This process of bursting into flame and dying down is an apt analogy for the Church today in the US, Canada, and Europe (perhaps elsewhere as well). Beginning with Pentecost, the Holy Spirit burned wide and playful in the hearts of an increasing number of people beginning in Jerusalem (Acts 2). Through the centuries, the Church burned brightly and released the great warmth of Christ’s love in the world. Now, after two centuries of being drained of meaning by the exponential yet parasitic growth of the Global Technological System (GTS), all that remains are scattered embers.
Still, scattered embers are much better than no fire at all. A little light, warmth, and vitality are much preferred to nothing but dark cold death.
If we remain scattered, however, our flaming witness will simply go out. The GTS in which we live will extinguish us.
Jesus has a better idea. He wants to bank us.
To begin with, he wants to rake us scattered witnesses together into prophetic mission groups of two to twelve members. As Jesus assures us, “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst” (Matthew 18:20, New American Standard Version).
Our churches are primarily Olympian. At the same time, we cannot witness meaningfully to Jesus as Christians without at the same time being a member, an organic part, of a church body. Participation in a prophetic mission group will allow us to exercise the gifts of the Holy Spirit on behalf of the body of Christ as he desires and we need.
As Jesus rakes us together into prophetic mission groups, he’ll bring new people into our lives for the purpose of including them in our prophetic mission groups.
Like any properly banked fire, however, he’ll keep us—for an indefinite period of time—covered with ashes. Our communion together with Jesus in prophetic mission groups will be a quiet affair. We need not feel compelled to tell everyone or even most of our acquaintances about it—Christ’s warning against throwing pearls to swine still holds (Matthew 7:6).
Pray to Jesus. Ask him to enable you to discern and affirm the person(s) with whom he might be calling you to form an prophetic mission group. These must be people with whom you are able to meet face-to-face at least weekly. If you are married, prayerfully consider starting such a group with your spouse. Through his apostle Paul, Jesus revealed to us that he intends for husbands and wives to be the clearest witnesses we earthlings have to Christ’s relationship with his Church and his Church with him (Ephesians 5:22-33).
Christ's desire in all this is to call and enable any two people to start with him their own prophetic mission group--as fully a church as any now standing. Neither person needs to be a priest or theologian. Nor do those he calls need any denominational approval or budget.
His goal is to create and sustain personal and communal witness to him. He seeks to empower us to abandon the six false destructive gods of Olympianity and their parasitic GTS. Instead, he seeks to enable us to walk with him on the path of freedom and, as we do, to develop ways of living that share the light of his truth, the warmth of his love, and the strength of his vitality with others--as good fires always do.
Let's do that!