Major Kingdom/Apostolic Articles
Organic Apostolic Networks - By Ron McGatlin
Can there be a truly spiritual organic church with Christ Jesus as Head in the framework of Apostolic Networks?
To answer this we will need a cohesive understanding of the definition of the terms. Words mean different things to different people, and in this time of major shifting in the worldwide church many terms being used are not clearly defined in the minds of believers.
Human or natural thinking will never fully grasp the spiritual reality behind spoken words of spiritual concepts. The Spirit is always involved in communicating spiritual truth. Therefore, we are reaching for spiritual definition words regarding the renewed formation of the works of God on Planet Earth.
Apostles and Apostolic Networks are major terms to be considered in the current reformation. The restoring of apostles and apostolic works are serious areas of concern that are in process of being defined and understood. The natural minds of most people immediately consider networks to imply structure and organization. The term apostolic is generally construed as office of authority within the network. Very soon the chief apostle concept comes into view as a headship position in the network. And not long after that the structure of additional offices of “spiritual” authority of pastor, prophet, evangelist, and teacher become considerations.
Conflicts arise in our understanding as the Holy Spirit intervenes in our process of logical natural thinking with God’s revealed spiritual concepts such as:
· The practical reality of Christ Jesus as the Head of His church
· The clergy/laity order exposed as ungodly
· The brotherhood of all believers at one level revealed
· The exposure of the business-corporation style of church as ungodly
· The religious order of the institutionalized church exposed as ungodly
· The hideous hidden mixture of sin and godliness in Christians
· The revelation that the division of godly faith practices from practical life activities such as business, home, recreation, education, and governments is inordinate.
The list goes on as greater truth continues to be revealed and one after another of our time honored beliefs and practices are seen as faulty and in need of either being dissolved or greatly altered and purified.
Our traditional concepts of leadership and networking are challenged by the biblical and spiritual revelation of these things. Therefore, we may have begun to adjust our leadership and networking ideas to some degree but may not yet be free from the old patterns of traditional natural thinking. Giving things new names and calling it spiritual is not enough.
God is not bringing us to traditional leadership and natural networks with spiritual overtones. He is not even taking us to networks based primarily on relationships with one another. If we network based on relating to one another it is very easy to begin to esteem one above another and establish invisible hierarchical order and arrangements. Yes, relating to one another is a very important secondary part of spiritual networking. But it is secondary to the individual intimately relating to King Jesus by the Holy Spirit. A spiritual relationship with one another begins with being fully connected to God through the indwelling Spirit of Christ. There is a significant difference between networking in the HOLY SPIRIT and natural networking around spiritual things.
God is seeking a Spirit network without man’s government or man’s intervention but with man’s cooperation in the Holy Spirit.
One cannot join a true spiritual network. No one can appoint someone into a spiritual network. Human recommendations will not get you into a spiritual network. A spiritual network is a spiritual thing. One is added to the network by the Holy Spirit. Spiritual networking is a connecting of spirits of just men made perfect coming together with God, Jesus, and many angels. Jesus is the mediator, and the registration desk is in heaven.
Heb 12:22-24: But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.
If this seems too ethereal for us we may need to adjust and become just men made perfect (mature). We need to grow up spiritually and be fully baptized in the Holy Spirit that our spirits may assemble with the Spirit of Christ in the new covenant reality of walking IN THE SPIRIT.
The apostolic spiritual network that God is sending down from heaven under the headship of our Great Apostle is called the New Jerusalem. It is the ruling city of the worldwide kingdom of God. The patterns of all life in the kingdom emanate from the city whose builder and maker is God. Nothing enters the network that defiles. God does not visit His people there; He dwells among them. All love, all power, all wisdom dwells with His people and is imparted to us as He wills. This is the grace imparted for the purpose of ordering the world to the kingdom of God.
This is Christ in us by the Holy Spirit to rule and reign with Him now on this earth.
God is not sending a replica of heaven on earth. He is sending the reality of heaven to earth in Christ Jesus by the Holy Spirit in His people. God is not delegating His authority on earth. He is authority on earth dwelling in His people - His network of pure, holy, humble people who have died to the old and are alive only as Christ lives in them. In reality Christ is alive on earth living in His people who are dead and yet alive by the Spirit and abide in the Spirit of Christ.
