Ephesians 4 says that the design of strategic leadership Jesus bestowed upon His called together assembly would produce maturity measured by the stature of Christ.
Today I had a vision of a tailor shop. The tailor was measuring someone for a suit. It was a man. He measured his shoulders, length of arms to the wrist, spinal column from neck to belt line, and size of his chest.
I heard the tailor saying, This suit will be tailored to you. It will fit you and no one else. I want you to be comfortable and happy with your suit.
In that moment in the dream I knew God was giving me revelation of what is happening in His church, that church is being tailored to fit people. I heard the words, “tailor-made church.”
Then, I saw Jesus standing in front of the three mirror setup most tailoring shops use to give you a triple view of whatever you are trying on.
I knew God was saying, “This is the only measure for My church, the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Who is measuring themselves by that stature? Who is tailoring the Body of Christ to the body of Christ?
I remembered the scariest Scripture in the Bible: “Many shall say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not done many…'” I was reminded of how desperately dangerous it is to bring God what we want Him to have.
Then, this morning Ruthanne and I were watching Joyce Meyer explain the danger of arrogance and opinion upon ministry, telling a story of an employee who just a few days after being hired sent her a detailed letter of everything wrong with her ministry. A few days later, he sent another one, so they fired him. He had come to the erroneous conclusion that he was assigned to design and control everything around him instead of submitting himself to the work of ministry.
How Do These Things Relate Together?
Tailor-made church is not another variation on a theme, but a polar-opposite to God’s design and strategy for kingdom! It fails the very people who are looking for answers. Yet, in the face of this failure and search, tailor-made church moves even further from the New Testament models of ekklesia as Jesus designed it. More proof-texting, spurious arguments and analyses, reworking the same tired ideas that produced the current failures, the stretch made by tailor-made church to find something that works better leaves us naked in vital areas.
The rejection of God’s strategic leadership leads us into something deeper than doublemindedness. It produces a new, singleminded standard for kingdom: ‘what I want.’ We are reminded of the book of Judges condition: “every man did that which was right in his own eyes.”
Grabbing a hymnal and starting your own home group cause you don’t like to sing new songs displayed on an overhead isn’t planting a church. Demanding someone design a youth ministry for your spoiled kids, “we need more turkey bowling parties to make them “want to come to church,” doesn’t produce mature disciples.
Church is not about your co-dependecency and personal issues: “we need to design church to help me feel better about myself so I will feel in control. Church not about you being respected so we dumb church down to whatever level allows you to be a big duck in a little puddle.
What is happening in many cases is nothing less than a redesign of the called together assembly that fits a mannequin! The result is a plaster cast of the real thing.
You can’t stay home and call your home a “called together assembly.” You cannot turn your private devotions into a ministry! Your closet is not the called together assembly! What God is doing in you personally is not the new standard for the Body. In the fact, the validility of what God is doing to redeem you can only be understood within the context of the leadership Jesus designed to develop and position your ministry within the Body. You must submit that personal life to the life of Jesus, a sacrifice submitted, placed at the disposal of His strategic leaders.
Paul says, “I am what I am by the grace of God.” This is the definition of humility. God gives grace to the humble so that He can tailor them to fit His Body, so they can change to be changed and become the person He created them to be, so they can be properly positioned to produce in the kingdom.
God doesn’t give grace to enable you to become what you want or add grace to your own strategy like gravy on mashed potatoes. God gives grace to the humble. He is resisting tailor-made church because it is about getting what we want, not getting God what He wants.
Now I know that some will jump to the conclusion that I’m hammering some particular model of church. I’m not. Tailor-made is functioning in every model. Big box. Small group. House church. Simple. Emerging. Community. All of these have elements of the various ways church can function; I’m talking about designing church to fit ourselves, our opinions, our experiences, our personal needs and wants. We do this because, at some fundamental level, we do not want to change, sacrifice ourselves to His strategy, or lose control. We are functioning from flesh, not Spirit.
How can you design yourself a church that fits you when you don’t even know who you are until Jesus tells you who you are? The resistance you are experiencing is God resisting your pride.