Combating Leviathan to Bring Light to Iowa

In my last blog, I exposed the Leviathan principality that is working in Iowa. (See past blog) Since the posting, many people have contacted me from other states saying they are combating the same exact things. Many have decided to follow my blog to find answers for their regions. I want to begin to address a strategic plan of spiritual warfare against the demonic forces that we encounter.
How do we fight against an unseen enemy and how do we determine the results? In the past, I have seen many so called prophetic acts that engaged a lot of activity but had little to no results. I do believe in prophetic acts, but only if they are very divinely inspired and prayed into and not a fleeting thought in the moment. I don’t see New Testament apostles doing prophetic acts but actual acts. That’s why the book is called The “Acts” of the Apostles. They were real men sent by God to do real acts of God to display His Kingdom in society. They did not depend on numbers to engage demonic forces but relied strictly on the spiritual authority they had been given. Success was not dependent on everyone agreeing or even understanding. It was based on them hearing God’s voice clearly and obeying. We are to pull down strongholds. You don’t pull strongholds down as an individual but with a group of people. This is an action of a group of people who demolish a fortress brick by brick until there is nothing left that remains. This, to me is the first step in strategy, finding the group of warriors.
We also need to find apostles and prophets. I’m not talking about those who want to be or who might be called, but commissioned apostles appointed by Christ, not men and assumptions. These will only be the ones carrying true authority to deal with deep things in the second heaven. They will know the time and moment to step into the heavens and begin to make the shifts. We also must have Christ appointed prophets as well. Ones who declare the true word of God, speaking what must be said. All apostles require and need prophets and all prophets require and need apostles. I have come to a conclusion over time that unless these divine Christ appointed relationships are in place, the strategy of God will not be fully known. If these relationships do not exist, then there is improper alignment, rebellion, or they are not truly called to operate in the grace of these two callings. These giftings will reveal the true word of God over regions and allow that word to be documented so that the Church can war with it. It becomes the spiritual roadmap that reveals the future and causes hope to arise and faith to be activated. The Biblical pattern in the book of Acts shows that when a principality was operating in a region, then Apostolic/Prophetic teams were sent into an area. They understood the culture and the demonic influences behind the people’s belief systems. They began to confront the principality by confronting what people believed. This is probably the primary way of defeating demonic oppression and deception. This occurs until a divine moment of time, confronting each head of Leviathan and weakening the overall principality. We need apostolic / prophetic teams to not just do meetings but go into regions and occupy for a season until breakthrough begins to happen.
Prayer is a key strategic point. There must be prayer over God’s people and decrees over demons plaguing God’s people. Prayer that seeks the heart of God to cause a person’s own heart to be changed. Prayers that communicate the burden we are carrying so God can adjust that burden. Prayer is what maintains and protects God’s people. But prayer alone will not bring changes so much in culture as tarrying to hear God’s plans and strategies is needed. This is more key than anything. In the past when we confronted principalities, we prayed for God’s people, interceded for the lost, made decrees and did lots and lots of deliverance over the people under the demonic oppression. We taught truth and held a Kingdom standard. The prayer room or prayer time was a key time because it allowed us to move into the spiritual realm as a contending group. It was not so much the act of prayer but what it allowed to be produced in us as a corporate Body. It was not just a few of us on the journey of prayer but all of us together. After all, we ALL were on assignment so everything we did, we did together. This was key because it caused our hearts to be knit in His purpose as all of us experienced and heard the same things. We also could hear each other’s heart and understood each other’s hearts. There was as much said and spoken in the prayer gathering as there was in our main meetings. The prayer meeting would set the stage for what God would then form in our main meetings. Without the time in the prayer gathering, a person would be at a disadvantage in understanding the overall direction as things unfolded.
All things will contribute to the weakening of demonic oppression. Healing, winning souls, deliverance, etc., all weaken evil influences. These things are very important, but if the Church is needing awakened, then these things will be hard to set into motion. People will only change how they function after they change what they value. So we must teach and teach and teach as people are perishing for lack of Kingdom knowledge. This has been and currently is the season of revelatory teachers needed. What they are forming is the people of God activated and functioning in real authority.
Now let me give a warning. What seems to happen when we start talking of principalities is there are a lot of ideas and Godly intentions, but little of it fits into an overall plan and strategy to take demonic opposition out of the way. Also, it seems that people can get very fixated on the demonic and not on the Lord thus even empowering demonic forces with their faith. All the good ideas will contribute to the overall success possibly, but they can also distract the Church as it divides people into different groups and passions with no real overall Kingdom plan or agenda unfolding. It can be said these initiatives are Kingdom but are they strategic, playing into an overall Kingdom plan of God? I have seen this in our state with some things that can appear to be a good initiative but don’t have a long-term goal or plan that continues. People can walk away feeling good about what they accomplished but when all is said and done, there was little to no impact. We must be sure we are hearing God and to know the application of what we hear. We must know how our initiatives fit into a larger plan.
The main thing is that we have grown accustomed to life as it is. Human nature is already non-confrontational. The deception we live with is thinking we have already arrived or that things are not really that bad. This mindset needs addressed first. We can’t have change unless we are discontent with the status quo. But there will come a moment of in time, divinely led and inspired, when a corporate group pf people are gathered and in faith will confront Leviathan head on and cut the heads off it. These people will then stand in faith afterwards not giving any ground in the spiritual realm back. This will literally shift the heavens and the atmosphere over a region. It takes time to defeat Principalities. We see Paul weakening many demonic forces over time. This is like a giant chess match being played out with the ultimate prize being a true sovereign move of God unfolding. It is the removing of what is detrimental to allow the light of God to shine into men’s hearts.
We truly need a divine sovereign move of God. Every meeting becomes another key step. Another step in the unfolding plan of God dominion and alignment of hearts. Every person is seen as a possible key to contributing to Kingdom advancement. The mindset is to advance. Advance in gatherings, advance seeing God in lives, advance seeing Kingdom people touching society and seeing that touch influence culture.

