You don’t have to go far in the Christian World these days without hearing a groundswell of discontent amongst the members of the Body of Christ.
There are issues relating to the marginalization of individual believers, who have simply become ‘numbers’ in a crowd of onlookers. They are being ‘prepared for the work of the ministry’ according to their leaders but in fact are simply being conditioned for the ‘ministry of financial giving’ much like worker ants in an ant colony.
Other issues relate to the strangulation of the ministry and gifts of the Holy Spirit in churches that carry names and statements of belief which are indicate that they ‘charismatic or Pentecostal’
The total lack of biblical teaching, being replaced with ‘bible clips’ to accentuate a message of ‘positive thinking’, and totally missing the great doctrines of the faith, is another cause for concern.
In other places leaders live in a Hollywood style, divorced from any real connections with their people and legitimize their lifestyle, by reminding that “the laborer is worthy of his hire”
Others cry out “how can we spend money on extravagant buildings and decorations when our own brothers and sisters in other lands are dying of starvation?”
To many of us who have been believers for a long time these are all issues we have seen and encountered before, and we know that there is much truth in many of these things.
But is there a ‘Divine Discontent’? Something that is God initiated, at work in the church today?
I have had the privilege of living through some distinct clear moves of the Holy Spirit which have radically changed the expression and vision of the church in my life time.
I feel we are on the doorstep of another of those changes in the Body of Christ today!
All the things I mentioned earlier are good reasons for people seeking to find a closer biblical expression of the New Testament Church, but there is something beyond this that God is doing.
As I look around I see settled mature believers , sensing that God is calling them to radical change in their lives. For some it is a matter of simplifying their life style and making themselves more available to God for the remainder of their lives. This means many are standing aside from their roles in Local churches and filtering out, often without actually knowing where they are going. This can be a challenge to their own long held principles!
Others are just as settled but sensing in their mature years a need to invest themselves in other nations and become more sacrificial in their ministry to the lost, and they are quietly moving out into places where they can be sent into the fields of the world.
Still others are Bible teachers, pastors, elders, and members of local churches who are saying no to some things! They are saying no to bringing up their families in an atmosphere where the Holy Spirit is not honored and received. They are saying no, to being a part of churches that don’t preach ‘the whole counsel of God’ but use the Bible to build a ‘positive thinking’ view of Christianity that excludes God ever judging anything or anyone. These too are becoming ‘drop outs’.
In the midst of this Christians are questioning why their churches talk about ‘social action’ and never actually do it.
Young couples are asking if it might be better to invest themselves in planting relevant churches in places where the Gospel is needed badly, and rather than have a ‘well organized church life’ opt to be a little uncomfortable, and have to actually teach their own kids about the reality of being a Christian.
This kind of ‘divine’ discontent has people returning to simple Christianity, investing in discipling new believers, meeting in unusual places and at unconventional times in pursuit of a real sense of community. This article is not endorsement of any particular current movement , but rather observation from one who has been around for a long time.
This discontent will turn out to be life giving since it is the forerunner of something new that the Lord is birthing in the earth, we can either ignore it or ask the question “what shall this man do?”