In recent months, I have met believers who have been struggling because they felt more comfortable outside the four walls of a traditional Church than inside. When these wanderers are discovered, some fellow believers have been quick to speak words of condemnation, judgment, and fear as their first response without understanding that something larger maybe taking place.
Yes, some of the reasons given for stepping outside a local expression of the Church can be for unhealthy reasons, but it is not always that simple. God is actually repositioning some of His people for the reformation that is currently unfolding in our culture. Some of this repositioning required the removal of people from forms of fellowship that are too inwardly focused and blinded to the reality of the Gospel of the Kingdom.
This will be challenging if you are one of those called out. This strange and unfamiliar assignment requires that you monitor the condition of your heart while this temporary disconnect takes place. You were not meant to run solo, neither were you meant to stay locked up behind the walls of a static expression of the Church. Do not let bitterness or resentment find a place in your heart. You are in as much need of personal healing as those who still lead the ministry you left.
Some of you have been sent out to discover your place of reformation assignment on one of the seven mountains of cultural transformation – Government, Religion, Education, Economy, Arts/Entertainment, Media, and Family. You cannot have your intended Kingdom impact unless you are connected to a model of ministry that honors and employs the five equipping gifts Paul listed in Ephesians 4 – Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor, and Teacher. These gifts will help you discover the sound of your voice that has an assignment to be uniquely expressed on your mountain of influence. You need these five gifts in your life to mature and equip you for maximum impact. To return to the same pastor-driven model of ministry will only lead you back to the point of your original frustration.
In this season it may seem like you are living in exile from what was known and predictable. If you are healthy spiritually there still remains within you a hunger for fellowship - a fellowship with a mission. In a place of extended exile, you can create another form of ministry that will have the same lack of reforming effect as the one you left. An ingrown small group is no different than an ingrown ministry of thousands with buildings, programs, and a TV ministry.
In this time of exile ask God to help you discover your place of Kingdom assignment on one of the seven mountains. Once you make that discovery you will need to re-engage the Church. You have been given freedom to explore what is out there beyond the horizon of the status quo. This freedom was for the purpose of a temporary journey of exploration, not to keep you forever wandering throughout culture without a spiritual home.