_Century understanding is an ongoing and never ending process. I am ready to give an account to the Lord for what I am about to share with you today. And I know we all will have to face Him someday for what we teach.

    Words have meaning and consequences. In this changing culture every word needs to be measured and some words need to get back to their original definitions. As you read this, my faith is not in my ability to express myself with the written word but in God the Holy Spirit who is the interpreter of everything. So let’s begin.

    Looking back at the church of the first century, we discover that:

    THE FIRST CENTURY CHURCH

    1. Christianity was a daily lifestyle.
    2. There was an understanding of only one church per city/region/world.

    3. There were many local groups or gatherings. Five-fold leadership was known and respected.

    4. Gatherings moved from house to house or wherever the disciples met.

    5. Apostles & prophets modeled the Christ-life for disciples to emulate.

    6. Elders were appointed in every local gathering in the city/region by apostles.

    7. The post-ascension Apostles were also elders in their communities.

    8. Apostles and elders heard from all and the Spirit carried out Christ’s government in His church.

    9. Elders functioned in plurality under the delegated authority of the Lord Jesus.

    10. Those who ruled (administration, oversight, stewardship) well were worthy of double honor.

    11. These were overseers (bishops) who ministered and served regionally.

    12. They received the voluntary obedience and submission of the saints as unto the Lord because of their maturity, example and testimony not because of office, position or title.

    13. Elders were under-shepherds of the Chief Shepherd, the Lord Jesus.

    14. Christians met together daily with no set schedule because they loved one another not once a week to get their blessing.

    15. The majority of the finances went to the poor, widows and the fatherless.

    While an individual elder may have provided oversight of an individual fellowship within a city, he did so in relationship with and in cooperation to the larger body of elders in that city or region. There were no mutually independent fellowships of the larger church. The church in each city or region was constituted as one body and functioned with many expressions. When it failed to do so, correction was brought (I Corinthians 3:3-17).

    I am sure I have left out something in these short 14 points but I am open for assistance and clarification.

    Looking at the present-day church, we discover that:

    THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY CHURCH

    1. Christianity has largely become a weekly ritualistic observance.
    2. There are many denominational and independent churches (divisions) in a city or region.

    3. People call a building “the Church”. People say “they are going to church.”

    4. We have substituted the church in a city or region for local fellowships that function from two basic misconceived forms of governance:

    1. a.In one we have the idea of an autonomous (self-ruled) local church with little or no connection to the church in the city or region.
    2. b.In the other we have the idea of denominational rule, which segregates us based upon denominational understanding of things like doctrine, rules of governance, and sacraments, etc.
    1. Too often decisions for the body are made either congregationally (democratic vote), or by those “in positions of authority or power.”

    2. While most would declare these decisions are bathed in prayer, in actual practice, decisions are often made and then prayer is made for the decision to be supported by God and accepted by the governed. And all of this is often without regard to the impact on the rest of the body of Christ in the city or region.

    3. Deacons, who are scripturally called to serve tables and minister to the saints, now serve on boards and make decisions.

    4. The word “elders” (plural) has been exchanged in the modern local gathering for the word “pastor” (singular) with a totally different meaning.

    5. The word “pastor” is supposed to be a shepherding gift for all. Now it’s used as a title for the one in charge.

    6. Congregations and/or denominations now hire their pastors.

    1. a.This places the pastor in an untenable situation as the main or major leader of the local gathering. As one who is paid by the people one leads, the situation will arise requiring the leader to choose between obeying God or submitting to the people who pay one’s salary. This is inevitable.
    2. b.The pastor also faces the fact that pastoral salary is tied to the pastor’s ability to build and keep a large congregation. Here I reflect on Jesus’ words In Matthew 16:18 where He said, “I (He) will build my (His) church.”
    1. Pastors are, in many situations, much like CEO’s who, along with hired staff run the local church.

    2. Pastors often function individually and independently and are considered the “heads” of their flocks.

    3. Pastors can and often do become hirelings who sell their resume. They are often only accountable to their own choices about where and how long to serve a local church.

    4. Boards constitute the ruling government of the church on paper while most have no real day to day authority over the pastor or denominational leaders.

