Thursday, August 21, 2008

24/7

From the inception of our church, we have maintained a belief in the value of being a “24/7” Christian. But what does that mean? And what is a definition of this phrase as used at FFC?

Let me clarify what it is not. It is not a way to express our desire to be a “third shift” church that is “open for business” ‘round the clock. While that may not be a bad idea, it’s not what we are referring to when we talk about being “24/7.”

Nor is it code language meant to “guilt” our people into staying busy in church related ministries every single day of the week. By no means does 24/7 equate with burnout at FFC.

Here’s what we do mean: Living supernaturally in the Spirit during my normal lifestyle with people. Yes, it’s our way to encourage people to be normal, but not nominal. Real, yet radically righteous. In the words of John Wimber, “naturally supernatural.”

In fact, this is exactly what we see in Jesus’ style of ministry. Jesus, generally, didn’t hold miracle healing services; they “naturally” occurred as people brought the sick to him to be healed during the course of a regular day, as he walked with them and lived among them. Sins were revealed in the course of normal, not necessarily formal, conversation. Conviction came just because he was around, not because he held an official invitation. Truth is, Jesus probably looked a lot like many other Jewish men; he may very well have blended in physically. He could have been seen, outwardly at least, as quite “normal.” He didn’t change his voice or dress or body posture to appear “prophetic” or “preachery.” No, he simply walked, lived, ate, talked, and related in a “natural” (i.e., incarnational) way; yet, he literally changed lives, performing signs and wonders and teaching God’s truth for the benefit of the average people around him. No doubt the supernatural became part and parcel of the natural, workday world in which Jesus lived. He was 24/7.

We would do well to follow the humble pattern of Jesus. Instead, we often follow the proud model of American success. Rich routine gets replaced by spectacular seminars; daily discipline is benched for mountaintop experiences; average people are replaced by experts. Consequently, as Rich Nathan and Ken Wilson have so keenly observed, “…is it any wonder that church members feel terribly intimidated and unsure of themselves as they attempt to ‘do supernatural ministry’ in their own lives? How can the average church member possibly recreate all of the trappings of a conference setting which have been modeled as essential for healing the sick or delivering the demonized?” Add to this the unfortunate – and unbiblical – human hierarchy of certain of the Spirit’s gifts and you can see why cleaning your neighbor’s garage in the spirit of Christ just doesn’t seem quite as “supernatural” as standing to speak at a super-conference 500 miles from home on a weekend. But I beg to differ, for it may very well be in that messy garage that the most supernatural ministry of all is taking place through the humble service of a saint willing to act on the Spirit’s promptings and obey when nobody but one other person even knows.

What is needed is a 24/7 approach – a normal and natural style of ministry, still supernatural though, that can be taken to the workplace or the marketplace or a hospital or one’s own home. That’s when I believe the true “equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry” will take place. Supernatural ministry would then be for every Christian in every setting and would not need to take place in special conferences by special people. It would be a 24/7 lifestyle lived by the followers of Jesus Christ who are committed to being “naturally supernatural.”

3 comments:

Angela said...

"Conviction came just because He was around."... I think that I live in such a way that unbelievers should know I'm different, yet I never see any confirmation that my lifestyle is a witness. But I guess that isn't necessary. God has definitely placed people in my life in whose presence conviction naturally comes; so I guess I can only pray that my life would have a similar impact on those around me.

Shane Vander Hart said...

Amen, when we are bearing the "fruit of the Spirit" we live and minister supernaturally.

Melissa Ulrickson said...

So encouraging! Thanks!