LEAVING BEHIND the "OUT-OF-CHURCH" REVOLUTION -by Andrew Strom. A year ago I made a public announcement that I was leaving the 'Prophetic' movement - a movement I had been a part of for over ten years. In hindsight I certainly believe that was the right decision, and one that had to be made. Sometimes a public "leaving behind" is important. However, I don't want to be known as the 'Leaving' guy, so I am kind-of embarrassed at having to make another similar statement only a year later. But God has been laying this on my heart for some time. Recently I have been growing more and more uncomfortable with another move that my name has been associated with for many years. -On our website we call it the "Out-of-church" movement, though recently George Barna has taken to calling it the "Revolution". -It is not exactly the same thing, but it overlaps greatly. And as someone who has been a known sympathiser and supporter of this movement, the time has come for me to state publicly that I am leaving it behind. I can no longer be seen to support something that is fundamentally anti-New Testament. Please do not think that I am referring to the 'House-church' movement here. That is not what I am referring to, though I do have small concerns with that movement also. But that is not it. For the last 20 years I have been involved with a network of people who have left their churches - often to go into a kind of individualistic "just me and God" type of mode. I cannot be party to such thinking any more. The problem I have seen is that a "wilderness" mentality develops - and many people simply live there forever. There is no true "Body Life" and no true "Leadership" - and I have noticed that because of this NOTHING REALLY HAPPENS. For year after year - NOTHING. Why is this? -Because 'Body' and 'Leadership' are utterly essential to basic New Testament Christianity actually HAPPENING. Without these two things we simply do not get anywhere. I mean - isn't that the pattern that we see right through the Book of Acts? For some people the 'Out-of-church' Revolution is "new". But for me it is very old, and after 20 years observation there is one simple thing I can tell you: IT DOES NOT WORK. It does not transition into real New Testament 'Body Life'. It does not lead to Revival. It does not transform the church. It "scatters" instead of gathering, and leads to what I call "amorphous blob" Christianity. -In other words, the Body of Christ becomes an unfocused mass of individualists without form or direction - "each man doing what is right in his own eyes." I don't know if we can find much more of an opposite to true Body Life than that. A lot of these people say that if we are going to have leaders, then they must be real "servants". Amen! -I fully agree. But the New Testament also states that we need 'Fathers' in the faith (-who bring correction, discipline and teaching) and also true 'shepherds'. In my experience, those who want the 'servants' - without the 'fathers' or 'shepherds' - are often people who have a deep stronghold of 'REBELLION' in their hearts - which they are trying to cover up with high-sounding talk. (-Just as I myself used to do). And that is what this movement is full of: High-sounding talk. You see it in Barna's book "Revolution". You hear it everywhere you go in the 'Out-of-church' movement. Vast claims are being made for those who will simply "come out" - and actually "BE the church without having to GO to church", etc. One would think that "coming out" was the solution to all that ails us. But as I have seen for 20 years now, nothing could be further from the truth. The facts are plain and simple: If your thinking and behaviour are basically "anti-Body" and "anti-Leader", then don't expect to get anywhere. And don't expect the Body of Christ to get anywhere either. We are not designed to be an "amorphous blob". We are designed to be a unified army with leaders and direction and teamwork - taking the kingdom of darkness using "combined force". United together we are very powerful - for God designed us to be a 'Body'. Split apart into "individualists", we are weak and ineffective. And in the Book of Acts, they united under 'LEADERS'. It was 'LEADERS' that were the glue that God used to keep the whole thing together. -This has simply always been His way. Are you someone who has trouble with the concept of uniting under leaders? -In that case, do not expect to take part in the coming move of God. -Your attitude is totally anti-New Testament. But do I have sympathy for people who feel like 'outcasts' in the church? Do I have sympathy for those who search and search, yet cannot seem to find a church that is biblically sound? -Certainly. I get people writing to me all the time saying they have been around every church in their area, and all there seems to be are 'dead' traditional churches or hype-ridden, over-the-top 'Charismania' churches (and yes, I am Spirit-filled myself, but have to admit that the Charismatic movement today is in an awful mess). That is a huge problem - for where do these people go? The fact is, what Barna is popularizing as a new "Revolution" in many cases is something a lot less. Often it is simply the church getting so bad that many of its best people are being forced out - never to return. Does that sound like a great "Revolution" to you? The real problem, as Barna himself has stated many times, is that there is a LEADERSHIP CRISIS in the Western church. It is simply impossible to believe that things would have gotten so bad if this were not the case. So what is the answer? -It is certainly not to abandon the concepts of 'Body' and 'Leadership' altogether. That is not an option at all. But there has got to be a "new" way for God to bring order to His backslidden church. I have said many times that what is coming in the West is not just a Revival but also a "Great Reformation". God cannot live with a lukewarm church. He is about to bring great 'change'. And during a Reformation, God always deals with these two issues of 'Body' and 'Leaders'. - He raises up something NEW. So what am I saying here? -Simply that "coming out" is not the answer. Rather, the issue is whether you will "enter in" to the new thing that God wants to do. -That is always the issue. And I tell you, if you have a problem with 'Body' or 'Leaders' then your chances of entering in are almost non-existant. -We simply cannot come into New Testament Christianity without these two things. I don't know about you, but I have a great sense of expectancy about this year (2006) and coming years. I truly believe we may be about to see some breakthroughs in the "new thing" that God is wanting to establish. But one thing is for sure:- If we are unwilling to either LEAD or be LED, then I believe we can virtually forget about taking part. -That is how important Leadership is, in a new move of God. -It is UTTERLY VITAL. Friends, can you grasp this crucial fact:- The season has changed and it is time to "ENTER IN" not 'come out'. God wants to do a 'new thing', and the real question is whether your heart is capable of entering in and being part of it. Do not be like the children of Israel who wandered and died in the desert because they failed to enter their Promised Land. -Be one who 'enters in'. In closing, I need to say this: Because I can no longer condone the 'Out-of-church' Revolution that I have endorsed for many years, I needed to take my e-book "The OUT-OF-CHURCH Christians" off the main page of our website - http://www.revivalschool.com . This has now been done. I would also ask that you please forward this email to your friends and to other Lists - to anyone who may be aware of our previous stance. We need to have it widely known that we no longer support the 'Out-of-church' Revolution - mainly because of these two issues - 'Body' and 'Leaders'. So please let others know. I realize that we risk angering and upsetting a great number of people by "cutting ourselves off" from this movement. I am truly sorry. However, I believe that my calling as a Revivalist is to restore and preach the original gospel - that is the major call on my life. And lately I have had a strong feeling that I cannot advance into 2006 properly with this issue hanging over my head. -This is a crucial year. So do we ourselves belong to a local church? -YES WE DO. And is our ministry actively pursuing true 'Body Life' and an 'apostolic' gospel? -YES WE ARE. Glorious days are ahead for the Body of Christ - I am convinced of it. That is why I am urging us all to leave behind the 'wilderness' mentality, and take on a "Promised Land" mentality instead. It is time to "enter in". And I cannot remain with any movement that preaches otherwise. To respond to this article, please send any feedback to- prophetic@... God bless you, my friends. Kindest regards in Christ, Andrew Strom.