    5. There is more attention placed on getting the “right” doctrine than living and modeling the “Christ-life”.

    6. The majority of the finances go to pay for buildings, salaries of professional paid clergy and their staff

    While there are many elders with a pastoral gift who are truly called by God as genuine under-shepherds and overseers, the contemporary religious systems and traditions minimize their effectiveness. This is particularly true when it comes to fulfilling the purpose of God to bring His government and glory to the earth realm. Today value and success are determined by numbers – how many, how much and how big. These were values unknown to New Testament believers and were never used to judge worth, honor and maturity in a leader.

    Now What?

    Can we go back to the way things were originally done? Well, let me ask you. Can you, as a leader, separate money, values, human measurement and power from the equation? I believe the ball is in our court and yes; the mess begins at the top. Now the next question we need to answer is, “Do weak pulpits make for weak pews?” Well, if you are a New Testament believer you don’t have a problem with that question because there were neither pews nor pulpits in the New Testament Church!

    I pray you have heard what the Spirit has been saying thus far. But now I pray you can hear what I’m about to say. The church as we know it, must take a major portion of the responsibility for that which is wrong in our country and in our world. The problems we face around the globe can be directly tied to the condition of His Church! The only permanent and lasting solution we have available to us will come only when His Church becomes what she was designed to be. We – the church – are called to love God, love one another and make disciples. It’s time we quit hiding out in prayer rooms or going to another conference for deep revelation. We must move outside the four walls of buildings to affect change in the people around us and in the world.

    Here are some final questions, maybe for another article or maybe they await your input.

    What is the alternative and how do we relate to folks who embody or participate in or with those values we despise and that are clearly unbiblical and opposed to the kingdom? How does love prevail?

    It might be that there are no steps, because the situation is terminal and unredeemable, if so, how do we exist in the tension during the season of migration in between where we are to where we need to be?

    The church can physically leave the buildings and refuse to participate in the systems of men but are these things fused to our Spirit?

    Oh Father, have mercy on our mess and allow your Body the privilege of cooperating again with the Holy Spirit under the headship of the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Jose Bosque


    Copyright 2013 Jose L. Bosque http://www.JaxChristian.com. Permission is granted to copy, forward, or distribute this article for non-commercial use only, as long as this copyright byline, in totality, is maintained in all duplications, copies, and link references. For reprint permission for any commercial use, in any form of media, please contact   JaxChristian1@aol.com

    To review the studies included in the Framework and find out why we have concluded these things you will need to see the notes which are available by contacting us.

    Please also share our blog to allow others to review and contribute – we need everyone, not just leaders, to play their part in building a church that others want to come to.

    Organic Church vs. Church that is Organic

    By Dr. Stephen Crosby

    It’s About the Life, not the Form

    There is no  spiritual significance inherent in moving a meeting out of a sanctuary into a living room. The question to be asked is not related to how we meet (form), but how we live life together in Christ (substance) and the values we embrace. Whenever love wanes, efficiently administered corporation ethics subtly and subversively displace family (kingdom) values.pic 1

    The only way a family grows is by giving itself away. A family remains a family by giving away life. A family is bonded in covenantal love, but love lets children grow, and through tears of love, releases them to “increase” the family by “scattering.” In a sense, the individual family decreases, the greater family increases. A family cannot experience increase by clinging to what it has.

    Children grow up, leave, most often marry, and new life  is often the result. The gene pool is diversified for the overall health and well-being of the greater family.   A family that never releases its members–a family that never allows the introduction of diverse DNA into the family–will soon cease to be a family, or become a pocket of isolated genetic defectives. A family that is obsessed about the purity of its own image, is headed for trouble. Introduction of diversity, is key to genetic health. You have to be willing to allow one’s own image to seem to be lost,  to see it again in modified reflections (family resemblance) of one’s self in new life, that you have no direct control over. Seed must be sown to reproduce. We are the seed, not our money. We are sown in death, raised in newness of life, to bear a family image and likeness.

    On the other hand, a corporation sustains itself by insulating its assets from risk. It has no life to give away. Because a corporation does not have life and does not operate on love, it requires structure, order, and rules to maintain its identity. When love is absent or diminished, systems become a necessity to maintain group order and to perpetuate the group. A corporation grows/survives by protecting itself, assuring that it experiences no decrease. A corporation grows through accumulation of resources, not the scattering of them. A corporation can only experience increase by clinging to what it has, and trying to acquire more.

