The inferno of revival (or a true reformation) will always begin with a small spark being fanned into flame. Five hundred years ago, God used the spark of a disenfranchised priest to birth a reformation that reshaped the spiritual world. How could such a colossal shift in the Bride of Christ take place because of a simple theological note nailed to a door? In truth, a spark is pretty much worthless until it is birthed next to a large source of fuel. God may have used Luther as an ignition source, but it was the people who were set ablaze.
We are entering another time of great reform. For many of us, we have been waiting our whole lives for what is about to take place. You see, just as multitudes of people (who lived in Luther’s day) were desperate for reform, we once again find ourselves at a point in history were the people of God are ready to say enough is enough!
The Kingdom of God is beyond the control of man. Jesus is our King and He has given us His Spirit to lead His Church to fulfill His plans. But we have forgotten that. Rather than allowing Christ to truly be our King, we have set up earthly taskmasters in the church to function in His place. And overtime as His provision has grown, we have fallen to the temptation to gather, protect, and control His resources. This control has become so normalized and accepted, that it is almost impossible to realize the bondage that in place to retain it.
I could talk about the family that can’t leave the Catholic church because they feel they would go to hell if they left, or the mother who has a deep desperation for her children to get confirmed by a specific denomination for the same reasons. However, this writing is for the multitudes of people who have been called to serve as pastors yet have not made the cut. It is for those who have given years of their lives, accumulated tremendous dept, and have gone through years of red tape only to look back at a decade of volunteer service. Like a carrot being dangled in front of us, we press on in the hope that one day, all of this time and energy will one day allow us to do the actual thing God called us to do: PREACH THE WORD! Yet, it wasn’t always this way…
There was a time when a person was called to preach and his/her denomination worked very hard to help him/her fulfill that call. In the old days, this would happen by spending time being mentored by another pastor while functioning as an apprentice. Before college was mandatory, pastoral training was more focused on a person’s heart and the basic skills needed to study the Word, preach, and love others. And once that new pastor had a relatively firm grasp on things, they were sent off (or commissioned) to start a church. Have you ever thought about how local pastors (in our nation’s short history) were able to fully establish so many churches in every town across America? It was because God was our provision and He provided all that was needed to grow His ministry.
Times have changed. What started as an extra way to help empower the “called” of God, Christian Education and ordination have turned into means of control. Instead of helping aspiring ministers to serve as shepherds of God’s flocks, we have created a system of checks and balances that will only grant a select few to serve. With most towns already developed with multiple ministries, the time for desperately seeking out anyone who can preach is long over. Now the Church is facing a much bigger problem. With only a small percentage of healthy churches and such a large population of people called to preach the Word, a way is needed to protect the assets and the voices coming from behind the sacred pulpits in the grand buildings we have constructed for ourselves. The frontier days are over, and very powerful pastors in high and lofty positions will continue to do whatever it takes to maintain the power, influence, and provisions that they receive from the people of God.
Understand this simple Truth: The Bride of Christ has been imprisoned by a worldly business model where those at the top don’t truly want anyone else to succeed. For if they truly did, there wouldn’t be a multitude of failed or aspiring pastors waiting for a green light from a denominational body to truly serve in their calls. When there is unbelief in a church system, you can’t just let everyone pastor, for there aren’t enough resources to support it. Mind you that these same systems have no issue with stringing as many people along as possible to drain as much time, energy, and money as they can to support those organizations. In reality, the church intentionally enslaves many who are called (yet may never get a pulpit) to a life of volunteer service where they are provided with just enough promise and hope to keep them in slavery and servitude for many years to come.
Why is reform coming? Gad has no problem taking His precious gifts away from servants who bury His provision rather than investing it. The Spirit of God is moving. And like in the time of Luther, the people are reaching a point where the atrocities of the church are being revealed, and it will be the people who stand up to these great injustices. The time for a great shift in structure is about to take place. And we won’t be seeking permission from our denominations, for the Spirit of God is beginning to lead His people out of bondage once again.
The Bride of Christ is a tinderbox waiting to be set ablaze. Who cares how or where God chooses to cast those first sparks… In truth, there are already various brush fires of renewal taking place in many parts of the world. Yet there is one thing holding back the flame of true reformation; without the “called of God” stepping out in faith, those sporadic hot spots will never be able to unite.
Are you a called pastor who is not preaching this week? Do you feel like you are one of the many who are being strung along by a carrot that you may never reach? What if there was a way to help you follow God’s call on your life that didn’t cost money, didn’t make you join something, and gave you the green light you have been waiting for to preach the Word and shepherd the Lord’s flock? Would you be willing to remove the heavy yoke that your denomination has placed on you for that freedom? Would you be willing to walk away if it meant that you could start a new ministry tomorrow?
We are not alone. The time for reform is here. The harvest is plentiful, yet those who are willing to carry their cross are few. As pastors, we are not called to be enslaved to an organization; we are called to be bondservants of the King. Will you hear His call? Will you join in His reform? You have already walked the extra mile. You have already turned the other cheek. I tell you the truth, the Spirit of God has given you permission to leave your captors. The time has come for us to reform the Bride. Therefore, let us glow with the Light of Christ as His people begin to burn once again with holiness, selflessness, and love as God delivers His people from bondage one pastor at a time.