In as much as it is important that we leverage the wisdom God has lavished on us for the performance of the Church’s functions and the advancement of the Kingdom, we must be careful to avoid imposing our own strategies on God’s work.
We must understand that God’s ways are higher than ours, and therefore His work must be executed according to His will and ways. Under no circumstance -irrespective of our good intentions- should we seek to perform God’s work in our own understanding or by our own methods.
As observed in the narrative of 1 Samuel 15, God commissioned Saul to perform a task. But Saul performed the task on his own terms. His disobedience was considered a presumption, that is equivalent to idolatry. His thoughtful initiative was regarded as a rejection of God’s word. Consequentially, he was rejected by God.
God makes it explicitly clear in His written word the value He places on obedience. So even when He gave grace, He also sealed it with the Holy Spirit to help us desire His will and perform His good pleasures. That means, grace does not sponsor disobedience, it empowers unto obedience.
In our zeal to respond to God’s commission, we must be careful to always seek His face and depend on His divine principles. We must develop a “God-perspective” in our dependence on traditions and systems. We must clearly differentiate between principles and traditions. The former is divine, the latter has an expiry.
The strategies and methods of yesterday may not be effective today. But the principles of yesterday are cross-generational and immune to time. Our systems and methods must be built on unchanging principles that express God’s will and ways. The vision upon which we plan the execution of God’s mission must be an integrated part of God’s bigger picture and governed by God’s eternal principles as revealed in the blueprints we have in the Bible.
In the absence of eternal principles, our strategies and methods will only lead to frustration and chaos. For instance, our dependence on human wisdom in appointing church leaders promotes Simony, and our adoption of business models in revenue generation causes abuse. Additionally, our preference for the modern Church model means a large portion of generated revenue will be used for infrastructural development and management as well as the payment of wages and salaries.
If the commission is to make disciples of all nations, and the divine principle is Love, then our strategies and systems must be people-focused. The methods we adopt should help us disciple people into Christ’s maturity. That means our strategies and methods should be more focused on missions, provision, protection, teaching, and mentoring without neglecting the other necessary elements.
We have been sent by God as representatives. However we were not sent without a blueprint, so in our performance of the commission, we must do God’s work in God’s way. If we study the book of Acts critically, we observe how the early Church model allowed the Holy Spirit to work. The early church submitted to the direction and guidance of the Holy Spirit, primarily because both leadership and membership feared and obeyed God. Examples of the Spirit’s guidance can be found all over the New Testament, especially in Acts (Acts 13:1–4; Acts 16:4–8).
Many of our modern church models stifle the work of the Holy Spirit. There is an over-dependence on systems, strategies, and methods; we rarely allow the Spirit to perform His work. That is not to say that we should run an “orderless” system. Rather, it is important that we allow flexibility in our application of human wisdom so that we do not truncate the work of God through us and in us.
To sustain our relevance as an indispensable institution, we must control our dependence on man-made systems and culturally conditioned thinking. The gospel is not tradition, neither is it a religious culture. The gospel is the will of God for mankind. God’s will cannot be managed by human wisdom, no matter how effective they seem. Human wisdom always leads to chaos, and the chaos we see today is evidence of the weaknesses in our established strategies, methods, and traditions.
So I say, God’s work must be done in God’s way.