An overview of the Blueprint behind and within Jesus’ plan to “Build My Church”
Everything about the heart of Almighty God loves and is giving. Jesus saved us to be instruments of His life to the world—light in the darkness, salt in the Earth—agents of the Kingdom. Nothing impacts a broken world like the ministry of healing. Healing was never intended to be an exceptional occurrence in the life and ministry of the Church. Nor was it essentially designed for spectator participation, though that did occur in the Bible and throughout the Church’s ministry. But only a few people are ever healed by means of public ministry. In His blueprint to “build My Church,” Jesus wants to release all of His people with all of His resources to touch all of the world.
The Father’s Plan for Humankind (Gen. 1:26-28)
“Let us make humankind in Our image” is a concept I am persuaded none of us can even begin to fathom. In Ephesians 2:10, the Bible says, “…we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” God, in creating humankind, was not only lavishing a dimension of love upon us that we can’t comprehend, He was also bringing into being creatures which would have a God-quality about them enfranchised by Him. That was His plan—for every single person to know the fulfillment of the possibilities of their created being.
He conceived and perceived every one of us before the worlds were. There is not one purposeless being who has been born on the face of this planet. Sadly, the purposes of some have been dashed to smithereens by the flesh and the Devil. Nonetheless, God has continued to garner those who understand His heart and who have responded to Him, His love and His purpose. As that takes place, there comes the activation, release and realization of what He made us to be.
We are each gifted with unique purpose “for good works.” As a pastor and shepherd, I seek to grow people into the recovery of that and into the likeness of Christ. Christ-likeness is not only purity of character, but also the power of ministry. Jesus said, “The works that I do shall you do, and greater than these shall you do.” These good works are also gifted with a Covenant—should failure come, God Himself, in His wisdom and foreknowledge, made provision of the Lamb for our redemption and recovery. Humankind’s loss at the Fall of man was more than separation from relationship with God. It was also loss of dominion. As pastors, we are not just bringing people back into relationship with Jesus. Our objective is to bring people back to full reinstatement with God, so His Kingdom rule happens through them. It is the reinstatement of people’s functionality as Kingdom-agents or representatives.
As pastors, we are serving people of infinite destiny and high purpose. We have the privilege of helping them learn how to find the maximization of their own life, and then how that can be multiplied through them in others. It is to see them recovered, reigning in life through Christ Jesus, and reigning in life is what the recovery of Kingdom life and Kingdom dominion is. It isn’t a chest-thumping, strutting notion about spirituality. It’s a functional capacitating to be the presence of Jesus wherever those people go.
The Love-Giver’s Plan
First Corinthians chapter 12 is where the resourcing of the Church with what will capacitate it for ministry takes place. Ministry that will touch broken people and meet their needs. All the gifts have to do with the concept of ministry. It is not about a parade or public gatherings. It’s about people receiving gifts. The distributing of gifts is in order to capacitate the ministry of the Church is as follows:
A. The Father’s Gifts – (1 Cor. 12:6)
…Human life and purpose (created capacities – Rom. 1:3)
…Humankind’s Savior, Redeemer (John 3:16)
B. The Son’s Gifts – (1 Cor. 12:5)
…His Life as Sacrifice (leader assignments – Eph. 4:11-16)
…The Holy Spirit’s Work and Power
C. The Spirit’s Gifts – (1 Cor. 12:4)
…His Present Witness – Convincing
…His Gifts of Graces (1 Cor. 12:1-11)
The Bible speaks about the Holy Spirit distributing gifts as He wills. Each member of the Godhead gives gifts, but the gifts the Holy Spirit gives are different from the gifts the Son and the Father give. The Son’s gifts and the Father’s gifts, as they are described in Scripture, are are given at a point and it’s done.
The Spirit’s gifts are ongoing—it doesn’t stop. So, if the Holy Spirit distributes a gift of prophecy, it doesn’t mean the person now has a hash mark on their sleeve saying, “I have the gift of prophecy.” It means they gave a word of prophecy. In the course of their life, they may give five, or they may give five hundred. If something is given to them for delivery, they relay it in the Name of Jesus. Then it has been ministered, and they don’t have the gift any more. The Holy Spirit is the Distributor of these things for the purpose of edifying the Church, glorifying Christ and meeting human need. You just walk through it.
Start with the word of knowledge. What do many people in our cerebrally “preoccupied-with-brains” Western civilization tend to think of the word of knowledge? In fact, some of the descriptions of what that means are totally isolated from the practical things the Lord does. For example, Jesus says to the woman at the well (John 4:18), and notice His gentleness: You know, you’ve said wisely. You have had five husbands, but the one you are living with now isn’t your husband. Jesus is not saying that as the omniscient God. Jesus is saying that as the Son. The Son who came as a servant, chose to walk among men and laid aside the Divine prerogatives He had as God for the duration of His servanthood. He’s not less than God, but He’s voluntarily not exercising His privilege as God, because He’s modeling for the disciples a dependency upon the Holy Spirit.
Jesus does not say, “Because I’m God, I know this about you.” He’s telling the woman what He knows, because at the Jordan the Holy Spirit came upon Him and anointed Him for the purpose of ministry. He’s modeling ministry to His disciples, so they can function in the same capacity, as real human beings living out real ministry in the power and authority of the Kingdom.
The Stewardship Responsibility
Everybody is accountable to God for their own souls (Rev. 20:11-13). The Bible says we will all stand before the Great Throne. Each redeemed person is accountable to Christ (2 Cor. 5:10), and each leader is accountable for the flock (Heb. 13:17).
Jesus gives ministries to the Church (Eph. 4:11) for the building up of people, to minister wholeness and recovery to them. To help people who come to Christ become stabilized in Him in love, acceptance, and forgiveness, and to know where they stand in Christ. Leaders are to model servant-hood and to be accountable models in everything—their money, their lives, their marriages, their children—in order to shape others unto fruitfulness and ministry. That is essentially to bring them to the place where they experience enrichment and release as they reach to impact others. That’s what discipling is, to do these things with people. It took Jesus three years to get a group ready. It’s a demanding task, and they were with Him all the time. The Lord will grace us to disciple.
The discipler needs to love the flock, grow the sheep and multiply the flock. Loving the flock means to serve them patiently and wholeheartedly. Growing the sheep means to feed them faithfully and diligently. Multiplying the flock is by nurturing them with devotion and self-sacrifice. This calls for laying down your own convenience and any other vision than Jesus’ vision for a leader. It is the vision for people.
Preaching in and of itself will not begin to awaken the sensitivities of as many people as a healing that touches their personal environment. That is not minimizing preaching. It is recognizing that what made Jesus’ preaching stick with people is they saw its reality and power to drive out demons, to bring impossible circumstances to reversal and to bring sick bodies unto wholeness. People, then, surrendered to the life of the Kingdom because the Kingdom was manifest, not just proclaimed.
The Word does need to be preached. Don’t think for a moment I’ve said anything differently than that. I have founded a College and Seminary, and I’ve been teaching in schools for years. I’ve written books and preached tens of thousands of times. Training, discipling, shaping people’s understanding, that is not unimportant. But as Jesus says in Mark 16, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature…And these signs will follow those who believe…” (v. 15, 17).
What becomes dynamic is the impact of people who are functioning as ministering agents of the Kingdom in ways confirming to a world lost in its pagan blindness, confused and tormented in suffering. Our call is to become people who make a difference in the world and then to shape and disciple others in the glorious purposes of the Kingdom.