Today we see God speaking to and working through His people (the church) who are organized into a variety of groups with differing structural and theological values (wineskins). Some of God's people are waiting for the next move of God, some are experiencing that Fresh Fire now, some are getting a slight trickle, but the river of God that flows out from under His throne is flowing into all who seek Him and call out to Him. In some places whole cities are experiencing transformation and this transformation has been documented for the entire world to see by George Otis.
The partial list of Wineskins or groupings is listed next. There is the House church movement, the Emerging church movement, the New Apostolic Reformation movement, the New Reformation or 21st Century Reformation movement, the Third Wave or New Wave Church, and the Multi-cultural multi-generational church. There is also renewal in the Denominational, Charismatic and Pentecostal movements, although they might describe it as renewal. The Seeker Sensitive church, the Cell church and the Messiahanic Jewish church are going strong as well. There are a number of other groups I am sure I have missed so I want to apologize in advance.
There are some unique elements in these movements or groups of believers which I want to draw attention to today. Some groups will emphasize more than one item on the list below. Each of these groups is responding to the working of the Holy Spirit to draw people into a Biblically health relationship with God. Each sees different elements of Biblical teaching as important for that relationship to function well.
Below is a list of some of the areas which are being emphasized today as each group tries to hear and do what the Spirit is saying to the Church today.
1. The need to relate to the culture and times each group is a part of.
2. The methods needed to relate to a culture full of people who have little or no positive knowledge of the people or message of God in Jesus Christ.
3. The necessity for more intimacy with God and passion in a personís relationship with Him.
4. The supernatural elements of God's interaction with people that are missing from the believerís daily life and the priority of their operation in believerís lives and gatherings.
5. The lack of Godly servant leaders in business and government.
6. The value of seeing people made whole in Spirit, Soul (mind, will, emotions) and body.
7. The equipping of leaders who can lead with Godly character, sound knowledge of the Bible, a disciplined spiritual life and healthy relationships with other people, which are empowered by God's Spirit.
8. Music which stirs the believer to a passionate, daily commitment to a Biblical lifestyle and a healthy zeal for the things which God states in His word are important. 9. Individual believers who are ready to give an answer for the hope that is in them.
10. Strategies and methods that allow the good news to be heard as good news to people today from every walk of life and from every people group and culture.
11. A rediscovery of the Jewish roots of the Christian faith.
12. The renewal of interest in the structural, organization life of the New Testament Church and the power that God demonstrated in the lives of New Testament believers.
13. Passionate intercessory prayer networks which cross all church organizational lines.
14. In addition there is a growing sense of urgency to evangelize the lost and to find the most effective methods to accomplish this. In fact this was the initial catalyst for much of the Intercessory Prayer movement and the Spiritual Warfare teaching of the 1990's.
The heart of what these different groups of people who call themselves Christians desire is; To have more of what Jesus came to live, die and be resurrected for; a restored relationship with the heavenly father; a restoration of what people were intended to be and do.
To accomplish the above items there are a wide variety of formats for equipping the people within each group to become mature believers and prepare them for a life of building up other believers, reaching the lost, making disciples of all nations and growing them into the fullness of the stature of Christ. Ephesians 4:13. '...to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.' NASU
What is the process by which these many streams form new groups of believers and their organizational unique nesses? Read my next article, as we move toward exploring a working model for Equipping people, ' to a mature person, to the measure of the stature of Christ.'
First we will look at the formation that takes place when God's presence flows into the people who seek Him and how their time in history, culture and understandings, along with their gifts, talents and personalities form the new wineskin or organizational units in and from which the glory of God flows out to the people of their day.
The Formation of a WineSkin: When God Mixes His Glory With Our Lives, Culture and Times.