Since my conversion to Christ, I have observed seven serious gaps in the church. If not corrected, these gaps will significantly limit the ability of the church to fulfill the great commission.
To deal with this issue, the national organization I lead, USCAL, has an annual Bridge Summit conference. At this impactful conference, significant leaders are brought together from every facet of society to help bridge the following seven gaps.
- The gap between church and workplace leaders: Since about only 2% of the typical church member will ever go into full-time church ministry, discipleship should be focused more on bringing the gospel to the workplace than preparing people for the church-place. Unfortunately, we have trained the typical Christian to bring their friends to church to be saved instead of equipping them to make disciples outside the four walls of the church.
Christ-followers have to stop depending on a Sunday service in a building so that they can take the gospel to the entire world. Furthermore, workplace believers need to view themselves as ministers of the gospel in the same way church-place leaders are viewed as ministers. The primary purpose of the church-place should be to equip the saints for the workplace. Unless this shifts, the church will have more influence on Sunday than on Monday, and our society will continue to decline.
- The gap between younger and older leaders: There is a considerable gap between Baby Boomers, Millennials and Generation Z. They speak the same language but have different connotations attached to the words they use to communicate.
Much dialogue and new partnerships are necessary amongst these three groups if the baton is going to be successfully passed to the emerging leaders of the church. It will be a shame if the younger generation goes without gleaning from older leaders' wisdom and life experience, and an equal shame if older leaders refuse to learn from younger leaders and adapt to a multigenerational approach to ministry. This is why our coalition intentionally includes young, influential leaders in every event.
- The gap between different ethnic leaders: Sunday morning is still perhaps the most segregated two hours of the week because there are still huge ethnic gaps separating the body. This gap may have even worsened in the church since the last presidential election. One of the goals of the leaders of the United States Coalition of Apostolic Leaders is to bridge the gap between ethnic leaders. This is why our events are ethnically diverse.
- The gap between the Word and the Spirit: Jesus told us to worship the Father in spirit and in truth (John 4:23,24). He told the Pharisees that they were in error because they knew not the Scriptures nor the power of God (Matt. 22:29). If today's church is going to be effective in reaching the world, we have to mimic the church of the book of Acts. There we observe that they had a great handle on the Scriptures (as we can see from examining this book's sermons). Today's church should also move in the demonstration of the power of Jesus to convince unbelievers of the reality of Jesus' Resurrection.
In our annual Bridge Summit, we have rich theological content in our teaching and allow the Holy Spirit to move through prayer and prophetic ministry.
- The gap between male and female leadership: The conservative evangelical church has often overlooked the important role women have in extending the influence of the kingdom of God. As we can see in both testaments of the Bible, women have played a significant role in leadership and in influencing not only their families, but the nation of Israel and the church as well. (The biblical examples are too numerous to cite in this brief article.)
Unless the broader body of Christ recognizes the role of women in leadership, we will continue to underutilize the majority of Christ-followers in our churches. This greatly limits our capacity to spread the gospel and extend His kingdom's influence. In our movement, we highlight extraordinary women as presenters. They contribute to closing this gap in the church.
- The gap between revival and reformation: I have observed that often those who are proponents of prayer and fasting for revival don't associate with Christian activists and reformers who deal with politics, policy and cultural issues and vice versa. However, both testaments of the Bible illustrate that we need people involved in prayer and policy. (See the book of Esther, Nehemiah, Ezra, Daniel, as well as the book of Acts. We see high-level leaders like Cornelius, Sergius Paulus, Manaen and others coming to Christ and helping to spread the gospel.)
- The gap between serving God with the heart and the mind: The Lord Jesus told His followers to love God with all their heart, mind and soul, which is the first and foremost commandment of the law (Matt. 22:37-40). In the charismatic and evangelical church of America, we see that within the past few generations, there has been a bypassing of the mind and more of a connection with the emotions of Christians. Consequently, there has been a dualism regarding applying the Bible to human life. The church has only focused on spiritual things and disregarded the other aspects of the created order regarding politics, economics, education and all the sciences.
When Jesus said that He is the truth, He said that in Him is all truth, not just biblical truth or spiritual truth (John 14:6). Truly, in Him, all things of the universe hold together, all things and not just spiritual things (Col. 1:17, Heb. 1:3). Until Christ-followers embrace the fact that the Word of God contains a biblical world and life view applicable to all of life on the earth, our effectiveness in attracting and equipping the next generation of world changers will not be realized.
In closing, at the Bridge Summit, significant leaders from various sectors of society grapple with all of the seven issues articulated by the seven points above.
To register for the Bridge Summit, which takes place on Tuesday, June 15, online, click here.
For the original article, visit josephmattera.org.
Dr. Joseph Mattera is an internationally-known author, consultant and theologian whose mission is to influence leaders who influence culture. He is the founding pastor of Resurrection Church and leads several organizations, including The U.S. Coalition of Apostolic Leaders and Christ Covenant Coalition. Dr. Mattera is the author of 12 bestselling books, including his latest, The Jesus Principles, and is renowned for applying Scripture to contemporary culture. To order his books or to join the many thousands who subscribe to his newsletter, go to josephmattera.org.
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Dr. Joseph Mattera is an internationally known author, interpreter of culture and activist/theologian whose mission is to influence leaders who influence nations. He is renowned for addressing current events through the lense of Scripture by applying biblical truths and offering cogent defenses to today's postmodern culture. He leads several organizations, including The United Coalition of Apostolic Leaders (uscal.us). He also has a blog on Charisma News called "The Pulse." To order one of his books or to subscribe to his weekly newsletter go to josephmattera.org.
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