I once heard it said, “The methods and tools that we use to be the church should continually change, but the Gospel is unchanging.” Change is one of the hardest things for groups of people to achieve in ministry. We love the safety and security of our routines and traditions. And for hundreds of years, the Church has functioned in primarily the same fundamental ways. Yet without change, we begin to lose our effectiveness. If we can be honest, that is where we find much of the Church today. And without change, our very own children may choose to leave a faith that seems to have no power or true influence on their lives.
Functioning as a roadmap, this book is the vision of what God has revealed as a revised tool or way to function as the Bride of Christ on a local fellowship level. In a time where the corporation and large church models seem to be the standard of effective ministry, this tool strives to turn the world’s wisdom upside-down as it reveals a way to develop small local fellowships that function without assets, membership rolls, or even board members.
Choosing to walk away from the traditional church model is the most difficult decision many of us may ever make. For in many cases, all of our training, our accomplishments, and our credentials are bound to a system that seems to have total control over our various calls and ministries. Yet for those who have left our denominational churches, we patiently wait to receive our marching orders from our King. Crushed but not perplexed, we stand against what feels like an insurmountable obstacle as we witness the mass exodus from religious Christianity and strive to breathe life back into those who now hold the title of “once churched”.
This book is for pastors who have been called out of their churches (or have been thrown out) and are honestly seeking God’s will to find where the Spirit is leading. It is also for local church fellowships who have been called to break free of the heavy yoke of the “traditional ministry model” that is predicated on gathering, protecting and maintaining God’s resources. The concept found within is a tool that should provide pastors with authority, accountability, and approval to function outside of our traditional church systems.
There is no beating around the bush. This book is all about reformation. It is about sharing a fundamental shift in ecclesiology (the nature and structure of the Christian Church). For the time for reform has come. The season of true revival is at hand as God works through the weakness of those who have been called out and begins to raise up new healthy fellowships that are actively and aggressively making disciples of Jesus Christ.
Going smaller is not a step back. It is a step up. For true faith is required to shape ministries that must fully depend on God’s provision to succeed. The holiness of God can be found in likeminded fellowships who gather around loving relationships rather than the traditions and the bylaws of men.
We can have peace knowing that God would not have called us out without calling us toward something else. It may feel like it right now, but WE ARE NOT ALONE… Many other pastors and congregations are doing their best to follow the Spirit’s leading as they walk away from the traditions and doctrines of the established church. Therefore, stay true to that end and we will soon find joy. Let this book help to strip away the paralyzing fear that binds us as we serve the Lord again in our Calling. For what else can we pastors do? Traditional or not, the beating of our heart is to serve the Lord.
After reading this book, any pastor with any education level should be able to gain perspective and authority to start new fellowships from scratch (completely independent of any funding or denominational approval). Therefore, let us prepare our hearts to learn about this revised tool for being the Church. And let us find peace knowing that we are exactly where God has called us to be.