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Sid: My guest on the telephone Dr. Michael Brown President of Fire School of Ministry in Pensacola, Florida and New York. Shortly Pensacola will more to Charlotte, North Carolina. We’re talking this week on his latest book “Revolution in the Church.” And Mike we’ve been talking a lot this week of how the church went astray and doesn’t look remotely close to what God intended. Which happens with all things where humans are involved given enough time, but I want you to dream with me for a minute after all you’re a pioneer. Describe to me what God’s church should look like based on the word of God.

Michael: Yeah I don’t ever want to despise what God is doing in the body and it’s a tremendous danger when we think we have it or we are it or we get elitist in any way. But to me there are some very simple things that I see here and there in different parts of the world I see believers living this out I see it here and there in America. The first thing is that people get radically saved in a biblical way so that Jesus now is the Lord and Master of their lives and they’re heartbeat their goal is not just the American dream and it’s not just a nice life and it’s not just success, if God gives that to someone that’s wonderful. But if their heartbeat is how can I glorify God. The heartbeat is “How can I make a difference in this world.” His heartbeat is “How can I reproduce what God’s given me and share it with others.” They’re part of a community of believers whether it’s 200 people or 20 or 10,000 they’re part of a community of believers that really act and live like a community. It’s not just a matter or showing up and looking at the back of somebody’s head in a service once or twice a week it’s a matter of shared lives, it’s a matter of people pouring themselves out one for another. It’s a matter of the Holy Spirit flowing through the whole Body as people are out…

Sid: But you know what some of the people that end up in this end up just isolating themselves.

Michael: Well see what happens is and I do have some warnings and concerns about that in “Revolution in the Church.” We develop the selfish spirituality “Oh I don’t like those big meetings I like meeting in someone’s living room and we just sit and we fellowship for hours and we have pot luck meals and we really got to know one another.” Okay wonderful but how are you advancing the Kingdom, how are you furthering the great commission, how are you impacting the community, how are you glorifying God in the workplace, how are you joining together with other believers in the city to make an impact? So just changing the meeting size alone doesn’t do it. I’m talking about a community where people out on their jobs, people in their homes, people in from their houses. Kids are being raised in a Godly way and there’s a holistic witness of mom and dad and kids and business people and people preaching and teaching and Jesus is being lifted up. And the gifts of Spirit are flowing and God’s setting captives free and not only so something is being raised up with a larger world vision. You know we’ve just seen this Fire Community, Fire Church, here and we are anything but perfect and we are anything but the world model. God forbid anyone thinks that I’m saying “We’ve achieved it.” But here’s what interesting as we’ve gathered people together in our Pensacola Campus and now as we’ve started a campus in New York City. We’ve gathered people with a like heart and say “Hey let’s just try to follow Jesus the way we see it in the Bible; let’s not judge anybody else let’s just go for it.” You know we now have workers that have been sent out directly from our own community in 25 nations of the world. I’m talking about young people, old people, one couple…

Sid: And most people in churches today they’re going to die just sitting in their pew never walking into ministry.

Michael: You know we have 1 couple that went to Germany to start missions work as great-grandparents. We have babies now being born to our couples in Thailand, and India and Africa all of these people just going for it. We’ve just sent out a team of 5 couples mostly with babies to the Philippines to plant a work there and establish a base. And what I’m saying you’ve just got people who love Jesus and are going for it. And yes we have an order and yes we have a certain apostolic structure if you want to call it for sending and establishing works but that’s all secondary. What I’m saying is there are no superstars it’s not just the one or two elite vessels that the job done. We’ve had a family, mom and dad, 6 kids God told them to leave Pensacola and kids spread up to about 17 and 18 years old leave Pensacola go to New York City. I want you to build a house of prayer there in conjunction with the fire work that’s established. God told them to do it they’re responsible Godly people. They packed up they didn’t even have money to move but God told them to do and part of the money the last minute their 1 hour out of New York City still don’t know where they’re going to live and God opens up a place for them because they are responsible Godly and they’ve been devoted, they’ve home schooled their kids and they’ve gone after Jesus. And here we’re watching these things unfold just with regular people going for it. If we could somehow just mobilize, if we could change our mentality and you say “Well Mike that’s going to cost people, people might be rejected, they might be hated, they might be misunderstood.” Exactly! That’s what we sign up for when we come to follow Jesus, we are His disciples we are not here to say our lives we find our lives by losing them by saying “The purpose of my life is not to advance my life and advance my career and advance my education and advance my social status; the purpose of my life is to glorify God by life or by death.” That’s what it means to be a normal disciple and it seems so radical and revolutionary for most but it’s just a New Testament faith.

Sid: But let me read a quote from your new book. “While the lack of submission to authority is a great problem in the Body today, the abuse of spiritual authority is also reaching a critical mess.” What abuse?

