(The following is a reprint from July 2014)
Wimber on the value of relationships:
"The vertical relationship with God has its outworking in horizontal relationships of love between people. (I John 4:19-21). Christianity is not a system of religion. It is a way of life, a way of relating in love to God, people and the environment that God has placed them in.
The church in America has taken a wrong turn somewhere along the way. I don't want to come across as being some kind of religious judge, nor do I wish to simply act as though every thing is peachy-keen. I simply want to say what God has placed on my heart.
Too much effort, time and money is being poured into the structure of the church, with no thought to the life of the church. People are asked to tithe more and more...give more and more....to prop up the structure. John use to say that you have only two types of churches. (1) life in search of structure, and (2) structure in search of life. I fear that more and more are falling into the #2 category. I spoke with someone recently whose heart was breaking. Their church had divided and there was a lot of division and factions speaking against each other. This person was upset and you could tell that they were wounded deeply by all the bickering. "We only have about 75 people coming on Sunday." This statement was couched with the emotion that "Our church isn't very valuable because we don't have a lot of people coming." I asked them, "Which had you rather have----75 people who fall in love with Jesus and are sold out to doing the stuff of the Kingdom.....or 500 who simply come and never fully participate in the kingdom work?"
I'll take the 75.
I've said this before, but I don't know that people really believe it, or they just don't hear it. The success of any church....any movement or denomination is not measured by the bank account and the number that attend each week. The success is measured by the quality of people produced by that church. Do they love Jesus? Are they about the business of the Kingdom when they aren't at church? Are they motivated by love to reach out to those around them? That is the measure. Do they know how to worship? Do they know how to worship corporately in community with others....and by themselves? Do they realize that their first and most high calling to God is to worship Him?
Do they fully grasp the concept and directive from Jesus that they are not to be about the business of making converts, but rather making disciples? Such is what a successful church does. The true measurement of any church is the character of the people, and the fact that they are ministering every day where ever they may be. Praying for people, feeding people...reaching out to people. Not in an effort to enfold them into their church, but simply because that is what our Father expects of us. We do the Kingdom work because we have been called. And you know what? We can do without a committee. We can do it even when the pastor isn't around. We don't have to wait for the deacons or elders to give us the green light. Do you get it? We serve and minister because that is what we have been called to do.
On the surface, if you look at VRC, you would feel very sorry for it.
Attendance wise, we probably have anywhere from 30 to 50.
But within those 30 to 50, we have a core group who are committed to learn how to serve and "do the kingdom work". More than this, you have to take in consideration those who are tied to VRC who don't even live in this state. Daily they come to this blog page to receive a word from God.....an encouragement to keep on and not give up.....
Not to mention those who call me on a regular basis to let me know their status and to share their God encounters with me. God has raised up others to start recovery meetings as a result of our work in recovery. I guess some people are able to raise up those who go out and plant churches. We are about the business of planting meetings where the name of Jesus is lifted up as the answer to addiction.
And one last thing....
That 30 to 50 who come to VRC..........there is a constant roll over so it's never the same ones.
Our goal as a church?
Love 'em to death and influence them to really take a look at who Jesus is and the mission that every believer is called to participate in. That mission burns on our hearts, not because we have to do it......but because we want to!
Love those who come and reveal Jesus to them. Not the church Jesus.....Not the denomination Jesus...but the real-deal Jesus of the Bible.
Wimber taught us that who we worship is the most important thing there is.
You may be thinking, "Well duh! We worship Jesus."
Do we? Does everyone who nails the word church to their building really worship the Trinity?
Here's how I see it.
Some worship God the Father, God the Son......and God the Holy Church. Here we have an over emphasis of the church as the only real frame of reference to knowing God. The end result is traditionalism.
Then you have some who worship God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Bible. Exalting the word of God above the Spirit of God. This results in legalism and fundamentalism (ideology).
Some groups worship God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Experience. Seeking the supernatural and the spiritual gifts as an end in itself. This results in sensationalism. Also leads to a sense of elitism as though those who receive such are living this relationship with Christ on a higher level than the average believer.
Others worship God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Ministry. The ministry and mission of the church becomes the only and all-consuming reason for its existence. The results are that the people are driven to measure everything by performance.
Last but not least....
The One I strive for and to worship as pastor of VRC....
is God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
Receiving and honoring the Spirit of God by giving Him His correct place within the church. Doing so results in the incarnation, the presence, power and freedom of the Father and the Son.
Jesus said, "I and my Father will come and dwell in you." (John 14:23).
Is VRC the perfect church with perfect people? Heaven's no. We are a busted up, messed up group of folk's who are simply learning a new way to live according to our Father in heaven.
But we are about the business of change. Why? Because we have done time on the dark side and now we are free. God on you this day...