The Best Kind of Church

What is the best kind of church for this dark hour?  What kind of church transcends outward success and has true impact? What kind of church does not kill its pastor or crank out lukewarm believers?

Right now God is recruiting men and women to lead a new kind of congregation. He is asking for volunteers to build churches that can save America. He is offering you a glorious opportunity to build a storm proof, battle tested family of believers.   An army who will not just survive, they will thrive.

I am writing to the sincere, brokenhearted pastor and to the people who love that pastor. I want this to be a word that brings life, hope and direction. You will not hear this in any seminar on church growth. It is a radical departure from what you have been told.  But there is no doubt this will work.

1. Let go. Let go of the stress of human church growth models. Let go of the nasty people—both the pharisitic who criticizes all you do and the parasitic who sucks the life out leadership.  Let go of the pressure to please anyone but God.  Let go of the fear of finances. Let go of the fear of failure. Now what are you left with? You are in a complete state of joyous dependency on God. 

2. Seek Jesus. I am absolutely telling you to break away and seek God. Don’t seek guidance. Don’t seek provision. Don’t seek growth. Just seek Jesus until He is more real than anything you fear.

David Wilkerson said this after Christ set him free from man made ministry: “Now, my greatest joy is waiting upon Him for direction. I have made time to be alone with Him, and have prepared my soul to abide in His quiet presence. He is letting me sense what the Spirit is saying to this generation. The more He empties me, the more He fills me with a desire to depend only on Him for everything. I see now that all along the Lord was waiting for me to lay down all my plans, all my ambitions, and be given over to Him as a bond slave. The sweat is now gone – the pressure is off. He is recreating all my values.”

3.Tell the people they are destroyers of the works of the devil. Does that sound oversimplified or strange? The fact is, this is the most lethal announcement Satan will ever hear in your church .

1 John 3: 8 tell us that Jesus was purpose driven: “for this purpose was the Son of God revealed that He might destroy the works of the devil.”  However, the purpose that drove Him was totally unlike what modern preachers love to talk about.  Jesus is a destroyer of the works of the devil.  Why is that important to note?

It shows the people the purpose that should drive them.  They are an extension of the purpose of Christ and not some freelance boring substitute. So much is said about being purpose driven. Here is the purpose!

If the people redefine themselves as destroyers of the works of the devil it will instantly transform your meetings. Gone is the harmless fellowship or self-help seminars. From this point on, church services are demonstrations of the power of God and training sessions for your people to go out and destroy the works of the devil.

Your people will cease to attend church to do time, or learn to tread water. They will expect miracles. That part is the key to reaching modern America.  If church becomes a center for Holy Spirit led signs and wonders. If the moving of the Spirit is free and balanced then outsiders will see undeniable proof of the power of Christ. That becomes the attraction.

Today we have been ushered into one of two extremes in church models. One is totally entertainment business model that runs like a machine. The other, sadly, is a model of reaction where declining attendance and religious defiance drives preachers to preach angry sermons and put increasing bondage on their dwindling numbers.

Church should attract but for the right reason. When the reason is right it, brings people who are hungry for truth, who need a miracle, who yearn for deliverance from addiction, perversion and all the damage of our sick and stupid culture.

Best of all they not only come—they stay. You don’t have to cater to their whims because they have met Christ and have been ruined by His glory.

4.Give the Holy Spirit actual and not symbolic control to make revival sustainable. Once you start growing and the crowds come, you will need wisdom from beyond this world to make it sustainable. Don’t violate the power that brought you this miracle by falling back into human wisdom and old habits. Determine to make your dependency on the Holy Spirit real not symbolic or mystical. The more you do this the clearer His guidance will become.

How can you not try this? If the possibility exists for a congregation that is excited, unselfish, supernatural and uniquely forged to save America why wouldn’t you be open? I pray you will!

How we lost so much ground to the enemy.

