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Where Is LWCC Going?

I would like to take this opportunity to share with you the "Vision" God has given for this church.  In doing so, however, let me stress that any vision is progressive and any vision takes time to develop.  There is a place to which I believe we are heading, and this is what I will be sharing.  In the weeks and months to come we will be praying concerning the steps we must take to eventually come to that place, and it is important to realize that God is in no hurry.  We must cultivate an attitude that will allow us to be happy and faithful where we are, as well as being aware that we are growing towards something greater.

One of the most important aspects of our local vision is the commission to the church universal.  In short, why did Jesus establish the Church to begin with?  Any local vision that is not in tune with this primary directive from the Lord Himself is not valid. That commission can be found in Mark 16:14-18, Acts 1:8 and Matt. 28:18-20.  It is twofold in nature, the first part directed to the world and the second to the body of Christ.  Our responsibility to the world is to preach the Gospel.  The Gospel is the Good News that Jesus paid the price for our sin, providing a means for us to walk in a relationship with the Father God.  In approaching the church, we are admonished to make disciples and to teach those disciples to observe all of the commandments of Jesus.  A disciple is a disciplined follower of the Lord or one who can walk in the fullness of Christian privilege and character.  Above all else, this is our vision.

The word church comes from the Greek word EKKLESIA that refers to any group called out from the general populace for a specific purpose.  The church universal is that group called out of the world unto the Name of Jesus.  In any locality within this general EKKLESIA of the Body of Christ, various smaller divisions or churches are set apart by the Lord to do different aspects of the work of the universal Church in their area.  With this in mind, our "vision" is how to accomplish that part of the great commission that Jesus has entrusted to us.

When you determine your membership in any local church, you are determining first whether you are part of the team or EKKLESIA that God has called to do that work.  Secondarily you must determine if that EKKLESIA or church is equipped to provide you with the necessary training from the Word of God to accomplish discipleship in your life.  If, as far as you can discern, a church does not fill both areas it is probably not where you belong.

 


LWCC as a Channel of Life

What, then, is the vision of the EKKLESIA called Living Word Christian Center? Just as the great commission is twofold, so is our "vision". First and foremost, I believe that a church exists to be a vehicle for the preaching of the Gospel to the world around it. In order to most effectively and efficiently accomplish this call, the local church must become a channel for the spiritual, physical and financial resources of its people. In every individual, there are spiritual gifts and physical talents that God desires to use to reach our world for Jesus.

All of us have a certain amount of finances that we can give for the work of the Lord. LWCC exists to put to work the principle of agreement in all of these areas. The word says that one can put a thousand to flight but two can put ten thousand to flight. Separated, our money and talents may be able to accomplish a certain amount for the kingdom. If we join them together, we multiply that effectiveness many times.
One of our goals for this church is to become a channel, never hindering the creativity and uniqueness of an individual, but allowing him or her to become and express all that he or she can be. The Lord has shown me three phases in the accomplishment of this goal. These phases will be put to work in each individual who becomes a part of it.

These three phases are:

DISCOVERY In order to channel an individual we must first discover what their talents and ministries are. Our first step must be to get to know the people God has brought to us and find out what each is called to do. Since all of us are continually in a state of growth, DISCOVERY will be a lifelong process

PREPARATION Once the church leadership and the individual know what their calling is for that time in their life, they must be prepared to fulfill it. Each person comes at a different degree of preparedness, and LWCC will endeavor to be a place where preparation for any type of work or ministry at any level will be locally available. This is up to and including five fold ministry training for future work in other localities.

DIRECTION Once we have discovered the abilities and prepared the individual we must direct that person to a place where they can utilize what God has given. This involves providing programs and helping people develop ways in which they can be what God has called them to be. This also involves providing the leadership necessary to coordinate all of the varied gifts into an effective front in the community.
LWCC will ultimately be multifaceted enough to accommodate any number of divers "people gifts" and will be committed to cultivating new ideas provided by our church family. In addition, we have contacts in other ministries that will enable us to place people having callings that may be outside our locality with others of like calling. One such example would be missions. There are many places we will be able to send people to gain experience in this area as well as supporting them for permanent missionary service.


