Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Empowering the Family

What in the world are those pastors doing over there at Urban Life Church? Who ever heard of a church that only meets twice a month? Who ever heard of a church that tells its members to meet in their homes at times that are best for their families?

All I know is that the Lord is leading us to really empower the families of Urban Life Church. My wife and I have been called to serve the individuals and heads of household by equipping them to do the work of the ministry, and we are to place the emphasis of that work in the family.

After eight years of ministering in this community, we were always frustrated by the varying schedules and obligations that seemingly interrupted the progress of the church. However, the Lord was able to get through my preconceived ideas and ideology about the role of the church in the 21st century.

In this generation of the church, the family has been pulled apart by so many things that the church has simply become just one more thing that’s contributing to the problem.

Therefore, we have adapted and changed. Now we have adjusted our church schedule and our ministry expectations. We don’t add more to the weekend. Now we keep it simple. There’s corporate prayer and special training to learn how to host and conduct a small group or family gathering. There’s also a corporate gathering for fellowship and reconnecting with one another.

Our desire and expectation, now, is that families will get together and talk. We hope that the talks lead to prayer. We know the prayer will lead to healing.

We’re changing the paradigm of the church. The Sunday sermon and altar call are no longer the highlight of the week. Now it will be the family prayer and having a mother, father, sister, brother, cousin, uncle or aunt to reach new levels of reconciliation and restoration.

I just know that what God is seeking to do in Harrisburg cannot be limited to the four walls of a church. The burden cannot be the responsibility of a senior pastor, alone. Now it’s time for families to be empowered. They need to feel the urgency about the eternal destiny of their loved ones. They need to feel the birth pangs of intercessory prayer. They need to cry in the midnight for their marriages and for their children.

I believe God wants to give the family a hunger for His presence and His word. He wants to infuse their life’s journey with joy and enthusiasm. I believe that we have been given this great assignment to empower the families so that the families can know God for themselves without depending upon a pastor for all the answers and support.

Now that we are empty nesters, we see and understand that the progression of parenting and releasing children should take place in the church just like it should take place in a family. We are to teach, train, equip and release people into the ministry. But the ministry is not on a stage or in a pulpit. The ministry is in their homes, in the simple everyday things of life.