I yearn for the workers to make some changes; not because I feel in any way superior to them now or less than them either. I yearn for them because I still care for so many of them. I yearn for them to quit preaching the system, to quit promoting the ‘way’ and see instead the great responsibility, privilege, power and joy of simply preaching Christ. He is more than enough. In Him is enough subject matter for 1,000 Gospel meetings. The disciples and apostles did not spend their time trying to sell the ministry without a home or the church in the home. They had a story to tell! They had countless stories to tell about the Man of Galilee!
Because of the lifestyle the workers feel they must live, they spend vast amounts of time and energy seeking to justify the rightness of what they are doing rather than sharing their own personal relationship with Jesus and what that means to them individually. The men who started that church based it on two principles that quickly became doctrine and took away from the pureness of the Gospel message. The focus first of all became the ministry rather than The Minister Himself. The rest of the focus was on the place of worship (the meeting in the home) rather than on the One to worship.
I yearn for the workers to also stop preaching and talking about the idea that the only way to heaven is by going to meetings. That is preaching another gospel like Paul was so distressed about with the Galatians. (chapter 1:6) Instead, tell the truth! Tell them that only through believing in Jesus Christ as Savior will you be saved. Stop telling them that the meeting church is the only “right” church. Stop putting that deeply ingrained, in-your-DNA fear in people that they will go to hell if they quit going to meetings because that just isn’t Scriptural.
Instead, tell them the Gospel story in it’s purity and then let go of trying to control or manipulate where the people choose to have fellowship with other believers. Let God through the Holy Spirit direct them. Then, to those who choose to stay in the meeting group (not out of fear, self righteousness or ignorance) use your varying gifts of teaching, exhortation, service, prayer, encouragement to support the people and each other. Build them all up with faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. (Acts 20:32)
I yearn for the workers to use their computers, I-phones or I-pads to start reading and immersing themselves in the writings of Christian authors; current and from ages past. Let their words sink deep down in your heart. Let them inspire you. Acknowledge that God has spoken and continues to speak through many men and women and that there is a wealth to be gained from what they have written. It will open up so many new thoughts to you and Scripture will come alive in fresh ways. Do not hide what you are reading from others, but share them openly and encourage others to read them as well. You will be amazed at the vibrancy it will put in the church! Do not be afraid of what others will say; fear of others is what is keeping your group stuck to a large degree. A bunch of workers need to band together and go to the overseers and insist on some changes. So many of the friends and workers are wanting something new and fresh. Would you rather have them lean towards New Age teachings or philosophies of the world or towards more of Christ?
To the dear sister workers, consider getting the ladies in your fields involved in a Beth Moore Bible study once a week. (Beth Moore is a Christian teacher who ministers to women.) There are enough of those studies to keep you busy for a long while and they are profound. I guarantee it will be awesome. Cancel those dry Wednesday night Bible studies and do a group Bible study instead. The friends (and you) will be pouring over the Scripture all week long doing the homework and then once a week you will get together for a couple of hours to discuss what you studied, to have fellowship and then to watch a video session from Beth Moore herself.
I started attending these Bible studies when I first came home and I fell in love with them. I would go out to my car afterwards and cry with joy all the way home because I had finally found what I had longed for from a week night study for years. We shared the Word together, we prayed together, it was informal, it was relevant and we had true fellowship together.
To you brother workers….you could easily ask a couple of the women in your field to organize and purchase the above mentioned Bible studies for the women in your field and then just let them have at it. Get the guys in your field together once a week early in the morning somewhere for breakfast and a informal Bible study. Have the men read “Wild at Heart” by John Eldridge and books by Erwin Raphael McManus for starters.
Stir the pot! It’s ok! Pray night and day to be lead by the Holy Spirit and watch your fields come alive as never before. Doing something new is not a bad thing! You don’t want more than Christ; you want more of Christ. Pursue Him at any cost! I know suggesting these studies and authors is a stretch but stretching is good! When history keeps repeating itself in ways that are not good, a good look at what is not working needs to take place. I truly believe that is what needs to happen within the meeting group. Send revival, Oh Lord!