The Spirit Centered Church
Everything in life has focus. What that focus makes a huge difference. For example, Apple’s (electronics) focus differs wide from General Motors (vehicles). Churches also have a focus—which is a major factor of who they are, where they are going and the fruit they are producing.
What the focus of a church “should be” is a subject of intense debate in Christendom. Various camps have absolute reasons why they are right. Usually the arguments fall on deaf ears to the proponents of other camps. Ultimately, the issue is not so much what we think is right, but where is the Holy Spirit leading us as a church?
Jesus was clear Matthew 16:18 when He said “I will build the church”. Jesus in partnership with the Holy Spirit, has definite plans for what He would like to see the church be, focus on, and do. Thus, it is imperative we go to the Bible and find out what we can before we start to apply our own thinking.
Holy Spirit is in Charge
Once we experienced the day of Pentecost, we have seen the Holy Spirit is now in charge of planet earth for the Godhead. He builds to glorify Jesus Christ and to make Him famous throughout our land. He has very clear things that He asks each church to focus on. Following are four possibilities:
Possibility #1: Scripture
Here the main focus of the church is to study the Bible. It is seen more as a book of instruction rather than a narrative about how God relates to humanity.
Possibility #2: Salvation
The number of salvations becomes the driving force of the church. Everything is geared toward bringing seekers into the church and bringing them to a confession of faith. Everything else takes second place to this aspect.
Possibility #3: Signs & Wonders
This crowd generally believes that signs and wonders are God’s major tool for changing the world. Thus, they put most of their emphasis here—sometimes at the expense of the other three.
Possibility #4: Social Justice
Here the focus becomes helping people that are hurting in some way. The priority is meeting the needs of the “poor” as seen in Luke 4. While this is always a valid ministry, it needs to be linked to the other three to keep a Spiritual focus and direction.
Spirit Focused = All 4
The Holy Spirit loves all four of the above possibilities. In fact, He wants us to have a robust balance of all to bring about a church. He loves churches that are Bible based, winning souls, full of signs, wonders and power, and helping the poor. In other words, the Spirit is not trying to pit one against the other.
Having said the above, does not eliminate the fact that from time to time the Holy Spirt gives various churches an assignment. Willow Creek, for example, was assigned to pioneer ways to bring increased numbers of salvation throughout the Christian world. Today, many churches follow the principles they have gleaned and taught us.
The Vineyard, has been given an assignment as well. From the beginning, we were assigned to be leaders in the area of worship and signs and wonders. In the above context, our focus on signs and wonders may make us feel a little bit out of balance. However, God wants the other three to be strongly in our churches as well as long as we have done our first assignment. How exciting to be leading in an area, but yet participating in all four.
The Church of the 21st Century
The Spirit Centered Church will dominate in the 21st century. The ability to balance all four corners of the paradigm will take the Holy Spirit. It will also allow us to move powerfully in the fullness in all that He has for us.