(This is a guest post by Andre Van Herdeen)
Could God already have a strategy in place for finishing His work, yet you and I have been so busy innovating new strategies that we have completely overlooked it? How often do we invent a unique ministry angle, then rush forward, believing this to be the magic formula to drag God’s work another inch or two toward the goal line?
Are we looking through bi-focal lenses, like Elijah, whose nearsighted gaze saw only his tiny sliver of God’s advanced strategy? God asks Elijah, in 1 Kings 19:10, “What are you doing?”
Exhausted, fearful, and hiding in the middle of a vast wilderness, Elijah replies, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.”
In verse 18 of that same chapter, God removes Elijah’s bi-focal lenses and places binoculars over his eyes, giving him a broad view of the advanced strategy He had in place long before Elijah’s Mount Carmel victory. “Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel,” says God. “all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.” Here God is showing Elijah that He has a comprehensive strategy that He had been working out behind the scenes. God had already put pieces in place to catapult His work far beyond what Elijah could see.
Could God have a prophetic “seven thousand,” in place today? People He has set apart and is empowering to dovetail with those within your Christian church who are willing to remove their bi-focal lenses and gaze through God’s binoculars? Could these people already be at work for the advancement of God’s Kingdom within established institutions? Here are three simple components, based on scripture, that together could form a powerful, Spirit-led strategy which all churches and Christians could use to finish God’s work: (1) government, (2) churches from other denominations (3) secular organizations & businesses.
The apostle Paul makes this thought-provoking statement in Romans 13:1, “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.” For the purpose of this article, the latter part of this text is applicable. If God appointed the existing authorities, could it be that the operating structures within those authorities form a part of God’s advanced strategy? The United States Government is divided into 3 sections: Federal, State, and Local County Government. Each section has specific tasks and functions. Generally, the Federal Government connects with and oversees the State Government, the State Government connects with and oversees the Local County Governments and the Local County Government oversees the sectors within its bounds: the Sheriff’s Department, the Schools, Public Works, etc.
Each section of the United States government operates within carefully and intentionally set boundaries so as to avoid duplication and wasting of resources. When funding is passed down from the Federal Government to the State Governments and from the State Government to the Local County Government, that funding cannot spill over to other states or from one county to the other. Each stays within those bounds. Consequently, all the stakeholders and social services within a county serve only the constituents within their county lines. The Local County Government will only find solutions to the issues within their county lines. They won’t get involved in the issues of the neighboring county.
Here is the tie-in with God’s grand cause. If God appoints governing authorities, why doesn’t the church blend into that existing structure? Why don’t all the various sectors within a denomination unify within the bounds of their specific Local County Government and bring that combined, powerful, well-resourced union to the Local County Government table? Instead of looking through bifocal lenses and seeing only their immediate surroundings and grappling for enough funding and resources to make progress in isolation, each section within a given denomination within a given county could unite in order to have a huge impact on that county. Do you know the needs within your Local County Government?
If one had to investigate the resources within any of the large denominations, like the Methodists, Seventh-day Adventists, or Baptists, etc., one would find hundreds of thousands of ministries, churches, hospitals, clinics, retirement centers, camp grounds and printing presses, etc. Isn’t it absolutely miraculous how God has blessed and multiplied the efforts of the small band of early Christians who first received Christ’s gospel commission? Imagine the impact if all those hundreds of thousands of ministries would unite within the existing, “God appointed,” Local County Governmental lines to serve and advance the work of God.
- Churches From Other Denominations
Is God working in churches outside of your denomination or non-denominational church? Could part of the prophetic seven thousand whom God has called and inspired to finish His work come out of the churches outside of your church? Could what Jesus says in John 10:16 help shed some light on this question? “And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.” Could God be working as fervently among the churches outside your denomination as He is working within your church and/or denomnation to find people who will form part of His end-time movement of saving a dying world?
Will the churches outside your denomination who have heard God’s call, be invited to join with those within your church denomination to form a mighty army, working within Local County Government boundaries to blow away the stakeholders and Local County Government officials with their combined resources, skills, and efforts? Do you suppose there could be some people within your church who refuse to hear God’s call? If God used one Catholic priest to ignite the fires of reformation, isn’t He able to call an army of convicted and committed Christians from all churches to finish His work?
- Secular Organizations and Businesses
If the line of reasoning used to determine that part of the prophetic seven thousand could come from churches outside your denomination or non-denominational church, then that same line of reasoning would apply to the prophetic seven thousand coming out of secular organizations and businesses. God called pagan kings, like Cyrus and Artaxerxes, whom He used to expand His kingdom and vanquish evil. Note what God says about the pagan king Cyrus in Isaiah 44:28, “He is My shepherd, and he shall perform all My pleasure.” Aren’t there human hearts outside of your personal church who would respond to God’s call to serve Him and expand His Kingdom?
When the attention of unconverted human hearts is diverted from selfish, individualistic interests to the plight and the suffering of mankind, there are many who respond to becoming part of a noble effort to bring relief and comfort. It is noteworthy to study how many secular business leaders and celebrities are investing millions of dollars to help ease the pain of those around them.
If your church denomination were to unite all its departments and resources within your Local County and cast a vision of what is still needed to meet the needs of the local community — secular organizations, businesses, and churches outside of your denomination would step forward to be part of that vision. As confidence and trust is built up by the visionaries within your church with the churches outside of your church denomination and the secular organizations and businesses, won’t prejudice be broken down, interest awakened and opportunities opened up for God’s truth to be filtered from one heart to the other? It’s not difficult to see that the methods of evangelism used from the early 1900s are no longer working. People want relevance. People want solutions. People want authenticity from Christians.
How beautiful it would be if Christians from within a denomination would take up the divine binoculars and look at what God has already done to raise the prophetic seven thousand in their communities. Could it be that God has not yet revealed His full plan because the majority of Christians are still looking through their bifocal lenses at what they can individually achieve for the advancement of His work?
God is calling people everywhere to do the compassionate works of Christ. By relieving the suffering of mankind, Christians reveal God’s character to the world. Through the grace shown to sinners, their hearts are softened to absorb the seeds of the gospel. Christians and institutions working in isolation move the work, but slowly. When God’s modern followers let go of their own strategies and recognize that He has “seven thousand” already in place, they will let go of their inwardly focused strategies and take hold of His outwardly focused strategy of doing Christ’s compassionate work.
So what about you? Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments by clicking here.