Fathering, the way to form 5- fold leaders

As I have studied spiritual fathering and being a spiritual father for about 20 years, I can quickly see the benefits of this for the sons and daughters being developed. I see the great need in the Body yet so many in need of this are sitting under leaders that have no idea of what spiritual fathering is.

The Lord has led me to start a new school in the fall of this year that is to be both a ministry school and a school of fathering. I oversaw a ministry school for 13 years and I knew this had to look different. As I looked around, I didn’t see a model so I have had to work through many things to put together a school that trains for ministry but has fathering within it. We won’t be charging for fathering but for the training part of the school. I am really excited for the school to begin and I see a more solid Biblical pattern for training leaders than ever before. This is leading me to write this blog.

I don’t want to just turn out students; I want strong and true sons and daughters. I know the approach is relationship based and is not forced. Our current models of training leaders is to send them to school, train and equip them with knowledge and some opportunities, and then send them out to do ministry and establish new works. My heart recently broke when a young girl who was in a school of minsitry I talked with was crying out for a father to speak to her. You guess it I was the one and it was fantastic. I realized for all our training we are still not touching the real heart issues needing to be shifted. Yet, as I look at the early Church, there is no real Biblical pattern showing forth the training of five-fold ministry. There is no pattern on how to form a prophet, apostle or any other grace gift. It appears all the emphasis we place on these graces is not as important in the early church. Perhaps we have missed something.

What we do see though is the training of sons and daughters. We see spiritual fathering and sons and daughters responding to that fathering. We also see those same sons and daughters being given responsibilities from the fathers and assignments to complete. We see them laboring along with fathers and knowing their hearts. I wonder if the reason Jesus only appointed apostles and spoke of them was because all true apostles are fathers. We know that the apostle’s role is also to father the future leaders. Of course we see the best dynamic unfolding with Paul and Timothy.  Timothy moved from his son ship to be a leader in the Ephesus church. Along the way, Paul’s heart was reproduced within him and Paul’s voice was heard through him to the Corinthian church as he delivered and read the letters to them. Paul was forming a future apostle by forming a son.

Could the recognition of false apostles and prophets that Paul talked of be more about them having no real father than trying to be something they are not? At least, some of them?  True fathering can easily be seen in a leader’s life. Look at David after defeating Goliath. King Saul asked a simple question of Abner, the captain of the host, “Whose son is this youth?” (I Samuel 17:55) He knew it took a certain type of father to form a certain type of leader.

Paul was adamant with Timothy about his lineage. He told Timothy he saw the heritage in Timothy through his mother and grandmother. Then he told him to look for faithful men who can teach others also. He never told Timothy to go train five-fold leaders. Paul actually never gave a single example of training fivefold ministers but all he taught can be applied to sons. He did tell him to find those qualified as faithful and from those, create sons who will teach others! This sounds like a Biblical pattern of raising five-fold ministry gifts.

I have come to a conclusion that we have created five-fold ministry by more of a worldly pattern with the giving of knowledge in schools of ministry. By knowledge, we define giftings and to a large degree, callings. We set people into the place of five-fold. Some make it while many struggle or even fail. Many were never ready but their schooling says ‘you have graduated or are ready’. Then from that foundation of knowledge, we try to form fathers from five-fold leaders who were never really sons. I believe the more Biblical pattern of forming five-fold leaders is to father them first, to pour life experience in with the Biblical knowledge.  Then from the depths of fathering, the gift will be seen and recognized. The father would release the sons and daughters into ministry.  In other words, five-fold giftings, which are really graces, should be coming forth from fathers. By having true sons and daughters doing ministry, I believe we would see a tremendous impact with ministries and the face of Christianity would appear very different.

