Since 1980, I began serving God in leadership. I have observed severe gaps in the church in at least seven major areas
If not corrected, the critical gaps in these areas will significantly limit the ability of the church to fulfill the Great Commission and our preparation for the bodily return of Jesus.
1. The gap between church-place and workplace leaders.
Since only about 2% of the typical church members will ever go into full-time church ministry, discipleship should focus more on bringing the gospel to the workplace than preparing people for the church-place. Furthermore, workplace believers need to view themselves as ministers of the gospel, just like church-place leaders are viewed. The primary purpose of the church-place should be to equip the saints for the workplace. Without this necessary shift, the church will have more influence on Sunday than Monday, and our society will continue to decline.
2. The gap between younger and older leaders.
There is a significant gap between baby boomers, millennials and Generation Z. Although they speak the same language, their words have different connotations when communicating. Much dialogue and new partnerships are necessary between these three groups if the baton is going to be successfully passed to the emerging leaders of the church. It would be a shame if the younger generation misses out on gleaning wisdom and life experience from older leaders, and equally unfortunate if older leaders refuse to learn and adapt to a multi-generational approach to ministry from younger leaders.
3. The gap between different ethnic leaders.
Sunday morning is perhaps the most segregated two hours of the week in the body of Christ due to significant ethnic and racial views and differences fostered in society. This gap seems to have widened during the past several administrations in the U.S., with ethnic relations declining further. Churches and ministries must intentionally build genuine relationships with ethnic groups not fairly represented in their congregation.
4. The gap between the Word and the Spirit.
Often, church gatherings either lack theological substance or focus too much on the Holy Spirit without a strong scriptural foundation. Jesus told us to worship the Father in spirit and truth and criticized the Pharisees for not knowing the Scriptures or the power of God. If the church will be effective in reaching the world, it must follow the example of the early church in Acts, which had a solid understanding of the Scriptures while moving in the demonstration of the power of Jesus.
5. The gap between male and female leadership.
The conservative evangelical church has often overlooked the important role women have in extending the influence of the kingdom of God. Throughout both Testaments of the Bible, women have played significant leadership roles and influenced their families, the nation of Israel and the church. Unless the broader body of Christ recognizes and embraces the role of women in various aspects of leadership, we will continue to under-utilize the majority of Christ’s followers in our churches.
6. The gap between revival and reformation.
There seems to be a disconnect between those who promote prayer and fasting for revival and those who engage in Christian activism to address political, policy and cultural issues. However, the Bible illustrates the need for people to be involved in prayer and policy. For example, in the book of Esther, prayer and fasting were coupled with appealing to the king to change the law, thereby saving the Jewish people. Sometimes, prayer and repentance pave the way for political activism.
7. The gap between serving God with the heart and the mind.
The Lord Jesus instructed His followers to love God with all their heart, mind and soul, which is the first and foremost commandment of the law. In the charismatic and evangelical church, the church has often focused more on connecting with the emotions of Christians and neglected the importance of engaging the mind. This has led to a dualistic approach to applying the teachings of the Bible to life. The church has primarily focused on spiritual matters while disregarding other aspects of the created order, such as politics, economics, education and the sciences. However, when Jesus proclaimed Himself as the truth, He meant that in Him resides all truth, not just spiritual or biblical truth.
Indeed, in Christ, all things in the universe hold together, encompassing every aspect of life (Col. 1:17, Heb. 1:3). Until followers of Christ embrace the fact that the Word of God provides a comprehensive worldview applicable to all aspects of life on earth, we will fall short in effectively attracting and equipping the next generation of world-changers. Instead of leading the way in shaping cultural values, the church often finds itself merely reacting to culture, attempting to be relevant and accommodating rather than actively transforming culture.
In conclusion, the Bridge Summit 2023 will bring together influential leaders from various sectors of society who will share life-changing principles. This gathering will create a symphonic experience where many voices will be heard, allowing us to discern the message the Holy Spirit conveys to the church. Click here to learn more about the Bridge Summit and register for the event on June 15.
Dr. Joseph Mattera is an internationally known author, consultant and theologian whose mission is to influence leaders who influence culture. He is the founding pastor of Resurrection Church and leads several organizations, including the U.S. Coalition of Apostolic Leaders and Christ Covenant Coalition. Dr. Mattera is the author of 13 bestselling books, including his latest, “The Purpose, Power and Process of Prophetic Ministry,” and is renowned for applying Scripture to contemporary culture.