From the outset of this article I do not want to convey the thought that just because leaders have name recognition or become popular that they are not people of God. Many of my close friends in the ministry are also celebrities in their own right but do not exhibit the below traits. However, it would be less than honest for those of us in the church not to admit the aberrant behavior of some of our own.
1. Effective Ministries Value the Whole Church
To be effective in the current culture wars, Evangelicals can no longer afford to shun their Catholic and Orthodox brethren. It is going to take the whole church standing together on social issues to see societal transformation. We may not be in the same denomination or local church, but we share the same overarching values regarding the Trinity, the need for the cross of Christ for salvation, the deity of Christ, and the Ten Commandments as a blueprint for the laws of a nation.
A prophetic culture is an exciting and much needed element for a cutting edge local church. By “prophetic culture” I am referring to having a sense of anticipation among the attendees that God is going to manifest His presence and speak directly to His people, either through the preached Word of God and/or through the worship experience. By prophetic culture I am not merely referring to a plethora of prophetic words being released during church services.
When a church has a true prophetic culture, there is a deep connection to God during congregational gatherings that result in believers getting transformed and consecrating themselves to the call of God. When there are many prophetic words but no personal transformation, folks are mainly prophesying out of their own souls and not representing God’s heart. There are several things needed to bring this kind of atmosphere into a local church.
Oftentimes we in the church emphasize what a person can do more than what a person should be. Molding Christ-like character is the most important element in a person’s life that determines the trajectory of their talents and influence.
The greatest sin in the Bible by far is the sin of idolatry. Idolatry is when we violate the first of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20), which is “You shall have no other gods before me.” It is when we put something or someone first in our lives before the living and true God. Idolatry is the root cause of all other sins, which is why the first two commandments deal with this.
The Bible teaches that the church is supposed to influence the world as salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16), but instead the church has often been influenced by the world. The book of Ezekiel 22:26 sends a stern rebuke to believers who make no distinction between that which is common and that which is holy (by “common” I mean worldly things and values).
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