I know this is a tremendous paradigm shift of the current approaches and way of training. We have defined so much by Greek and Hebrew language instead of the Kingdom language of heaven. Perhaps the real “equipping” needed in the Body is not just the knowledge of Truth but application of Truth coming from fathers who have made that Truth a part of their life. In other words the equipping is really spiritual fathering! If that is the role of the five-fold, then how can the five-fold father equip the Body without them first being true sons and daughters?

So my premise of this blog is to announce my own paradigm shift concerning training leaders and what is really expected from sons and daughters. I, like William Penn as the nation was being formed, am starting a “Holy Experiment” in a new way of raising sons and daughters and five-fold leaders in our school this fall starting in Sept. If you’re interested in this forerunning, pioneering school, you can find more information on our FaceBook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/1468560813402697/.

Kingdom Centers and the Ecclesia

What exactly distinguishes a kingdom center from a typical church or ministry center? There’s talk of revival hubs and places that hold revival type meetings in the general Body of Christ. The kingdom center is much more than a revival center. The dynamics of the kingdom center hold much spiritual life and longevity of life for the Body of Christ. Most of us define success by the sheer number of people that we either ministered to or at least came through our doors. What is happening in the spiritual realm is how God determines the success of what we have put our faith into action for.
A kingdom center has one thing that sets it above all other types of ministries, churches, revival centers, and places of outreach and outpouring. It sets a new standard of Kingdom expression and life flow that causes a disturbance in the spiritual realm. The standard of the kingdom center is grounded in biblically-based doctrine, expression of that doctrine, gift development, and the overall functioning of the Body of Christ. Unlike most places that have a set person who leads a service or has five-fold ministry leaders leading a service, a kingdom center sees the entire Body of Christ as having a place of function and expression each time it gathers, thus raising the standard of Christ’s nature being expressed.
The standard a kingdom center sets brings us a greater understanding of the truth of the Bible and the application of those truths into everyday life. This causes a spiritual life flow that brings fulfillment into the typical believer’s life as they see their self having value and a place of function in the overall Body. The standard a kingdom center brings not only sets a spiritual bar in the atmosphere, but it’s very presence begins to confront the atmosphere and demand a change upon the spiritual climate of the city or region.
Even though we define kingdom centers as a hub of regional activity, or teaching center that has been established within a certain region for a group of people, or even a revival center, the standard that it brings raises the spiritual climate and atmosphere to a new level so all are affected. What a kingdom center is carrying is a certain grace that enables the standard to be established within a city or region. The establishment of that standard of the Kingdom is now placed for others to find and attain through grace. Not everyone will come through a kingdom center and possibly very few will even understand what a kingdom center is, but many will discover the grace within a region it has unlocked for others’ benefit. The recognition of man is not important to those of a kingdom Center but the approval of God is what matters.
If we truly are one Body of Christ, then we must be thinking along those lines concerning all the activities of that Body. Some parts of the Body are revivalist and have revival centers. Other parts of the Body have teaching centers. Still other parts of the Body have care and nurturing centers called churches. Many times we look at a ministry or a church that is struggling and that seems to be small in number and yet other churches and ministries around are growing and expanding. Our disjointed thinking makes us believe there is something wrong or lacking with the smaller church or ministry. What we may not understand is a smaller church or ministry may be combating and doing most of the spiritual warfare for the city or region. That warfare is enabling others to grow supernaturally and expand as they are not involved in the intensity of the battle but can be more involved in the intensity of the outreach. The kingdom center that sets the standard within the city has a vital role to play in the overall Body of Christ.
Though there may not be many who attend a kingdom center, as most are small in number, but most are doing large things in the spiritual realm. They play an important role in the overall spiritual climate of the city that enables others to reap the benefits of it. Without a standard placed, the typical will always remain the standard. Eventually the standard a kingdom center places also becomes a rallying point that the Holy Spirit can use to cause the Body of Christ to come together. It is not necessarily the kingdom center that is the rallying point but what the kingdom center is carrying a certain grace upon, which is a deeper expression of the nature of Christ. This now becomes the sound from heaven that others suddenly hear. The sound was being released months and even years prior to others hearing it. I know this from personal experience in our ministry as we have been a forerunner of many different things at times. In some ways, it was frustrating that 3-5 years later, others would finally hear the sound and grab hold of what we had previously said. We had already received the revelation, processed it and had moved on. We offered it at that time, but they were not yet ready to receive it.
What you will find about a kingdom center is they are both a pioneer and a forerunner. They break open new territory that has never been seen before. They also carry and are modeling that which God is trying to do and bring into the earth. Because this dynamic does not fit all people, the numbers that will participate in a kingdom center will be drastically smaller than normal ministries. But what a kingdom center does carry also has a high privilege and great responsibility for the future of the Body of Christ. Without their tenacity, pioneering and willingness to be misunderstood and struggle to bring forth the intentions of God, perhaps the future that so many desire would not fully come into existence.
We must remember it is what we do in the spiritual realm that is eternal. The buildings and sound equipment that we have are only tools to be used to help facilitate the eternal realm into the earth realm. The number of people that participate in any Christian event or gathering is only a number indicating interest. The real number that God is concerned about is the number of hearts and lives that have been changed. That is why kingdom centers have a vision for the entire Body of Christ and sees that Body mobilized to do the work of the ministry. They see eternally instead of temporally.

