In my previous post about Provision, Wholeness, Authority Part I, I explained how God had provided these threefold blessings in the Garden of Eden, providing Adam and Eve with abundant provision, personal and spiritual wholeness, and authority to subdue the earth. When Adam and Eve sinned, they lost those blessings and were forced to fend for themselves, separated from direct fellowship with God. History since the Fall largely became mankind’s striving to restore provision, wholeness, and authority through man’s own strength until God sent His Son to restore the blessings properly. Jesus came to redeem us, but also to begin the process of restoring God’s blessings.
The importance of the teaching about provision, wholeness, and authority is the guidance it gives us as we conduct our ministries to extend God’s Kingdom. Everything we do should follow the pattern Christ gives us restoring the blessings that were lost in the Garden. The question then is what does it look like for a ministry to promote these blessings. Sometimes we need an example to illustrate how to implement the teaching.
For the past few weeks I’ve been meeting with people to plan the creation of a Christian community center at Lake of the Ozarks. Although it seems at times like a daunting task, I look at it with new eyes because I can see how a community center might continue the Lord’s strategy of restoring the blessings that were lost in Eden.
Consider first the matter of provision. Our community center will be a place of spiritual, social, and material provision. We currently have two groups of Christians representing multiple churches meeting regularly at Orion Center to share the things of the Lord in fellowship. We see our community center as a place of learning for both spiritual and mundane subjects, but I’ve received new appreciation for material provision. James 2:15-17 reads, “Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you tells him, ‘Go in peace; stay warm and well fed,’ but does not provide for his physical needs, what good is that? So too, faith by itself, if it is not complemented by action, is dead.…” One of our community center advocates has operated a soup kitchen in another community and has a heart for the poor. Why shouldn’t our community center kitchen be used for that purpose to be a material help for Camdenton neighbors in need? What other material needs might we also meet?
Our community center should also promote wholeness by bringing together people across denominational barriers. We Christians rightfully love our churches, but the unintended consequence of separate church fellowships is to keep one church community apart from another and to keep every fellowship separate from the unchurched people we hope to disciple. This is the opposite of wholeness, but it isn’t the churches that need to change. We should build a community center to provide opportunities for wholeness to benefit our churches and the people. We should bring together brothers and sisters from different fellowships and we should let them minister together to the people in our community who have not found the Lord. What a testimony for Christ would this kind of unity become!
Finally, the community center will allow people to walk in their God-given authority. Whereas churches provide opportunities for service, the exercise of authority is limited to a church’s leadership team. God has given each individual a need to walk in authority, not based on human will or pride, but the rightful authority delegated from Jesus. The apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 2:9-11, “God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
During our east coast trip, we visited the Billy Graham Library and received revelation to clarify this point of authority. Billy Graham walked in personal humility but confronted the world with resolute boldness when he spoke on behalf of the Lord. His special anointing was to present the Gospel with power and clarity, but something occurred to me. What role of authority could Billy Graham exercise in a typical church made up primarily of Christians? I suggest he would be frustrated and under-utilized by not having the opportunity to exercise his kind of authority among non-believers.
Our community center must be a place where Christians can exercise their individual rightful authority publicly. This view of authority fits in perfect sync with the restoration of provision and wholeness I’ve already presented. The community center here is a good example of what the church community needs. Rather than try to change our churches, we need something to supplement what churches do to reflect the restoration that our Lord Jesus Christ has asked us to implement. The restoration of God’s blessings gives us specific direction for the characteristics of ministry that reflects Christ’s mission.