Church Shift

Church Shift

Review by Unity Ivongbe

Author: Sunday Adelaja

The ever ferocious Sunday Adelaja comes with a hit. For me, this is the best of the pack. I hardly read a book twice….but had a nudge to take another dive into this book and it was every bit a transformative experience. This book should come with a caveat, something like, ‘Warning: readers stand the chance to lose their long-held theology’. Yea, your truth will be strongly challenged as you walk through the fiery bullets captured in this piece. It is not for small minds….or dogmatic believers.
If you want to go deeper…and you are a seeker (like me), get in here. The fact is, there is more. This thing about Church and God that we have believed and have embraced over the years can really be more. Society can be grateful that God’s people are on ground, if and only if we decide to be responsible enough.
Enough of keeping our light in between the four walls of our churches – let’s take it to where it is needed. The world. And they are earnestly waiting for us.
Here is a foretaste of what to expect:
“If you want to use your faith to get a new car or more church members, fine. But I’m using my faith to subdue and change a nation.”;
And more (most of these excerpts are quoted verbatim):
• If there was any definition for ministry – then it is simply bringing one’s life and sphere of influence under kingdom rule.
• Many Christians in a variety of jobs and circumstances try to engage in individual evangelism whenever they can, but evangelism is only truly effective when you are operating in your area of gifting. Nonbelievers don’t like being imposed upon, and truthfully, no Christian likes imposing himself on others. It’s miserable for everyone involved! But when you operate in your promised land, you are able to show God-given skill and provide kingdom answers, and people receive you with open arms. You gain standing with others. That is why to be an effective sharer of the gospel you must find your habitat, your promised land, where you are naturally graceful and fruitful. There you will use your gift effectively. Be a Zionist – a full time kingdom citizen!
• The true ministry is not limited to the pulpit. And a vast majority of people are meant to serve outside the pulpit and the fivefold ministries. The engineers who attend my church are disguised evangelists, When you confine true ministry to the fivefold ministries, you make 95 percent of the church irrelevant.
• Your promised land is almost certainly not a ministry you feel you should start, but an actual place of influence in society that you can take back by the grace of God.
• Many Christians have become so religious that they are no longer passionate about what happens in the world. Because they have been locked up in the four walls of the church, their wildest desire is to become a preacher, evangelist, praise and worship leader, youth pastor, and so on. These are housekeeping ministries that need to be done excellently, but they should not be confused with the real work God has called the vast majority of believers to, which is in the world. Don’t confuse the chore you perform in God’s house for the promised land He gives you outside His house.
• Taking over your promised land is a step by step process:
“The LORD your God will drive out those nations before you, little by little. You will not be allowed to eliminate them all at once, or the wild animals will multiply around you”. -Deuteronomy 7:22
• How does God speak to us? He has given us His Word as a plumb line for each one of us. But when God wants to give you personal guidance concerning a specific matter, He will make certain parts of His Word come alive and become a source of revelation for you. God can lead you through your whole life by means of His Word, by speaking to you in dreams or through sermons, by warning you through prophecies, or advising you through other people or through books you read.
• Always remember: do only what you have seen with your spiritual eyes. If you learn to live in this way, you will rarely stumble. – John 5:30. It is the copy and paste ministry — and Jesus is our perfect model, just in the way he kept copying the father.
• Nations do not become great by the virtue of their wealth, but by the wealth of their virtues. For example, Switzerland has few natural resources compared to most countries in Africa. But it is a much healthier, wealthier, and more just and stable country than any country in Africa. Switzerland’s wealth is in its moral fabric and the value system of her people. (See Isaiah 59.) She has made much more of her comparatively meager resources than any African country has made with its great natural wealth.
• So, people leave their abilities and skills outside the door while they worship and fellowship with other believers. When they leave, they again pick up their leadership roles.