    The kingdom of God is a family, not a corporation. If we gather in a living room with a corporate mindset, Jesus’ kingdom will have  experienced no increase. We will delude ourselves into thinking we are involved in something spiritually significant simply because of our spatial geography at the moment.

    Jesus’ family grows by scattering–the giving away of resources because we are animated by the power of love, and love’s compulsion is to scatter. Love compels us to release resources: time, money, people, gifts. We gather to love, nurture, and disciple for the sole purpose of seeing the greater family increase through the scattering/release of resources, not the maintenance of our singular group, through the accumulation of resources and the aggrandizement of individual egos and reputations.

    It makes no difference if we gather in a living room or a sanctuary if the values of “asset protection,” the perpetuation of pet doctrines, gift addictions, the ego need of teachers/preachers for a weekly audience, and a misdirected sense of purity are present, we will become nothing other than an isolated pocket of spiritual defectives.

    A greater change has to take place than the location of our posteriors during a meeting. A deep purging and realignment of our values must take place, lest we fool ourselves by just running a “mom and pop” religious shop instead of a Fortune 500 version of the same religious machine.


    Copyright 2015,  Dr. Stephen R. Crosby, www.stevecrosby.org Permission is granted to copy, forward, or distribute this article for non-commercial use only, as long as this copyright byline, in totality, is maintained in all duplications, copies, and link references.  For reprint permission for any commercial use, in any form of media, please contact stephrcrosby@gmail.com.

    To review the studies included in the Framework and find out why we have concluded these things you will need to see the notes which are available by contacting us.

    Please also share our blog to allow others to review and contribute – we need everyone, not just leaders, to play their part in building a church that others want to come to.

    Planting Churches or Making Disciples? by Steve Crosby

    We are delighted  that we have permission  from Steve Crosby, an author from the excellent site www.godsleader.com to post an illuminating article on apostolic discipling versus church planting.

    Have you ever made a passing comment that you thought was benign, but it ended up causing a hostile reaction? I had that joy recently. I made what I thought was a mild and self-evident comment on a social media site (my first mistake!). It met with that special spiritual gift of the Christian social media world: vitriol and venom!

    Planting Churches is it really scriptural?

    My crime? I suggested that “church planting” is not inherently the same as making disciples. The irrational nature of some of the responses indicates to me that some strong vested interests were kicking in. Normally this level of hostility only occurs when an individual’s identity is wrapped up in “ministry,” one’s belief systems, or the individual’s access to money is threatened by the comment. Perhaps the nerve I hit . . . needed to be hit.

    The phrase “church planting” is never used in the New Testament. Jesus never said: “Build/plant a church for Me.” He said to make disciples, seek the kingdom, and He will build the church. The scriptures exhort us to build up one another individually through agape and charis exchange, but never tell us to build an entity, “a local church.” Paul planted the gospel seed in souls. Others watered that seed. That seed birthed disciples. Those disciples in a given geography gathered together in that locality, and a local church was born.

    There are those who think this is just semantic fussing over synonymous terms: the exercise of theologians with too much time on their hands, right up there with the number of angels that can be accommodated on a head of a pin. I disagree.

    Advocating for the use of biblical terminology should not be so controversial, unless in so doing, one’s efforts for Christ are perceived as disvalued. Dead men can’t be offended.  Perhaps our efforts for Him are not as free of a personal agenda and the need for self-validation as we might wish. Those who ask potentially embarrassing and self-reflective questions requiring personal change among the consensus orthodoxy(1) of establishment religion, are normally not welcome. I understand the human dynamics of it all.

    However, for the moment, let’s concede the point. Let’s say the terms are synonymous. The values andmethods embodied in one’s understanding of “church planting=disciple making” make all the difference.

    My premise is that there are tens, if not hundreds of thousands of “planted churches” that neither make disciples, nor seek the kingdom. Whatever may be “planted” often bears little resemblance to what Paul believed or did. What follows are some of the reasons why I believe apostolic disciple making(2) and modern church planting are not synonymous in their value systems. This is not necessarily a comprehensive list, and not listed in any priority.

    Apostolic Disciple Making

    • Jesus’ kingdom goes forth in and through us by sharing and experiencing life together in a community.

