IN-CHURCH, OUT-of-CHURCH, FUTURE CHURCH

-by Andrew Strom.

I have met and fellowshipped with many wonderful Christian people over the years – from all kinds of backgrounds. But I just need to comment on this “In-church/ Out-of-church” thing – because it keeps cropping up.

Let me be clear about this. I meet wonderful “In-church” people all
the time that I absolutely love – and I meet lovely “Out-of-church”
people too that I absolutely love. One of the biggest problems is
that often these two groups do not understand each other at all.
And neither do they necessarily see the need for a “future church”
that is beyond anything that any of us are seeing – a church that
is literally just like the Book of Acts. That is supposed to be our
goal – but too often we are satisfied basically where we are.

CHALLENGES FOR the “IN-CHURCH”

Many of the Christians who are totally “in” the church system truly
see the need for “change”. They are not wanting to sit still. They
see there has been a great “decline” in Christianity away from the
old paths – and they are praying that God will move to restore and
purify His Bride. I have met many godly, warm-hearted people like
this who care passionately about God’s kingdom and His true
gospel. I usually get on very well with such ones because we
share a common desire to see things “righted” – especially the
gospel message that has become so diluted and lost.

I guess the biggest challenge that I see in these settings is that
I believe God is about to move “outside the box” in such a drastic
way that if we allow ourselves to be too attached to the current
“system” or “way of church” – then we can easily get left behind.
To get us back to true “Book of Acts” Christianity will take such
a leap – and such change – that I wonder if we truly have it in us
to go with Him where He wants to go. How “loosely” do we hold
all these things – our buildings, our “meeting formats”, our labels,
titles and ways of doing things? When these things are shaken
or challenged, it is sometimes surprising to discover what a hold
they have on us – even if we think they don’t. This is the biggest
challenge that the “system”-type people face, I believe.

But our love of the true gospel and true “Bible” Christianity will
take us a long way.

CHALLENGES FOR the “OUT-Of-CHURCH”

I have moved amongst many ‘House-church’ and “Out-of-church”
type Christians (which are not the same thing) over the years. In
fact I have been part of these circles myself at times. One of the
biggest problems I have seen is that some of us really thought
we had the major “answer” to the church’s problems. Those of us
in the ‘House church’ movement would think, “If only the church
would get out of buildings and into houses and become more
‘relational’ – most of our problems would be solved!” We truly
thought that simply by “changing boxes” we could get back the
Book of Acts church! What we ended up with, of course, was
simply the same people in a different “shell” – slightly more
‘relational’ – but hardly anything like the power and purity of the
early Christians. We had changed the outward “form” but the
POWER of Jesus Christ was still mostly lacking.

I can remember having arguments over “plurality of eldership”, the
precise “correct” way of taking the Lord’s Supper, and all kinds of
things. None of it seemed to make the slightest bit of difference.
That is because the “outward” things and the ‘form’ of things
are all “secondary”. This is not where the power is. But it took
such a long time to learn this lesson.

The “Out-of-church” people are even more radical. They often
fellowship with almost no-one – and many of them will tell you that
the organized church is the “whore of babylon”, etc. A lot of them
are lovely people with a real heart for people and for TRUTH. But
some can be very judgmental and harsh. They will often “write off”
church people as being totally bound by “religion”. But I found
many of us in that circle had our own “anti-religion” religion going
on! We despised having “leaders” or “organized” things of any
kind. We said we believed in the “5 fold” ministries but we couldn’t
stand to have any actual “leaders” – even godly ones. And we
were secretly filled with PRIDE – because we could see everything
that was wrong with the “system”. Man – did I have a “humbling”
coming when I got into this mindset! I was so “religiously” anti-
religious. I was so filled with arrogance and looked down my nose
at so many “system” people! I “judged” them just because they
went to a “building” on Sunday! God forgive me.

Of course, none of this is the answer either. I had to repent. I had
to RENOUNCE very deeply this harsh “anti-religion” religion that
made me so proud and arrogant towards people. I found that many
of them loved Jesus just as much as I did. And many of them
prayed more and were kinder, more loving and more godly than
I’d ever been. I had been kidding myself. When it boiled right down,
we “out-of-church” types were no closer to the Book of Acts than
many of the “system” people that we judged so harshly. We just
knew more “stuff” (supposedly). But clearly it wasn’t the stuff that mattered.