– The church has become like a prison and the pastor as the warden;
• The very word kingdom means “king’s domain.” Christ’s kingdom is made up of two things: Christ’s nature and Christ’s rule. But His nature must come first. A kingdom addiction is the only addiction we are allowed in this life. (See 1 Corinthians 16:15.)
• Matthew 6:33 tells us the only thing we should seek after is the advancement and victory of God’s kingdom and the triumph of His righteousness over the unrighteousness of the world. But many people in the church are more church minded than kingdom minded.
• A church that has an outward-looking kingdom focus simply has no bored people. Everybody is busy in the proper direction. Everybody is fulfilling their purpose and subduing their promised land. Nobody has time for internal squabbles or unimportant questions. They see clearly. Their focus is on the earth, not on the church. There are no power struggles because the church is no longer the prize.
• As kingdom people we are not free moral agents anymore. We are on duty to transform the earth for the Lord. ….we are on an assignment;
• Egocentrism kills leadership because it shrinks their ambitions to the size of their own desires. It kills people in the pews by drawing their attention away from kingdom work and toward themselves.
• Only good can overcome evil – and this is one of the most important laws on Earth. Paul wrote, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Rom. 12:21).
….light must not cower in fear from darkness. If we do not take responsibility to overcome evil with good, evil will by default over run every one of us. It is the way it is….once light is out, darkness rules.
• By far the most important aspect of work is that it allows us to exercise dominion over all of God’s creation.
• God has established work as a blessing for mankind and for His kingdom and sadly it is one if the missing elements in many Christians’ efforts.
• “Some people want to be released from hardship before they have acquired the skills God wants them to have. In my case, God knew He wanted me to minister in Ukraine, so I needed to learn the Russian language and culture. If I hadn’t come to Russia and stuck it out through the tough times, I never would have learned Russian and would not have fulfilled the destiny God had for me in Ukraine”.
– When I came to Russia, I didn’t know a word of the language. We were immersed in it for nine months and then started studying together with students who spoke it fluently. I had to take notes, listen to lectures, read, and do my homework in Russian. It was difficult. But I believed that God would help me to achieve it if I put in the necessary study. I used to spend six hours a day in the library after lectures
– The skills and language I learned during those years laid the foundation for what God asked me to do in Ukraine shortly thereafter;
• Persecution also reveals your character. It contrasts your selfish nature with the kingdom nature God wants to work into you. It then gives you opportunities to grow the character of Christ inside of you. Persecution gives us the perfect platform to overcome evil with good
• Fear of persecution has limited the church and hence the power of God to the four walls of our sanctuaries. We enjoy the comfort of it so much, we forget that Jesus left the comfort of heaven and sacrificed everything to bring His kingdom to us on Earth. Today He is asking us to go to the world and endure all the world can throw at us.
• Acc to Phil. 2:7 Jesus made himself nothing and that was the only way He could achieve His earthly mission….You can’t have a reputation to protect and same time fulfil your calling.
• If you really want to build the kingdom of God, start by serving the people who are considered the least important and least valuable around you. It is the hard truth.
• “Many people think that serving God means preaching from the pulpit. That is not my understanding of ministry…ministry is really about touching people. If you want to serve God, be like Jesus. The ordinary people, the outcast, the poor, the down and out, the drunkards all felt welcomed by God”.
• “Get rid of your tie and jacket. Go out of your pulpit. Ministry is not about putting on your suit and handing out invitations and advertisements and expecting people to come hear you at church. Who are you, especially in this society? You are expecting people to go out of their way to come listen to you. They will never do it. If you were one of them, you wouldn’t cross the street to listen to a Nigerian pastor, either. How do you expect them to do that? And you want them to let you teach them how to live right? Yes, there is prejudice in this society, but that’s not the only problem. You are part of the problem. Your understanding of church ministry is faulty.”