LWCC as a Discipleship Center

The second part of our vision is the desire to produce strong believers in every area of Bible revelation. The idea of discipleship is people sharing their lives with people in order to help them grow in the Lord. The goal is that they truly function in the reality of Christianity. The Lord has called Living Word Christian Center to accomplish this in your life.

One of the main offices that I function in is the office of teacher. As a teacher, there is nothing I cherish more than the transmission of the life in the Word of God to an individual. LWCC will always remain committed to providing you with the best teaching available to help you live as a successful person and a light for Jesus in your community. We believe in all kinds of ministry to meet the needs of people, such as counseling and the laying on of hands, but the only way for you to walk in Christian maturity is to build the Bible into your life. Jesus was the Word made flesh. Our goal is that the Word will become flesh in your lives as well, and this will be the primary motivation in every aspect of our church ministry.

This teaching and training will be in three major areas:

THE UNCOMPROMISED WORD OF GOD Our first line of teaching will be the basic and fundamental truths of the Bible. These truths are the most important things any person can learn because they are the foundation upon which we build our whole life. These things include faith, righteousness, redemption, holiness and love. We will teach them in an uncompromising manner that says the Word is absolutely true and the final authority in your life. If you are grounded in these areas, you will be a successful Christian.

HOW TO TRAINING The second line of teaching will be training on how to walk in various areas of life. These teachings will be of a more practical nature and will include instruction in marriage and child rearing, healing, witnessing and financial planning.

PERSONAL ENCOURAGEMENT AND INSTRUCTION At some time in each of our lives we need a personal word of encouragement or council in order to help us understand why we do not seem able to "do the Word". LWCC will endeavor to provide hands on attention whenever needed. This will be in the form of personalized teaching on how to apply the word in the area of need. Secondarily it will be ministry to whatever area of the person, spirit, soul or body that is hindering him from being successful in receiving the freedom promised in the Word.

 


Regional Church -- Local Ministry

The final area I would like to address is the fact that God has always shown me "church" in a regional instead of community setting. I am not a proponent of the “mega-church” model for local church.  Some believe that is the best way to build a powerful church and that is fine, but I do not believe a church in the thousands is the best way to fulfill the great commission.

With that said, we must realize that it takes a certain number of people working together to have a major impact on a local area.  The larger the population base we have to draw from, the easier it is to gather that number of people together in one "team".  I am convinced that there is a way to accomplish this, remaining a true local church where the individual is not “lost in the shuffle. 

We must understand that it is not just large numbers we desire, but it is impact that we need in these last days.  The community hardly notices a church that grows to one or two hundred people, but just imagines one of a five hundred or more.  A church of that size changes the spiritual atmosphere of an area.

There is an obvious second benefit to a large church, and that is the resources available for preaching the Gospel.  On the surface, the most obvious things would be finances and people. Certainly, this is a factor.  The larger the group of people, the more financial resources are available to accomplish what God calls us to do.  The less obvious and more important factor is the amount of spiritual resources made available. That many people in agreement through prayer and faith about anything will see their goals accomplished!

Of course, the major problem with such a work is the tendency to lose the sense of family by causing the individual to become "just a number".  I want to assure you that if I had to choose between a large church and a place where the individual is known, loved and important I will choose the latter.  I do not believe that such a choice is necessary.  The answer to this question is to have church within the church.
LWCC has established home cell groups, called New Life Groups, in every area from which people come.  These groups are responsible for praying for their area as well as providing personal care to the members of the church from their community.  They are also a prime place for evangelism as people may be much more likely to come to a home for some fellowship than to come to a church.  There is someone responsible and in touch with leadership for every 15 to 20 people.

An important focus of the New Life Groups is what we call “net fishing teams.”  Through the leading of the Spirit of God, they target unsaved and un-churched people with prayer, fasting and relationship evangelism loving them into the body of Christ.  Once people are born again, the process of “discovery” and “preparation” will begin right in the local cell.  In this way, we will not only see the harvest come in but we will not lose it as so many have been in the past.

