Friday, June 14, 2013

To Little To Late! The Contemporary Church Movement Will Eventually Fail

Mike Berry

I have often thought about Jesus' words concerning the city of Jerusalem found in Luke 19. "For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation." The phrase, "you did not know the time of your visitation" has often spoke to me about "missed" opportunities.

Over the years, I have ministered in more than 23 nations and 166 cities. I have won thousands to Christ, led thousands into the Baptism Of the Holy Spirit, seen thousands healed and set free. Many leaders invited me to speak in their churches and conferences because they wanted their congregations to experience great encounters of the Holy Spirit but little paid attention to the "truths" and "nature of" true apostolic ministry I proclaimed. The time and necessity of Apostles and Prophets for the church to our time and generation has come. (See Eph. 2:20)

Instead, too many church leaders read and brought in Wall Street business ideas as though they came from the Bible and presented them as a corporate business model for the church. As a result, hugh churches emerged, leaders became rich in cash, assets, and corporate resources... and the Holy Spirit was religated to small home groups because it might disrupt these corporate models. In one of his last exhortations to me, Frank Houston (founder of the Hillsong movement) said to me, "Mike, These contemporary churches are pushing the Holy Spirit out the door." It's True. 

Yesterday's radicals have become today's conservatives. Traditional evangelicalism has gripped its hold on the activity of many churches creating attractional model churches that are propositional and colonial in nature. The Apostolic model is not popular because its missional, relational, and incarnational. True Apostolic ministry is not motivated by buildings, numbers or assets. Today's corporate church models are like home depots, super wallmarts, or genetically modified Masanto seeds. This model will be completely disrupted one day by one terrorist act. Just as Jesus predicted the fall of the Temple in Jerusalem, one act of terrorism in 70AD by the Romans brought down the house!

Have you ever thought what might happen if a young Jihadist walked into a large mega church, (whether in the Phillipines, Sydney, or in Southern California) and blew it up while thousands were attending services. Think about it. There are no security measures being taken to protect a mega church from one act of terrorism. Mega churches have no TSA screeners going through bags, pocket books, having people removing their shoes, taking off belts, or emptying their pockets before they enter in these large arenas of worship. Just one shooter in a theatre could lead to major deaths- so why arent these contemporary ministries thinking about this future problem. I certainly am not a doomsday prophet nor am I eager to see the demise of major ministries who have been great friends of mine over the years. However, if this should ever happen, mega churches will be gone overnight, lawsuits ensued, and people would opt out for smaller is better.

God is not in these "Starbucked" model churches and it wouldn't surprize me that just as Jesus predicted the "Sacred" temple of Jerusalem's demise... God is going to bring down the current models of church in order to accomplish his plan... a true apostlic church. Today's arenas will become tommorows white elephants because these ministries are built on the wrong emphasis. The New Testament church was built on the full-five fold ministry as outlined in Ephesians 4:11-17. Unfortunately many of the current leaders will be removed due to their inability to see their way through the coming changes that will renew God's purposes and plan for His church. I once questioned a leader about why his church choose to push the Holy Spirit out of the services and he replied, "well just look at our success." What a sad moment... even though this leader was a part of a great movement and witnessed great moves of the Holy Spirit, crowds, cash and assets were his measure of success. A new movement of God's spirit is coming to shift and change the church significantly from what the contemporary church looks like today.

This is the church that I see... will be organic, body-centered, and egalitarian in nature. It will not be built on personality cults but on the ministry of every member (See I Cor. 12)

Just as people in Jesus' day missed their day of opportunity when he prophesied that their buildings would be torn down, their assets were taken away, and their world left in a heap of rubble.... 30 years after this prophecy of Jesus, the Roman's tore down the temple and it has remained unbuilt to this day. Why? Because they missed the day of their visitation. (Isa 43:18-19) Jesus warned that "traditions" make the word of God of none effect. God is innovative, commtted to change and progress... His plan is for a New Testament Community in the 21st century which will not be stopped. I've only been preaching this for 35 years now. If our current leaders (my collegues) are not discerning or willing to risk breaking out of the status quo, their ministries will end up where others have gone in the past. It's only a matter of time.

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