• “If I can’t trust you with the naked and hungry, I won’t be able to trust you with anybody – not the elite, powerful, strong, and wealthy. the down-and-outers, the outcasts, the unlovables, and the untouchables”
• “People ask me where my breakthrough in ministry started. It wasn’t in learning and absorbing the Russian culture and language, though this gave me invaluable tools. My breakthrough came when I left the pulpit and went to the streets to look for the outcasts”.
– “When we started reforming invalids, their mothers would come asking, ‘What did you do to my son? We spent everything to try to help him. We don’t care if you’re red, white, or black. You’ve given us back our son.” In one year the church grew to a thousand people, and it added a thousand people every year after that”; IMPACT!
• “Many of them would invite friends without mentioning that I was a black pastor, because people wouldn’t come if they knew in advance I was from Nigeria. In that society I was a monkey, a chocolate, even a chocolate bunny. But when people came and felt the Spirit of God, they looked past their prejudices, braved the rejection of their families, and made the kingdom their priority”.
• “To this day, serving the least of these is the primary concern of our church. It is our foundation. Is it yours? Take a moment to think, who are the “least of these” in your world? The janitors, gardeners, service people, cafeteria workers, secretaries around you? Be like Jesus, love them while they are still worth nothing – not for what they can give. Jesus surrounds us in the form of other people. If you can love people with God’s love, then you can change the world”.
• “When our church faces major challenges, I always pray that the Lord would not shorten our battle but teach us how to fight”.
• To rule our promised land…We must all become Moseses.
• There is no victory without battle. Battle is the normal state of affairs for the believer. This is a contested planet. The devil won’t just walk away from hard-earned territory. Read up on Pharoah and the children of Isreal.
• And we know that all things (including the things the devil is planning) work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. -Romans 8:28, NKJV
• Many believers wander in the wilderness instead of getting into their promised land. They are afraid of hardship and fail to put their trust in God. They know they should study, but fear or laziness overcomes them; they know they have to work hard in the ministry, but they have no desire to fight. The fruits of Canaan belong to those who fight, who put their trust in God, and who walk in obedience to Him.
• Extreme individualism does not work in the kingdom of God. You are part of your nation and are responsible for its sins or its righteousness. You are also part of your family and workplace and local body of believers. This is an inescapable part of being human. The way to be effective for the kingdom is to identify with your nation, family, employer, and local community. Take responsibility for them and use your strength and all your skills to bring kingdom principles.
• “God so loved the world – not the believer or the church” He is still trying to redeem the planet, not just to tend to the redeemed. This is His priority – and responsible sons know this;
• “I used to see myself as a pastor in Ukraine. But I have changed my job description. I am now the deliverer of a nation. I have identified myself with Ukraine. Her peace is my peace (Jer. 2). Her success is my success. Her sins are my sins. Her failures are my failures. And I will share in her salvation too as we transform our country into a model of kingdom principles”.
• How do you speak for God at work? By promoting kingdom principles wherever you can. You stand up for integrity, justice, patience, honesty, respect, and compassion. You might deliver your employer from corruption by refusing to pad expense accounts or under-report profits. Don’t tell them you are a Christian – just show Christ likeness and they will know. Be righteous…not religious.
– Every decision you make either delivers or enslaves people. There are a million ways to establish the kingdom of God one choice at a time. Every decision is founded either in righteousness or unrighteousness. Every choice can be a building block of national reformation. It is not enough to see our everyday choices as mere private decisions in our personal walk with God or our career. No, they affect everyone around us, and ultimately they shape our lives and society.
• Moses understood that one person cannot transform a nation alone. It takes an army of Moseses to restore the kingdom of God to a nation. Exo 18:25
• Kingdom leadership differs from worldly leadership. Worldly leadership is focused on the success of the leader. Kingdom leadership is others focused. Moses was not seeking his own good when he led Israel out of Egypt. Rather, he was seeking the good of the millions who followed him – this guy left the comfort of the palace of Pharaoh;
• Some Christians don’t even blink at ungodliness. They hear about ungodliness, but to them it’s just news. They don’t see it as defiling the earth God is trying to win back to Himself. No. Not Moses. He was zealous for God like Phineas. Won’t condone injustice and evil; Moses was “hot with anger” (Exod. 11:8).Don’t become like Lot (who although a believer), had gotten accustomed to the ungodliness of Sodom and Gomorrah?
