I've been reading Heavy Rain this week by Kris Vallotton and it's phenomenal.
Without being too wordy, the book is essentially about "the state of the Church." It offers a birds-eye view of where the Church has been and where we're at now, focusing mostly on denominationalism vs. apostleships. I could talk about this topic forever, but I wanted to offer a few quotes to get you thinking. To preface- denominationalism is where the Church has been...gathering around common beliefs, and splitting off to keep all the beliefs the same within one group of people. Apostleships are what we're moving towards- creating more unity in the body, stronger relationships, and believers that think for themselves and know the voice of the Spirit.
Both the Protestant Reformation and the movements that have sprung up from it all emphasize doctrinal agreement above relationship. (Apostleships value relationship and a feeling of "family" over doctrinal agreement. In apostleships, space is created for believers to take risks and make messes, but believers are also empowered to clean up those messes and hear from the Spirit themselves.)
[Denominationalism also creates a culture that is critical of anyone who thinks outside the box of tradition, and it desperately fears inspiration.] Leaders under this spirit have more faith in the devil's power to deceive believers than the Holy Spirit's ability to lead them into all truth.
The problem is that risk-taking creates messes, exposes flaws and, more often than not, teaches us what doesn't work. But this is the process that leads to true spiritual maturity. (Apostleships center around the concept of family, and within a family there are some core beliefs, but the family doesn't split up because it's members don't see eye-to-eye on each detail. There is freedom to think creatively and learn how to communicate and say you're sorry, and ask hard questions without the fear of being "cut off.")
It is impossible for us to create a culture around us that we don't have within us...The invisible kingdom inside a person ultimately becomes the visible kingdom around them. (We reproduce what we are).
The body of Christ so desperately needs to learn how to influence society in such a way that people are drawn to us. (Kris had a great point about how believers are called to bring heaven to earth, and essentially transform society. We should be seeing crime go down, divorce rates decrease, cancer rates affected, and growth despite "recession" if we're really bringing the kind of cultural transformation we're meant to.)
Hearing about the Bible without experiencing God leads to religious form without any power. (We have to not just speak about the Kingdom, but demonstrate its power.)
We need to understand that our circumstances never cause heart issues; they only reveal them.
Ok so none of these necessarily flow- nor do they technically stick with the topic at hand, but I love all these quotes. I figured sharing a few good quotes might be better than actually walking you through the details of apostleships and denominationalism. Because honestly, you might not care. But I might end up posting more details later because this might not quite scratch my itch.