by Ryan Lawson
Over the last several years the Lord has been leading and guiding us as a church
and ministry into activities that for many in our Charismatic Christian circles
are quite extreme. Teenagers invading high school football games to preach the
Gospel, kids being trained to prophesy, heal the sick and cast out devils and
grandmas invading the Atlanta housing projects with the love and power of God.
Critics may say that it's weird or "extreme" but more and more we are seeing it
as "normal" for believers of every age and background to be used powerfully by
the Holy Spirit in seeing the Kingdom of God come to earth!
The results have been tremendous!
I remember in 1994, when I was first baptized in the Holy Spirit daydreaming about
the day when we would be able to take the power of God that we were experiencing
in meetings during that time to the streets, winning the lost with demonstrations
of God's power. I remember clearly the prophetic voices of our time coming through
our church and conferences prophesying of a day when the anointing would not rest
on one man, but rather on the entire body as kids, mommies, businessmen and grandmas
and grandpas would be used powerfully by the Holy Spirit to reveal Jesus to the
lost. Literally, we are living and manifesting the fulfillment of words the Lord
gave us 10-15 years ago!
So for the last several years, we have been doing our absolute best to listen to
the Lord's voice and launch out, training, equipping and sending folks to take
the Kingdom of God "As They Go". Most of the time we have done this without the
proper "language" to describe what we're attempting to do; we've just done it.
So much of what we've done has been in a "classroom" type atmosphere of trying,
sometimes falling, but always improving on what the Lord has been showing us. We
have definitely found out through experimentation many things don't work, but
quite a few that do! The end result is believers who have identified their personal
their place in the body of Christ, who have been equipped in their calling and
then "sent out" to "do" what they are called to do!
LANGUAGE FOR THE MISSION
Over the last several months, the Lord has been giving us the language to embody
the ethic of what we are called to do as a church and ministry. This is extremely
helpful to all involved. From the beginning, a common language was necessary for
man to work together. God even saw that with a common language men could do whatever
was in their heart to do!
And Jehovah said, Behold! The people is one and they all have one language.
And this they begin to do. And now nothing which they have imagined to do will be
restrained from them. Genesis 11:6
To scatter the people as they built the tower of Babel, God simply confused their
language. Without clear communication, the project ended ingloriously. Very simply,
with a common language, people from every background can unify around a common goal
and purpose, working together to see God's plan become reality.
We've labored without a common language to describe what we are doing and had fits
and starts along the way. Now, I believe that with a common language to describe
the ethic and activities we are involved in we will move forward together, in greater
unity of purpose and clarity of vision that we've ever had before.
The language that God has given us to describe what we are called to do as a church
and ministry is embodied in 3 "D" words: Discover, Develop & Deploy. We'll
give a brief overview of what these words mean to us and how they embody the ethic
of what we are called to do, as well as govern the primary activities that we are
called to as a church and ministry.
We are called to help believers and unbelievers "dis-cover" the treasure of the
Kingdom! Jesus likened the Kingdom to being "treasure hidden in a field" and we
are called to help them "see" the treasure! We are also called to help believers
"dis-cover" or uncover their calling, destiny, gifts and purpose in God. The treasure
of the Kingdom of God is hidden in the field of believer's lives and we are called
to bring a shovel and "dis-cover" that treasure! Truly, the talents, gifts and
abilities that the Lord has given to every believer (I Cor. 12:7) MUST be discovered,
understood and recognized to be effectively employed! For far too long the church
has functioned without a clear vision of what their lives and walk with God should
look like. No longer should Christians be ignorant of their destiny! No longer
should believers walk around in spiritual blindness, unaware of who they are and
where they are going.
Again, the kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which when
a man has found it, he hides it, and for the joy of it goes and sells all that he
has, and buys that field. Matthew 13:44
How do we accomplish this? We "dis-cover" the gifts, callings and destiny of God
on people's lives primarily through the word of God and also through prophetic
gifts. The Bible says that the testimony of Jesus IS the spirit of Prophecy (Rev.
19:10), or simply put, prophecy is what Jesus has to say about a person or situation.
That's what we need to know, what HE says about us. The current, now word of the Lord,
as revealed through the scriptures and also through the prophetic gifts (prophecy,
discernment of spirits, words of wisdom, knowledge, etc.) are crucial in understanding
our place and function in the Lord's body.
As a church and ministry, we will give ourselves to helping unbelievers discover
the treasure of the Kingdom through outreaches and a lifestyle of preaching and
revealing the Kingdom of God with power! We will also help believers apprehend
their destiny through the deliberate function of the prophetic gifts in everything
that we do. From house meetings to large corporate gatherings to monthly prophetic
"Discovery" nights, we are committed to "dis-covering" the hidden treasure!
After the gifts, callings and purposes of God are revealed, we have a scriptural
mandate to then Develop those gifts, talents and abilities. The Bible calls this
And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and
teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body
of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of
the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness
of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves
and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in
deceitful schemes. Ephesians 4:11-12
Equipping or developing what has been revealed by the Holy Spirit is essential.
For many years we have had an ethic of equipping, where all of our meetings have
had a classroom type atmosphere of learning, with the intent of doing. Our attitude
has been to "show" rather than just "tell". Many believers have been equipped in
the supernatural power of God as they have come alongside others actually "doing"
the stuff. This has happened as we have developed our UMT Modules or Urban Missionary
Training weekends where quite literally, folks that have never prophesied have
started to function in the prophetic gifts with great accuracy. Folks that have
never seen the sick healed or the lost saved have begun leading people to the
Lord or healing the sick with great effectiveness as they learned by seeing.
More and more we will be giving ourselves to the developing of spiritual gifts
in the lives of believers. We'll be accomplishing this through Prophetic Training
nights, where we will develop prophetic gifts, our Mighty Warrior Creative Arts
School, where we will develop creative gifts, worship training tracks, business
training tracks and other equipping tracks soon to come. All in all, our ethic
and practice will be the "Equipping" of the saints for the work of the ministry!
What good is a trained soldier who stays at the base? The ultimate goal of all
of this Discovering and Developing is the actual Deployment of believers into
effective, fruitful, supernatural ministry.
And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has
been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them
in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to
observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the
end of the age." Matthew 28:18-20
In the Great Commission the Lord emphatically is sending us out! We are called to
"GO" on the offense with the power of God and weapons of our warfare. The most
liberating and fruitful practice that we have experienced as a church and ministry
has been the actually "going" and "doing" of Kingdom ministry. No longer do we
take the word of God for granted and learn without doing, we learn with the intent
of doing. This corporately has made us a people that are "doers" and not hearers
only. For example, we won't just learn and receive revelations about healing, we
will take what we have learned and minister to the sick!
But become doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own
selves. James 1:22
To this effect, a premium will be placed on "doing" and not hearing only. We are
a sending church. We will regularly send teams into our city, into our community
and into the nations of the world on local, regional and international outreaches
and mission trips.
This is just the beginning. Stay Tuned!