To Go or Stay

I want to address a real issue affecting Kingdom works: it is the placement and alignment of people in the Body of Christ. First of all, let me say I am not trying to cause a mass exodus but to look at things through a Biblical perspective. We all have heard such discontentment from a multitude about the current lack at the places they gather for fellowship, worship and spiritual community. Many are waiting and hoping, though not really in true faith believing, for changes to occur so it will be what they desire in their heart for it to be, which is life- giving. But when confronted with leaving that which does not bring life, the answer almost always is “God has not released me”.
A release from God means there is an assignment given that has not been completed. What is the assignment so many seem to be on and what authority do they have to complete it? How were they sent? If no real assignment has been given and a person is just waiting for changes to occur, perhaps it is not God releasing as much as you deciding to move. Perhaps it is a reluctance to leave what is common and comfortable. Perhaps a person thinks they are the catalyst for change instead of the Holy Spirit.
Soul ties and obligations seem to be the real hold, yet Jesus said “There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God’s sake, who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.” Luke 18:29-30. If we are truly Kingdom minded, we would not allow ourselves to be stuck in frustrations when there might be real options. If we are on a Kingdom assignment, then we would be seeing progress and also be positioned to influence for the sake of the Kingdom. I have seen people wait for years in false hope when there were options they allowed to pass on by. I knew a woman who waited for 17 years faithfully praying for change in one church and nothing occurred. She finally gave up and and moved to another place only to step into a place of similar lack. She prayed for 11 more years and finally gave up. It is hard to move on after investing so much. We don’t want to believe that the things we desire will not come. Perhaps where we have placed ourselves is the real issue. Maybe in that time there were not any options but now in this season with the apostolic and Kingdom government emerging in force and strength, options for true spiritual growth are available.
God has placed you in the Body as He sees fit — to grow you spiritually. If you are not growing, either you are in rebellion, have things in your heart that need to be addressed or you are not in the right faith community. Thinking of it in a practical sense, why would God decide to sacrifice you and stagnate you in spiritual understanding of Him? Why would a loving God frustrate you? Or perhaps you are frustrating the grace of God to bring change. It is just not what you might be thinking of changing, what you are connected with, but changing your perceptions and maybe your alignments to something more life giving. Perhaps you placed yourself in your current faith community and the next location will truly be the place God has placed you.
Even Jesus could not perform miracles or healing even though the anointing was present in some places. Just because a person’s desire is in place to see God move, does not necessarily mean He will. He will not overstep the will of people and specifically the will of a leader. What a leader is currently allowing to occur in a meeting is the most you will see, unless there is a real heart change. You can’t change what you are not in charge of. You might influence but that will be at a price of rejection. So if you are complaining about it, then you are not really in an assignment as any assignment has a specific grace to endure. You can only grow to the degree your leader is growing. That is why it is imperative for leaders to constantly be studying and advancing themselves.
Paul, at times, was not accepted because he could not do anything. But the big, big, difference is that Paul was on assignment and not attending a place to be taught. For the most part, fellowship is what holds people, but it only can produce a certain degree of growth. Think of this: the early Christians left the temple and all the practices for what was life- giving. They left prestige, position, influence, family, obligations and comradery, for a new life-giving flow. There are no examples of people leaving a community of believers in the Bible as all were being taught and growing. The only time we see a departing is when there was doctrinal error and someone was being sent. The commitment to a life- giving community was very evident. That community was formed by God in such a way to grow all the members of that community into deeper relationship with Him.
Now let me say this: the commitment I am talking of, I do not want to be misunderstood. It does not apply to a place that does not produce life and true disciples. That is more a friendship obligation than a pathway to spiritual life. It does apply to a place that is producing disciples and life. This means submitting to real leaders for true spiritual transformation. It means becoming part of a spiritual community that esteems each other and recognizes gifting. It also means becoming involved with the spiritual DNA God has given you. I have seen rashness in young adults coming from the culture around them to abandon if the things being contended for corporately in a Kingdom setting did not come quickly. In this case, the leaving was unjust; they did not have patience to endure to attain the prize. I know of 2 cases in our ministry that they gave God a time limit and said ‘if this does not occur by this length of time, then I’m leaving’ and they did. Imagine the immaturity of that kind of thinking. But this has been caused by an instantaneous culture with rewards and levels attained. It also occurs by not putting your whole heart in play because it shows reluctance and a withholding of full faith.
I had conversations with a man over several months concerning the current body he was attending. He was a prophet living in frustration. Control and secrecy was evident in the body he was in. He would come to me and ask about doctrinal issues that were very skewed. There was a lot of liberty being taken in some areas and in others, things were overlooked. It seemed to be more about money than people. And when it did come to people, it was certain people who got the most attention, the well-to-do people who fit the classification the whole ministry was trying to become. Finally one day I told him, I can no longer meet with you to help you and listen to this. You need to stop attending. He asked ‘why’? I responded with two questions. “Are you attending there?” Obviously the answer was ‘yes’. “Are you tithing there and giving offerings?” The answer was ‘yes’ again. I then said “By attending there, your presence is endorsing it. By giving there, you’re actually supporting it. Both actions are empowering it to remain the way it is. Unless you stop endorsing it and supporting it, no one will stop to take notice of anything wrong.”
Perhaps it is time to shake the dust off your feet. Shaking the dust off is a sign of being on a long journey and the conclusion is before you. You shake the dust off before you enter a house to rest. It is leaving all the excessive baggage you have collected, the dirt, disappointments and weariness and entering into a new place for which you have been destined.

