Computerized Christians? Get Ready for the New Church!

Isaiah 43;19 declares: "Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert."

A new thing? Try this one on for size: Just as the Apostle Paul brought the Good News to the Greeks, today's latch key kids will bring it to the GEEKS!

Here's what I mean. Does anybody remember those radical Jesus Freaks of the 60s and 70s? They're still around. They became the pot-bellied Baby-Boomers we know and love today. These people seem to have become more conservative with age (having children of one's own will cause that transformation). Many who were once yesterday's liberals are today's conservatives. They scorn the vulgar videos and movies of today's youth and turn in disgust from the their nasty grunge clothes, pierced noses, and tattoos. These Boomers can't stand the in-yo-face vulgarity and arrogance of today's young no-commitment "slackers."

To you pastors out there, I hate to break it to you, but these kids are the new recruits. These young people ARE the new Church. I call them the Omega Warriors.

Together, we Boomers must get over something that is much more than a generation gap. It's the most paradigm of paradigm shifts because there is a total misunderstanding of these new recruits on the part of today's "organized Church." The Boomers must come to recognize the hidden sorrows faced by today's "latch-key" kids . . . the heart-rending despair of their broken homes and the poor parental skills under which they were subjected as we've all discovered that TV makes a terrible surrogate parent. This is the stuff of their lives that makes them act "that way."

Christians, gone are the days of the "one-talking-to-many" mediums, the talking heads of today's Baby-Boomer Christianity. We are entering a one-to-one digital medium. These kids want to interact. They desire interdependency. They want to collaborate and dialogue with others. Common interests are drawing these kids into common communities. One quick glance at their Internet chat rooms makes this extremely evident. They'll discuss anything. They WANT to commune.

SOMETHING OUT OF NOTHING

Can we discern the spiritual side of all the apparent nonsense they force us to deal with? What can God do with so big a mess? Consider that the idea of connecting to one another in another space is inherently spiritual. The notion of a "covenant network" of allied individuals is certainly Christian. And, perhaps for the first time in human history, the Body of Christ can be perceived as being truly global, totally possible, and walking in more agreement than we ever imagined. How is this being made possible? By way of the Internet.

Nobody's better at negotiating The 'Net than today's youth.

"It is important to fulfill the great commission by getting the saving Gospel message to the people who need it most," claims Mark Harpt, President of the World Wide Christian Web. He continues, "The amount of ignorance about the truth of God is staggering, especially in countries that produce the greatest technological advances. These people need God and wireless Internet technology is a great way to let them know that the God who created the universe wants to enter into a special relationship with them if they will allow it."

Sadly, many of today's Church leaders - some of whom were yesterday's radical Jesus Freaks - have largely missed what is happening right under their noses because they see the lowly computer as nothing more than a glorified office machine at best, a tool of the devil at worst. True, the predictions regarding the information highway may seem like so much hype today, but the wise Christian leader will prayerfully consider its impact in regard to tomorrow. Though computers may hardly seem to be of any significance where the future of the Church is concerned, the way the Church utilizes this tool may totally change Christianity on planet Earth as we know it.

The new millennium is a watershed moment in Church history. The Internet will soon impact the growth of the Church at a staggering rate and at aglobal level. The question is, will YOU be part of it? Some may say, "We're miles ahead of the game at First Church! We have our own website...." Wrong! Again, for anyone to find that website, THEY must be looking for YOU.

The Church MUST make every effort to go to THEM!

SPIRITUAL CONSUMERS OR SPIRITUAL PRODUCERS?

Last Wednesday night, I was almost late for my Coffee Studio Bible study. Why? I saw a commercial for NBC's Dateline with Stone Phillips in which a ministry team was performing an exorcism in a condo in North Carolina. Yes, we taped it for later but we watched it, too. When I finally joined the Coffee Studio group, some had been watching the TV there and had caught the show as well. Early in the program, Phillips made the statement, "As many as 10,000 exorcisms take place annually in the USA, most by evangelical Christians." (I'm performing one this Saturday. We had one last month at a Bed & Breakfast, too, an Englishman. Man, I am REALLY enjoying Christianity, you?)

Regardless of one's stance on demons and exorcisms, on that same video cassette, a friend included a segment from the 700 Club, a Pat Robertson interview with author James Rutz about his new book, "Megashift." When my wife and I watched it, I was spellbound. After listening to Rutz, I ran upstairs to read what I could about his book, my wife following close behind. I found this quote, "If you read one 'Christian book' this year, make it 'Megashift' by Jim Rutz." -- Joseph Farah, founder of WorldNetDaily

Another book review read as follows: "The 1700-year nightmare is over. A megashift of spiritual power into the hands of ordinary people is about to overwhelm the world and put it into vastly better shape. Prepare yourself to take part in a total makeover of Planet Earth!"