• On Earth, men are God’s primary means to establish His kingdom. He does not send an angel to do a man’s work. (Isaiah 59:14-16, NKJV). God calls us “a man” only if we identify ourselves with God’s kingdom principles. God wants His people to take full responsibility for our nations. Don’t be saved & useless;
• “In five years, two million people have come to Christ at the altar of our church…and they have come to Christ because of the example of many thousands of Christians putting kingdom principles to work outside of the church. Not from traditional evangelistic outreaches”;
• The heart of our discovery is that you don’t need to promote religion or church for people to want to come to Christ. Rather, kingdom principles will draw people naturally. You don’t even have to mention anything spiritual or religious – in fact, it’s sometimes better not to. When you take God’s principles into society, they simply work. They draw attention, and people begin to inspect who you are, what motivates you, and what is the philosophy behind your work. Then they discover the kingdom within you, and they become convinced of its truth because they’ve seen it in action.
– To get our message into secular venues like public schools, hospitals, and government institutions we decided to present it in a way to emphasize the principles, not the God behind the principles (Ps. 138:2). Principles unite, but religiosity divides!
• “I often ask for a show of hands during our church services from people who are concerned or knowledgeable about different problems facing our country. People raise their hands, and I ask them to form a committee on the spot. They meet later, write a program, and put it to work. If it’s a program to help the jobless, they go to where the jobless are. If it’s to help high school students, they go to the high schools. They take the knowledge they have from experience or training and combine it with knowledge of kingdom principles to come up with dynamic solutions. Then they try out the program or presentation in a limited venue to give it a trial run. The success of that trial run becomes a source of boldness to present it to the whole nation”.
• “Our members have now started three thousand nongovernment organizations! People in our church have written programs to address smoking, teenage pregnancy, drinking, and much more. Each program helps people to be restored to normal society. Such organizations give God room to move in the society without giving the government opportunity to clamp down on the church. The government cannot speak against what we are doing because the programs are secular in their approach, though they are in fact based solidly on kingdom principles…..emphasizing principles, not spirituality”.
– better to emphasize the integrity of God’s kingdom principles and patterns rather than the spirituality of your particular Christian experience.
• “Our people have also moved into the political realm because they know that legislation sets the tone and standard for a nation. People from our church lobby the parliament more than any single church. They promote laws against things like public advertisements of pornography, smoking, and drinking”.
• Many people lock their attention onto the big vision and forget that a big vision only comes to pass through faithfulness with small things. They neglect organization for the thrill of brainstorming and vision casting. Be like Jesus (-John 6:10-14);
• When God wanted to feed the people, He told them to sit down in an orderly way. Without structure, management, and organization, no miracle will bear lasting fruit. Not even the miracle of church growth.
• Proverbs 13:23: “Much food is in the tillage of the poor: but there is that is destroyed for want of judgment” (KJV). Poor people are poor from poor management;
• “So in Ukraine, all our teaching and training in church are directed at helping every believer to identify and adopt a particular area of influence according to his or her passion until that sphere of life is totally permeated with the principles of the kingdom of God”.
• “I have disciplined myself at times to spend weeks in prayer, interrupted only by sleep. Those times have changed my life. They are spent absorbing His presence, His glory, and His strength. I have never prayed for the sake of praying. I have prayed because I want to be with God, to get to know Him, and then to radiate His glory. To me, this is the point of my life”.
– The revelations you receive in prayer will unveil the prototype or picture of what you should do next. If you put these revelations into action according to His model, you will walk a well-trodden pathway and not just go around in circles.
– The things you build in the here and now will have already been built in heaven (Mt. 6), and you will simply be establishing them. You are sipmy taking a peep;
– I can say without exception that every major decision or advance in my life has come following sustained times of prayer.