Building Antioch

There are three distinct churches being built. This is also reflective in three distinct types of ministry styles that have been birthed from these influences. Though each has things to offer, only one is truly the more Biblical approach. These three styles are seen in Acts as the Church at Jerusalem, the Church at Ephesus and the Church at Antioch. Let’s make this more real. These three are the people assembled to conduct spiritual government and implement the intentions of God at Jerusalem, Ephesus and Antioch. These are not necessarily structures but are people.

Jerusalem was the place the Church was birthed but it was not until Antioch that they received their identity. As grand as the birthing was, the people were not without problems. They were reluctant to spread the gospel of the Kingdom being more focused on their city than even their region. Yet the command was to be witnesses to Jerusalem, Samaria and the uttermost parts of the world. Jesus had given them their assignment but also was describing the transitions that would be occurring.

The Church in Jerusalem was single culture focused. They went ever deeper in their own culture and never truly reached out in the community. Yes, the outpouring came and yes, many were added, but the Church in the years following never did have another major move of God. You see we become stagnate when we interpret through cultural perception and not through scriptural interpretation. If a ministry is singular in culture or focused on culture itself such as blacks, whites, Hispanics, Asians, etc., they have taken on the Jerusalem model of church.

This means it is personality centered and relies on the person who has the greatest charisma or ability to hold the church or ministry in place. The people are followers with very little activity and influence affecting the future destiny of the Church. Most of these models are pastoral driven under a central form of government. Board meetings and meetings in general are the norm. Conformity and not creativity is a major pressure point. Unity as a goal, programs to engage and relationship that are more obligation than genuine. Most in this model are looking at temporal solutions and not permanent ones.

The Jerusalem church was very weak in developing leadership and leadership teams. We see this in Acts 5 of not being able to meet the needs and having to resolve it by putting into place leadership that they had not raised up but God has raised up. Mostly the focus is not on raising people beyond thier problems through a death process, but more so trying to restore them out of an unrepentant heart. Over time, they lost the Kingdom lifestyle and even more so, world missions outlook. This is why there was a scattering from Jerusalem instead of a sending. God waited long enough and stepped in.

Perhaps one the biggest things I see overall today is our constant desire and longing for another outpouring like we see in Acts 2. I believe this is due to us not reaching towards maturity and longing for another experience to solidify our faith. For the most part, denominations fall into the Jerusalem model. But so do many charismatic, Full Gospel, and Pentecostal churches. I see most of the ministries to homeless, jail ministry, and especially pastor group meetings falling into this model. It is easy to see the lack of response when a God- inspired moment comes and even less response when something is required of the people.

Building around its own activities, dates and programs, the Jerusalem church spent all its resources and manpower to maintain the existing church as a caretaker. Today’s pastoral driven churches either fall under the Jerusalem or Ephesus model, both are churches we should not be modeling to build after.

The Ephesus church was a church in proper focus but not properly aligned with apostles and prophets. There may or may not be a willingness to align and relate. We see the Ephesus Church doing much warfare and had much demonic activity allowed in its sphere of influence in the region. The Temple to Diana was set in strongly along with other occultism. Perhaps the meaning of Diana could best describe the Ephesus church. It means ‘fully enlightened but flow restrained’.