    Modern Church Planting

    • Is built around inviting people to our church and meetings. It isn’t the same as inviting them into our hearts and lives. The former costs us nothing, the latter will cost us everything.

     Apostolic Disciple Making

    • The churches were not Paul’s. He did not have absolute authority over them. You do not end up rejected, alone, unsupported, and in jail, if you have absolute authority over the churches you “plant.”

    Modern Church Planting

    • Leaders often require inordinate, and absolute submission to themselves.

     Apostolic Disciple Making

    • Paul was content to establish local elders after only three years of “training,” and to leave them without his future involvement, knowing that so doing would result in negative dynamics in the congregation. (3)

    Modern Church Planting

    • Modern church planters micromanage church affairs. They would never think of leaving a local church in the charge of converts from paganism, with only three years of training, and no other oversight from “senior leaders.” Many “church planters” require years and years of “loyalty” to themselves from  individuals, and that they be mandatory tithers, before consideration as a local elder.

    Apostolic Disciple Making

    • Birth disciples relationally.

    Modern Church Planting

    • Establish churches organizationally and administratively.

    Apostolic Disciple Making

    • Loving well and living well together in Christ, in community, and loving and serving others is the practical expression of existence.

    Modern Church Planting

    • The sermon and the music/praise service in the “meetings” are the practical expression of identity and existence. How well we live together matters little. The only things that matter are: “Is the sermon revelatory/inspiring and is the worship anointed?”

    Apostolic Disciple Making

    • Includes the normative expression of supernatural gifts and manifestations.

    Modern Church Planting

    • In some climates the supernatural element is often dispensationally deleted, or viewed as a vestigial nonessential. Our “church plants” are little more than eternal classrooms keeping people in dependent infancy upon information acquisition, or endless counseling/therapy sessions.
    • In other climates the manifestation of the supernatural is worshipped, faked, or counterfeited.

    Apostolic Disciple Making

    • Emphasizes the increase of the name and kingdom of Jesus in a geographic community.

    Modern Church Planting

    • Much modern church planting is not about Jesus’ kingdom interests in a community, but perpetuation of a private brand identity (denomination, group, association); franchising a spiritual brand, rather than increasing His kingdom.

    Apostolic Disciple Making

    • Personal financial support is not mandated. Paul did not mandate personal financial support from churches he was in relation with. Economics flows from love, not obligation.

    Modern Church Planting

    • It is frequently all about the money. Teachings about a mandatory tithe and other mandatory financial schemes abound. Money dictates decisions.

    Apostolic Disciple Making

    • Allows the Holy Spirit to cross-pollinate His own. Paul allowed unhindered access of all the Eph. 4 ministry gifts in congregations, cross-pollination in diversity, without his express permission in advance.

    Modern Church Planting

    • Local church planters have a death-grip control on congregational access, based on “protecting the flock,” when it is often about assuring an income stream for themselves.

    Apostolic Disciple Making

    • Requires loyalty to Jesus.

    Modern Church Planting

    • Leaders require loyalty to themselves personally, and to the organizational identity corporately.church pic

    Apostolic Disciple Making

    • Paul led by relationship, influence, and spiritual authority.

    Modern Church Planting

    • Many modern leaders lead by position, rank, and carnal authoritarianism.

    Apostolic Disciple Making

    • Births relational disciples within an apostolic framework of understanding

    Modern Church Planting

    • Modern “church plants” are done with only a pastor-teacher framework of understanding.  The apostolic and prophetic graces are not understood, nor expressed, and often denied.

    Apostolic Disciple Making

    • Paul’s ministry centered around the Person of Jesus Christ, not “his ministry.”

    Modern Church Planting

    • Often centered around the senior leader, his/her personality and gift; celebrityism.

    Apostolic Disciple Making

    • Is based on the operational reality of death and resurrection, His increase and our decrease. Paul was willing to lose his association to the local churches. They could readily disassociate from him.

    Modern Church Planting

    • Pastors/leaders treat churches as if they belonged to them like a commodity: “my church,” “my congregation,” etc. Ministry is done by “gift exercise, administration, and control” rather than death and resurrection. Leaders are unwilling to lose it all, until the Holy Spirit loses it for them, often through much personal pain, and pain in those who have associated with the “leader” rather than Jesus.

     Apostolic Disciple Making

    • Paul gave his life and resources for the churches, though he was loved the less for it.

