The last few posts have described some times of a group gathering together with no other purpose than listening to God and obeying what he tells us to do.
We are on mission with God. Imagine what could happen if groups like this multiplied—each one being sent out on assignments for the Kingdom. Each one swearing allegiance to the King and to each other. Like in a regular army, we would not necessarily see the whole of the big picture, but under the command of the Lord, we would each be responsible for our part.
Here are some of the principles we have learned:
Principles/Guidelines for Listening Gatherings:
- Surrender the need for any agenda or any preconceived reason for gathering.
- Don’t bring your “name,” network, ministry or position to the gathering.
- Purify yourselves in preparation—Ps. 24: 3-4
- It is all an exercise in willingness, and don’t be surprised if there is a thinning down of people from your first gathering to your subsequent ones.
- Expect God to speak.
- Listen and then listen again. Wait on God. There will be rabbit trails, but just come back to listening.
- Resist the urge to strategize when listening to God. Save that for a later time. Direction is different than strategy. God will direct the time and purpose of the gathering.
- Sometimes God will create an opportunity for you to immediately act on this prophetic intelligence. Other times there may be several tasks that you must fulfill either individually or corporately as a result of your listening. Either way, God is very interested in your obedience.
- The key balance: everyone participating but no one dominating.
- God’s message will usually come from the sum of individual “hearings.” Most people will feel like what they are hearing is just for themselves and not the group. It may be for them, but it is most likely also for the group.
- Valuing everyone’s contribution is essential. Corporate listening relies on the principle that God will share something to the community that He would not share to just an individual. The reasons for this are that (1) it would be too much for one person or one like-minded group to hear and (2) God himself is in community.
- You may never know what are the full results of your listening and obeying as a gathering. It’s a mystery and based on faith.
- You can count on one thing though—you will be changed and become more like Christ. This is what it looks like to walk in spiritual authority—to have a pure heart, to surrender to the Lord, to listen and obey in community.
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5 replies on “Being on mission with God–some principles and guidelines”
Unfortunately it has to be stated…all these things are assumed that those gathered are born again, believers. Many presume that being “on mission” with God means inviting anyone and everyone to participate in the church meeting.
Interesting thought, Rusty. There’s an enormous need for wisdom here. Jesus called fishermen, a tax collector, and a terrorist (Simon the Zealot). All of them were on a mission and were disciples long before they properly understood who Jesus is or what it means to be a believer.
Today we might very well leave them out of Felicity’s listening community because of their immaturity and lack of understanding.
Learning ‘on the job’ is exactly what a disciple does. (I prefer the word ‘apprentice’, personally.) We learn best by doing. Maybe we should do it Jesus’ way and welcome anyone who is willing to help.
What do you think? Is this a really, really good idea or is it a really, really bad idea? As I say, there’s great need for wisdom here.
This is a great question, Rusty, and I really appreciate Chris’s comments too. The listening group I describe is mostly mature Christians, apostolic or prophetic in gifting and most with some kind of national/international ministry.
Is that essential? I don’t think so. I believe the key skill that all believers need is an ability to hear God. I suspect that he will take newer believers on a different journey than he takes more mature ones (we have been praying through some international situations). Having said that, this isn’t the first listening group I have belonged to. Many years ago, we were part of a leadership team that did exactly the same. We were not mature believers at that point, but God led us in many of the same ways. We frequently found ourselves praying for things that the following day would appear on the news!
I kinda like the term apprentice over disciple too. Any thoughts why apprentice would not be a good word when thinking of disciples? Aren’t we apprenticing with Christ and with each other?
Paul mentions that unbelievers were in attendance at meetings. Floyd McClung, Patrick of Ireland and others also suggest this happens. They believe discipleship occurs before conversion, although I understand the distinction Felicity is making.
Dan, I think the term, apprentice, is a great one. It implies learning on the job.
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about discipleship too, and am inclined to think that it occurs before and at conversion. When we talk about making disciples, we are making followers of Jesus. So we are not talking about someone raising their hand as some kind of fire insurance for the afterlife, (in that case, discipleship might occur after conversion) but a genuine commitment to become a lifelong follower of Jesus Christ. Obviously after this they need to grow which is what most people refer to as discipleship.