In the old days, we protected people's anonymity; today we thrust them into community, doing life together. We used to invite them to attend church; now we invite them to be the church. I used to ask, "What can we do to get more people to attend our church?" Now I ask, "How can I best equip and empower the people to go be the church in the marketplace where God has called them to serve?" ....it does expand the Kingdom and fulfills our mission of equipping empowered disciples....disciples who are actively ministering to one another's needs, even in life and death situations.
Example: "Walt, my grandson is in the hospital, and I don't think he is going to pull through," Lee said. "Will you go and pray for him?" "Sure, Lee, I could do that, but so could you. Come with me," I said. We walked over to the altar, and I pulled out a small vial of oil. "Take this with you to the hospital and put a drop of oil on his forehead and pray that God will heal him."
Before, the staff worked in a high control/low accountability environment. We controlled the programing and the people came if they wanted to come. The people had very little control and because of that, they had very little accountability. Now it is low control/high accountability. We have less control but hold the people accountable to transform their community.
I didn't go to the hospital to minister to Lee's grandson; Lee did. Instead of controlling the ministry, I held Lee accountable to minister to his community and gave him the tools he needed. Lee went to the hospital to be a priest to his own family. "Hold still, son. Grandpa is going to pray for you," he said. The boy watched his grandfather's trembling hands take the lid off the container, and listened to him pray.
"I ask in Jesus' name that you heal my grandson," Lee prayed, and then he placed a drop of oil on the boy's forehead. Thirty-six hours later, his grandson returned home.
Today, that's how we define success. One changed life and one empowered disciple at a time.
by Walter Kallestad, Pastor of Community Church of Joy in Phoenix, Arizona