The future church in America

As we look toward the end of 2021 and on into 2022 we have to be honest as christians as to the "spiritual state" of the church in America. In the pursuit of a much needed honesty about these things, we must make an honest assessment which is required for all of us who call upon the Name of the Lord for salvation even if our assessment isn't good.

As “christians” in America have allowed our churches to become ultra divided over issues that are not important to the salvation of souls. The salvation and gathering together of souls is the dominant concern of Our Lord Jesus before He lifted up off the face of the earth and sat down on The Throne of His Glory.

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore[fn] and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen

I believe the largest obstacle in connecting believers with lost sinners are the buildings we call churches. Even our tents and tent revivals can have a bad connotation for millennials we seek to reach; these are the most unfamiliar with the church culture having not been raised in that context. But my contention is that these are the ones most searching for answers to the questions that haunt our time. 

Looking back in the first century at the launch of the Great Commission we see that the apostles didn’t primarily preach the Gospel in the synagogues, but rather they preached in the open marketplaces where all kinds of humans live and operate. Once converted and baptized, the first century believers gathered in the homes of fellow believers and had what historians call "love feasts". This simple way of faith led to real intimacy and fellowship that would be the envy of any materialistic American today. In my estimation this method of reaching humans is still the best way to achieve a real "human to human" connection and is more likely to effective to bring a new convert into a place of spiritual maturity.

When I listen to the voices of modern day Christendom I hear words related to “end times” and “rapture” and “mark of the beast” and "tribulation". These words are uttered in buildings we call churches. Natural questions arise such as, “Is this the end of time as we know it?”, “Is the vax, "the mark of the beast"?, “Will the "rapture of the church" happen at any time soon?” “Is America going to be destroyed by the beast system?” Etc.

If we can return to earlier days in our American history, not so long ago in the late 1960s, “Woodstock'' became a natural amphitheater for gathering souls for those protesting government overreach and for those who were in need of real community and a peaceful coexistence during a time of contentious and ill conceived war in Vietnam. The end result was not good for our nation but nonetheless Satan used that method to reach the masses, why don’t we consider this option in light of the times and the obvious questions?

The outdoor setting in an open, not concealed space, is a great way to begin the process of reconnecting the true Body of Christ with those who are in search of answers to the deepest questions of life. We can also "touch" them in the Name of Jesus for emotional and physical healing. 

Let’s be honest, we are all living in a sad broken and myopic malaise created by gobs and gobs of poisonous disinformation created by all factions of news outlets, whether they be from a conservative perspective or otherwise. The Mockingbird media has caused so much damage to our trust in God and the preachers of His Words that we have to, in essence, begin again the "seeding" the Gospel message on earth's soil.

What society needs now is lots and lots miracles just as Jesus employed to win hearts in His Time on His earth. The wet washcloth across the face of those who are asleep or those who are desperate for remedies to their real health problems is the Divine breakthrough require to heal the mental and emotional maladies of this season of world history.

If we could poll our population it would be interesting to know how many of our fellow countrymen struggle with physical sickness versus emotional sickness. I personally believe it is the latter.

We have received a very clear Heavenly edict to go out to the highways and byways and compel men and women to come into the Kingdom of Heaven. Those of us who have been truly "born again" really have only one real job, our assignment is to bring in the lost sheep of the house of Israel. We don’t know who they are but we know they are out there by the millions.

Instead of sending our evangelists out to the highways and byways to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom, over the course of time, we allowed the church buildings to become religious clubs that mirror social clubs that promote a human agenda verses fulfilling a heavenly edict. I used to say the modern church has become the “optimist” club rather than a real family setting where broken people bear their soul. We need to establish a triage setting rather than a Ruritan club setting. If we lay a conducive foundation that presents itself as an attractive triage setting, like a living room on Main Street Cafe, we will have to be ready to be transparent with our struggles and their struggles as they bear their soul. These holy places must maintain a climate filled with agape love. So in the final analysis I believe we can agree that the family-like cafe setting best fits what we all need.

Well then, what is the next step Jonathan?

Here I introduce the LLI Fellowship model. Our website shows just a little slice of what we experienced back in 2006 - 2008 when we opened our “Living Room” on Main Street in Pilot Mountain, NC. You’ll see pictures of gatherings mostly of young people who were having a real good time inside of our intimate cafe setting. There was tremendous fellowship without the cliques which mark most church gatherings.

If you could round up those high schoolers and college age kids from that season in time and ask them about “Livin Lattes” they will tell what the place felt like. 

Our fellowship model was a byproduct of obedience to Jesus and His Spirit. We let Him guide every aspect of the experience. The end result was people who entered the space felt something different. We did not create that feeling, the Holy Spirit did. The essence was the aroma of Jesus Christ.

People got saved, they were healed, and they had peace enter their hearts for the first time. But the enemy brought trouble as he will often do. We ran into town officials trouble from the loudness of our Christian rock music, we ran into church trouble due to fear that we were trying to recruit their youth from coming to their church meetings.

No matter how much I tried to tell folks that we were not wanting to steal souls from the local churches, the church people didn’t believe us. That spirit of jealousy must die in this season of great hardship. We need an all hands on deck mindset if we are gonna see positive change in our communities.

Church leaders must collaborate and share resources, those who do will experience hypergrowth from a spiritual and numerical point of view.

Aside from the cafe model of church or fellowship gathering I see another critical angle that must be employed. As a father of college age children I believe we need to raise up young men and women on the college campus to share this cafe style agape love connection to those who have never felt the love of Jesus.

This work of connecting can happen anywhere, it could be in dorm rooms, on campus cafeteria spaces, work spaces, auditoriums, or on campus chapels and so forth. 

We know that on campus ministries exist but they are contained in a spiritual system that has a hierarchical structure that prohibits viral growth. Doctrinal statements hold back the power of God in healing sickness, casting out demons, and freeing people from mental healing.

In conclusion we must let the Holy Spirit be our Moses to lead us to the work we are supposed to do for our community. Our natural burdens are a great place to begin. Marriage counseling, parental advice, and career counseling for the college age, entrepreneurship classes, health and fitness training, and teaching and training the next generation of leaders in the Ekklasia.

Rapid growth is the natural way a revival-restoration work happens. There is a contagion that happens that no human can control. We have to be comfortable being uncomfortable. The cafe system outreach naturally breeds an inviting atmosphere that shows no partiality or racial bias.

The goal is to bring all factions together. Satan hates this plan. He has always fought any move of God that is contagious. But we are living in times where we no other choice but to move out in a different way.

No more hero worshiping preachers, no more rock concert church services that fight for the show rather than the substance of the gathering. No more prejudicial gatherings that are geared to meet the demands of your people, we must get past our current knowledge of “church” and move into a Christ-centered offensive strategy to take back our communities by spiritual Heavenly and Godly force.  

Jesus is the commander and chief of our army. He laid His life down for the sheep. We must lay our lives down in this move of God. I believe that Jesus is into smaller gatherings where real love can be shown through the laying on of hands and discipling of souls. The cafe system layout or home church setting naturally creates intimacy and limits the numbers.

When your original cafe layout starts to get crowded the obvious next move would be to launch another cafe setting in a neighboring area. This is where collaboration occurs. The word gets out about what God is doing in the midst of our local effort then natural opportunities open up for people to gather in new places. The Spirit of Lord moves in these new places replicating the experience in the original location and God, not man, is magnified in the process.

May the Lord bless this feeble effort to explain what he has placed on my heart to share.