Michael: Well I have a whole chapter called “Rebellutionary not Revolutionary.” In other words rebellion, self-will, pride will kill any move will hinder any individual walk. In fact I urge the reader read this chapter before you read the ones about the abuse of authority. On the flipside there’s something very dangerous in the body, which is sometimes people ministering out of their own insecurity, sometimes people not understanding the authority God’s given them basically keep people captive instead of a leader equipping the flock for the flock to go out and do the work of God as God sends them and directs them; what often happens is the leader builds and personal kingdom. It can happen in a church, it can happen in a school, it can happen in an evangelistic ministry.

Sid: But that’s the way it usually is when it’s the one man show.

Michael: Right and I know many pastors that love Jesus that are what you would call one man show that’s how they learned it and it’s the pattern they understood even when they read scripture somehow that’s what they see. But when you have that you often have this authoritarian almost dictatorship kind of thing. The authority just the goal of the authority is to keep people in the safe haven of that one church. “You are safe here under us if you astray away there’s danger.” As opposed to saying God’s given us an army here how can we equip them and build them up, strengthen them in their own walk with God that when persecution broke and they all have to meet in homes and were separated they would all be strong and would all be multiplying and all be going after God. And instead of providing good teaching and shepherding that helps keep people away from error etcetera as good shepherds should with their sheep. Guide them into in the word, nourish them in the things of God, preach the standard of God, be watchman on the walls to see when satanic attack is coming etcetera. Instead of covering people in a good way because the word covering could be used wrongly also. Also what happens instead of covering there is smothering and people even though…

Sid: And even though what you’re saying is even though the motivation could be entirely honorable to protect it ends up stifling.

Michael: Oh it stifles in a terrible way Sid and not only so there’s a chapter I have called “Confronting the Pastoral Fraternity, or How to Disarm the Ministerial Labor Union.”

Sid: A talk about a hot potato.

Michael: And the thing that’s fascinated me is I’ve shown on that topic at citywide pastors meetings and different areas in America and in other countries too leaders have said “Mike I’m so glad you’ve preached.” As I’m saying it I say “Yeah, you need to say it.” Because here’s what happens when you have a labor union the goal of the labor union is not “How can we do the work for the best price for the customer.” The goal of the labor union is “How can we protect our workers and make sure that they’re adequately compensated and make sure that they are secure.” And what happens is we get into this ministerial labor union mentality in different cities and different organizations it can be denominational it has nothing to do with denomination it can be either way, but it’s basically I’ll scratch your back you scratch mine. And as…

Sid: And as politics at its stinkiest!

Michael: If God starts moving at this other guys church down the block he’s got a congregation they’ve been praying and fasting but they’re not one of us. Oh they’re saved but they’re not part of our group and God starts moving God forbid that my people go there and find out there’s more. God forbid that my people go there and find the power of God coming down because I’ve told them “It doesn’t get any better than it is right here in our church.” And instead of rejoicing and saying “Thank God God’s pouring out His Spirit let’s bless our brother, let’s go and receive what we can and let’s hold his hands up and rejoice” it becomes competition, it becomes enterprise. Well if I lose my people then I lose my influence and I lose my money. And it’s the same battle that Jesus had with the religious authorities of His day. In point of fact it locks people into this insecure system. Many pastors will say “Mike you don’t understand I’ve been burned, I’ve been betrayed I’m not going to do it again.” And I know the pain that people can go through the undercutting and the under mining of their lives but I would say that if we can develop a healthy team leadership style and follow a biblical method of raising up people that we can trust, then suddenly the work can expand, suddenly more and more people can be energized and equipped to go out and do the work. And instead of smothering people with authority we can give them a sense of being protected and covered in a good Godly way while they’re released to run their race and go for God and make a difference. And I have people that come in and say you know “We don’t…” you know they’ll ask me “Are you the Senior Pastor of Fire?” I’ll say “Well no we don’t have the senior pastor.” And they say “Well who are you?” And I’ll say “Well, I’m the team leader, we have a leadership team and I’m the leader of our team.” And they say “Well, whose your pastor.” Well we say “Well, we don’t just have one pastor this one Brother Scott is our primary pictorial leader but we have a 5 fold ministry expression that we strive for.” And it messes with people because they just want 1 person in 1 role doing 1 thing and they just sit there and say “I just go to this church and this is my pastor.” And I’m not saying it’s same or wrong if you do that necessarily but it locks us into these little things that sometimes years and years and years we’re going around the same merry-go-round we’re not changing community, we’re not changing the world.

Sid: And then there’s some that are even more controlling and manipulative and use guilt and fear to do this.

Michael: Listen there is one school that I know of…

Sid: I know but we’re out of time come on back tomorrow Mishpochah….

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