We also anticipate local activities and meetings as the spirit leads.  I can see LWCC sponsoring outreach meetings in each city and town.  Since they will have the support of the whole church, we will not have the pressure of having to obtain enough money to pay for these meetings.  We will be able to preach the Gospel in every area for which we must give account

This approach provides each of us with the ability to participate in something that is larger than our small group without losing the joy of being part of a church family or giving up on ministry to the community in which we live.  I believe that as we follow the Lord closely, we will have the best of both worlds.

The last phase of developing a regional church will be the planting of “daughter churches” in some of the areas that are farther from the main campus.  These daughter churches will be a part of the Living Word family.  We will continue to work together in relationship to accomplish the elements of the local vision set forth here.  We will maintain an accountability structure for the pastors and leaders of these churches.  We will gather them together for conferences and continual training.  We will periodically gather the members of all the churches we plant in one place so we may encourage one another in the plan God has called us to carry out together.

This is a great vision and it will take much prayer and dedication to accomplish, but I believe that it is all attainable if we will be faithful in small things.  It must be the Lord who builds the house and, as we have already stated, He is in no hurry.  We will use this vision statement to help keep us on track and flowing towards the goal.  We must not allow anything to put pressure on us to try to make the vision happen.  God will do it one day and one person at a time.  When Jesus comes it is not important that he find us having completed this course, but that we be where we should be at the time He comes.  As long as we are following His lead and allowing growth to come naturally, we will do just that!

Foundation Principles of LWCC

The Absolute Authority of the Word of God

There is no more important element in the life of a Christian than his relationship with the word of God.  Ps. 138:2 says, “You have magnified Your word above all Your name.”  The Word of God is stability to a Christian.  It never changes.  It provides the boundaries within which God has made available fullness of life.  It defines morality and character for us.  It is, in principle, the sum total of all that God desires to say to us.  It is how he thinks on any subject.  It is the primary gage for whether a thing is of God or not.  If a revelation, experience or any other spiritual thing in any way disagrees with or contradicts the Word of God it must be immediately discarded and considered false. 
(Gal 1:8 NKJV)  But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.

Secondarily it contains the very life of God.  Hebrews 4:12 says that the Word of God is a powerful living thing.  When we feed on the Word we are strengthened in our spirit.  When we build the Word into our lives we can be transformed by the renewing or our minds (Rom. 12:2.)  The power in the Word can bring healing, deliverance and meet any other need of life.  We are Living Word Christian Center!

 

The Need for Divine Order

The primary issue in the Garden of Eden concerning the fall of man was authority.  Who would be in charge of Eve’s life?  Satan told her that God was keeping something from her.  The way for her to have what God did not want her to have was to take authority over her own life.  (Gen. 3:1-7).  She took charge and came out from under the

covering of both The Lord and her husband.  She rebelled against Divine Order.  In so doing she did not end up her own “boss” in charge of her own life.  By rebelling against God’s established order she came under a new lord named Satan.  Rebellion against divine order always produces slavery to Satan, never freedom or self rule.

In Romans 6:16 Paul points out that you are a slave to whatever you present your members to serve.  You can choose whom you will serve, but you will serve.  Either sin to death or righteousness, God’s divine order, to life.  You do not have the choice to serve self only.  It just does not work that way. 

In Romans 13:1 Paul shows us how to maintain our submission to God. 

(Rom 13:1 NKJV)  Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.

God has instituted various areas of authority over our lives.  By staying in submission to those authorities we stay in submission to God.  By staying in submission to God we keep ourselves from judgment.  (Verse 2).  These areas of authority include civil authority, family authority and spiritual authority.  All of these areas of authority exist, not so that someone else can control us, but so that we have clear-cut guidelines to help us stay away from rebellion against God. 

In the church, our submission to the authorities God establishes over us enables us to work together in harmony so that we can build the kingdom of God.  There are some important truths to remember about divinely delegated authority.