Natural organizational gathering and networking of the church began around the third century when the Holy Spirit pulled away from the church religious systems that man had developed. Although reformation began around five centuries ago we are yet seeking to fully realign with the Holy Spirit and be cleansed of the man-made systems that have prevented the fullness of corporate life in the Holy Spirit.
All of the Christian religion group divisions of history from Catholicism’s variations to protestant religion with its many denominations and divisions such as orthodox, liturgical, evangelical, Pentecostal, charismatic, prophetic, various streams, and more recently apostolic networks have all functioned tied to natural networking. Most if not all of the historical religious groups and networks operated in something far less than the true spiritual networking of the Holy Spirit as presented in the heavenly New Jerusalem.
Most of the diverse groups of history remain today in some form, each stuck in their past experience. However, the revelation from God of restored truth has continued to advance in generation after generation toward the truth of Holy Spirit led living in the spiritual city of the living God. We are yet struggling today to return to the preeminence of Christ in the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit has been made out to be less significant when in reality the Spirit of God is God, and without the Holy Spirit we have nothing of Jesus and the Father in our lives today. It is the season to be transformed to live in the Spirit in the New Jerusalem lifestyle.
The Vision is for all spiritually mature believers to - Pray – Hear – Obey , and for all spiritually immature believers to be trained by the more mature (elders).
Vision of possible spiritual city-wide gatherings
Imagine the scenario of no more Sunday morning weekly church gatherings with the people divided into many different congregations. Instead think about citywide or area-wide gatherings. Now, imagine that instead of traveling from church to church the apostles or visiting sent ones move from Kingdom Revival Center to Kingdom Revival Center. OK, what is a Kingdom Revival Center? A Kingdom Revival Center (KRC) is citywide or area-wide gathering of many groups. The KRCs hold meetings as led by the Spirit, perhaps monthly, but normally not weekly. Also as the Spirit leads the KRCs may hold a series of special meetings several nights in a row. Warehouses, store fronts, and other rented or donated facilities will do for the KRC gatherings.
The many groups that gather monthly at the KRC meet individually in homes or other facilities such as businesses, barns, basements, or whatever every week or more often as led, on whatever days or evenings as led, in groups called The Groups or Jesus Groups or something generic. The Jesus Groups or The Groups are not called prayer groups or fellowship groups or Bible studies or home groups because all those names point toward and emphasis for the meetings.
This is not an organization but a pattern and, of course, there are many variations as Holy Spirit leads. Probably the most central structure to this is businesses and homes. Men who may be business people or professional people or ex-ministers can help deal with administration issues in the different areas once they grasp the general pattern which will have many variations as the Spirit shapes them for each different area or city.
Okay, this is all from the vision or dreaming process, but it will check out with God and is a start to losing our old mind sets.
Where is the starting point?
· Getting the vision from God,
· Getting excited about the vision,
· Praying the vision back to God,
· Preaching the vision everywhere you preach,
· Sharing the vision with individuals,
· Write the vision and publish it,
· Move with the vision when the opportunity presents itself,
· Stay on track with no other diversionary visions.
Where are the resources for all this?
The people and the money are locked up in church buildings, operating expenses, and leadership salaries. Traditional church leaders will cooperate as they catch the vision see the work of God becoming a real organic spiritual network led by the Holy Spirit with many men and women arising from the pews and fulfilling the call on their lives in the groups. The elders would lead the immature in the groups to intimate relationship with Jesus as their Lord and Head of the church (ekklesia). These ones are trained but sitting in pews in traditional churches. These are powerful assets to be released to the Body of Christ.
The facilities already exist in homes for the group meetings and businesses or rented halls and stadiums for the citywide or area-wide gatherings of the groups.
Pray – Hear – Obey Ask God for a vision and pray for the vision He gives you. Listen and move in obedience in the next step He reveals to you. Wait upon Him, and watch for the next step to open before you.
As the declining economic conditions erode the lifestyles and available funds of families, all these things will move in the direction of the vision of God for an organic spiritual network of believers to bring in and train the harvest of souls in the gospel of the kingdom.
Keep on pursuing love.
It never fails.