Thursday 4 December 2008

A Third Level Approach To Ministry II : Twinklers

Prodded a little by Lydia Joy losing her grandfather I wanted to continue this summary of thoughts on how the 3rd level changes everything we ever thought we knew about ministry.Maurice Smith calls mature Christians twinklers (see my book list).While others may age less than gracefully, with a growing cynicism, twinklers twinkle more!! Their eyes just give the game away. And you just know. You know they know Him in whom they have believed.

Without a powerful experience of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, a Christian seems to take several decades to become a true twinkler. Whether Protestant or Catholic, they are people of prayer and the Word. The slight snag is by the time they are twinklers, it is nearly time to go home...and they are severely restricted by limitations of age, mobility and possibly other issues.

So Youth With a Mission, Morris Cerullo, and Rheinhardt Bonnke hit on another system. Give the people of God an experience...a powerful experience coupled with a lot of training on the life of faith...and send them out to turn the world upside down!! In a way this is what happened on April 6th 1972 to all of us in a little corner of Bucks,England. And it seemed for a while we did turn our corner of things in Amersham a little bit upside down.But here is a snag. Youth With A Mission, Morris Cerullo and Rheinhardt Bonnke call this making twinklers. (Well they don't...but they call this sending workers out into the harvest). It is and it isn't. Let's return later.

For New Frontiers and a whole host of other networks of new churches, this is insufficient, so they believe in yoking developing ministries to local church situations over months and years. Possibly sending people to a more formal type of Bible College, be it run by their family of churches or some other institution that holds an evangelical position. Unless these new ministries are exposed to a radical Holy Spirit anointing either directly, as in Rob Rufus'case, or through other ministries...the tendency is always to settle back into "sound teaching of the Bible" but with little power and little miraculous fruit.Both approaches I would call the twin sides of the second level.
So to recap:Firstlevellers, by dint of continuing in the faith, continuing in prayer, continuing in the Word, continuing with the ups and downs of fellowship life, may well after decades and decades ...if they don't duck out... find themselves twinkling.
Secondlevellers will experience a baptism in the Holy Spirit, be introduced to the reality that Christianity is in fact supernatural in manifestation, be then driven back into a hunger for the Word, and a fresh hunger to experience fellowship together with other Christians, but this time at this new supernatural level . The growth arc will probably be shorter than in the first case. But if our experiences in the UK are anything to go by, we are still talking somewhere between 1 and 3 decades even moving pretty quickly before anyone even approaches twinkler status. And again there is absolutely no certainty that people will press right through. For this reason Paul writes "Do not harden your hearts as the Israelites did in the days of rebellion in the wilderness."
Firstlevellers know how to get others into a born again experience.
Secondlevellers get people born again and baptized in the Spirit. As I have mentioned before, in the year of 1972, at the age of around 14(Christine is one year younger), both she and I in our respective areas of the UK were doing all this. Now this for many fellowships would mean we had arrived. Well, here we are at age 50, and we still haven't. Because you see there is a 3rd level of growth.Without a vision, the people perish. Without even a sketchy understanding that there are 3 distinct growth stages, people all over the world in the Body of Christ are floundering around. You've got people like Amy, (see Amy's blog) who have probably been compliant for years in their church system...thinking that that would amount to something, confusing 2nd level churches with the raw real deal of the anointed Living Body of Christ. Ofcourse in parts it is....but the 2nd level stuff contains other ingredients as dangerous and poisonous as the worst plant foods that you could ingest.So Youth With A Mission, Rheinhardt Bonnke, David Hathaway, Morris CerulloAlso New Frontiers, and all the other 70s and 80s like networks, be it under Terry Virgo, Alan Vincent, Gerald Coates,Barney Coombs and so on and so on....are all (probably unwittingly and out of anxiety to get the job done) doing the Body of Christ a huge disservice....Why?Because they are calling the 2nd level a mature ministry and as the world instinctively isn't.
Because they are not raising the people's sights and expectations to believe that Jesus is faithful to complete the work in us to make us fit and able fathers who reproduce after our kind.We either believe in the power of His Word to raise us up as fit ministers ....or we don't. And if we don't, we help God along a little with more programmes, and training procedures and conferences.....
when what people need to understand is
How Genesis 3:5 works
How Jesus came to destroy all the works of the Evil One
How He came to lay the axe to the root.