It went on to say: "You are about to discover a new world where...

* Over a billion non-Christians may become highly active Christians in the next dozen years.

* A whole new form of Christianity promises to bring a far greater impact than the Protestant Reformation.

* Millions of ordinary people are doing miracles.

* God has brought hundreds ofpeople back from the dead, mostly in the last 15 years. These are not near-death experiences, but real resurrections of actual corpses. (NOTE: It's true. In the last decade, 52 countries report dead being raised and diseases miraculously cured.)

"New book tells all: "Megashift" not only documents a wide range of miracles, but also spotlights hundreds of thousands of house-church teams around the globe that are producing a new culture of responsible freedom. In these teams, people are allowed to speak and interact. They often form deep friendships, dump their heaviest problems, turn into free and powerful spearheads of worldwide change, and get connected with God and man in ways that almost defy description. This is a "Megashift" away from spectator religion.

A GROWING OPPORTUNITY: 8% CHURCH GROWTH PER YEAR!

My home town boasts a community growth rate of about 3% annually; the local college, about 7% per year. This is for perspective. One item mentioned in Megashift was this: "There is a hidden world that already has 707 million evangelical/charismatic Christians who are growing by an incredible 8% a year. In the center of this shockwave are roughly 100 million in informal networks of committed circles who run their own show without buildings, paid pastors, or sermons. "Megashift" is a startling introduction to that surge of grass roots power and love, which is forming the culture you will soon live in."

It appears God is using the rank and file, willing Believers everywhere more and more these days, and OUTSIDE the friendly confines of Churchianity at that! Rutz mentioned having met a 7-year old boy in India who died at age 5. The boy had scars from where he was burned by a power line. On the emergency room table for two hours, doctors could not revive him. The hospital contacted a church which called a 60-year old Indian woman to pray for the boy. She was illiterate; an "untouchable"; the lowest of the low in the Indian caste system. She prayed until 4 AM. The boy was alive with no brain damage or any other physical problems. When Rutz asked the woman if she had ever done this before, she replied that she had been involved in sixteen resurrections!

"The Church, as we have it set up now...is really not set up to handle it all so God is empowering people to work through small teams, house churches particularly, school churches, business churches and so forth...small teams where people are able to interact and work with each other...kind of like the early New Testament idea of going house to house...," Rutz said.

Are you ready? Church leaders, is your Church infrastructure in place, or are you expecting these young people to come to Church, learn the prayers and hymns and when to say 'Amen" and listen while you teach them where to sit, how to act...and expect them to do so for the next 70 years? Sorry, but young lions gotta roar!

Me? I contend that, not only are these pierced 'n tattooed, navel-flashing, latch-key kids our latest raw recruits but that America's corporate offices are going to be the place of another huge move of God as well. Such things HAVE to be so because we spend so much time there. Is the Church going to meet them where they're at, or cling to its pews with both hands, serving the Institution rather than the Institutor? Just as Aquila and Priscilla were there, strategically in place to greet the Apostle Paul after his Damascus Road conversion, will you be there for these kids when they need you to be? Again, I'm NOT talking about greeting them at the door of a church building - I may be talking about going to their campus, joining forces with other denominations and pooling funds for a youth event (we organized one that included 26 churches, 9 bands and over 1,000 kids) or starting a Coffee Shop Bible study where they can relax and be themselves.

Anything to show them that you LOVE (spelled T-I-M-E) them.

I met with 30 people around a campfire a few weeks ago. We cooked steaks and chicken and sang with guitars. We prayed about revival, too. People, we were being the Church and no less than 5 denominations were represented there. This past weekend, we knocked ondoors and prayed for people at their doorsteps - Lutheran alongside baptist alongside pentecostal alongside Church of the Nazarene. Eleven denominations in all, taking out town by storm for the third time (we're going out again in mid-September). Though it may appear that Satan has strategically managed to make workaholics out of us and has systematically drawn millions of mommies out of their homes in an effort to join the workforce, thereby creating legions of latch-key kids, the TRUTH is that our God WILL get His Church back (I'm not talking buildings, folks). God WILL have His way. Satan ALWAYS shoots himself in the foot.

Be a part of this upcoming revival. It's not going to look like anything any of us have ever seen.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Pastor Michael is founder of t.e.a.m. ministries ([email protected]). His eMail broadcasts, known as "Your Town for Jesus" (SEARCH it!) are reaching tens of thousands WEEKLY. Log on at http://www.PlanetaryMinistry.org

Michael's mission is to bring Discipleship and Encouragement to the Body of Christ. Michael is the author of numerous booklets on a subjects that will interest the thinking Christian. Since 1999, he has written and broadcast nearly 500 inspirational articles and a dozen booklets, al designed to accelerate the process of spiritual development in God's people.

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