    Modern Church Planting

    • Members of the congregation are expected to give their lives (time, talent, and finances) to fulfill the leader’s “vision;” honor is an entitlement of spiritual position rather than merited through service.

     Apostolic Disciple Making

    • Apostolic churches have a diverse expression of spiritual gift manifestation.

    Modern Church Planting

    • Modern churches are overwhelmingly dominated by a singular individual, with a singular gift: the pastor-teacher. All other gifts are sublimated to that gift, if functioning at all beyond a sporadic and token level.

     Apostolic Disciple Making

    • The goal is the increase of the life of Christ in the earth, through discipleship, regardless if it results in local congregation increase; increase through scattering, release, and liberty.

    Modern Church Planting

    • The goal is in the numeric and financial increase of the local congregation; increase through gathering, corral, and control.

    Apostolic Disciple Making

    • Emphasizes transformation into the image of Jesus through discipleship

    Modern Church Planting

    • Emphasizes “salvations.”(4)

    So, what should we make of this? The good news is, the depth and breadth of God’s great redemptive plan is enough to sanctify and  bless any effort done in faith, for Him. He can, and will, bless any mess offered to Him in relational faith. If methodological perfections were required, we would all have no hope.

    On the other hand, we should not presume upon His great grace and redemption to normalize error and continue practices which misrepresent His purposes in the earth, and which harm the people of God.

    References

    1. The accepted norms of belief in practice in any group or association; present reality is “fine,” and sanctioned by God.
    2. Apostolic Disciple Making: my term for the process of making disciples with the same values and methods used by the apostles, primarily, Paul. It is not meant as a limiting term as something only apostles are qualified to do. Every believer should be “apostolic” in the disciple-making mandate.
    3. Paul was in Ephesus for about three years. He raised up elders, left them, never saw them again, knowing that “wolves” would enter the congregation and some of the very elders he was talking to would regress into self-aggrandizing ambition. See Acts 20. I once heard a well-known apostolic level “father” teach that unless someone is a “tither” who has proved his loyalty for at least twenty years, he should not be considered a candidate to be an elder.
    4. George Barna has documented that fewer than one in ten pastors believe transformation into the image of Christ has any bearing on the spiritual health of a congregation, believing instead that how many people attend, and how many programs are offered indicate spiritual health. More than four out of five pastors never mention issues of transformation in their congregations, preferring to emphasize “salvation.”

    Copyright 2012 Dr. Stephen R. Crosby http://www.drstevecrosby.wordpress.com. Permission is granted to copy, forward, or distribute this article for non-commercial use only, as long as this copyright byline, in totality, is maintained in all duplications, copies, and link references.

     

    We are pleased to say the Church Excellence Framework includes the concepts listed under Apostolic Disciplemaking. We are convinced getting a deeper understanding of  disciplemaking is  one of the fundamental issues in restoring our nation back to Christ.  By raising up genuine disciples who want to honour God, know God and know how to multiply their lives  then we contend our society will be a different place.

    ANNOUNCEMENT

    The actual framework is now on the site for download at no charge as we have private funding  https://growingpeopleframework.wordpress.com/framework/

    To review the studies and find out why we have concluded these things you will need to see the notes which are available by contacting us.

    Please also share our blog to allow others to consider – we need everyone, not just leaders, to play their part in building a church that others want to come to.

    Maximizing Effective Disciplemaking in Churches

    From CEO of Church Excellence Framework

    We are pleased to announce the introduction of another blogger to our team who comes with extensive experience coaching pastors and working with church growth tools. He will be blogging shortly.

    Part of the framework is to communicate good learning and development techniques so we see quality disciples being made. Without this we can be under the illusion that we are making disciples. This is a tragedy if good learning is not taking place.

    To do that it is critical that ministry workers understand principles of adult learning. So we have listed some key points here.

    church growth# Adults require a great deal of motivation   –they need to know why they need to learn something. This is so important to keep reinforcing in any learning intervention particularly how it links with the strategic plan.

    #Adults have a strong self-concept-   adults learn they are responsible for their own learning. As such they resent others imposing their wills. We need to present the material in a way that respects and consults the learner. This may be done by: –

    1. Involving participants in the process of identifying needs and in the planning
    2. Encouraging the learning process to be more of a mutual responsibility where the trainers role is more of a facilitator and co-inquirer
    3. Helping the participants to manage their own learning and self-evaluate.