It was only when I deeply repented and RENOUNCED this whole
prideful mindset that God gradually began to show me what was
really important. And it was not the “outward” stuff – though of
course there is some importance to structure, etc.

Each of these things (below) I believe will be a crucial part of the
FUTURE CHURCH that God wants to bring about. You could
literally write a book about each one – they are so important.
It was these very things that meant the early church SHONE
FORTH the GLORY OF JESUS every day. Here they are-

We must have-
(1) An APOSTOLIC gospel being preached with Apostolic-type
anointing and authority. (Whenever this has happened down
through history there has been real Revival). -SO CRUCIAL.
(2) The powerful moving of the HOLY SPIRIT – filling people, healing
people, convicting people, transforming people.
(3) REAL LOVE and an emphasis on ministering to the POOR.
(-Just like the early church).
(3) REAL DISCIPLES who actually “forsake all” to follow Jesus.
(4) REAL PRAYER – in the Holy Spirit. -And lots of it!!
(5) THE WHOLE BODY MINISTERING – Starting with the “5-fold”
ministries – whose goal is to release the whole body into ministry.
(6) MIRACLES and HEALINGS. -These are a must!

Of course, we could go on and on. But let me just conclude by
saying this:-

It doesn’t matter if we are “In-church”, Out-of-church, Over-churched
or under-churched. If we don’t have the above things (which the
early church had in abundance) then we really don’t have ANYTHING.
It doesn’t matter what we “know” or whether we meet in houses,
barns, on the streets or in sun-porches. If we don’t have these
crucial things that the early church majored on, then we really
have NOTHING that matters.

So I don’t really care if you are “out” churched, “over” churched,
“thru” churched or “half” churched. We need to pursue and
pursue until we GET REAL CHRISTIANITY BACK!! And none of
us have got it – so we had all better repent of our pride and start
seeking that which is lost! A glorious Bride beckons. What price
are we willing to pay to see this glory restored?

Posted in Articles by Andrew on July 12th, 2011 at 2:48 am.

23 comments

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23 Replies

  1. Destinee Oct 22nd 2011

    Well Said Brother.

  2. patti kelleher Feb 15th 2012

    Thank you this is very true and I pray for clairty in and out of the church for the hour we are in. We can’t but our mighty God is fully able to cause us to repent when we seek him with our whole heart. help us Lord and forgive us.

  3. jerry mohler Apr 3rd 2012

    good concise comments. lets keep it simple saints–KISS principle. love GOD, love others & disciple unto JESUS. HOLY SPIRIT is always in control….

  4. jerry mohler Apr 3rd 2012

    good concise comments. lets keep it simple saints–KISS principle. love GOD, love others & disciple unto JESUS. HOLY SPIRIT is always in control….

  5. lisa adams Sep 24th 2012

    QUESTION? I would like to know how to find this perfect church.. I live in the Bible belt and I can’t seem to find anything like this. Either they have no spirit or are false spirited. Please send me help on this. I have no true christian bible believing freinds like minded and no close family. Thank You! Lisa!

  6. mike molyneaux Sep 24th 2012

    Andrew, I’m sure most if not every believer wants to see Apostolic-type anointing and authority, powerful moving of the HOLY SPIRIT, REAL LOVE, REAL DISCIPLES, REAL PRAYER, THE WHOLE BODY MINISTERING, MIRACLES and HEALINGS. We would all flock to a church blessed with that. The million dollar question is why don’t we see this today, especially Apostolic-type anointing and authority ? Whose fault is it?

