Thursday, September 5, 2013

Not for the Faint of Heart

Lately I've been reconsidering how I present our ministry to Believers who are considering membership. I have decided that I'm not going to soft peddle our mission and vision just to gain members. I have had to settle it. Our church mission isn't for everybody.

In fact; What if our Church presented itself the same way the Marines do? What if we stopped using the promise of wealth, material blessings and miraculous healing as our way to draw people into our fellowship? What if we just told it like it really is? You're signing up for something that's greater than yourself. You're signing up for Spiritual Warfare. 

Do you have the heart for this?

Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Art of STEALTH

We have always been advocates of the wisdom of God that commands that we must prepare for the future. We must be faithful with a little before we are given more. We must be prepared like the wise virgins in the parable of Jesus, so that we don’t miss our once in a lifetime moment. Like an expectant mother, we must get ready for the new life that is about to enter and change our world.

For the next nine months we are going to reset, retool, restructure, review, readjust, repair and revive our mission and vision for this community. We will continue to meet on the First and Third Sunday of each month but our meetings will not be church services. They will become ministry training sessions. The FIRST Sundays will be all about training us to help people through the ministries of lay-counseling and compassion. On THIRD Sundays we will focus on the practical logistics of how to start, maintain and flow with God in the building and expansion of a church and its intricate ministries.

The next nine months will be all about us getting trained for a new ministry launch. Therefore  you don’t need to invite anyone to attend during this period. If someone happens to visit , that’s okay. When they arrive they will step into our season of  preparing for a new move of God.

Urban Life is to be a church for people who want to do more than just attend a weekly service to get their needs met. This is to be a place for people who are seeking God. This is to be a place for  people who are ready to be properly trained for ministry. We are taking the next nine months to prepare our hearts to be that type of church.

The last 50+ years have seen church leaders training people to perform on a stage, behind a podium, or in front of a crowd. We have trained people to believe that worship is the same thing as a music concert and the goals of our young people have been reduced to aspiring to win Christian talent shows.

The Lord told us that we are to train a new team in the art of STEALTH. By definition this word means the act or characteristic of moving with extreme care and quietness, so as to avoid detection. As an acronym it means Spiritual Training for the Equipping, Anointing, Liberation and Transformation of Hearts and Homes.

God has spoken to us to train our church to be effective out of the spotlight, behind the scenes, and under the radar. We must be able to obey the voice of God and follow Him as He leads us behind enemy lines and into the heart of territory that has always been under the control of demonic strongholds. This requires a specially trained Believer.

We cannot desire notoriety and fame in the true mission of this church. That's why we're calling it STEALTH ministry training and Undercover Missions training. God has a great work for us, but it's like the task of Marines, Navy SEALS and Special Force Units who have top secret missions that no one knows anything about except their commanders.

Over thirty years ago our overseer, Bishop Raphael Green, wrote a song that described the heart of many Believers even back in that era and how many view the ministry today. The lyrics were:

Notoriety and fame!
I want the world to know my name;
I'm living and breathing for fame;
Notoriety insane!

The strategy the Lord gave us during our 40 days of prayer and consecration was to reset the ministry, and this time, to start with a new team of people by training them how to serve in obscurity.

You could summarize the strategy with the words of Philippians 2:1-8 (NASB)
Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,  but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.