    Adults come with lots of personal experience.   Adults often have a well-developed sense of values, attitudes and knowledge, which can make them less, open-minded. The implications for training are:

    • Relate new situations to past experiences
    • Respect past experiences as an active component in learning
    • Recognise prior learning and don’t ask them all to start in the same place.
    • Employ training methods that use the learners experience e.g., role plays, testimonies

    Adults are under pressure- so they want to learn things that relate to their concerns or immediate issues.  By focusing on these concerns and restating the learning process in terms of these immediate needs, learners will be more open to receive training. This may require consultation with the congregation

     Retention of Information Presented

    retentin of info

     The facts  speak loudly that we need to involve people in learning interventions and not just speak to them. If we do speak it has been shown that on average 20 mins is the maximum for retention.

    If we do use speaking it is better to contain vital elements such as power points, application questions and some interaction. Talking heads can be a poor way to learn particularly if there are multiple sessions such as in a conference.

    We know there is power in God’s word to transform but we also need to ask what percentages of our sermons are actually talking about scripture to quote this reason?

    The standard lists some creative ways of engaging particularly in Sunday services. Here are some more: –

    • Youtube
    • Webinar software
    • Twitter or text message sent from congregation asking questions that pastor answers ( so can be filtered)
    • Q and A from Microphone
    • Ensuring themes to build on material
    • Books and handouts recommended on a theme to ensure the learning are reinforced for those interested.
    • Props
    • Banner at back of the stage to reinforce a theme
    • PowerPoint presentations with main points which are then reinforced at the end of the sermon
    • A handout with application questions to ponder through the week
    • Asking for a response for people to come forward after a message
    • Moving the worship so that it can be used as a reflection time for God to speak after the sermon.
    • Interspersing testimonies in between a message (a page on the website can collect testimonies on ongoing basis). Video testimonies can be powerful.
    • Panel discussions.
    • Sheet given to guest speakers as to the minimum requirements in terms of presentation( eg title, summary ,application, powerpoints, bible references)

      Action Learning Illustration

    Action learning is a buzzword that is currently being used to demonstrate different ways a learning intervention can be presented to ensure quality learning.  The diagram below shows some elements. The more that are  incorporated ,the more dynamic the learning. TALKING HEADS are not a good style when it is overused. A lot of churches are now bringing in shorter 20 min sermons with other tools to incorporate learning.

    Examples of how to empower others: –

    • Ask them what their passion, calling, gifting, past experienced are and help them move closer to this. An individual meeting can be offered to ascertain this and facilitate the use of their gifting. See checklist at Tools note 1, as a tool for use.
    • Provide resources, contacts and authority for them to act. Check how they are doing and if you can help overcome any obstacles .ie use coaching skills to empower them.
    • Be willing to trust and delegate and work through their learning issues. You were given a break when you were learning. Church is not meant to be a professional organisation but a learning organisation with a sovereign people so all are entitled to play a part and deserve to be trusted initially. With a good interview and management process any people not suited for a role can be directed to a more suitable position rather than excluded initially until they have proved themselves. This can be very demotivating to new people.
    • Check how much you aAction learningre not delegating in the name of protecting your people or not trusting. The world needs empowered Christians. Doing is the best way of learning.
    • Encourage them to serve as a way of engaging them. If they are not right for the role then be bold and find something more suitable but don’t let this be a reason to not empower them in the first place. We are all the priesthood of believers so have a right to have a part in a church.
    • Encourage those with authority not to ask permission on small items so small issues are not overburdening senior leaders.
    • Encourage people to give prophetic words to each other.
    • Find out what the person you are empowering is doing and coach them to find their own solution ( as opposed to offering unsolicited advice or assuming you know what  the problem is  without confirming it )

    The framework contains lots of notes to help you implement the principles and draw on the vast expertise of many researchers and implementors. Do contact us for the full version. At the moment this initiative is funded by personal benefactors  so we are providing this at no cost. http://www.churchexcellenceframework.com/contact

    25 practical ways to bring Church Back to More Relevance

    Blog from CEO of the Church Excellence Framework

    Bringing the church back to more relevance

    We are excited that many are now interested and sense God calling us back to a more biblical ecclesia definition of church and away from institutional Christianity which we believe has a lot of ways of operating that are not working and do not have the DNA of the bible .  The framework proposes some practical methods and principles to move us in that direction.

