“THE CHURCH OF TOMORROW “

-by Andrew Strom.

A lot of people probably read some of the writings on this website and wonder, “Where is all this headed? What is the goal?” A glib answer might be- “We want to get back to real ‘New Testament’ Christianity.” But what exactly does that look like?
This is an important topic – and something I have pondered a great deal over the years. What exactly would the ‘New Testament Church’ look like if it was translated into a modern western city?

To get started, I want you to forget about today’s church just for a moment – with all her obvious problems and contradictions, and picture something quite different. I want you to imagine that you are still living in the same city, in the same year, but you are right in the middle of a ‘Book of Acts’-type scenario. Somehow everything has changed.

For some reason, all of the Spirit-filled Christians in your city have left their Denominations and divisions behind. They have truly begun to fulfill the prayer of Jesus – “That they all may be ONE”. They now hold huge gatherings all over the city – right out in the open. And as well as these united gatherings, on most streets there is now a house-meeting, where all the Spirit-filled believers from that street gather together, eating and sharing and having communion, etc. (ie. A “NEIGHBORHOOD CHURCH”). The power of God flowing in these house-meetings is amazing. Many healings and miracles are occurring. The ‘gifts’ flow freely every day.

It seems also that many of the church buildings and cathedrals have simply been abandoned. No longer do Christians want to hide themselves away behind “four walls”. They want to gather out where the people are – presenting Jesus to the whole world. They want to be truly “one body”. There is no way that any of their old buildings could contain the crowds, anyhow.

And the men whom God has raised up to lead this vast movement do not seem much like the ‘Reverends’ or even the ‘televangelists’ of old. In fact, quite a few of them have never even been to Bible College, and they seem to be very plain, ordinary people from humble backgrounds. But what an anointing! It is very clear to everyone that these ‘apostles and prophets’ (as they are known) have spent many years in prayer and brokenness before God – drawing closer and closer to Him. When they speak, the very fear of the Lord seems to come down, and many people repent deeply of their sins. Demons are cast out and the blind and crippled are made whole. -These kinds of things are happening all the time. The whole city is just in awe of what is going on, and thousands upon thousands are being saved. Even the newspapers and television are full of it.

As soon as someone repents they are immediately baptized in water and hands are laid on them for the infilling of the Holy Spirit. -This is expected from day one! And it is also expected that every Christian has a gift and calling from God – and that they should be encouraged to move forward and fulfill their calling. No longer is there a distinction made between those who are “ministers” and those who are merely ‘laity’. Now it is expected that EVERYONE is a minister of the Lord! (However, there are ‘elders’ – ie. older Christians to guide things).

Some of the bishops and pastors from several denominations have actually denounced this great move of God very strongly. They say it is “deception” and warn their people to stay away. (-Every Revival in history has been accused of this – usually by religious leaders). But to be honest, it is so obvious to most people that God is the one behind it all, that very few take these men seriously. The Spirit of God is sweeping all before Him. The glory of the Lord has come.

One of the reasons that these leaders are so upset is that a lot of the Christians’ GIVING now does not go to church buildings, but rather to the POOR. In fact, God has spoken to many people to start supporting widows and orphans overseas, etc. They also give generously to anyone in their midst who is in need. Many even sell their own possessions in order to do this.

The huge over-riding theme of this great movement is LOVE. “Behold how they love one another” is the catch-cry of many who watch this ‘new church’ in action. And everyone is given to MUCH PRAYER.

And so, gathering “as one” in the outdoors and breaking bread from house to house, they eat together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord adds to their number daily those who are being saved.

CAN THIS REALLY HAPPEN?

The above description is taken straight out of the Book of Acts – as applied to today. Everything in the above paragraphs is put there to give you an idea of what it would be like to live in the Jerusalem church at the start of Acts. -And it was like that for YEARS. Imagine the impact of such a church on the world around it! God is wanting to do this again. And He wants to use ordinary people like you and me to help bring it to pass.

I am convinced that we are NOT supposed to treat the early church as a “special case”. It was given to us as an ‘example’. It is what the “normal” church should be like all the time! And yet we have fallen so far below this standard. Only in times of Revival do we approach it again for a time. But I believe it is supposed to be “normal” for the church to be like this – day in and day out. This is the way that Jesus always wanted us to be.

However, one thing is clear. It will take a great “SHAKING” for us to get anywhere close to the above description today. You have to be aware that in order to get there from here, a whole lot of ‘hierarchies’ and church boards and careers and titles and positions would be on the line. And a lot of men simply don’t want to lose those things. It doesn’t matter to them whether it is Truth or not. If it affects their reputation, their position or their organization, they will oppose it with everything they have.