What root? The religious system? The 2-bit secondlevel structures the grace-bloggers are railing against? Terry Virgo? Nope Nope Nope The axe is laid against us? Every flipping last second of the day we are not living from the reality of what the Cross has won for us. We don't need to go around looking for others to single out.Every little second we catch ourselves living the Genesis 3:5 "Just independent me"lie...we needDan Bowen, Amy, Sheila, Lydia Joy,Matt Daelon,Jamie, prophesy back to us..."Hey are now Christ have no separate believe that is to fall back into sin again, and to give life again to something that since the Cross can never have life again...the old Adamic hubris life of the devil himself lived through mankind.The people I have listed as Missions and New churches above...the YWAMs etc they need to be preaching according to the models in scripture. And I have never, I repeat never, heard anyone of them preach according to these lines.

Model 1. Jesus For 30 whole years He did nothing apart from grow in the understanding of how life works. He grew in knowledge and wisdom. Carpentry. Just learning to believe who He was. By faith. No flash stuff.Then was baptised in water and the Holy Spirit. Had the quickest 2nd level in history in the testing in the wilderness. That's because his personal foundation in God as a normal person for 30 years meant He could skip most of what we've had to go through in the 2nd level. Then straight afterwards He began to operate in the 3rd level. Two fold: Declaring War on the Devil in the territory allotted Him by the Father:Israel. Secondly: to raise up father ministries like Himself in just 3 years. All this while also preaching and teaching the Kingdom to 1. outsiders 2.believers and closer disciples and 3. the 12 apostles to be.

Model 2: The 12 apostles They were Jews. They understood the 1st level basics. That God is sovereign. That we give our life over to Him, expressed first in water baptism. That He alone can forgive our sins and make us new. They entered into an early prototype 2nd level, where although not knowing a born again experience yet, nor a complete baptism in the Spirit....from pretty early on they were sent out to chase the devil off God's Earth with power to heal,deliver and forgive sins.This shows us that at one level Morris Cerullo, Terry Virgo,YWAM and all are correct. As long as there is at least one 3rd level ministry...not everyone needs to be a 3rdleveller before embarking on mission trips.(There was only one Graham Pulkingham , but many in the Fisherfolk team for example)It shows us also, as we found on 6th April 1972, and again in Lakeland Florida this yearThe Power of the Baptism in the Spirit is put in context: as a tool for preaching the GospelThis is absolutely Terry Virgo and Morris Cerullo territory. And is accurate.Secondly, if you want people to grow expose them from early on in doing the work of the Kingdom with power. Even if that carries a high risk we saw with Todd Bentley. I am so glad that Jesus - knowing all about how sinful I was - still allowed me to lay hands on folks at 14 and get them filled with the Holy Spirit.Jesus came at the disciples with love, but also slicing stuff off them with His prophetic use of the Word...such that in only 3 super intense years they were ready to launch the Kindom for real at Pentecost. But as I've taken time to point out again and again in these posts, in Acts 2, they'd already gone through their 2nd level...which almost left them totally when the Spirit came in power, they were 3rd and able to father the first ever church at Jerusalem.All ministries that I have grown up with are totally wrong in equating our entrance Baptism in the Spirit with Acts 2.Morris Cerullo is wrong if he implies that at the end of one of his Schools of Ministry, as wonderful and life transforming as they are.....if he equates that with what the disciples were put through over a 3 year period. Rheinhardt Bonnke is wrong. You can't quite level the same at New fact if anything they are too slow by Jesus standards....or they again call maturity what is not maturity....not like Acts 2 at any rate.

