Twelve Key Principles
For "Balanced" Church Transformation

The Christian life is an invitation to journey an enlightened path of discovery and transformation.

This invitation goes out to everyone: boy or girl; man or woman; young or old. Those who walk the path discover meaning and purpose for their life. Passions are ignited. Gifts are identified. Courses of action are confirmed. All of this happens within a dynamic process of transformation (change, progress, and growth) that helps people find meaning and purpose for their lives.

The transforming agent is God's Holy Spirit who is ever present to impact and transform the life of a Christian, a community of believers, and a city.


Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,
Ephes. 3:20




 






All are invited
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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.

"Some men see things as they are and say 'why?'. . .
I dream of things that are not, and say 'why not?'"
- Robert Kennedy







Today, Every "born-again" Christian is invited to be transformed into the image of Christ, becoming a true ambassador for the Kingdom of God.

The Apostle Paul wrote, "And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit (2 Cor. 3:18, NIV)."

Consider this same passage from Peterson's The Message: "All of us! Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face. And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him."

From this passage we learn that transformation is a "progressive process" that takes time - even a lifetime.

T
hrough relational discipleship Christians are transformed into a fully devoted disciples of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit empowers this process (see Acts 1:8; Romans, chapter 12) within the context of authentic Christian community.


 

Every 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 mission.

This happens when Christians truly "connect" together in an interdependent, relational network of ministry and mission that captures a true representation of the 1st Century Church.

"They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they ga
ve to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved (Act 2:42-47, NIV)."

They shared their lives together...loving one another...caring for each other's needs.

Their sincere passion for God and compassion for people ignited transferable transformation in the lives of people in other communities and cities as well.


 

Christian churches within the same demographics are invited
to be transformed into a relational, synergistic expression of
"City-Church."


Image the impact that several churches would have upon a city if they came together on common ground, covenanted to work together as the Body of Christ, and concentrated energies and resources for one purpose - the advancement of the Kingdom of God. Consider the prayer of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane,

"My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me (John 17:20-23, NIV)."

I like the description of one "city-church" movement in Colorado Springs, Colorado that declares, "There is only one Church of the Colorado Springs area, and it meets in many locations. ."


Transformation is a divine, orchestrated process that God customizes according to His plans and purposes for our life.

Transformation is not about copying ministry designs, replicating "boxed" formulas for success, or embracing imbalanced attempts at growth. God is calling us to a "beyond the box" mentality.

Transformation is all about God helping people become "originals" instead of "copycats." This is grand opportunity for all of us to discover (or rediscover) the inherent potentials and possibilities that lay dormant within our midst; a time to celebrate our own unique God-given lives, respecting other's differences, and then capitalize on personal strengths and pooled resources.

The Church in the 21st Century must awaken to the reality of its mission, become relevant, and embrace all of its foundational, biblical principles in contemporary form - new wineskins.

The Church must recapture its state of innocence in trusting and obeying God. To do so means that people must be willing to allow God opportunity to bring the needed changes that foster transformation according to His contemporary design. Those who embrace this transformation move beyond the ordinary and into the extraordinary.

This is what makes transformation so inviting...exciting...and worthwhile!


Path Towards Transformation > > >

This path leads us into the "known" and "unknown" - a journey into renewal, revival, and reformation. We must be willing to walk this path with an open mind, open heart, and great strength.

Renewal helps open our mind and is fueled by inspirational information and compelling vision.
Revival helps open our heart and is fueled by burning passion and sincere compassion. Reformation helps us build our strength and is fueled by a deep-seated urgency, intentional realignment, and broad-based action. All of this involves "change" - the true essence of transformation.

The path towards transformation is lighted with the glory of God. Jesus is our guide, and the Holy Spirit gives us strength for the journey. We must travel light, carrying three essentials:

We must have Vision
>
"I can see it!"
We must have Purpose
>
"I will be it!"
We must have Mission
>
"I will do it now!"



Transformation happens when purpose, process, and people
are "empowered."


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
.



TWELVE KEY PRINCIPLES FOR "BALANCED" CHURCH TRANSFORMATION > > > . . . . .

1.
Passionate Spirituality - Experiencing Passion for God (Father, Son, & Holy Spirit) & His Purposes
2.
Loving, Caring Relationships - Reaching Out in Love & Compassion for People & Their Needs
3.
Koinonia Environment - Building Authentic Christian Community
4.
Culture-sensitive Evangelism - Speaking Contemporary Language & Building Relational Bridges
5.
Relational Discipleship Development - Making Disciples, Mentoring Disciplers, & Multiplying Mission
6.
Equipping Ministry - Capitalizing On Strengths, Passions, Gift-orientation, & Vocations
7.
Empowering Servant Leadership - Raising-up Devoted Disciples of Jesus Christ Who Lead By Example
8.
Purposeful Organizational Design - Casting Compelling Vision & Facilitating a Biblical Approach To Management
9.
Good Communications - Creating Open Channels of Communication That Foster Clear Understanding
10.
Community Outreach - Serving in Different Areas of Community Needs & Empowering Local Missions
11.
Contemporary Ministry Tools - Utilizing Up-To-Date Technology in Music, Multimedia, Communications, & Internet
12.
City-Reaching - Building Relational Synergism Among Churches & Parachurch Ministries for City Church Initiatives


These principles are designed to "breathe life" into the hearts of people, ignite their passions, and influence their actions.

This will most likely happen one person at a time until transferable, perpetual motion is achieved. This may require years of transition, but the journey is just as important to people's development as the final destination. Please consider the following seven steps towards transformation as a possible "road map" for your journey. For a complete look at these steps, visit our page entitled,

"Seven Steps Towards City Reaching and Community Transformation."


The following is a brief look at these steps:



Step #1 - Prepare Yourself for the Journey


Key Challenge:

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


Key Challenge:

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


Key Challenge:

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

Key Challenge:

Create a clear, comprehensive, and compelling picture of the future that most people will desire and immediately work towards.

When 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


Key Challenge:

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


Key Challenge:

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

 

Key Challenge:

Create a cultural environment that anchors new transformational values and paves the way for future paradigm shifts.

For transformation to be successful, a new community must be established that reflects the testimony of God's transformational process.


The greatest cries among people today are their longing to fellowship with genuine Christians and be part of authentic Christian community. Transformation can help make this a reality.







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