Article #005††† WHEN "NOTHING" IS HAPPENINGBy Jean-Claude Chevalme

Fulfilling the great commission, reaching the lost, taking cities for God, is, if not the heartbeat of every Christian, at least on the mind of each. Scores of pastors in cities all across America are motivated by this vision. Many have come together in prayer summits, many have begun regular prayer time as never before, hoping to catch a common heart and vision for their cities. Great ministries have been birthed, independently from churches, to serve as catalyst in implementing systematic approaches to reaching cities for Jesus. Prayer is going up as never before. Citywide projects have been presented to churches by local nucleus of pastors with the intent to encourage the rest of the body to participate. These projects are well-advertised, well-designed, they hardly could have a more encompassing or less threatening strategy to invite cooperation among pastors.

Yet in spite of all these efforts, we have yet to see a city over 20.000 people, where the whole Church has been mobilized, to reach the whole city, with the whole gospel.

In confirmation of this, in the last three years I have been speaking with many "City Reachers" or "City Facilitators". That is the name given to a new breed of people that God is raising in cities across the USA. These brothers and sisters, each with a heart "to bring the church to work together," recount that for the most part, no matter how hard they try, only a minority percentage of congregations within cities (up to 30% in some cases,) are actively participating in ongoing "city wide" projects. Furthermore, the majority of these groups are largely composed of Caucasians pastors. In general, there seem to be a lack of motivation on the part of brothers and sisters of other races to work in unity with Caucasians, or with each other for that matter.

No matter how great the strategies, how encompassing the vision, it seems that at one point in time, the working unity of the Church in the city reaches a plateau and stays there.

So what is the hindrance? Why is God not answering? Are we not doing all we can, with all our heart? Are we not we praying enough? Do we need to have better projects? Do we need greater visions? Is it not Godís time yet? Are there things that are still lacking in the body of Christ? What are some of the possible answers? I would like to suggest the following.

The purpose of God in revival is not only to see the lost saved but also to be effectively discipled. God has said that the world would know that we are His disciples when we have love for one another. According to the scriptures, in Ephesians 4: 15-16 and Colossians 3:14, complete unity is the result of the perfect bond of love; not through ministry nor organization of churches. We are brothers and sisters before we are ministers. To God, the minister is more important than the ministry, otherwise He would have taken home His wayward ministers before they fell and left their ministries in shambles.

We all know that the way the church functions today bears no resemblance to the New Testament model the way God originally designed it. Therefore, I believe that with the present model, it is impossible for the Holy Spirit to cause His love to grow in the saints for one another, to develop intimacy. I believe that as long as the structure of the Church is designed to only gather the saints in groups of hundreds or even thousands, sitting side by side once a week to listen to one man speak, effective love or reconciliation will not be possible. We do not, and cannot, make disciples the New Testament way with the existing structure of todayís church; nor will we be able to effectively take care of all those who will be saved when the Spirit of God is poured out.

The sad thing is, we know this but somehow, we still are not changing our ways of doing church. We persist in our old ways knowing that not only they are not biblically patterned, but that consequently, they do not work. When are we going to be convinced that more will not make it better. We hear the call of God, but we are bound by the chains of old wineskins, and therefore God cannot bless.

I believe that the Church in cities will remain unable to be mobilized as long as we are proceeding with reconciliation and mobilization only from a structure based, ministry based, organizational base, top down, program oriented, create positions, fill in the blanks, and work through the pew method. This method has led the Church of Jesus Christ to its present stagnation mode, and the condition of our nation. More of it will not make it more effective. It is time for us, not only to admit that our way of doing things has lost effectiveness in making disciples and in reaching the lost, but also and especially to purpose to do something about it. There must be a paradigm shift on our part in the way we shepherd the Church to function. I believe that God is waiting on us, not us on Him.

The Lord showed me that neither man, nor human organizations could ever hope to bring unity in the body of Christ, that only He could. In all things, He must have the preeminence. He alone must be lifted up. However, as someone has said: "Only God can make a cauliflower grow, but we must plant the seed." We are co-laborers together, and with God. Therefore, even in the process of bringing His Church to complete unity in love, as He surely will, God expects us to take some steps; to do the work necessary to"plant the seed". Once we have done that, He will do the rest.