Sadly it is very difficult to see a “smooth” transition to this kind of Christianity. I believe we are in for a shaky ride. But I certainly believe that it is on God’s agenda. And like the Great Reformation before it, I believe He will do WHATEVER IT TAKES in order to get us there.

Here’s to true ‘NEW TESTAMENT’ Christianity, my friends – the kind that Jesus and the apostles actually invented in the beginning.

Let us settle for nothing less – WHATEVER IT TAKES.

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Posted in Articles by Andrew on April 21st, 2010 at 7:17 am.

26 comments

26 Replies

  1. Certainly look forward to all the comments!

  2. I love this scenario that you painted. This is the way it should be. I love this whole idea of tomorrow’s church. May the Lord helps us to accomplish this.

  3. Well brother Andrew. It is interesting but I am exploring what a NT church would look like. I was attending a pentacostal church in my town and about a year ago the Lord spoke to me and said “start a group in your house.” He gave me the story in II Chronicles 20:1-23. Especially the part where Jehoshaphat says “We don’t know what to do, but our eyes are on You” That is what we do. We don’t have any agenda any given night, but come in and pray together ardently that God would come and do what He wants. We have had a very strong presence every night, many healings, deliverances and will soon have to move out of my house because the word is getting out that God is moving. We are trying to maintain that spontaneous prayer and attitude no matter what organization we need to do. It is a progressive journey with the Lord and very fun.

    Evan Wiggs

  4. George Apr 24th 2010

    Andrew, those words are welcome. I believe we are in the days that we will see this happen soon. Be blessed brother!

  5. gloria Apr 25th 2010

    I keep envisioning it but get frustrated waiting….we need revival, reformation, God desperately.

  6. Berean Apr 25th 2010

    Greetings from Victoria in Australia.

    My wife and I eagerly look forward to seeing the church being restored and operating as the Early Church in the book of Acts. One thing I found out is that it is impossible to reverse engineer the Early church to find out a pattern of operation so we can emulate them. For example, we achieve very little by encouraging people to sell houses and properties and distribute the proceeds of sales to those who are in need. As a matter of fact there was never such a requirement for them to do those things (Act 5:4). But why did they do it? The Early Church was a result of the full work of the Holy Spirit whom Jesus sent when He ascended to heaven. As they were filled with the Holy Spirit they were also filled with love towards one another. There is very little advantage in knowing everything about healing if you are not first endued with power from on high to heal the sick.

    The verse in Acts 1:14 speaks to me in a very special way:

    “They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.” This took place before the day of Pentecost.
    I believe this the time for believers to come together in unity and pray. This is the time to rely 100% on the work of the Holy Spirit to come and restore the church. He has done it before, He has done it many other times and He can do it again, today, alleluia.

  7. Bjricha2 Apr 28th 2010

    Andrew – I migrated from Minnesota to the “Bible Belt” of North Carolina. The first thing I noticed is how loosely the belt is being worn in many churches here – when I thought it would be different.
    This move will shake not only churches but regions and cultures. The change is overdue – but sorely needed!

  8. I personally like the “Noah” model in which an extended family works together to prepare to face the challenges of the tribulation. In this model, three elements are paramount:

    1. People – A tight-knit team where lines of authority are well established.

    2. Place – A location far enough away from the big city problems yet close enough to make outreach ministry possible.

    3. Priciples – A lifestyle based on the Sermon on the Mount where personal spiritual growth is the goal.

  9. willowssk Apr 28th 2010

    The New Testament church in the present would be the most amazing thing that could happen for the Kingdom. I am so tired of churches and their lukewarm sermons, their constant stifling of the Holy Spirit, and the complacent body of Christ that resides in them every Sunday and maybe Wednesday. It would be great to be able to go to a “church” where I am not starving to death because what they preach is so superficial and not meant to feed the people but placate them. To be accepted by the people that reside in them because you won’t be seen any longer as a radical but a person who is on fire for the truth and God. To be able to be trained, encouraged, challenged and built up no matter what your gender is. Oh to be able to be at the Lord’s feet learning, what a wonderful day that will be.

    Please Lord, let this come soon. This 27 year old woman is dying spiritually and has no one but God to help her.

  10. I am almost beyond caring anymore. I see the Spirit and the gifts are present in me, but I have not yet found anyone on Maui to say “Amen”, to participate with me in prayer and evangelism.

    Amen. May the new work come soon.

