Wellspring at the Cross is a “Free Range” church.
A random man called yesterday to ask about Wellspring at the Cross. He wanted to know what kinds of programs we offered, most Evangelical churches offer programs. I explained to him that at Wellspring we don’t offer programs. We prayed and sought the Lord and heard from Him a number of times about allowing the Holy Spirit to design the Church. As we walked that out He directed us to resist the “Citadel’ way of doing church and making programs that separate the Body into categories. To provide programs also includes the need to choose one specific person for each job that the program produces. Often I have noticed in churches and para church ministries the wrong person in the wrong ministry position. The anointed worship leader is the head of Sunday School classes or the Evangelist is the Janitor and so on. Also an odd and disturbing phenomenon is that these Seeker Sensitive Churches choose the young, beautiful and influential over the anointed, gifted and dedicated. That is so terrible and yet so very prevalent.
As we began to grow as a church Body at Wellspring we were told to resist the ‘citadel’ way and pray about the gifting of the believers. The first thing the Lord set in place was the five fold leadership as it says in Ephesians 4:11
The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. 14 We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. 15 But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.
…to equip the saints for the work of ministry
We took the call seriously to equip and sought the Lord about what that actually, practically meant. So we began to pray for and about individuals who are in our Body. Through that prayerful process we help them discover the gifts that God gives when they are baptized in the Holy Spirit. Then we come along side of them helping develop those gifts. The Bible says that each gift is given as the Spirit sees fit so what we do is notice and nurture and that is where the ministry in Wellspring comes from. We have a man in our church named Tim Stephani. He has been a believer for decades and has some Bible college under his belt. For years he just could not seem to find his place in ministry although he felt called to it. As we began to pray with and for Tim we found that he continuously felt called to pray for others. But not just pray like some are called to spiritual warfare type prayers or praying for people’s health. Tim felt called to pray with people through difficult life issues. We found that God had gifted him with the ability to hear from the Lord deep seeded issues that were causing people trouble in their daily lives. He was able to encourage folks through those things helping them forgive and except forgiveness and be set free. As we noticed that gift and began to send people in crisis to him and watched the fruit of that ministry we realized that the Holy Spirit had developed a ministry right before our eyes. We don’t push it into a pigeon hole and call it Men’s Ministry because he prays with women as well. We don’t call it Family Ministry or Youth Ministry we simply call it Tim’s ministry. Now Tim’s time and efforts can be focussed on the thing that the Holy Spirit does through him instead of the vortex of time consumptions that positions in ministry consume.
The gifts that the Holy Spirit gives are for the encouragement of the Body (Corinthians) and as those gifts mature in each member, the Body is strengthend and built up.
As I was explaining this process and how it is unfolding in the life and ministry of Wellspring at the Cross to the gentleman who called in to ask about the church it seemed very basic to me and clearly Biblical but I could tell it seemed “different” to him. That’s probably because today it is.
When I hung up I thought ‘church today is like a chicken farm’. The chickens are pumped full of hormones and contained in little cells and made to simply produce. That’s a lot like the churches today, the ‘Citadel’. Programs can produce more seat warmers like caged chickens can produce more eggs.
The American church is sick from being raised the way that they are and have been this past few decades. There is no power and in recent years there is barely any conviction. There are reasons for that. And these ‘new’ philosophies of ministry are killing the church as they purport to produce more believers.
What the chickens and the believers need today is some free range living.
II Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.