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Computerized Christians? Get Ready for the New Church!
Isaiah 43:19 declares, “Behold, I am going to make a new thing, and now it will sprout; don’t you know? I will make roads even in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.”
New things? TRY IT FOR SIZE: Just as Apostle Paul brought Good News to the Greeks, today’s Key Kids will bring it to GEEKS!
That’s what I mean. Anyone remember those radical Jesus freaks from the 60’s and 70’s? They’re still around. They became the potbellied baby boomers we know and love today. These people seem to become more conservative as they get older (having children of their own can cause this shift). After all, many who were liberals yesterday are conservatives today. They despise the vulgar videos and movies of today’s young people and loathe their filthy dirty clothes, pierced noses and tattoos. These baby boomers can’t stand the vulgarity and arrogance of today’s young uncommitted “slackers”.
To you pastors, I hate to tell you, but these kids are new here. These young people are the new church. I call them Omega Warriors.
Together we baby boomers must overcome issues beyond the generation gap. This is the quintessential paradigm shift, as today’s “organized church” has completely misunderstood these novices. Boomers must recognize the hidden grief that faces today’s “key-carrying” kids. . . the heartbreaking desperation of their broken families and the poor parental skills they suffer as we discover together that TV is a terrible surrogate parent. It’s something in their life that makes them “do that”.
For Christians, the days of “one-to-many” media are long gone, and today’s Baby Boomer Christian is the talking leader. We’re getting into one-to-one digital media. These kids want to interact. They long for each other. They want to collaborate and dialogue with others. Common interests are drawing these kids into a common community. A quick glance at their Internet chat rooms will show this. They will discuss anything. They want to communicate.
Create something out of nothing
Can we discern the spiritual side of all the obvious bullshit they force us to deal with? What could God do with such a big mess? Considering the idea of being connected to each other in another space is spiritual in nature. The concept of a “covenant network” of coalition individuals is of course Christian. And, perhaps for the first time in human history, the Body of Christ can be seen as truly global, entirely possible, and acting more consistently than we might imagine. How is this possible? through the Internet.
No one is better at negotiating with the “network” than today’s youth.
“It’s important to fulfill the Great Commission by getting the gospel message of salvation to those who need it most,” said Mark Harpert, president of World Wide Christian Network. He continued, “The level of ignorance of the truth about God is appalling, especially in countries with the most technological advancement. These people need God, and wireless internet technology is a great way to let them know what God, the Creator of the universe, wants if they allow it. Create a special relationship with them.”
Sadly, many church leaders today—some of whom were the radical Jesus freaks of yesterday—are largely ignoring what’s going on under their noses because they think a lowly computer is at best a glorified Office machines are the worst of the devil’s tools. Granted, predictions about the information superhighway may seem overblown today, but wise Christian leaders will religiously consider its implications for tomorrow. Although computers seem to mean little to nothing for the future of the church, the way the church uses this tool could revolutionize Christianity on Earth as we know it. I can attest that it has revolutionized my own personal ministry, as I would rather click a button and spread God’s word to millions than preach to a group of 12 or so. When I do serve living people, I always return a list of email addresses.
The new millennium is a watershed in the history of the Church. The Internet will soon affect the growth of the church on a global scale with astonishing speed. The question is, will you be part of it? Some might say, “We’re way ahead of the First Church game! We have our own website…” WRONG! Again, for anyone to find the site, they must be looking for you.
The church must make every effort to find them!
Mind consumer or mind producer?
I was almost late to my Coffee Studio Bible study last Wednesday night. Why? I saw an ad for NBC’s Dateline with Stone Phillips, where a ministry team was doing an exorcism in a North Carolina apartment. Yes, we recorded it for later, but we also watched it. When I ended up joining the Coffee Studio group, some people had been watching the same show there and watched the show too. Early on in the show, Phillips issued a statement saying, “There are as many as 10,000 exorcisms a year in the U.S., the majority of which are performed by evangelical Christians.” (I’m performing one this Saturday. We also performed last month on Bed & Breakfast did one, an English guy. Man, I really like Christianity, how about you?)
Regardless of one’s stance on demons and exorcisms, on the same tape a friend included clips from the 700 Club, here’s what Pat Robertson told writer James Rutz about him interview for his new book, Megashift. When my wife and I saw it, I was hooked. After hearing Rutz’s talk, I ran upstairs to read his books as much as I could online, followed by my wife.I found this quote, “If you read a ‘Christian book’ this year, write it as Jim Rutz’s ‘Great Change’.” – Joseph Farah, Founder, WorldNetDaily
Another review reads: “The nightmare of 1700 is over. A sea change of psychic powers is about to sweep the world for the better. Get ready for a total makeover.” Planet Earth! “
It goes on to say: “You are about to discover a new world where…
*Over a billion non-Christians are likely to become very active Christians in the next dozen years.
