Steve Schultz, Senior Elder
I believe it is important that those who are considering finding their “fit” in the body of Christ at a local level, should be ever mindful of the current context that we all find ourselves within today. Our world is in the throes of unfolding and ever increasing crises or as Matthew wrote, “And these are the beginnings of sorrows.”(Mat 24:8) At the forefront, we are now faced with the Covid-19 pandemic but standing alongside this crisis are many other emerging and increasing “sorrows” such as continued global economic instability, famines, climate change, political polarization, terrorism, racial tension, social degradation, and the list goes on and on. The heightened awareness of increasing instability places a demand upon church leaders to produce a certain type of believer that has the ability to stand with stability, hope, faith and joy. This spiritual position is neither “doomsday” driven nor loaded with fear of the approaching future. Quite the contrary!
The book of Hebrews states: At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, "Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens." 27 The words "once more" indicate the removing of what can be shaken — that is, created things — so that what cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our "God is a consuming fire." Heb. 12:26-29 NIV
This Spirit-inspired admonition is given to encourage a people who are living in unstable times and who need to be reminded of who they are, where they are going (Christ’s return/eternity) and what victorious postures must be embedded into the heart of believers. Knowing this, it compels us to move away from ‘church as usual’ and totally redefines what most American pastors consider as ‘successful church.’ (i.e. # of members, size of facilities, popularity, prosperity, etc.) The end of mortality is marked by increasing crises which demand that every Kingdom leader advance into a deeper and more profound building of human lives. This is a process that is based upon relevant doctrine (present truth), strong insightful leadership and meaningful community life so as to “equip the saints.” Said another way . . . . The process we are in, must be relevant and equal to the destination (where we are going).
A key point in Hebrews 12 is that the earth and heavens are designed to be shaken but we are receiving an internal and eternal Kingdom (Lk. 17:21) whose nature cannot be shaken. Intimately knowing this reality produces within people a deep thankfulness and also propels believers to be spiritually appropriate to the times in which we now live.
At TC, myself and our elders endeavor to build such a people! These are a people who are fully aware and cooperating with the biblical mandates necessary to produce a strong stable community in an environment of increasing instability and hostility. This has been our corporate focus and trajectory for 15+ years and aligns with the Isaiah Chapter 60 reality . . . . “Arise and Shine, for your light has come. And the glory of the LORD arises upon you. See, darkness (destruction, death, ignorance, sorrow, wickedness) covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you.(Not a building or a ministry but over the lives of normal saints) Nations will come to your light and Kings to the brightness of your dawn.” (Isa. 60:1-3)
Our leadership efforts are and will continued to be propelled by a desire to shape people into the pertinent postures of “arising and shining” by leading them in such areas as:
• God-given identity
• Sustainable and increasing faith (Luke 18:8)
• Strong families and marriages
• Knowledge of the times and seasons
• Hearing the Voice of God – through His Word and His Spirit
• Living in community - connecting to a global company of people of like-faith and
seriousness of pursuit
• Defined Maturity – bringing people into greater obedience and partnership with
the Holy Spirit
• Globally Aware - being relevant to the current global environment
• Fully Prepared to live in a time of increasing crisis
If you are on a search for a spiritual body of believers in which to build you and/or your family, then my encouragement is to seek to find your “fit” within a community of believers who are defined by relevant postures and positions identified in the Word of God. The scripture clearly reveals and emphasizes that ‘crisis is our pathway to exit’ and therefore we must be building people who are capable of journeying through crisis towards our ultimate destination – living with Christ in His Kingdom for eternity! Therefore ‘relevancy’ is an important characteristic to weigh when considering your local placement in the Body of Christ.