  7. Amen Brother!!!!! I concur…

  8. Well written for all the church goers and non church goers. I am Israel and I follow Yeshua Messiah
    the only Son of The Creator YHWH Yahova God. There is no “J” in Hebrew, and Yeshua the
    Messiah came as a Jew. He died a Jew. He rose on the 3 rd. day as a Jew. He went up to heaven and sits at the right hand of Father YHWH as a Jew. He will come back as a Jew. He will forever bare the nail marks and be forever a Jew. What I am trying to say, the Savior of this world is a Jew and He spoke Aramaic and Hebrew, for He did not come for the Greeks as the name of Jesus is Greek. He is Jewish. This is the time for all Gentiles to come to Yeshua Messiah while the door is still open. The apply of YHWH’s eye is the Jews, but if you believe in Yeshua, you are His children, but you have to start calling Him by His “True Name”, and praying in the name of Yeshua to the Father YHWH Yahova God and end all prayers in Yeshua’s name.
    Also, in the Book of John 14:15. If you love Me, you will keep my commands;

    The commands are your inner character. Like Yeshua talked about murder not being the act but anger toward someone is like murder. So work on your inner feelings toward others and make a home for Yahovah God to come in and live inside you. Make yourself holy for Him.

    Also I have learned that every time you are angry toward someone for example it is an act of hate toward Yahovah God. Because you just made a decision to not act the way He wants us to. And over time darkness grows inside us and overtakes the light that we have. So we need to have the light grow in us so that we can receive the Ruach Hakodesh (Holy Spirit).

    And we are not accepted or chosen by Him until he gives us the gift of the Ruach Hakodesh (Holy Spirit.) So if we die right now we are the church of Laodicea because we are neither hot nor cold. We are not cold because we believe in Yeshua the Messiah and not hot because we have not yet received the
    Ruach Hakodesh. (Holy Spirit) So He will spit us out if we die in this state. We are not chosen yet we are only called.

    It’s very easy to be led astray by others. And we MUST be on guard against others trying to lead us astray. That’s a summary of what I have discovered. Basically we can’t die in this state. And Yehovah sees any disobedience as hate and disobedience is being judgmental , short tempered, selfish or greedy, lacking love for others, or any other character trait that is not Yeshuas character trait. I do a lot of studying and I study from my Complete Jewish Bible by David H. Stern, and I have my heavenly Father YHWH teach me, for I sit at His feet and I learn so much. He will open anyone’s eyes if they are seeking Him with their whole heart and soul.

    Shalom,

    Linda

  9. sharon Oct 16th 2012

    At the end times we are admonished by the words, ‘would there be any faith left’? Even the very elect have to be very careful.
    If these are the times, what else could we expect.
    Look up and lift up your head, redemption draws near.

  10. Most people I know are desperate to see the true authority and power of God operating. I see prayers going forth all the time for any and everything, still no healings to speak of nor miracles. We’re spirit-filled and we know the manifested Presence of God. I am part of a ministry (pure-hearted leaders) that preaches the apostolic gospel and ministers to the poor and needy – still no real power demonstrated. What’s wrong?!

  11. This is what the Lord has shown me. We have to get back to the Church in Acts. Its not here, at least not all here. Those things that happened then should be happening on a daily basis. Paul said I did not come to you with enticing words, but in Power, and Demonstration of Spirit. He also said the Kingdom of God is not in Word[or just in words], but in Power. That’s not me that is the Word of God. People say your just making that up, but read the Word for yourself. God Bless and have TRUE PERSONAL REVIVAL. I know I want it and am seeking for it.

  12. I was sitting in the waiting room at the VA Clinic with my husband when a young- to middle-aged man started talking to my husband. In his conversation, it was easy to tell that he was addicted to his pain medication and was desperate for a refill. I suddenly had a Holy Spirit-given vision of a dozen or so people in a close group quietly walking in the door. They walked to the gentleman, surrounded him, and started quietly praying. In moments, the man lifted his arms and started praising God. He was born again and free. The group quietly walked back out. It really impacted me at how they did not call attention to themselves but walked in, ministered to the man, and left. No fanfare, no “look at us.” The man who had been set free, however, was telling everyone how Jesus had set him free! I believe this is how God wants the Church of Jesus Christ to be—they were walking in unity, stayed focused on Jesus (the Son of God, no matter the Name one calls Him), and bringing the power of God to the needs of people. They were being His witnessed on the earth. God’s Word is Truth; it is true, it cannot lie. We must begin believing the Word of God OVER the testimony of the flesh. The flesh says, “I am sick.” The Word says, “I am healed by the stripes of Jesus.” Will you believe the Word, or will you believe the circumstances? Pride (fear of embarrassment if it fails) keeps most people from walking in faith. Repent of pride. Risk the power. At the name of Jesus, every knee must bow. Trust it! Risk it! We stand in His righteousness, not our own. He is faithful and true, always! I can testify that I have been healed of many illnesses. So has my husband. My son was healed of fatal injuries he suffered in a motorcycle accident. The prayer of faith will save the sick, James 5:15. Risk believing it and standing on it. Praise His Name!!!