Model 3. Paul As one untimely born. Filled with the Spirit from the word go. But NOT given Holy Spirit wings to then go off straight away and turn the world upside down. (Morris Cerullo take note)Praise God that everyone hated him, or was cautious about him. He might be converted, but he'd been responsible for many was specifically named: Stephen, the martyr. So there was no way he was going straight out on the road. Norman says Paul spent 3 years in Arabia. Gene Edwards says he spent several years in the Antioch church. Two things happened. He received from heaven during this period his gospel. Everyone has to have their own gospel.Divine revelation from Jesus Himself. It's not so we all start our individual cults. There is only one Jesus. And only one gospel. But Jesus has to make it our gospel. He has to write it in us. So we become living letters read by men.After 36 years I have a gospel. As we start preaching the stuff that is actually in the New Testament , and not the 2 level stuff we've been preaching for years...there is no reason why we cannot (in Jesus) raise up local bodies that grow believers in similar time periods to Jesus. In fact we have something that Jesus never had: we have the Holy Ghost Growing Machine - The Body of Christ . So this was the second thing that happened to Paul : that which was now in him was being worked out and recognised by this early example of a Gentile Church. This Jesus will make Himself known to others in our surroundings through us. Our gifting will be perceived.

As we look out at many weary faces who have been faithfully attending charismatic churches now for 30 or 40 is sad to now say, there is in fact no reason why it had to take this long. The good side of our history is that the Terry Virgos, the Gerald Coates rushed in to fill the vacancies to provide good, solid, faithful and sacrificial leadership. Listen, Terry actually came to minister to us in Amersham instead of being present at the birth of one of his children. People only get born once!!! How sacrificial was that!

On the bad side, virtually the entire leadership in our country never knew that a 3rd level existed, let alone how to minister it. So ofcourse as they hit us with verses from John 15-17 about bearing fruit, and unity, and as we all sink in condemnation, because largely these things are not so in our networks...........little did we know that none of these things are really possible til we hit the motherlode of the 3rd level. Think how disastrous the disciples were in their 1st three training years. Forget unity. Forget pure fruit. They were arguing who was the greatest. Who's DA BISHOP!

In this post I have not even covered the question of Bible Schools. The writing of Jesus gospel inside us so we become Living letters is such a profound work....that without a proper release of the Spirit can take a whole 7 decades as I began saying. There is no possible way apart from a wave of Holy Spirit Revival Power,Revelation, and supernatural deliverance , (which by the way, on many occasions has swept through Ed Miller's Bible schools)....ordinarily there is no way on God's earth that a Bible school be kitted out with what it takes to move a man or woman out of the deep deep delusions of selfhood into the 3rd level in the 2 or 3 years usually allotted for the task.
I believe, as a fulfilment of what Jean Darnall, and Harry Greenwood, and other renowned prophets prophesied into Emsworth, I believe I was a part of a prototype wave of ministry training as God will refine and hone in the future. I believe the Bible House model of training which came through Ed Miller and then Jorge Pradas, are much closer to the biblical model. Where everyone leaves everything to come together to:
seek God together
learn what it is to live and work as the Body of Christ together
to be dealt with at a very deep level

and to teach also the things it was not good at:
teaching us to minister in Power together as teams
teaching us Norman Grubb's insights as to the true nature of the human condition in Genesis
teaching us what it means to walk as Christ in our individual forms
and at this level of insight -how to live together in love and the Presence of God

So what is the difference between that and a monastery or nunnery?
It's more dynamic,prophetic. People come together until a specific work has been established amongst them. Like Paul and Barnabus they are recognised in ministry, called out by God, separated for specific tasks. It's all the things New Frontiers wanted to be, but never had the tools for. It's organic. Our Bible House began around a house church in new Brighton Rd Emsworth, but moved into 20 acres of property as the church vision grew. It's less programme based...more based around the expanding Word and gifting of some rather dead individuals.
That is , individuals who have so caught this thing about being dead in Christ, they themselves are the programme!!! Like Mother Basilea Schlink, Graham Pulkingham, Richard Wurmbrandt,Watchman Nee,Witness Lee....every time they open their mouth they cause irreparable damage to people's insides!!!
In short they have become Twinklers of the First order!