* A new form of Christianity that promises to have a bigger impact than the Protestant Reformation.
* Millions of ordinary people are working miracles.
* God has brought hundreds of people back to life, mostly in the past 15 years. These are not near-death experiences, but actual resurrection of dead bodies. (Note: This is true. Over the past decade, 52 countries have reported resurrection of the dead and miraculous cures of disease.)
The new book tells everyone: “The Great Shift” not only documents a wide range of miracles, but also focuses on hundreds of thousands of house church teams around the world that are generating a new culture of responsible freedom. In these teams, people are allowed to speak and interact. They often form deep friendships, put aside their heaviest problems, become free and powerful vanguards of world change, and connect with God and man in ways that are almost indescribable. This is a “sea change” away from the religion of the bystander.
The funniest thing is that when Lutz shared this vision in the early 90s, when some people from my church came to his meetings, they laughed at his outlandish idea. Many others have done the same.
Right now, we’re buying his book.
An Opportunity for Growth: 8% church growth per year!
My hometown has a community growth rate of about 3% a year; the local university, about 7% a year. This is for perspective. One project mentioned in Megashift goes like this: “There is a hidden world that already has 707 million evangelical/charismatic Christians growing at an incredible 8% per year. At the center of this shockwave , about 100 million people in an informal network of loyal circles who run their own shows without buildings, paid pastors, or preaching. “Megashift” is a stunning introduction to the surge of grassroots power and love that is taking shape A culture that you will soon be living in.”
It appears that God is using ranks and files and is willing to use believers globally, more and more these days, and outside the friendly confines of the Church! Rutz mentioned a 7-year-old boy he met in India who died when he was 5 years old. The boy has scars where he was burned by the wire. Doctors were unable to revive him after lying on a table in the emergency room for two hours. The hospital contacted a church, which called a 60-year-old Indian woman to pray for the boy. She was illiterate; an “untouchable”; the lowest in the Indian caste system. She prayed until 4am. The boy is alive without brain damage or any other physical issues. When Lutz asked the woman if she had done this kind of thing before, she replied that she had participated in sixteen resurrections!
“The church, as we’re building it now… is really not designed to handle it all, so God is empowering people to work in small groups, especially house churches, school churches, business churches, etc… small people to be able to communicate and collaborate with each other The teams … are kind of like the early New Testament idea of going door-to-door…” Lutz said.
are you ready? Church leaders, is your church infrastructure in place or do you expect these young people to come to church and learn the prayers and hymns and when to say “Amen” and listen while teaching them where to sit and how to act… .and expect them to do so for the next 70 years?
Sorry, but as someone who has spent years in ministry with teens and college students, these young lions must be roaring!
I? I think not only are these pierced and tattooed, navel-baring, hanging-key kids our newest recruits, but corporate offices in America are going to be another gigantic place for God to act. Something like this has to be because we spend so much time there. Is the Church going to meet them where they are, or is it with both hands on the pews—those medieval torchlight fixtures—serving the institution rather than the institution? Just like Aquila and Priscilla were there strategically to greet the apostle Paul after their conversion on Damascus Road, will you be there when these children need you? Again, I’m not talking about meeting them at the door of a church building — I’m probably talking about going to their campuses, joining forces with other denominations, and raising money for youth events (we organized an event that included 26 churches, 9 bands, and 1,000 multiple kids) or start a coffee shop bible study where they can relax and be themselves.
Anything that will show them that you love (spell time) them.
A few weeks ago, at my home in the woods, I met with 30 people around a campfire. We cooked steak and chicken and sang and played the guitar. We also pray for revival. People, we are the church, where there are representatives of no less than 5 denominations. This past weekend we knocked on doors across the county and prayed for people at their doorsteps — Lutheran and Baptist, Pentecostal and Nazarene. Eleven sects, sweeping our town for the third time (start again in mid-September)[as i re-read this dated article, we hare about to go out our fourth time and have already prayed at 30,000 doorsteps]. Although it may seem like Satan has strategically managed to make us workaholics and systematically lure millions of moms away from their homes in an effort to join the workforce, thereby creating legions of kids with keys, the truth is our God will make him The church back (guys, I’m not talking about buildings). God will do it his way. Satan is always shooting himself in the foot.
Be a part of the coming revival. It didn’t look like anything any of us had ever seen.
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