How relationship-building will help grow the 21st century church
The carpet was soaked beneath my tear-swollen eyes. I couldn’t believe it was already 4 a.m. For more than two hours, the Holy Spirit had been pouring over my soul. The church I served as pastor was in a week of 24/7 prayer. I had committed to the 2 a.m. to 3 a.m. time slot to ensure that someone was praying all 24 hours. On this particular morning heaven seemed to open.
“I am going to send a second flood,” I heard. Inspiration and Scriptures flowed with Habakkuk’s declaration that “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea” (2:14). The instruction continued: “This second flood will not be a flood of judgment but a flood of grace and mercy.”
Three sources of this flood were given. The first would be fresh outpourings of the Holy Spirit on new generations. Second, there would be the opening of hidden fountains from little-known individuals and ministries. Third would be the convergence of spiritual streams or ministries. Ultimately, God’s goal that no place on earth would remain spiritually dry in the 21st century would be realized.
We are witnessing an increase in all three “flood” sources identified—especially in the third area of convergence and spiritual unity. Over the last few years, the Lord has graciously given me a front-row seat to witness the power of unity and networking in the kingdom of God.
Perhaps the following small lessons we have learned will help you in developing “kingdom networks.”
Jesus must be the common denominator. Christian unity must be built on Christ. We are not called to be in unity with those who are not born again and true followers of Jesus.
Make the first move. Every ministry network that has ever been formed has happened because someone had a burden and started the process. Perhaps you can be the catalyst in your community, state or nation. Don’t wait; be the first to act.
Be yourself. Don’t try to be someone else or something that you are not. No one likes a fake.
Honor others. God’s Word teaches us to prefer others before ourselves and to honor them in love. I have never met a man or woman I couldn’t learn something from, even if it was something I wanted to make sure I never emulated!
Stay focused on your kingdom mission. Spiritual houses are on fire, and the families in your community and nation are inside. The spiritual fire alarm has gone off, and you have answered the call. Don’t worry about what color the fire engine is or if everyone has on the latest fire suit or just the right type of hat. Get the people out of the fire and do it quickly! They are perishing while you are arguing!
Relationship, relationship, relationship. Relational networking is the way of God’s kingdom in the 21st century. Our love for one another will draw others toward the Christ we serve.
Keep your motives pure. We must not attempt to network with others just to build our own church or ministry. This is questionable at best and charlatanlike at worst. Our goal in kingdom networking is to build His kingdom, not our kingdom.
When my eyes cleared from the tears that flowed during the middle of that “second flood” prayer meeting, I noticed that my focus began to change and so did my ministry. The last few years of my ministerial life have been the most exciting and fulfilling I have ever known. God’s kingdom is big.
Together with brothers and sisters who share our passion, we can form a relational kingdom net that will bring in the largest catch of people in the history of the world and witness a flood of His glory until there is no dry place on planet earth.
Billy Wilson currently serves as executive director of the International Center for Spiritual Renewal (icfsr.org) and is vice-chair of the Oral Roberts University Board of Trustees.
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