  13. debylynne Oct 16th 2012

    dear lisa adams
    just wanted to greet you, sister, and tell you that being a ‘bible belt dweller’ myself, i completely understand where you are coming from….God bless you and lead you into a place of REAL BIBLICAL FELLOWSHIP in Jesus’ name…….we have had the very same struggle – we are now in a ‘small spirit filled group’ that seem to truly LOVE Him and want to OBEY Him but even so, i feel the need to stay ALERT because there ARE still many things that seem to slip in ‘under the radar’ and people start giving place to ‘seducing spirits’ ……we tried a ‘baptist church’ because of all the WRONG ‘spiritual’ activity going on in ‘spirit filled’ churches but the LORD drew us out of that because of all the UNBiblical goings on and we are simply putting ‘one foot in front of the other’ at this present time – trusting Him, but, honestly, trusting ‘no man’ – not completely anyhow – been down that road and it was NOT good.
    just wanted to ‘reach out and touch you’ in Jesus’ name and let you know that i understand your dilemma.

    debylynne

  14. Yvette Oct 16th 2012

    I beleive the issue boils down to a pride issue. It comes in many forms, and is sometimes undetectable by the naked eye. It takes the Holy Spirit to reveal to each and every individual areas of hidden pride. It is sometime seemingly small, but to God it is a hindrance.

  15. goodwordtoday Oct 16th 2012

    Hey Lisa, I guess you must live in Charleston – it’s like that here.

  16. Amen brother.

  17. How do we get Revival? Seeking the face or the heart of God. The disciples did miracles before the day of Pentecost and had the teachings of Christ, yet didn’t seem to recognize him until the very end, which is why Jesus asks, “Do you NOW believe?” – John 16:31
    When the disciples finally recognized that having a servants heart and being filled with the love of God and that prayer for boldness at the second filling of the Holy Spirit, that’s what really sparked revival. I wondered why there was a second move, because it seemed so odd, but that was after they were threatened for healing and preaching in Jesus’ name. Then they were willing to risk their lives and give their all. When Jesus died they were afraid for their lives and locked the doors. After that prayer they were filled with boldness.
    It’s when we lay down pride and most importantly bitterness. I’ve found myself very bitter about my wife being in a wheelchair with CP and seemingly having no power to heal. God can’t not operate in a hardened heart. You have to have it broken to allow that love of God to flow through you and into the lives of others. His love goes beyond what we can muster. It goes to the point where Paul said he wished he were accursed so someone could receive salvation. Romans 9:3
    So take away all pretense, bitterness, pride, guises, everything, and be completely yielded and vulnerable to God, and then you will find yourself praying according to his will and in his Spirit and see revival.

  18. typo * meant to say “God can not operate in a hardened heart”

