Beloved brethren what we have to discuss today has been a burden in my heart for a long while
My desire tonight is that God will help us all as we seek Him the only Perfect King
I have had reasons to search my own heart and pray for all involved.
The topic tonight is Church Shift
Having been a part of Christ’s church for a while, there are a few things I feel we all together need to adjust
Our text please. Can someone help with Acts 20: 28 to 32
Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.
Someone should get ready with Matthew 15:13
My address today would have been primarily to Pastors, but I have a confidence in me that either now or in the nearest future, some of us here would be Pastors or some form of pillars in the church
Now if I may ask, “What is the Church?”
We, esp the pastors, are called to take care of Christ’s church.
Such positions are a great responsibility just as we see in the text. Paul needed the pastors to take care of themselves and the church.
Wherever two or more people gather in the name of Christ.
As a way of summary, I would like to say that the church means the coming together of people who have believed in and placed their hopes in Christ.
It is the coming together of people who have been filled with the new life of Jesus, empowered by the Holy Spirit
It is a congregation of people who recognise that they are no longer a part of the world’s system, but now belong to the system of the body of Christ.
Having said that, may I ask another question. Who started the Church? I mean by whose vision should the church operate?
Christ birthed the church and have His Holy Spirit to direct the activities of the church
Brethren, may I categorically say that the church does not belong to any General Overseer. True, God might have used them to found the church, but the church doesn’t belong to them
The Church belongs to Christ
I’ll come back to this point later but for now, let’s talk about the purpose of the church.
Christ established the church for two broad reasons:
1. To reach the world around the with the light of the gospel
2. To build up each other in the faith
Brethren, any church that is not fulfilling this double mandate is running off track.
I trust that many of us have seen people start up local assemblies/denominations for various reasons.
Some do it for fame
Some for money
Some for tribal and racial reasons
Some to extend their control
Brethren, if you’re here and you feel God maybe calling you to start a local church, may I ask that you define the purpose clearly in your heart so as to avoid running off track As a church, we are called first and foremost to reach and impact the world around us. Please, we are not called to fence ourselves in. We are not called to lock ourselves up. We are called to come together only to go out again.
One way of evaluating the effectiveness of our local churches is by asking, “What impact are we making on our immediate surrounding?”
Are people coming to know God because of the presence of our church in their communities? Are lives saved and delivered? Are local families reached? What is our impact as church?
You know we talk so much about making I pacts as individuals in our generation, but how many of us talk about making impact as a church in our surrounding?
The pastor had to come up with many ideas of solving this problem.
I watched a documentary about a church in a local area where divorce rate was skyrocketing.
On implementing them, the divorce rate in the surrounding area dropped. Even non church members got involved in his ideas and other denominations around him joined in. The evil of divorce was stemmed!
Are we seeing divorce in the rise and doing nothing?
Brethren, are our churches in touch with the reality on the ground? Are we seeing young girls getting pregnant outside wedlock and doing something about it?
Is our locality getting into the light of the gospel because of us!
Are we fighting ignorance and illiteracy?
Or are we just running church services and organising programmes?
How are we fighting diseases and poverty?
I think it was William Booth. When he died, a lady attended the funeral. She wept because she had got saved by one of his outreach. She said she was a prostitute, and that William cared for people like her.
Brethren, one purpose of the church is to have a direct illuminating impact on the world around them. Please see their passage:
1 Peter 2:12
Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.
1 Peter 3:16
But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ.
1 Peter 2:15
It is God’s will that your honorable lives should silence those ignorant people who make foolish accusations against you.
Ever hear of David Wilkerson? He was an Assemblies of God minister but had to start an outreach to gangsters in a local environment and God used him mightily. He is late now and left behind one of his converts Nicky Crutz.
In my local assembly, I have a mummy who had to start a programme for young ladies, teaching, mentoring and discipline them to become women of God
Brethren, the church is called to make impact on its surrounding
Second, the church is called to build up its members to be used by God.
A number of assemblies are really doing great things in regard to training men! I appreciate them. Brethren all our activities should be focused on building men up
Please we should give this a high priority. We should raise men and women in the defence of the gospel.
Please if you’re here and all you do is go to church on Sunday and once during the week but you realise that you’re not doing much to develop and become more useful, I believe God is calling you to change
Every pastor should train people to become might in God.
Pastors should organise trainings to really really equip the members.
Attend trainings that will make you more useful. We all need to grow.
No church should be satisfied with just running services weekly and not doing much to train and develop the members.
The areas of training I really think we need are Prayers. We all need to learn to pray effectively. The Word! We all need to be mighty in the word. Believers need to learn how to use the scriptures to answer questions facing us in these last days. Satan is churning out error after error and we need to use scripture after scripture to counter him.
The Fruit of the Spirit. This area is little emphasized my many. The fruit of the Spirit is the only evidence we show to the world that we are Christians. Through teachings we need to learn to develop and use the fruit of the Spirit.
The Gift of the Spirit. We must also learn to develop the gifts God has given to each of us. We are all called to manifest. We must exercise the gifts given to us. See this:
1 Peter 4:10,11.
God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.
Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.
Brethren I listed fruit before gifts. This is intentional. Many churches emphasize signs and wonders at the expense of spiritual character and maturity. This is dangerous. A gifted man will only go as far as his character can carry him.
Lastly, I want to say this.
Every local church should have a level of autonomy..
There are some places where local pastors are not allowed the flexibility of feeding their flock as they feel they need to
There are places where the general overseer does most of the teaching via satellite addressing all their branches, leaving the local pastors with little or no time to address the needs of the church.
There may be a noble intention behind this, but if in the long run the local pastor cannot develop himself to feed the congregation, then there’s problem
Local pastors should find it easy to disconnect with headquarters and address the needs of his assembly
Please all future and present pastors take note. Don’t let technology rob us of the blessings of God.
Connecting to you GO is fine, but please connect with your members too! Your GO is not the pastor on ground. He may not know the prevailing needs of the congregation you pastor. Let his influence be minimal
And I dare to say this loud and clear:
Let the congregation come to church because of YOUR impact in their lives and not because of the impact of your GO!
I feel I should repeat it:
Be the first influence in their lives!
It is an irony for kids to be drawn first to their grandfather before their father. Grandpa is grandpa. We honour him. He has more wisdom to share. But he is not dad and is responsible for our daily feeding and welfare.
1 Timothy 5:17
The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching.
We respect God’s anointing on our GOs but brethren they should never overshadow our local pastors.
It is our local pastors who are there when we are sick. They know my kids by name. They know my financial and other difficulty. They KNOW me.
Let them be given full privilege to handle ME
Brethren, we need a shift!
We should go beyond local pastors living in penury and want
God should anoint them too!
May God shift us first in our mindset regarding what the church is called to be.
Then let it play out in all our local assemblies as we pursue heaven’s mandate.
Christ give us Your own vision of the church.
Give us churches that are in touch with reality
Churches that are not busy claiming to be better than others
Churches that will want to work hand in hand with other true assemblies to save their world from destruction
Help us to see beyond the church walls
Let us see a world that is dying.
Let us see that the only Hope for this world is the message the church has to offer
The message of Jesus Christ
Forgive us all our sins of segregation, greed, control, building our own massive empires
Help us see with your eyes and work with your hands
Just help us shift from where we are to where we ought to be, where You need us to be
Give us Pastors after your own heart.
Make us true members who will follow them
Remove the tyrants and give us true servants
Prepare us for your coming and teach us to whether the coming storms of persecution and tribulations for Your name’s sake.
Bless this platforms and bless our local churches.
Amen in Jesus name.