Proverbs 8:1
Proverbs 9:12

New Book Excerpt Part 2

I started out last week with the first of four excepts from my upcoming book release, Changing the Way We Do Church: Seven Steps to Purposeful Reformation. Here is the first part if you missed it.  I will include the last paragraph from the last excerpt and then pick it up from there in this second part.

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THE DYNAMICS OF CHANGE IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
Dr. John Stanko

An excerpt from John’s new book,
Changing the Way We Do Church: Seven Steps to Purposeful Reformation

    Do you get the idea?  When God “moves,” angels, governments, shepherds, families, wise men, ordinary men, women and children move, too.  Why is this important to mention at this time?  It is because we must learn to be productive in our purpose as we function in what I call Holy Spirit chaos when God “moves.”

    It is also because church growth and development require change.  They involve leaders changing the way they do business, so to speak, and followers changing the way they follow.  Growth and development require that some people move out and go, and some to come home.  They require that every one of God’s people accept his or her personal responsibility not just to be spectators to what some do but to be active participants in the plan of God.  Growth and development necessitate that we challenge everything we have accepted as normal to see if it can take us all to the next level of activity, relevance and involvement.  If anything cannot, then it must be discarded or adjusted (I am not talking about the basic tenets of the faith, of course!)

    Are you sure you want to read on?  Going forward not only has the potential to change the way we do church, but also the way we relate to the Lord.  It will change our paradigm that church is not something we do, contrary to this book title, but something we are and something we express for a purpose, that purpose being to extend God’s kingdom and government on the earth.

   To begin with, let’s look at two passages to see examples of what I mean by Holy Spirit chaos.  First, let’s go to Acts 6:1-7:

In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Grecian Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, "It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word." This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.

   Allow me to point out a few things that are pertinent to our discussion here.

  1. Each apostle knew his own purpose, which prevented him from being sucked into the crisis of the day, which in this case was the growing number of non-Hebraic widows who were being overlooked in the benevolent distributions.
  2. The leaders had their own work to do that no one could do like they could. 
  3. The growth of the church caused problems.  This was not an indication that something was wrong with the church, but that they were doing something right. 
  4. While the leaders listened to the voice of the people, they put the problem right back on the people.  When the people basically said, “Someone needs to do something,” the leaders made them the “someones” who needed to be involved.
  5. The leaders determined that the people would hold an election.  They trusted the work of the Spirit in the people so much that they relied on the decision being the correct way forward.
  6. The church had an existing pool of talent, if I can use that phrase, from which they could draw additional leadership. These men were full of the Spirit and wisdom.
  7. The leaders knew how to delegate and did not have to do everything.

   There is much more I could say about this passage, which has become the cornerstone for each purpose message I deliver publicly. The one additional point I would like to emphasize is found in verse seven.  The word of God continued to spread and the church grew because these men know how to stay focused and flow with the unexpected that tends to arise in the life of every church.

    Feel free to write your comments to this entry on the site where it is posted.

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Changing the Way We Do Church: Seven Steps to Reformation is due to be released July, 2009 by Evergreen Press. To order your copy, please send an email to johnstanko@gmail.com.

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