  19. Pilgrim Oct 17th 2012

    I have been ‘out -of -church’ for about 6 years.I left the church in obedience to God . I thought I would enter into something exciting. It has been interesting , but lonely at times.I have learned a lot, but much of what I learnt has been through ‘unlearning’ what I thought I knew.
    I realised that much of what I thought was knowledge, was merely how to please men and fit in. How to conform to the expectations of others in the church. It was mostly unspoken. People were not forcing me to act in a special way. It just made me more acceptable and everyone wants that. I took for granted that what we did was what God wanted us to do.
    When I left the church God began to teach me through His word . Scriptures which I had just skipped over because I knew them suddenly spoke to me, like Mark 7:6-9. (Look it up) I realised that the church had substituted its own traditions in place of the word of God. I began to question everything which I thought I knew. I found that many practices were not according to God’s word.
    God showed me through several dreams that the organised or institutional church is finished. I am out , but it keeps going! I feel like I have been left out in the cold sometimes. I am losing touch with the people and what is happening. I would like to feel vindicated in my actions.I pray and do all I know to do. I wait. I could not go back because that would be disobedience to God. I know that I should ‘be contented in whatever circumstances I find my self.’ Perhaps I am learning ‘real’ faith.I cannot see the end (although I am sustained by many visions I have been given ) ‘If it seems slow , wait for it. It will surely happen. ‘ is a word He gave me once . I have to remind myself constantly of what I know from scripture about God. For example, that:
    ‘He who has begun a good work in you will perform ( complete ) It’
    ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man what God has in store for those who love Him’
    In other words, do I really believe what God has said? (Without seeing it yet taking place?)
    Yes, I do, and ‘They who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength!’
    WE are living in the last days. Things are taking place which God has spoken of. God is not a liar. It is then a matter of His timing!
    I am getting 3 feeds a day and I do not feel the stress or worry that many experience. I can actually enjoy life and appreciate God’s provision. I freely give to various causes which seem important to me , far more generously than ever before because I am not restricted by tithing to the church, which is not scriptural in this age anyway. I meditate on God’s Word and pray as I feel led to do, free from the demands of the church ,which once kept me too busy praying for things which I was not really interested in. In fact I must seek God for every interpretation of scripture of which I am uncertain.There are many interpretations which I was taught which I now reject.( I use a concordance and Greek/Hebrew to English dictionary every time I feel prompted to and take no meaning for granted. I realise that I do not know as much as I once thought I did, but I am learning to trust the anointing which I have ‘which is true and is no lie’.I have ‘lost’ the jargon.
    I suspect that my time is not being wasted. I worry about my friends in church sometimes , but having explained my position to them, it is their responsibilty to follow God. I worry especially about the deception which I see in church – the ‘cessationists’ who persist in being blinkered, but more still about the influence of the Kundalini spirit (which Andrew has written so much about).It seems to me that this is the deception which would deceive ‘even the elect, were this possible’. I am sure of my election and calling, but I have to wonder about those who follow the signs, the manifestations, who shake and twitch and jerk and fall down so readily and repeatedly; who laugh and bray like asses and run through’ fire tunnels ‘ (which remind me of Indian gauntlets- are they actually receiving spiritual wounds through the practice?) I wonder ‘Could it be? But that is monstrous ! ‘ I think. But were we not warned in advance! Do they not hear? Do they not believe God’s Word where it says ‘When the Lord blesses He adds no sorrow.’ Why then do they willingly suffer such strange afflictions when prayed for? Such manifestations cannot be from God.
    I do not like the word ‘Church’. It is, to me, counterfeit. From the ancient Druids , from whom we have no need to borrow anything ,but the Chruch follows so many pagan practices, although it ascribes different meanings. What is difficult about translating the word ecclesia as’ the called ‘ instead of ‘church’ and thereby avoiding all the confusion as to what they are talking about – cliques, groups, movements, people, practices or buildings. Jesus prayed for the ‘called’ in John 17 – ‘that they may truly be one’ and so we are. Christs body. Called and chosen. What are the rest doing?

  20. I liked your article Andrew. I am a Christian who would love to see the church ‘get there’ in terms of the Holy Spirit and back to the days of the disciples. I am also someone who sees Christian leadership from ministers downwards not moving in love but in control, manipulation and greed, so trying to find a church whose leader or minister is genuine difficult and as yet I am not fully committed to any church. I am also someone who is aware that the wheat and the tares grow together in the church and that I must walk in love with my brother’s and sisters in Christ. I am not sure whether to be ‘out or in’ but I do want to serve Christ and be who I am called to be in him, trouble is when you stand up for the truth even ministers are blocking growth or asking you to leave because you have upset their apple cart.

  21. To Pilgrim, Yes God is calling out His people and if we are obedient to come out of the church, (Babel the great mother of whores and of the earths obscenities, sun worship etc.) then YHWH will lead us into His truth and we will know our true identity (Hebrew which means crossed over or Israel, not gentile which means out of covenant or christian which is sun worship coming from Constantine). There are a lot of very good web sites, Passion for truth, 119 ministries, Micheal Rood. Get back to the Torah (instructions), the Sabbath, the mo’edims, the true names, the food laws. He is the same yesterday, today and forever.