Christian life is an invitation to journey an enlightened path of discovery
All are invited >
We are all invited and challenged to go beyond our own experience of "what is" and move into divine realms of "what could be." Opportunity to climb out from under the circumstances and rise up to catch hold of hopes and dreams is within our grasp. Consider the heartfelt words of the late Robert Kennedy.
local congregation of Christians is invited to be transformed into an
authentic Christian community that exemplifies
the true essence of Church - the Body of Christ in truth, purpose, and
churches within the same demographics are invited
is a divine, orchestrated process that God customizes according to His
plans and purposes for our life.
Transformation happens when purpose, process, and people
First, the Holy Spirit empowers purpose which lays the foundation for vision, ministry and mission. Purpose defines why we exist; what we hope to become. Purpose paints the "big picture" and helps define our vision according to God's plans.
Next, purpose empowers process. The Holy Spirit uses a powerful process to transform our lives through relational discipleship development - a lifelong journey of faith. Through this process the Holy Spirit helps people discover and develop spiritual gifts according to God's purposes. These gifts help define our mission; while at the same time, the fruit of the Spirit helps define our level of character, maturity, and passion. God empowers this process according to each person's unique "spiritual job description" - spiritual gift(s), passions, and temperament.
Finally, this purposeful process empowers people. Through His Holy Spirit, God empowers people to become true ambassadors for Jesus Christ. This level of empowerment becomes "transferable" from one person to another. Through meaningful relationships people empower people. God designed "relationships" to be the divine agents that connect people with each other and create influential avenues for transformation.
The path towards biblical transformation only happens within the context of "koinonia" relationships - the divine, supernatural attributes of God connecting with the natural attributes of man. Transformation guides people toward relational synergism, "oneness," and authentic Christian community. When this happens, people are transformed into the image of Christ. Groups of people are transformed into a true expression of New Testament Church - the Body of Christ; and then, churches are transformed into city-churches, powerful agents of Christian influence and change.
Through God's purposeful process of people transformation we are given a real chance to experience God's divine love, enduring hope, and empowering purpose for our lives. We recommend that this process be founded upon Christ-centered principles that help churches cross the threshold into the realization of explosive biblical dynamics. These principles help create "relational synergism" - a community of oneness where people "connect" in interdependent relationships that are networked together in a "life-giving" community environment.
We recommend that churches map out a journey towards transformation that is customized to their current needs and desired results. Travel at a pace all people can handle, but steady your course.
Churches should spend much time in prayer, seeking God's plans and purposes for the resources He has provided. Allow the Holy Spirit opportunity to ignite people's passions and mobilize "relevant" ministry. Study Jesus' Great Commission to His disciples and His purpose for church.
Activate a balanced transformational process by spending time developing vision, purpose, and mission statements. Adopt core values. Use strategic planning. Set goals and objectives. Treat each principle as equally important, "interdependent", and vital to the overall health and growth of the congregation.
KEY PRINCIPLES FOR "BALANCED" CHURCH TRANSFORMATION >
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principles are designed to "breathe life" into the hearts of
people, ignite their passions, and influence their actions.
Step #1 - Prepare Yourself for the Journey
Make sure YOU are ready and committed to personal transformation (change).
We cannot be like those who say, "We need change so desperately, and let it begin in my spouse...my boss...my church." For transformation to become a reality in the lives of people, it must start somewhere with someone. The most likely candidate is probably the one who senses the greatest need. But think of it this way. Since transformation is divinely orchestrated by the Lord, the people He starts with are usually in for a great adventure and great blessings. So go ahead and seize the moment! Let the journey begin, and say "Let it start with me."
Before we can invite others to journey with you in transformation, you must be willing to walk the path first...and alone, if need be for a season. Once transformation becomes a deeply entrenched passion within your heart, it then become transferable to others.
Step #2 - Prepare Other People for the Journey
Use the passionate fires of transformation that now burn within your heart to help light the way for others to follow.
Now is the time to create a real sense of urgency that inspires and motivates people to decisive action. This urgency should paint a vivid picture of current realities in contrast with God's contemporary ideals (paradigm shifts) for His Church. Issues to be dealt with are obstacles to transformation, outdated man-made traditions, trite solutions to people's problems, complacency, and resistance to change.
This is the time to "connect" people with each other and begin building a network of Interdependent relationships that serve as "avenues" for transformation.
Step #3 - Build Coalition Forces that Empower Transformation
Identify and align the right people with enough power and influence to lead and manage the transformational process.
Coalition forces are needed to build consensus, credibility, and synergistic results. This is a very important step in the success of implanting and anchoring transformation paradigms within the community. This will require much prayer concerning who will be part of the initial phases of coalition development.
The ultimate goal is to build "relational synergism" - people working together for greater purposes realized only through concerted efforts.
Step #4 - Develop Vision and Strategy that Map-out the Journey
Create a clear, comprehensive, and compelling picture of the future that most people will desire and immediately work towards.
people can see it; they can be it. The real power behind vision is unleashed
when others catch a glimpse of the future and are willing to do whatever
it takes to get there. If you give people opportunity to participate in
paving the way for transformation, they will gain "ownership"
in the project and invite others to participate as well. This is a powerful
motivating factor in getting people involved.
Step #5 - Clear an Unobstructive, Wide Path for Transformation
Empower leaders and broad-based actions that keep the transformational process in forward progress.Clearing this path requires a great amount of wisdom and courage. Blazing a new path is not easy. You must be ready to face certain challenges and obstacles brought on by people's fears, resistance to change, and spiritual warfare. Take heart, because you do not step out alone. You go in the strength and power of God's Holy Spirit; in addition, you go out in strong, interdependent relationships with other comrades in the Lord.
Once you have "planned your work," now is the time to "work the plan."
Step #6 - Create Milestones and Check-points Along the Way
Erect milestones (successes) along the long path of transformation that validate change and celebrate the contribution of workers.
Milestones and check-points are a vital part of planning success. They serve as "short-term wins" and times for much needed evaluation. These important elements provide evidence that the sacrifices made were worth it. They also help to "fine-tune" strategies and keep goals on track. They are great at undermining cynics and change resisters. Milestones and checkpoints help build momentum for next steps in the transformation process.
Step #7 - Build New Community Based Upon Transformational Values
Create a cultural environment that anchors new transformational values and paves the way for future paradigm shifts.
transformation to be successful, a new community must be established that
reflects the testimony of God's transformational process.