  11. Gerrie Malan Apr 28th 2010

    Evan, a little thought on your post. We were in a similar position in 2001. From starting out as a group of 5 we grew within four months to 50. Instead of multiplying into a second, third, and… homes, we moved to larger premises and eventually were persuaded to become a “formal/institutionalised church”. Big mistake. We lost the intimacy and powerful presence of the Holy Spirit. If I could do it over again, I would follow the home multiplication route, with anointed leaders/teachers (not salaried staff mind you) moving amongst them. Andrew’s vision is a very good description of the way I should have led the movement.

    Blessings for your group.

  12. A lot of believers, disillusioned with the present state of the Christian Church find themselves isolated, or attending an unsatisfactory establishment. We were led to commence a twice a year meeting in the West Country for them and this has been appreciated. Sadly, we find some who are near enough to attend our own Fellowship, which stands against error, who do not do so on the basis that they do not want to be part of a structure. However, the Early Church was Jewish. They attended the Synagogue on the Sabbath where they received Old Testament teaching. Later in the week, most likely on the Saturday evening, they met together for four things; And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine (i.e.New Testament teaching) and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. On both occasions there was some structure, as there was with the Leadership, Elders, Deacons and those gifted for various ministries. We need to be careful that we are seeking a real New Testament Church experience and not just something that panders to our personal desires.

  13. UpLooking Apr 29th 2010

    Praise God! I see this unfolding in my hometown. It started as a home church and is growing everyday. Last service it was prophesied about the Lord’s Agape Love that will be spread about the whole community….Praise God for revival in America!!!

  14. The one problem that I see in these comments and what I’ve seen in the past with church growth is that many churches start out in someone’s living room and they get too big for that house. The next step is invariably get a bigger space (just as Gerrie said in the above post), usually the community center or a school, or rent space from another church building – often a 7th Day Adventist church because they meet on Saturday. Then it’s on to the “building program.” Instant death to revival.

    What ought to happen is that the gatherings need to go into different homes and multiply in different neighborhoods. This rarely happens.

  15. You forgot about the persecution that invokes, and how people are empowered to respond to persecution.

    Can you talk about that?

  16. The Quakers were persecuted for having church on the street and in there houses rather than in church buildings, we need to get to that point, I leave for thailand in a month to see how I can be used for this. I am leaving with 3 to 6 dallars a day, planning on hitchiking, and sharing the Gosple where the soil is fertile.

    Anyone want to join me in my efforts to see a truely apostolic church come to pass in this most immoral generation?

  17. Great article Andrew… one soon realises that it’s not even about ‘doing church’ in the home but it’s all about the kingdom. It’s about changes to the way we think and live life not where we fellowship. Things like individualism & consumerism here in the West threaten the kingdom way of life and need to be stripped out of our lives in order to experience the kingdom way of life.

  18. Cassie May 1st 2010

    I absolutely love the picture given here, but just wanted to give a word of warning.

    As a new Christian I was disillusioned by what I saw in the church. I wanted to find a place that reflected Acts more.

    I joined a home church – the leaders had left the main church disillusioned because no-one respected their “ministry”. Over 4 years, yes the home church grew, but I did not.

    I entered as an on fire young Christian, praying daily that God search me and purify me. In this home church I was taught that my “problems” (recurrent sins) were due to demons and that I had to be led in certain prayers for release or I would never stop these patterns. They taught that the demons had the “legal right” to be in me because of sin, and taught me to identify the exact sinful occassion and ask for forgiveness in the specifically correct words – any slight wording problem or omission would allow the demon to remain.

    Among other things this included prayer in which “Jesus” led me to remember things that happened in the past and was “causing” my sin. I know now that the memories recovered were false so have to assume the spirit leading me was not the Jesus I love (despite praying each time against deception – you can’t invite demons in and pray against deception any more than you can each cake and pray against calories).

    Prior to this, yes I did fall into repeated patterns of sin. I had asked God to reveal each sin and He had been doing so by allowing me to get into positions where it would occur. I was in a time of really seeing the wickedness in my heart and repenting in tears and fasting.

    But the teaching that it was demons and that satan had a legal right to bind me unless I repented in exactly the right words led to despair. I learned that demons were stronger than God because they could prevent me being forgiven.

    I went in filled with the Spirit and yes, speaking in tongues. I came out a broken woman who had come under demonic tongues, demonic prophesies and demonic prayer.

    I clung to Jesus desperately throughout and eventually He showed me to turn around and stop looking at the demons and look to Him instead. I needed to stop believing that demons had power over me – they don’t – HE does! I am back to repenting for each sin as it is revealed by the Holy Spirit. I believe that all my sin was forgiven at the Cross and I do not need to do anything but repent and believe.