    Here are a sample of some principles that are incorporated in the frameworkchurch growth

    • Returning the church to the original definition of Ecclesia that all people have authority and involvement, not just leaders
    • Church serving the people not the people serving the church vision
    • Moving to senior pastor as a facilitator rather than the person who must give permission before people are allowed to act in their area of passion.
    • Clarifying and serving the Calling of People vs Serving the Church vision, even if outside church activities
    • Priesthood of All Believers and Every Member Ministry ( 1 Peter 2: 9) to allow less pressure on paid  pastors
    • Bringing back the  Five Fold Ministry (Eph 5) ensuring tha tevery church has apostolic oversight, their is a role for the evangelist  and teachers are not the senior pastors responsible for a lot of admin that is not their gifting.
    • Increasing understanding of the heavenly court systems and unseen realities of heaven that have been hidden from traditional church teaching
    • More effective methods of  Empowering Establishing and Equipping of the Saints going beyond small groups and sermons.
    • Moving from  “Connecting to a Church” to Measures of Transformation
    • Moving away from Attraction Model to Discipling Model – Platforms for Community Engagement not Concert Attendance
    • Moving towards measuring “Numbers of disciples effectively equipped and able to reach out ” versus “Numbers attending Church”
    • Changing the staffing structure from appointing ministry roles to appointing by critical Functions such as HR and Communications, Head of Spiritual Operations, Head of Evangelism. Avoiding pastors seeking to do numerous tasks not in alignment with their gifting
    • Principle that Quality Relationships result in engagement more than  content so reducing heavy listening content and more netweaving.
    • Allowing Debate and Questioning as a key tool for Learning
    • Encouraging greater unity with other Christian denominations and Christian organizations by seeing more products advertised and working with other churches and city council.
    • Allowing people to share  prophesy in services and minister to others as a regular event
    • Encouraging  Trust and Believing the Best in Others particularly new people moving from ” we need to get to know you” philoshosy which slows down disciplemaking and breeds resentment.
    • Moving from Teaching to Learning with emphasis on outcomes such as growth of believer not input such as how many in small groups
    • Multiplication and one-on-one Disciple-making (2 Tim 2:2) not just group discipling
    • Encouraging more Church Transparency and Lives that Invite Feedback and Development
    • Moving  from “Shouting on the Mountaintop” ie  preaching in a church mainly full of believers  to “Immersing in thflowcharte Culture”
    •  Encouraging lots of resources to be given to people even if from different parts of the Body of Christ
    •  Honouring People, evaluating how people are loved  and treated fairly “All men will know you are my disciples if you love one another” (John 13:34)
    •  Encouraging Creativity in Spiritual formation and Cross fertilization of Ideas
    •  Interactive Action Learning that supports developing a genuine relationship with God
    • Going to Non-believers in their situation and Walking with Them (Missional Community) rather than inviting people to our environment
    • Supporting Christians in the Marketplace (Being Salt and Light)
    • Returning the church to the original definition of Ecclesia that all people have authority and involvement not just leaders
    • Bringing the charismatic, contemplative, community care, evangelistic, mystic style churches into one church rather than churches specializing, on the basis that all elements are biblical and not to be excluded.

    We have found a great resource on helping people understand more of the disciple making principles encouraged by the framework –

    see here http://churchanarchist.com/real-discipleship-creates-disciple-makers

     

     

    This blog can be reproduced as long as we are notified.

    CAN YOU HELP US?

    If you agree with these principles can we ask that you send this to your pastor and talk to him about his response- also asking if they undertake any church health exercises. It is Gods Church and the peoples church,  not the pastors church remember. We have a right to discuss good biblical principles with our leaders and if they are good leaders they will be happy to discuss things without being defensive.

    We would like to post on topics you are interested in so please do let us know  in the comments section below , what you want to know about and also we are interested in hearing from you on what you want to see in church that you are not currently.

    Also we would appreciate you sharing our blog with others to help build a more relevant church that is reaching a greater number of people.

    To see the actual framework for a limited time go to www.churchexcellenceframework.com

    Continue reading