Jesus modeled to us the way in which he desires his church to live, through relationships not programs. One of the greatest gospel promises in the Word of God is that you can become a son of God when Jesus Christ steps inside your heart as Savior and Lord. (Eph. 3:17; Jn. 1:10-13; Ro. 8:29; ) You literally become a new creation, another species. (2 Cor. 5:17) Jesus is bringing many sons to glory. (Heb.2:10) You have the capacity to become like Christ in an ever-increasing way, from glory to glory. (1 Cor. 15:49; 2 Cor. 3:18) For this to happen takes proactive commitment in the context of five relational settings that foster growth. (1 Tim. 4:7, 15-16; 2 Tim. 2:2; Col.1:28-29; Matt. 28:18-20)
There are five critical relational settings described in the Bible that are essential for facilitating transformation into Christ’s likeness – settings in which we freely receive and freely give. All five settings are essential. Leave one or more of these relational settings out of your life and you will not fully develop into a mature son or daughter of God.
Face time with Father: You with God, God with you. Each and everyday, our goal is to love God and be loved by him (Great Commandment). Freely receive from Father through Christ by the Holy Spirit. You freely give glory, worship, praise, and love back to God. (Mk. 1:35, 6:45; Lk. 5:16, 6:12) Face time reaches God! He is the One who needs to receive our ministry as first priority. Do you consciously minister to the Lord? (2 Chron. 3:10; Rev. 1:4-6)
- 2’s – 4’s: You with 4 plus God. (DNA Group – Discipleship, Nurture, Apostolic Mission) You freely receive from God directly and through other disciples with the same gender. You freely give back to God…and then to each other: love, wisdom, revelation, and healing power. You also demonstrate and share the gospel with one or two friends. They can come right into your DNA Group. (Matt. 18:19-20; Lk. 10:1; Mk. 9:2; Matt. 17:1; Lk. 9:28; Ecc. 4:12) DNA’s reach one or two people.
- 5’s – 15ish: You with 12 plus God (Missional Kingdom Family, a “micro-church” that is part of a larger church) which could gather in a house, business, school, coffee shop, park, under a tree…wherever…whenever…because it’s a family on mission) Four directions of love: down, up, in, and out. We freely receive from God and give back to Him. We freely receive from each other and give back to each other. We freely give out to those who don’t know Jesus as Lord. We are all are on mission in our neighborhoods, school, work, friends, family…wherever, whenever.. because we are always sons who are “soldiers” who advance Christ’s kingdom with no limits or constraints. MKF’s reach neighborhoods, businesses, schools, etc. (Ex. 18:21-25; Matt. 10:1; Ro. 16:5; Phil. 1:2; Acts 2:42-46; Col. 4:15; 1 Cor. 14:26, 16:19)
- 70 – 5,000ish: You with 100’s-1000’s plus God (Local church led by elders connected to apostolic “team”) We freely receive from others in different DNA and MKF’s. We freely receive from the elders and apostolic ministries like apostles, prophets, teachers, evangelists….etc. We also give through regular prayer, tithing, offerings, serving, etc. Local churches reach their city. (Lk. 10:1-23; Acts 1:4, 13-15, 2:41, 2:46, 4:4, 11:21-24)
- International family of churches i.e “Tribe”: You with family of churches plus God. (Tribal Gatherings, Regional Tribal Gatherings, Discipleship Training, Leadership Training, All Nations University, Mission Trips, church planting, etc). We freely receive from God directly, and also through trans-local five-fold ministry gifts like apostles, prophets, teachers, evangelists, pastors. We freely give through prayer, offerings, connecting relationally with family from other cities and nations, participation in events, serving through missions, church planting, etc. Tribes reach new cities, regions, and nations. There is “apostolicity” in every son of God, a capacity to send and be sent. Apostles are called to equip the people for the work of ministry. Apostles equip by instilling faith-vision to pioneer, take new ground, bring something out of nothing, go into your neighborhood or to the nations. They impart the revelation of Father’s heart, create the family context for you to flourish as a son, and mobilize the family-army with a biblical strategy to advance the kingdom of God holistically in cities, regions, and nations. Christ in you wants to use you to bring Him glory in the nations!
- Antioch was a “hub” for trans-local church-planting and mission. Apostolic people BOTH send and are sent. It takes senders and sent out ones. (Acts 11:19-30, 13:1-14:28)
- No matter what role you play in a “Tribe”, everyone can receive the same level of reward. 1 Sam. 30:24
- Each local church family had the benefit of trans-local support, gifts, training, and accountability. (Acts 15:22-35, Eph. 2:19-22, 4:7-16, 1 Cor. 12:28)
- People with different ministry gifts served in other local churches besides their own. Every person in every local church supported the trans-local vision and mission. (Acts 17:14-15, 18:18-23, 20:4-6; 1 Cor. 4:17; )
- Finances where received and then distributed by the apostolic team to help fulfill their international mission. (1 Cor. 16:1-4; 2 Cor. 8:1-9:15; Phil. 2:19-30)
- Apostles raised up other younger apostles who were then commissioned to help appoint elders in the new church plants. (1 Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Tim. 1:3)
- Apostolic leadership teams planted new churches and then had an ongoing responsibility to help support and grow those local churches. (Acts 15:36-16:5)
- Loving and supportive relationships were formed between people from other local churches in other cities. (Acts 21:7-9; Ro. 16:1-24; 1 Cor. 16:5-24; 2 Cor. 8:16-24)
- A great deal of the Book of Acts and the Epistles described the dynamic of an interconnected family-of-churches…i.e. “tribe”. (Gal.1:1-2)
- Paul describes himself as a spiritual father, who has spiritual sons, and the members of the churches as “family”, and constantly uses familial language. (Ro. 16:17; 1 Cor. 4:14-17, 2 Cor. 6:11-13; Phil. 2:19-30) Paul even describes his relational sphere of apostolic authority. (1 Cor. 9:2; 2 Cor. 3:2-3)
- Different “tribes” were all to be considered a part of only one “Tribe”…Jesus’ Tribe in the order of Melchizedek (Heb. 5-7, 7:11-17)
- Roland Allen, in his book Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or Ours?, wrote:
“In like manner the churches of which they were members were not separate and independent bodies. They were not independent of the Apostle who was their common founder, they were not independent of one another. In St. Paul’s mind the province was a unit. So, when his churches were established, he distinctly recognized the unity of the Church in the province. He constantly spoke of the churches of Macedonia, of Achaia, of Galatia, of Syria and Cilicia, of Asia as unities. For the purpose of the collection which he made for the poor saints at Jerusalem, the churches of Macedonia, Achaia, and Galatia were each treated as a separate group, and officers were appointed by each group to act on behalf of the province which they represented in the administration of the collection. This unity was more than a convenient grouping. The same bonds which united individual Christians one to another united the churches. They were not simply groups of Christians who, for mutual assistance and convenience, banded themselves together in face of a common danger. They were all alike members of a body which existed before they were brought into it. They could not act as if they were responsible to themselves alone. The churches were in frequent communication one with another. Visitors passed easily from one to another and prophets soon began to spend their lives journeying from place to place preaching and expounding the faith.”