  • Divine authority must be submitted to and can never be “lorded over others.”  I Peter 1:2-4.
  • The Word of God is the source of all authority.  He who has the Word on the matter has the authority.  If the leader is wrong where the Word is concerned the leader must submit to the written Word of God.
  • God is the only authority to which absolute submission is required.  Submission and rebellion are attitudes of the heart.  One can submit in heart and not obey.  Conversely it is possible to rebel in the heart and obey in our actions.
  • Delegated authority does not extend into the personal life of an individual except as it pertains to declaring the principles of the Word of God to the individual.  (Delegated authority has no say into what car you buy etc.)
  • Delegated authority does not take the place of our conscience.  If we deeply feel there is something asked for by the delegated authority that we cannot do, we should let the authority know and obey our conscience.
  • Delegated authority exists so that we can work and grow together on the earth.  It’s purpose is to provide avenues for everyone to fulfill their destiny in harmony thereby building the Kingdom of God.  It has nothing to do with one person being better than another.  God is no respecter of persons. (Romans 2:11)  We are all the same in Christ Jesus.  (Gal. 3:28)

 

The Importance of the Individual

Great things are accomplished in the Kingdom of God by people, not by using people.  When we established LWCC we came from a stream of ministry that emphasized “excellence”.  I believe in excellence, however I believe that people are more important than things.  In the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10), Jesus shows us that individuals are more important than anything else to God.  The Samaritan took time and spent his own money to care for the injured Jewish man.  We must be willing to invest our lives in individuals if we are to truly fulfill the commission of God to build his kingdom in the earth.  If we build a great church organization where individual people are “lost in the shuffle” so to speak, we have not fulfilled our commission.  Some ways we are building individuals instead of a ministry are listed below.

  • Cultivate an atmosphere of family through fellowship and relationship
  • Encourage people in their gifts and callings so they can fulfill their destiny thereby enabling the church to fulfill its destiny.
  • Bring healing to those within the church which will enable them to bring healing to the world.

 

Developing a True and Practical Spirituality

I have been criticized at times because some think I do not like “spiritual” people.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  I believe and teach that man is primarily a spirit and that to be successful as a Christian we must learn to walk in the spirit.  To me this means to walk with our inner man, our spirit, in control of our actions, attitudes and thoughts. 

What I do have a problem with are people who put on a show of spirituality that has no practical impact on their lives or the people around them.  To me being spiritual does not mean being “otherworldly” or walking around in a semi-dazed condition hearing voices etc.  It means walking in integrity and following the Word of God in my life.  It means knowing that God is present and, in very practical ways, experiencing His gentle hand of leadership in my everyday life.  If I am truly spiritual I do not have to act spiritual.  I do not have to advertise.  My spirituality will be evident in my lifestyle and my affect on the people around me. 

There has never been a more spiritual person than Jesus, and yet He attracted children.  They just came to Him naturally.  His disciples tried to push them away because they thought Jesus was too spiritual to be bothered by such mundane a thing as blessing children.  Jesus rebuked them.  He said let the children come to me.  Let them come like children everywhere come to someone with whom they are comfortable.  They came laughing and playing and enjoying the presence of this friendly and gentle man.  I believe that is the kind of spirituality we want to cultivate at LWCC. 

James 1:26-27 tells us what is true religion or spirituality. 

(James 1:26-27 NKJV)  If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one's religion is useless. {27} Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.

This is a good summation of what I have already stated.  True religion, outward spirituality, is to meet the needs of those around us and to keep our lives pure before God.  If we at LWCC can do this, I believe we are a spiritual church.

 

To Grow in Influence in the Community

Acts 2:46-47 NKJV)  So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, {47} praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.

What a powerful statement this is.  I believe that is the will of God for every church.  To grow in favor both with God and with man.  I believe God desires that the local church influence the community where it is planted.  How can we grow in influence? 

I believe it is important for the local church to maintain an outward focus.  We must recognize that we are not just here to develop our own Christianity, but also to meet the needs of those around us.  We must make a conscious commitment, corporately and individually that we will pray for and seek out the harvest.  A church that is growing in influence is a church that:

  • Is winning people to a saving knowledge of Jesus. 
  • Seeing those who have been won grow in maturity toward God.
  • Is able to impact the community around them by meeting both the natural and spiritual needs of that community.

 


Rev. William J. Kiefer

 

P.O. Box 128 Greene NY, 13778 e: LivingWordGreene@AOL.com t: (607)656-7878facebooktwitterflickr