How many of your people are actually in the army? That is a crucial question. Now, some of the people in the army are actually in the hospital at the same time. (Remember: the church is supposed to be an army, a hospital, and a family.) Sometimes more people are hospitalized than not. People get shot up. Or some people are back in school getting re-trained because something happened that blocked off their ministry. They are out of the army — but that’s okay. They aren’t absent without leave. They’re being retooled to go back in. You need to know that. And they need to know that it’s okay to be in the hospital or to just be in the family. But it’s not okay to live there permanently! Eventually we have to get you fielded because the measurement is not, “I’m hanging out here indefinitely,” but rather, “Here are the sheaves, here are the results, here are the works done in your name and in your service.” I’ve read the Book pretty carefully and that’s what I think it’s all about. We work with people to get them in the army. Constantly disciple. John Wimber
Our Theme: ON EVANGELISM.
One of the very first sermons I heard Wimber preach was one entitled, “What is the Holy Spirit Saying to the Church Today?” In it, I recall him doing his very best to convince his listeners that the season we all live in here in America is a time of war. And during a time of war, he added, it never goes well for people who remain oblivious and unconcerned while bombs are dropping out of the sky all around us. I recall him passionately crying out in this sermon that one of the saddest things about the American church of our day is the fact that too many people in the pews are doing their very best to remain civilians in a time of war!
So for Wimber, church was never about gathering in warm, protected hideaways where well-behaved Christians could tuck their heads up their butts, sing a few songs, and pray that God would bless us while the rest of the world is going to hell in a hand-basket. For Wimber, the church needed to be three distinct things.
First, the church needs to be a family. A place of adoption, where the Father heart of God surrounds his adopted sons and daughters. A home where there is no stranger. A family where outsiders can become insiders and where compassion and mercy are readily available to all who enter in.
Second, the church needs to be a hospital. In all truth, we are all wounded and defective in one manner or another, leaders and lay people alike. And from time to time, it’s important that people can come to our church and give the Lord time to do open heart surgery, bind up a gaping wound, or repair a broken arm or leg. Sadly, in this time of war we are in, many are seriously wounded due to “friendly fire,” where well-meaning Christians shoot other well-meaning Christians with their hurtful words or actions. A church needs to be a place where healing can occur and where the wounded can be rehabilitated, nursed back into a healthy state of life, and given their uniform in the armed forces of Christ.
Finally, Wimber believed, as stated above, that ultimately the church needs to become a well-trained, well-equipped army. Without a doubt, Satan knows that his time is short and he’s holding nothing back in his arsenal of weapons against human-kind. Look around you. Read the newspapers. Watch TV. Peruse Facebook and Twitter. Open your eyes to the war that rages right outside the stained-glass windows of our rose-colored sanctuaries. People are dying. People are suffering. People are full of hate. People are full of hopelessness and despair. People need a Savior. For Wimber, a church body that ignores the state of war and does its very best to remain civilians in a time of war was heresy. And as I see it, it still is.
So as we close this section of our book on the subject of evangelism, let’s go back one more time to the words found at Matthew 28:16-20 in the Message:
Meanwhile, the eleven disciples were on their way to Galilee, headed for the mountain Jesus had set for their reunion. The moment they saw him they worshiped him. Some, though, held back, not sure about worship, about risking themselves totally. Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.
Sadly, there will still be many who will hold back because of the great risk of dying in a time of war. But without a doubt, like Jesus, we need to go right ahead, undeterred, and keep on keeping on making disciples, teaching and training them in everything Jesus gave his first set of disciples. The commission is clear. The war is on. Will we go in his name, right up to the end of the age?
Father, the work of evangelism will never be completed until the day your precious Son splits the skies and returns to consummate his kingdom work here on earth. The job description is clear. The marching orders are unmistakable. Holy Spirit, indwell and empower me to remain faithfully commissioned in your army. For your name’s sake. Amen!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO PONDER
- What needs to change in our church environment so that the three descriptions of family, hospital, and army are fullled in our midst?
- Where am I still trying to remain a civilian in a time of war, hunkering down or hiding away from the commission Jesus has given me?
- What will it look like for me to serve full-time as a soldier in the salvation army of Jesus Christ of Nazareth?
So what is God speaking to you today as you ponder the Wisdom of Wimber?
Between Easter 2016 and the end of August, we are sharing with you a blog series we call The Wisdom of Wimber: As I See It. In order to keep all 64 blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Wisdom of Wimber page for ease of use. Might we also suggest that you order a copy or two of our book by the same title! It’s available in both paperback and e-book formats…and will soon be available in Spanish! Click here for more info. ENJOY!
If you like what you’re reading, might we suggest you share this page with others!