We see this in the Epistle to the Ephesians that Paul wrote where he addressed their spiritual enlightenment, their activation, demonic battles, Kingdom government, stewardship of grace, the power of God for transformation, and a host of other things that were lacking. These were things not so much in place but lacking! The Ephesus church is a church who will hear the heart and direction of apostles and prophets and be slow to implement it or possibly not at all. The apostolic thrust of Paul was available to shift the culture and impact society, but it hinged on them becoming active in the instruction given to them.

The Ephesus church is rebuked in Revelation 2. They are hardworking and many times have made it on their own merits. They have preserved and even tested the apostles and prophets and when they found a false one, they rejected not just that one but all of them from that point forward. But they have lost their first love. The excitement of God is hard to find and the zeal has been replaced with programs. The Spirit is no longer leading but is found along the way. The passion has been lost. The apostolic has come to bring renewed passion if accepted.

Many times the Ephesus type church will hold to a past move of God or a past truth that was brought forth to be dominant for a season. They are reluctant to embrace new revelation and will pick and choose what to embrace and what prophetic words to engage with. They focus more on the dominant gift and gifting that is present and dismiss any others. Under the Ephesus structure, an apostle will not be effective in bringing these churches together for instruction to establish them in greater faith and truth. The apostles’ hands are basically tied and the gifting is dismissed. The prophetic gifting will be embraced as long as it affirms the vision already in motion.

The Ephesus church today is the Spirit filled churches not connected or aligned with apostolic and prophetic voices. This again is the House of Prayer movement, many missions’ organizations and especially Spirit filled churches under pastoral leadership. Many times these types of churches have experienced great growth and success and believe they do not need any governmental guidance from apostle and prophets. Yet these foundational gifts have been given to expand and advance the works already in place. The Ephesus church again is not the model by which we should be building.

This leads us to the Antioch model. Antioch is where the Church or ecclesia received their identity and were called Christians or Christ like or little Christ. To have this name, they were required to be flowing in revelation, performing healings and miracles, casting out demons and to be connected in Holy Community with a culture of love and honor. If a person slipped from one of these things, then he was no longer looked at as being a Christian but being a disciple again.

Antioch had a defined ordered structure and a way of advancement that all could participate in. Plurality of leadership and a defined mandate were present. World mission and Kingdom advance require everyone to work together for the common cause of Christ. When it was time to send out people, they did not send who they could get by without having around but they sent the best they had to offer. This was reflected in the lifestyle lived and the functional expression of it.

They were a group that prayed, fasting and ministering to the Lord. They worked as a team that heard the Holy Spirit and then acted on it. The structure allowed for team expression, growth and development. There was no fear of others, no restrictions or limitations placed upon people. This enabled each ministry gift to develop more fully and move in their calling at a greater capacity than any other model of Christianity.

They had not only a culture of honor for each other, but also respect and honor for leadership and their authority. They were break through believers who broke free of cultural restraint and fear of men. The believers became the force to implement the vision and assignments laid out by the apostolic leadership. They had a “let’s make this happen” attitude.

As Antioch grew, it birthed other apostolic expressions. Each was autonomous and was allowed to have an individual expression but all related to Paul as an apostolic father they were in covenant relationship with. Paul helped bring a holistic spiritual perspective and brought in the ministry gifts based on need. The relationships were not in name only but functional and accountable. Antioch churches became regional bases of resources and have a region and even a state focus, not protecting its local expression but reaching out to others to bring the Kingdom. Antioch churches carry the burden for an entire region and will release people to impact where they are planted.

The commitment level is deeper than an Ephesus or Jerusalem model and since it is apostolic driven, the Antioch model requires a response to the truth spoken, the assignment given and the vision presented. Antioch churches know the destiny of each other is interconnected and will only be released through a corporate means.

Antioch churches are functionally connected and aligned with prophetic and apostolic oversight. They are regionally focused and many times much of the real work is not done within the walls of the local gathering but outwardly. They will travel anywhere there is a desire for the Kingdom. This final model is the pattern we are to build with to advance the Kingdom. Though small in number now, perhaps this teaching will enable us to drop the Jerusalem and Ephesus patterns and portions we have allowed to attach to us and fully come into the Kingdom expression we know is deep in our hearts!

Full Gospel or Apostolic Kingdom

I have been asked several times about the difference between an apostolic or kingdom church and a Full Gospel charismatic church. After all, they are the same, aren’t they? No, not at all. Here are some comparisons. (Full Gospel Charismatic church will be FGC. Apostolic Kingdom will be AK.)

Vision

Generally an FGC church will be focused like most other churches on outreach of winning the lost and discipling. The discipling is more into the tenets of their expression. The AK will be more focused on the development of people and their placement into effective function in the local assembly. FGC will focus on conversion of all souls and will focus on presenting the gospel of salvation. AK will be focused that all people will feel the weight of the Kingdom and its influences. AK knows the Kingdom automatically demands an answer and decisions will have to be made.

