There are ebbs and flows in the ministry. Seasons of growth and reduction come and go. As this occurs those involved in the shared ministry look to leaders to make sense of what is happening. What did we do well, and what are our weak points, become the analytical topics of leaders. How do we maximize ministry “market surges”, and minimize ministry “downturns”. As ministry leaders grapple with decision making, congregants or ministry participants await the next instructions for their efforts in the ministry. The congregants are then tasked with providing “buy in” on the latest program or effort put forth by leaders. This is the typical process for most gatherings of believers be it church, mission, home group or para-church ministry.
There are dual understandings of ministry leadership which is related to two words, church and ecclesia. Church is a very clear title for Christian gatherings and is used in most names of incorporated assemblies of believers throughout the world. The word church identifies with the historical structure and management of worship and authority in ordination of approved persons for ministry leadership. Ecclesia on the other hand is the Greek word used in the New Testament writings that has been translated “church”, rather than it’s true meaning. Ecclesia is the periodic assembly of Greek citizens for conducting business and considering actions to be taken. The Ecclesia then is the gathering together of believers to first hear, then consider and then corporately formulate a response through leaders.
The most common form of leadership structure in churches is top down flow of activity. This style requires trust in the leader’(s) ability to hear from and follow after the leading of the Lord. The response then of the people is deemed their ability to follow or their faithfulness to leadership.
Now to the topic, Time for a Convocation. A convocation is a large or full gathering of people for a special purpose or important activity. Malachi 3:16 says: “They that feared the Lord spoke to one another and the Lord hearkened and wrote it in a book of remembrance.” The Father pays attention to those who seek and discuss what he is doing and saying.
At Abundant Life Church, here in Georgetown, we are currently holding a convocation. Each day there are gatherings at 9, 1, and 6 o’clock to sit, listen, hear and record whatever the participants receive from the Holy Spirit. Every believer is welcome and each can hear from the Lord. At the close of each session time is taken to hear from each one and write down the thoughts, impressions, words, pictures, visions and prophetic thoughts. Some of what is shared is profound and some will be quickly forgotten and useless in future application.
From these thoughts themes emerge as to what the Spirit is saying to the Ecclesia not just the leaders. After the time of convocation, the leaders will give an overall report on the significant things shared in the sessions. These things will be an assist to leadership in decision making as to future efforts of the ministry.
The benefits of convocation include:
1. Corporate participation in “hearing” from the Holy Spirit. We want people to hear properly form the Holy Spirit but seldom have a “safe” vehicle for that training.
2. Corporate buy in to advancing efforts in the ministry.
3. Development of potential leaders as we see who can hear and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in ministry.
4. Shared hearing along with leaders allows developing members to be included in the dialogue of leadership in a safe format.
Convocation is for hearing and collecting what is being heard and felt. Direction still comes from delegated gifted leaders. Take your people with you in seeking the Lord and watch them come alive with anticipation.