Jamie said... look a little twinkly to me. :)

Thank you for briefly touching on the 2nd level "grace police"; I'm sick in my spirit from seeing it!

If teaching the the death, burial, and resurrection, the death and Life sides of the cross, and who we really are in Christ is not enough, well I guess we can all just start pulling rabbits out of our hats. The gospel as entertainment. No true power to make a difference in people's lives.

I don't want to camp out on salvation or the baptism of the Spirit; I want to live everyday in the revelation that God Almighty indwells me. I believe that we can walk just as Jesus did if we will just choose to believe what is now true of us. The same Spirit lives in us. As we come into that understanding, the Body will start releasing the kingdom into earth, both our own "earth" and the world.

I KNOW the power of His Life in me: you won't be around me and not be changed. Not because of who I am but because of Who He is in me!!

Chris Welch - 07000INTUNE said...

That's a powerful testimony,Jamie.
Don't be too hard on folk though.Just know who you are and where you're at...and what the Holy Spirit is currently developing in you. i love the Theocentric article which I think so describes why different streams misunderstand one another. I was going to do something from that book The Different Drum in my list. The article spurs me on. I found it so helpful.

Sheila Atchley said...

I adore this description of believers..."twinklers". I have been told I twinkle....seriously, I have. :-)

Hey, guess what? Our church finally has a website! I am so excited!!!

Come "see" us - tell me what you think, Chris!

Chris Welch - 07000INTUNE said...

I'm sure you all twinkle.And I've been on a visit.

Sheila Atchley said...

Well, I'm not old yet...but my ambition is certainly to be a serious twinkler. I also loved your remark re: the baptism in the Holy Spirit as a tool for preaching the gospel! My husband loves to say that the Spirit was not poured out to "spruce up our meetings" was for a very specific reason - to empower God's people to be witnesses!

Chris, thank you so very much for your prayer over our website. That blessed me to no end, that you'd even think to do that for us. It means a lot - because I know God hears you!

Blessings to you and are well on your way to becoming a twinkler, who "does damage to people's insides" when you speak, yourself! Makes me look forward to growing old - loved this post!

Chris Welch - 07000INTUNE said...

Actually the point of the post Sheila is that we learn to accelerate everything so we don't have to be old. I guess the first apostles weren't old at all. It's true also that most of them did not last long either.
Tim's quote is great...but you can see why we have become so meeting-centric. If no one is preaching that Jesus is actually going to so grow within us that it is Him living as us....changing our environments, giving us a real testimony that is not just verbal...but plain to everyone that looks...if no one is actually preaching that and lifting people's eyes...we are condemned to spending our entire lives trying to find His Presence in the praise in the meetings.

Surely your family must be a real testimony to so many that know you.
The website deserves to let a few others know about you and other works of His grace in your church over there.

Thankyou for your comments.Hope to get to know Tim more reading his blog.

Sheila Atchley said...

Chris, thanks for the website you sent my way. I noticed that this lady recommends the ministry of Joy Dawson - so she has to be a woman after my own heart. I absolutely love to hear Joy Dawson teach.

Really good website - hope your week is blessed.

Chris Welch - 07000INTUNE said...

Joy Dawson is another of these extraordinary people whose reach has been phenomenal without being a great name, if you see hat I mean.She had some influence on our 1st pastor either because she visited us in Amersham, or at some conference or other but this was really early days for me, maybe even before 72 when I came in. Must admit seeing her name did influence things when I looked over Lee ann's site.
She(Lee Ann) has not a few similarities to you I think.(A certain sideways view on things)

Leonard said...

"For 30 whole years He did nothing apart from grow in the understanding of how life works. He grew in knowledge and wisdom. Carpentry. Just learning to believe who He was. By faith. No flash stuff."

Those lines really stuck me, thanks Chris.

ps. think I'm gonna have to quote ya again...