“Nor do people put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins will break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine in new wineskins, and both are preserved.” (Matthew 9:17).
I want to suggest to you that we are on the edge of a third reformation. A reformation is different than a revival. A revival involves saving or reviving people’s spirits back towards God. A reformation involves revival plus much more. A reformation reforms the institutions around us including the Church, government, and other parts of society.
The first reformation occurred in the 16th century kicked off by Martin Luther nailing the 95 theses on the door of the Wittenberg Chapel in Germany. It is called the Protestant reformation. It caused massive changes in the Church, realignment in governments and plunged Western Europe into a 30 year war. This reformation centered around the theology of the Bible. It was a reformation of scripture.
The second great reformation occurred in the 18th century and centered around the Methodist movement founded by John Wesley. It moved people forward from getting their theology right to getting to know God intimately. It was also a great time of emphasizing holiness before God. It was a reformation of spirituality.
I believe a third reformation is upon us. I believe this is a reformation of structure. A reformation of how we do church, how church itself expresses itself in the earth. Martin Luther in the first reformation set the seeds that radically changed our theology but for the most part the expression of the church in the earth stayed the same. There were a few changes like mass, confession to a priest, etc. but it generally looked outwardly the same as the Catholic Church.
The first reformation brought us a reform in theology yet failed to affect the major practices of the church. This new reformation however will be a complete overhaul and upheaval of how we have been “doing” church for the past seventeen hundred years.
I believe it will totally define what the church looks like, how it gathers, how it scatters in the world, how it’s leadership looks and leads. It will be the most radical transformation of how we have done church for over 1700 years. We needed the first two reformations of scripture and spirituality to achieve the change in structure because the new church structure will be an outgrowth of what is inside of us and not formed by external structures.
What will it look like? We only have glimpses of it now. The new structure in church will be dynamic, organic, fresh, constantly looking different and will permeate all of society. No longer will the church be contained within the 4 walls of a building. This is a concept that in the future will be seen as old and brittle, lacking very little life. I am not talking about a new paint job on the same old structure but a new structure.
As we walk by the Spirit we will have a great time seeing what new structure Jesus is building.
I know this, be flexible and expectant!