Structure

The structure of an FGC is more traditional and will be composed of a board and elders who make decisions. It may or may not have a voting system. Involvement in the ministry is generally attained after several months and is based more on attendance. AK will be composed of a team of leaders making decisions together. A board may exist but only to be a legal corporation. Involvement is generally very quick and is based on discernment and heart connection with the overall vision.

Alignments

FGC generally align to a network of churches connected by doctrine. Many times this is a denomination. Outside alignments are seldom seen and this is reflected in the ministries coming through. Most of the time they are from the same camp. AK will align apostolically and prophetically and not so much doctrinally. AK will be relationship driven and the ministries coming through will be in relationship more so than the same camp. AK does not fear the variety of ways of ministry as much as the FGC.

Leadership

This is probably one of the greatest differences. FGC has a senior pastor. Generally they are charismatic and probably have a certain degree of a teaching gift. As I stated earlier, it is an eldership driven leadership made up of those of the congregation and decisions are made based more from a business perspective than a faith position. AK will have an apostolic leader (not necessarily an apostle) who has a certain grace to lead others into Kingdom dynamics. A team is formed of fivefold type leaders who will speak by visionary perspectives and lead by faith.

Focus

The focus in an FGC will be more on life discipling and family focuses. Programs will be put in place to minister to the needs of the family and this will be reflected in special gatherings for men and women, youth and kids. The AK will be focused more on the Kingdom than the family and trust that if Kingdom dynamics are put in place, then the family will automatically be taken care of. The outworking of this is the family being together to experience spiritual life as a unit. Activation is put upon the family and development of gifts started at a young age.

Messages

FGC messages are culturally relevant and again family focused. Removing injustice is part of the message but ends up being more about ministering to injustice than removing it.  AK will have more revelatory messages and of course Kingdom dynamics. Messages will be on reforming culture to remove injustices instead of ministering within culture. While FGC will be “culturally relevant” (trying to relate to culture) AK will be “counter cultural” (knowing that Kingdom culture will change current culture).

Worship

FGC will have more of a standard approach to worship. Songs will have more of a focus about God instead of Who He is. Songs will also have a self focus and will be better known. Song services are more planned and have a set time. With AK, the songs are more focused on God Himself and His great works. Very few songs are about self. Songs are more from unknown artists because the message they carry is fresher. Spontaneous worship and creating of songs is what AK is known for. The worship has no real set time factor.

Prayer

FGC has a group set aside and recognized as the intercessors. AK looks at every person as called to intercede. Prayer for people at altar calls may have a team in a FGC, but generally it is the senior leader and their spouse. AK will have a team or see everyone as being able to pray and minister to others.

Activation

FGC will take people through classes associated with what they believe before they truly activate people. Time factors and certain things need to be attained before a person is released or put in place, to reduce possible mistakes. AK will activate people pretty quickly and will train them as they do ministry. They are not concerned about mistakes but are more concerned about a person trying than being perfect in how they do things.

Spiritual Community

FGC has spiritual community based on relationships around the belief system. Most spiritual communities are pretty healthy but can also be more surface type relationships. Smaller churches will have greater community. In larger churches, the community will be several communities within it based around the programs. AK will develop a community of honor and tightness in relationships that can be enlarged as it grows. They will have solid, deep meaningful relationships that build a sense of family. This family is more than those in the room but also extends to those outside of the local gathering and into all those they are in relationship with in other ministries.

Missions

The outward expression of FGC will be set missionaries they help support in part. Locally missions will be a helps type ministry of feeding the homeless, crisis pregnancy centers, and other outreach programs. This could also extend into foreign mission trips where the same types of ministry occur such as erecting/repairing church buildings, working in orphanages, etc. The AK approach in missions is not so much as supporting but sending. They too, might be involved in the same local outreaches but are looked at as more of being sent with an assignment. This is extended to the foreign missions as well. Being sent with a specific assignment, the helps ministry is not seen in other nations but leadership training, conferences and educational thrusts are primary.

As we can see, there is a difference to both types of ministries. There needs to be more of a balance. As I see it, the main thing to be added to the AK model is local outreach. I think many Apostolic Kingdom Churches are hesitant because of associating with an old model. The main thing that stands out in the apostolic / Kingdom churches that I did not cover is a more consistent life-giving flow. To me, this is the primary difference and is why so many churches need to transition to this model.

Pharisees, Sadducees or Kingdom?

As I look at the intentions of God to provide for the advancement of the kingdom I started a journey of reflection of the early church. As the early church was put in place in the earth they were positioned to be a voice of authority in the spiritual realm of cities and regions. The true church defined by kingdom definition is the one moving in authority, carrying Gods breath with a fresh life-giving flow, ones esteeming each other and ones who love the lost that are longing for hope to be free. All the churches related to Paul as an apostolic father and he allowed each to have their own expression of spiritual life. There was not a central form of government but a kingdom structure and relationship alignment that allowed freedom of expression to be formed.