    And the tongues – of course I believe in tongues, the Bible is clear, but I also know that not all tongues we hear in church are from God. I have learned to ask for the Holy Spirit’s gift of discernment in each instance.

    I know that this post may be in the wrong place, but am concerned that in their passion for God, people can be led into “home churches” like this. The tests for me in future will be:
    . if a “church” maintains they are more holy than everyone else and everyone else has it wrong, its not a safe place for me and
    . anything that takes my eyes of the Cross and the power of the resurrection and gives me additional steps I have to follow to “get free”, is not a place for me.

    There was a good reason why these people’s ministry was not accepted in their church (while it is very accepted in other pentecostal circles – especially with people outside church). It looked superspiritual etc, but it was the wrong spirit guiding it.

    (In the end, after I left, they were the ones to bring the Lakeside “revival” to my city……..)

    In the last days there will be many false prophets that will deceive even the elect – even those who are heart and soul sold out for Jesus and wanting to be as close as possible to Him.

    Please beware.

  19. What we are seeing in these end times, is historic with its incredible ramifications for individuals, institutions and the truth of the Lord our God.
    We are seeing Gods word literally come alive, revealing to us the understanding we need in order to see the time we are now in.

    Joseph was the right hand to Pharoah, and in interpretting Pharoahs dream, prophesied of 7 yrs of increase, 7 yrs of drought. This not only happened in Josephs day, but it prophetic to pointing to this very time in history. This is blending now with the Exodus, an amazing event that happened in the natural, but we’re seeing a real live exodus once again, out of the captivity Gods people found themselves in.
    The institutional christian church is the captor, the spiritual food is negligible at best, and empty at worse. NO LEAVEN NO LEAVEN NO LEAVEN.
    It’s no wonder people are leaving the christian church in this mass exodus; but they are completely lost and ill prepared to stand on their own spiritually. This is open season on souls against the believer, if one doesn’t have the tools or full armor of God by satan. There has been a massive increase of darkness in this world as the light of truth is being quickly diminished; the christian church being the vehicle to be used to control others, keeping the Lords people in captivity. Satan is showing us daily how his influence is growing stronger and stronger, which will culminate in his war against the Saints we will all witness in the coming years.

    The house church is not a new thing, it’s a novel thing; it’s almost reaching fad status among revival hungry believers who don’t know where to turn to.
    The problems of the institutions, get replicated on many occassions in the house churches and they grow; but only bad fruit is produced. You can take the believer out of the institution, but can you take the institution out of the believer?
    Until the root of the problem can be removed, it will continue to be this way. The house church will be no better off than the institution, unless the Lord Himself is in complete control. The sign that people may finally be waking up and are on this exodus, is encouraging. (As people wake up, they see that our nation founded in Gods Liberty is almost gone beyond return; a lot happened while people were captive)

    In case people haven’t quite noticed, God is moving and He is calling to those with ears to hear & eyes to see. It’s time to focus on Him and ask Him where He wants us and what we are to do. It’s time to cleanse ourselves in the purifiying water of His truth, His word, to ask Him to show us the truth, to teach us His word and to trust literally, only upon HIM for all our provisions.

    I’ll promise y’all this; if you are not willing to give Him everything….and I mean absolutely everything in your life; He cannot use you. If mother, father, brother or sister, son, daughter, in-laws or friends/job are more important than where He is leading; then He cannot use you. If you can be an empty vessel, willing to let the Potter mold the clay, shape it, refine it, polish it, then He is willing to open His word to you.

    His will be done & God Bless

  20. It was really refreshing, Andrew, when your article came tops in my online search – after the idea came to me to type in “church of tomorrow”. Ever since my conversion I’ve had questions about what I perceived to be dis-harmony between church and the New Covenant/Testament.

    Two years ago I decided to leave. I didn’t consider it as leaving but as “going somewhere”. Following that decision I’ve been looking to the Lord for His word on what would be the practices of His Church today – similar to your question: “What exactly would the ‘New Testament Church’ look like if it was translated into a modern western city?”.

    The thought of “looking back over Jude’s shoulder” through to Acts chapter one has given me a lead on the building of Christ’s ekklesia – His House.