– “This tradition of relying on fasting and prayer FOR THE NATION went back to 1997 when we began holding two yearly fasts, plus monthly three-day fasts, during which we interceded for our country”.
– Prayer doesn’t do anything by itself. “No matter how much you pray, it’s not in my hands,” God spoke to my heart. “The solution is in your hands. I have given you the opportunity. The people of the world don’t understand prayer. They understand the language of force. Prayer is for me, and this is not my situation. It is within your scope of influence to change it. You are on the earth; you have the people and the power. Use your power. Prayer only sends God ahead and before you.
– countries don’t develop by prayer but by prayer paired with actions
– Praying and interceding are critical, but they are only half of the equation. Why is God silent in your life? Perhaps because He is waiting for you to act!
– Many church-minded Christians are timid and passive but think they’re being humble. They devote themselves to prayer, but they are really just avoiding the battle.(Prayer has become a means of escape);
– “I’m convinced that 75 percent of our prayers are a waste of time. Either we are praying for something God has already said yes to, or we are praying for something He told us to do. We are waiting on God while He is waiting on us”!
– One of my most important duties as a pastor is to just get people to “go”!
– You must be faithful with what’s within your capabilities before you can expect a miracle (Don’t expect God to His part before you add your part).
• “The problem is not that you haven’t got any fat offerings. Rather, start being careful with every cent you have. Check your petty expenditure account and keep it under control.” I became much stricter and more meticulous about how we spent our church money. That lesson prepared us for greater effectiveness.”
• The kingdom belongs to doers, not hearers. You can hear God speak all you want, but if you don’t do anything, the kingdom does not rightly belong to you. The developing world is a great example of this. In many third world countries Christians have succeeded in getting people saved and into church. There, people dance and worship and pray before God, but those same countries lack kingdom principles in the government, businesses, and social structure of the nation. Some countries are full of faithful believers living in poverty.
– On the other hand, some nonbelieving countries are wealthy, well organized, and just, but no longer acknowledge the Lord. (they have forgotten God);
• True humility goes where God leads, regardless of the consequences. His will is our command, no matter if it brings us life or death. Be like Jesus with zero reputation.
• “What is happening in Ukraine is God-inspired, but it need not be unique. God has ordained similar revolutions for each nation and each individual. The Lord wants every person to find a promised land and learn to rule it by kingdom principles. The world is waiting desperately for us to do so”.
• “If our church were only solving internal church disputes and concentrating on personal growth, nobody would have cared about me. But because we have stepped into the kingdom role God has called us to….”
– Believers, by and large, are so buried in their churches that they are invisible to the rest of the world. We disengage from the world and still claim to be doing kingdom work.
• Most of us are like the Levite and the priest in the story of the Good Samaritan. Both passed by the dying man. Both apparently were too caught up in their religious worlds to help.
• The world is waiting for you to find your promised land and deliver people from the kingdom of darkness. We are all wanted!
• “I have heard Christians say they cannot preach salvation to some people because they don’t have problems. This is never true. Everyone who does not know Christ, no matter his position in society or his achievements, is suffering from futility (all of their attempt to procure happiness and peace from things ends in vain – vanity upon vanity). Everyone living without God is in torment. People are waiting for you and me to unlock their chains. They want deliverance from suffering more than they want anything else. Only we, whom God calls kings and judges of the earth, can deliver people from darkness. The key to their salvation is in our hands”.
• People do not need or care about Sunday Adelaja or Unity Ivongbe, just as they do not need or care about you. Rather, they need the God you carry. God wants to use us so that His glory might fill the earth.
• For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and
labors with birth pangs together until now. -Romans 8:19-22, NKJV
That’s it!
Before you schedule your own reading of the whole text, if you like, you can eat up, some of the nuggets I captured above.
Hope your mind has being stretched. Go for the best in God!
I wish you well.

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