We denied the devil existed.  What happens when you deny the existence of Satan?  You wipe out the meaning of the armor of God and the sword of the Spirit.  You lose your identity as a soldier of Christ. The gifts of the Spirit— “mighty to the tearing down of strongholds”—lose all meaning.

I wondered why leading pastors never confronted the evil Obama did to the church.  I assumed they felt it wrong for preachers to entangle themselves in partisan politics.  Today I know better.

Their issue is with confrontation itself.  They hate confrontation.  They refuse to believe we locked in a battle with evil.  It oozes out of everything they preach.

For them, the enemy is low self-esteem not Satan.  They focus on happiness and career satisfaction.  Mario, what is wrong with that?  Nothing, except it cuts against the grain of everything Jesus taught.

He said “but seek first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.” –Matthew 6:33. The unmistakable mantra of the stylish American Church is to “seek all these things.”

When the top selling Christian books of the last several years don’t mention Satan it exposes the appetites of this generation of Christians.  It explains how we lost more ground to Satan, in less time, than at any other Christians in history.

And with all due respect, the teachings of these pastors actually make a purpose driven life impossible. 1 John 3:8 says, “for this purpose was the Son of God revealed, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” If you are not engaged in war against evil, you are denying Christ’s purpose.  If you deny His purpose, how can you say you found yours?

Denying we are soldiers in a war destroys our capacity for sacrifice and obedience.  We try to create heaven on earth and have our reward here.  Instead of being in warfare, Christians are on welfare.  They believe there is no work to be done, or struggle to endure, or enemy to resist.  We didn’t just lose the war for our nation’s soul, we forfeited.  We never even showed up.

How do we reverse this curse?

You have to separate yourself from the Christian happy hour.  Explode the myth that there’s a happy life for those who deny we are in a war.  What you will not read in any of those books is the disasters of so many who tried Disneyland Christianity.

Believing you can leave Satan alone and he will leave you alone, is like believing the bull will not charge because you are a vegetarian.  Accepting Christ made you a target.  Satan hates you and means you great harm.  Ready or not…here he comes.

You must pick up a weapon. Gun control is not just a liberal cause.  There is spiritual gun control in the church.  Paul said in 1 Corinthians 12: 1 “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant.”  The soldier who is not firing at the enemy is taken out first.  All nine gifts are weapons.

Remember, you have the only faith designed for living behind enemy lines.  Every other religion in the world makes allowance for escape. Not so the Christian faith.  Jesus said in 17:15 I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.”

Safety is not in denying war but in fully embracing it.  Jesus is called the Captain of our salvation.  He leads only to victory.  When you—through Christ—declare war on the devil, you instantly gain the backing of all of heaven.  On the other hand, when you live the Christian life for yourself, you also live it by yourself.

Don’t disrespect Satan by fighting him on your own initiative: Spirit-filled Christians especially are guilty of downplaying the devil’s power.  The insult him and trash talk him not realizing they are not protected from shenanigans.  Jude 1:9 says, “Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”

Driving back the forces of the enemy in our culture will require more than hot flashes, cold chills, or the brush of angel’s wings.  We can’t win unless our warfare is born in God, led by the Holy Spirit, and Bible based.

Arthur Matthews said, “Victories over the devil are not won by having a Bible and knowing some of it.  Nor are they won by resolutions and good intent.  It takes the Sword of the Spirit, God’s specific utterance, thrust at the enemy in the power of the controlling Holy Spirit with an unashamed “It is written” and “Thus saith the Lord.”

I say this last part out of a broken heart and with tears: God help you ministers who weakened millions Christians off the battlefield at America’s darkest hour. You hastened the spread of evil in America.  You stood there basking in the adulation.  You could have fielded an army but chose instead to send the sheep home grinning under the glow of false hope and undetected apathy.  You had two messages.  Your heart told you which was God, and your mind said which one would bring success—success that will mean nothing if the church in America is driven underground.

The good news is that God is looking for a few good men and women.  He can take a nation back with a handful of sold out, rightly fitted soldiers.  Time to sing “there’s an army rising up—not with wispy emotion—but life and death conviction.