    Hallelujah,

    Ron

  21. I HAVE READ YOUR WEBSITE MANY TIMES BUT I AM AT A LOSS WHEN SO MUCH EMPHASIS IS MADE ABOUT YOUR “HOLY SPIRIT FILLED SPEAKING”. AS A MESSIANIC RABBI, I AM MISTIFIED AS YOU CLAIM AND WANT A NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH BUT YOU SEEM TO HAVE LOST THE REAL CHURCH MOVEMENT THAT STARTED WITH THE LEADERS OF THAT CHURCH MOVEMENT. THEY MET AND WORSHIPED IN THE SYNAGOGUES AND MET ON SABATH DAY, NOT ON SUNDAY OF THE ROMAN CATHOLICS. THEY STUDIED THE TANACH AND THEN READ FROM THE WRITINGS OF LETTERS BY THE DISCIPLES THAT YASHUA (JESUS) TAUGHT PERSONALLY. BUT THE MESSAGES CAME FROM THE TANACHS TEACHINGS OF MOSES AND THE PROPHETS NOT FROM THE N.T. WRITINGS, EVEN THO THEY ARE VERY IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND THE TANACH. ALSO I DO NOT SEE OR FIND THAT THE “ESTATIC UTTERANCES” THAT I HAVE SEEN AND HEARD ARE NOT THE “TONGUES” THAT THE BOOK OF THE ACT OF THE APOSTLES SPEAKS AND THAT RABBI SAUL OR PAUL THE APOSTLE SPEAKS OF TO THE CHURCH OF CORINTHINS. LANGUAGES ARE THAT WHICH PEOPLE USE TO COMMUNICATE TO EACH OTHER NOT A LOT OF BABLING GUTERAL SOUNDS THAT IS SUSPOSIDLY USED BY THE ANGELS, THAT IS UNLESS IT IS THE HEBREW LANGUAGE. IT IS NOT OUT OF COMPLETE IGNORANCE OF WHICH I SPEAK AS I WAS A TRAINED AND EDUCATED BAPTIST PASTOR FOR 35 YEARS BEFORE THE LORD LED ME TO THE “FULL” GOSPED OF THE ENTIRE BIBLE IN IT’S CONTEXT AND MESSAGE. MAY HASHEM LEAD YOU AS WELL.. SHALOM, BROTHER MAC

  22. Everything revolves around relationships. When it is about people, people’s feelings and relationships the ground is fertile for the minsitry of The Holy Spirit. When it changes to fundraising for a new building the fertile ground for the ministry of The Holy Spirit is not there. The Holy Spirit is not interested in new buildings, The Holy Spirit is interested in relationships.

  23. David Cottrell May 3rd 2010

    I think the tax codes have changed, at least for us. No longer do we really get a tax credit for gifts to charities. If tax codes change more so that charitable donations (and taxes/interest) no longer allow one to surpass the standard deduction then I see people giving where they really feel most impressed to give (family, friends, and the poor).

  24. What Andrew wrote is exactly what we have been experiencing in Buras, LA for the last 3 years. My wife and I just left Buras, and hope to start another gathering in Denham Springs, La. When we left, every person in our gatherings was ministering in some capacity. Some more than others. Elders came forward when we left, and we are confident that this group is in good hands and will continue as the Spirit of Christ directs them. These people are truly our family and we will go back to visit from time to time, but we do not & will not control or direct them. As one who started the group, we will assist if asked in areas of doctrine or direction, but we do not control. I will never return to traditional church.

  25. Since the Greek term translated into the English word church means “the called out from,” the teachings of Jesus was “the born again are like he wind, you hear its sound but know not whence it arrived nor to where it went” [paraphrased] and because the disciples wandered near and far, the new church will be a group or wandering messengers, a group of individual sowers going forth and sowing but nor remaining to watch the seeds growing.

  26. Few speak of the things I will mention, regarding the future church and future revivals. First of all, intelligence is on the increase, due to the lovely internet. This spells big trouble for little shepherd wolves. Also, the answer to most of today’s problems, are to increase maturity. This spells big trouble for little shepherd wolves. Finally, the answer to most troubles is to return to liberty, which is mutual dedication to self-restraint. This spells big trouble for little shepherd wolves. In general, sheeple have been taught to love demagoguery, and to be blind to its presence. Demagoguery now includes emergent goggledygook, prophetic jabberwocky, rapture/dispensational rape of logic and reason, prosperity greed and give-to-get shenanigans, seeker-friendly-truth-avoidance and gelding-of-God-s mind of all sorts of shepherd-wolf church. There is little-to-no recognition that the great, far-away lands of missionary work as well as their source countries (i.e. USA and UK) are replete in dang-near total corruption of doctrine. So, to my way of thinking…. discussion of future church without full disclosure and repentance of this-present-insanity…. is sort of crazy. See: http://www.inthatdayteachings.com. (You want repentance, and something to repent of? Well, it is explained fully in http://www.inthatdayteachings.com) You want something to look forward to (i.e. Jesus)? Look no further than your best friend in God. He or she is probably manifesting Him, and we must bless and honor him or her for God-bearing! It takes humility. It takes truth. It takes repentance.