I wonder how today Paul would view the current church structures we have built with over 600 denominations and so many expressions with the bulk not relating to any apostolic father and having such diverse believe systems. It seems to me Paul would probably be rebuking them openly, and then if not repentant would be dis-fellowshipping many churches that would reject Gods ordained means of oversight. Paul would probably look at these religious positions as equal to Sadducees and Pharisees and forms of religion but denying the power of God to work through them. Disconnected to the kingdom and thus really not fully Christian or Christ like. Perhaps they would be looked at as new young believers but not truly disciples.

During the time of Christ and the New Testament era, the Sadducees were aristocrats. They tended to be wealthy and held powerful positions, including that of chief priests and high priest, and they held the majority of the 70 seats of the ruling council called the Sanhedrin. They seemed to be more concerned with politics than religion and being seen. They did not relate to the common man. This seems to be somewhat how the church today is viewed with the Hollywood style preacher with all the glitz’s and glamour. The other group the Sadducees who were legalistic only considered the written word to be true. The common person would relate the Pharisees who looked at oral traditions as equal to the written word. Both of these group put demands of offerings and giving upon people to support both of their traditions and to increase their positions of influence. This group to is easily seen in the current religious structures we have as well. The striving for position, jealousy, and the ladder of succession has created a great division and a spirit of competition, much like the Pharisees and Sadducees.

Paul even saw many who tried to imitate the apostles and even spoke the same messages. For these he accepted them as long as truth was presented but when truth was twisted or screwed he then would call them out and rebuke them. The woman declaring who Paul was for three days until Paul turned and rebuked her is a great example. The woman’s intention was to draw people after her and not Paul. Her insights and words were right but her intentions and motive was wrong, a self promotion to make converts to follow her. She was stating I also have this believe system to add to my own so if you join me you also are joining into Christianity.

So am I saying that many places need to be rebuked? Am I saying we disassociate with many churches? I know this may not be very popular but have we allowed so many belief systems to be formed because of us not wanting to confront what we know to be false doctrine or partial doctrine? The question always comes… who has made you the spiritual police? What I am saying is we are trying so hard to fit into the overall belief systems and expressions current in our culture, instead of realizing the Kingdom stands separated from all of these. Perhaps we should be more focused on birthing new kingdom focused apostolically connected churches. What if there truly was a network of these types of churches across our nation. What if apostles and prophets were being funded by these networks? What if apostles and prophets were truly accepted and embraced by these churches and had the freedom to travel to these to encourage them? We have spent so much in America on buildings and furnishings and not on supporting leaders and those really doing the work of the kingdom. Culturally in the church we are pretty messed up in our priorities and what we deem important. Culturally we want spotless bathrooms, 4” foam chairs, light shows, bible apps instead of written word, a condensed gathering, and no real confrontation that would create change. We want a soft word to create huge returns and to do ministry when it is convenient so we can feel good about ourselves. The formula is pretty simple to have success as a ministry. Don’t confront, don’t rebuke, don’t speak on repentance, holiness, sin and above all don’t have an expectation of change. As those from China years ago said America is the only nation you can have a successful ministry and God is nowhere to be found involved in what you are doing. Dutch Sheets said a couple of years ago “We know what to say and when to say it. We know how to cheer people on and have become real good at scheming instead of strategically planning.”

As we look backward longing for “old time revival”, we look at the outcomes but seldom look at the messages. Messages that were uncompromising and demanded responses. Messages that went for 2 hours not 30 minutes. Messages that came from preachers who had been through the heart dealings like Peter did so when they delivered it came from experience and not just correct exegesis.

The apostles traveled and their needs were provided by the church as a whole. Offerings were collected before they came and presented by laying them at the apostle’s feet. The life-giving flow of their messages they brought was confronting and convicting. They were in your face and pulled no punches, yet the people appreciated the honesty they presented and also the grace they brought that enabled them to go from glory to glory. They did not withhold their offerings as we do today, if something is not to our liking, but they gave and gave abundantly.  By today’s standards Paul’s ministry endeavors and team traveling with him would cost over a million dollars a year! Nobody is moving to this degree of kingdom provision.

So some real questions arise. How much time will be spent on trying to convince those who really don’t what to change and come into more of a kingdom expression? I for one am so tired of going to so many pastoral driven leadership meetings and seeing so little revelation, truth, and life-giving flow being presented. I look for the breath of God that creates and seldom find the anointing to speak for a few minutes under the spirits unction. It’s time we decide to let go of any religious connection and begin to truly spend our time on what we know to be true kingdom.