I believe that with the support and encouragement of the existing leadership of the Church, we need to approach mobilization, not only from the top down, but also and especially from the bottom up. This, from the grassroots, growth oriented, relationally based, with natural identification of leaders, birthing in every neighborhood a nucleus of Christians neighbors who will get to know each other and fellowship with one another, just as they did in the early Church. This will enable the Holy Spirit to reactivate the giftings in the saints and cause them to develop relationships and bonds of love on a neighbor to neighbor basis. Then and only then, will the Church be in a position and condition not only to nurture their newly saved neighbors, but also to absorb their large numbers when God pours out His Spirit. I have much to share about this but allocated space does not permit.

I will have joy in my heart when the Church has been turned around and neither man nor any organization can take the credit for it but only Jesus. "Greater works than these you shall do because I go to my Father". It is to do my part for such works that I am laboring in prayer. For such works that I live. Works which will be accomplished not by might, nor by power, but by His Spirit. Works which will make people say "Surely, the hand of the Lord has done this."

For the unity of the Church in love, the glory of God, and the salvation of souls.

Jean-Claude Chevalme

Pray! Las Vegas

2853 Cedar

Las Vegas NV 89104

702-432-8341

Jchevalme@aol.com

Copyright 1998, NPPN - Permission granted for duplication or distribution among facilitators and intercessors who are committed to gathering pastors for prayer.

This article will continue to be posted and distributed throughout the NPPN - with the ongoing addition of comments and questions from NPPN respondents. The NPPN produces and provides these articles to initiate a national conversation among pastorsí prayer leaders. Opinions reflect the views of each author or respondent, not the NPPN or any other person or organization You are encouraged to contact the author or subsequent respondents directly. These ongoing discussions are intended to inspire, instruct, and inform those who lead pastorsí prayer groups and facilitate pastorsí prayer networks. The NPPN reserves the right to edit articles and responses for purposes of length or tone. Our call to humility and our commitment to biblical unity will serve as our guide and our guard. ____________________________________________________

 

NPPN FORUM----------------

From:phil@nppn.org (Phil Miglioratti)

Jean Claude...

Your article was too much of a "mirror" for me! It is a strong reminder that "Itís about relationships...stupid!" My natural tendency is to think of strategy, plan activity, communicate impersonally...and expect amazing results!

When all the dust settles, the Lord wants to see two results:

 

Most of us know this...How do we live it out???

Phil >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

From:JChevalme <JChevalme@aol.com>

Date:†† Sun, 5 Apr 1998 03:07:54 EDT

Subject:††††††††† Re: NPPN Interactive Article

Hello my dear brother:

As to your comments, about the "mirror", I am glad that the article served to draw your attention to this most important and most neglected topic of relationships in the Church. We still need strategies for evangelism and the many other responsibilities of the body of Christ of course. But I believe that neglecting this facet of the Church so central to the heart of God and so central to the new testament has caused the "love of many to grow cold." Love for one another must be not only the first and the last of our focus but also the basis for everything else. So my question to you is: "How do you propose to translate the "a new commandment I give you" of our Lord in a practical application so as to "improve your serve" as a pastor?"

TY

For the unity of the Church in love, the glory of God and the salvation of

souls, Jean-Claude

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

From:JChevalme <JChevalme@aol.com>

Date:†† Sun, 5 Apr 1998 04:01:58 EDT

Subject:††††††††† Re: NPPN Interactive Article

Dear Phil:

I did not notice your second question: "How do we live it out?"

That is the "gold, silver, and precious stones" question my brother; (to use "thatís the million dollar question" just did not measure up for value!).

There is no shortcut to building relationships. How do friends, lovers, husband and wife build their relationships? Certainly not by spending their lives once a week in a seminar and not seeing each other the rest of the time except for business!

As long as the saints ...only... meet in the building we call "church".

As long as pastors and leaders look to the saints as ...only... "their" people and encourage their participation mainly in projects that are designed to keep

them in their sheepfold. As long as there is no desire to encourage the

saints of different sheepfolds to meet with each other on a neighborhood

level, we will not have done what we have to do for God to build His love

among us.

The Church in the city needs a strategic overhaul. I believe that God has showed how this overhaul needs to happen, but donít you think I should make it work before I proclaim its merits? Pray for me and for the Church in Las Vegas.

TY.

For the unity of the Church in love, the glory of God and the salvation of

souls, Jean-Claude

 

NPPN FORUMóYour comments, questions, observations are welcomed if they add to our understanding, are constructive rather than critical or judgmental -Do not return nor edit the text; just the title, followed by your comments -Include your name and ministry role - Email your comments to: phil@nppn.org

#005 = WHEN "NOTHING" IS HAPPENING

By Jean-Claude Chevalme

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