In 1517, Martin Luther nailed a piece of paper, listing 95 revolutionary statements, to the door of Castle Church in Wittenburg, Germany. This act marked the beginning of the Protestant Reformation of the church.
Inspired by Martin Luther’s courageous act, on this blog I post my 95 Ways To Make A Church More Responsive To & Reflective Of The Living Christ:
1) Keep your focus on the living Jesus Christ and His Presence in your midst.
2) Teach people to listen to Christ and to do whatever He tells them to.
3) Give people the freedom to interrupt the Sunday morning meeting in order to obey what they are prompted to do.
4) Teach people that their obedience to the risen Christ is more important than their beliefs about Him.
5) Set aside human agendas and programs.
6) Practice what Luther called the “priesthood of the believer” by declaring all believers to be equal before God and allowing all believers to publicly exercise their giftings in church meetings.
7) Allow the Spirit, Himself, to direct church meetings without a human being controlling and/or directing the meeting.
8) Allow anybody present to express himself in a meeting according to the New Testament commandment in 1 Corinthians 14:26.
9) Stop using the unbiblical terms of clergy and laity.
10) See all believers as brothers and sisters.
11) Teach people that spiritual authority comes from who people are before God rather than from an official position or ordination.
12) Teach people that the church is not an organization or an institution.
13) Stop using titles.
14) Teach and demonstrate that the church is a living organism — the body of Christ.
15) Teach that the church is a present-day, people-movement inspired by God, rather than a monument to past moves of God.
16) Quit doing anything that isn’t actually changing people’s lives and helping them to follow and obey Jesus every day.
17) Be willing for a church meeting to occasionally appear messy.
18) Teach bold, confident, and talkative people to hold back sometimes so that others can speak out in church meetings.
19) Encourage timid and shy people to share what God has put on their heart.
20) Take the time to wait for shy people to speak out.
21) Embrace and honor the lowly and unlovable.
22) When someone feels prompted by God to speak, let the person speaking graciously step aside for the next person.
23) Don’t have a prearranged time to end church meetings.
24) Let meetings continue until the Holy Spirit is ready for the meeting to end.
25) Be multiracial.
26) Be made up of people of different economic status and social status.
27) Actively show God’s love to everyone who enters.
28) Openly stand up for Biblical morality and doctrine.
29) Speak the truth in love.
31) Don’t disobey the Holy Spirit.
32) Don’t stay in a rut of the same-ole, same ole.
33) Be willing to change and do things in new and creative ways as led by the Spirit.
34) Don’t just read and talk about Scripture — do what it says.
35) Consider the lowliest people to be the greatest.
36) Be joyful.
37) Allow and encourage the public confession of sin (where appropriate).
38) Allow tears. Respect those who have the courage to openly cry.
39) Allow people to express their needs in the church meeting.
40) When someone expresses a need, gather around him or her and pray with him on the spot. People’s recovery is much more important than the decorum in the meeting.
41) Let Sunday church be more like a support group and less like a classroom lecture.
42) Give people the freedom to kneel, to raise their hands, to dance before the Lord, to prostate themselves before the Lord, and to otherwise respond as led by the Holy Spirit.
43) Don’t be boring or encouraging snoring.
44) Let children and teenagers participate and speak in the meeting.
45) Pray for the physically sick to be healed.
46) Lay hands on people when you pray for them.
47) Don’t pressure or manipulate people by playing (or preying) on their emotions and/or religious sentiments.
48) Don’t put tradition and/or liturgy above experiencing the actual presence of God.
49) Release people from guilt by showing Spirit-inspired love and compassion to each other.
50) Demonstrate and encourage brokenness and humility.
51) Submit to one another.
52) Consider others better than yourself.
53) Rejoice with those who rejoice.
54) Be willing to feel uncomfortable in a meeting.
55) Weep with those who weep.
56) Lovingly and humbly hold each other accountable to live a godly and biblical lifestyle.
57) Wash somebody’s feet (both figuratively and literally).
58) Cast out demons.
59) See salvation as a life-long process rather than a once-and-done experience.
60) Make living a heavenly lifestyle on earth as important as getting into Heaven after death.
61) Encourage people to receive and share prophetic words.
62) Test prophetic words by Scripture and spiritual discernment to confirm that they are really from God.
63) Allow God to manifest the other gifts of the Spirit through various people in the church meeting.
64) Put the seats in a circle or semicircle so that people can see each others’ faces.
65) Don’t have a pulpit or lectern.
66) Create a caring, informal atmosphere.
67) Cultivate a sense of family.
68) When the Spirit leads, break the meeting into small groups so people can pray for one another.
69) Let leaders keep a low profile.
70) Let leaders be seen as overseers, not directors or controllers.
71) Let leaders function like officials in a football game to get the meeting back in the flow of the Spirit if something unbiblical or inappropriate happens, and then get out of the way so the Spirit can continue to lead the meeting.
72) Use different worship leaders each week so that no one person or group becomes known as “the worship leader” or “the praise team.”
73) Let the praise and worship be heart-felt and passionate more than polished and professional.
74) Occasionally gather together in one large circle, holding hands, and let people pray as they feel led by the Spirit.
75) Encourage everybody to personally read something in the Bible every single day.
76) Have a separate meetings focused on Bible study and for prayer during the week.
77) Let Jesus, Himself, be the Senior Pastor.
78) Cultivate a sense of family and community.
79) Serve, help, and encourage each other during the week.
80) Expect miracles.
81) Don’t exalt a human leader.
82) Quench not the Holy Spirit. Don’t grieve Him or make Him sad.
83) Be willing to be still and wait for the Holy Spirit to work in your midst.
84) Don’t try to make something happen in your own power and will.
85) Be willing to have silent periods and awkward moments.
86) Prayer walk in the neighborhood where you meet.
87) Make friends with unbelievers who live in the neighborhood and humbly love, serve, and pray with them.
88) Continually pray for spiritual awakening both in the church and in your neighborhood.
89) Consistently live out your faith on a daily basis.
90) Openly express your love for Jesus through out the week. Seek to influence others to follow and obey Jesus. (Three good, contemporary examples of this are Tim Tebow, Jeremy Lin, and Bubba Watson.)
91) Help people in need. Do a lot of good for others.
92) Show love to your enemies and pray for them.
93) Whatever you say and do, do it for God’s glory, not your own.
94) Let God convict you of sin and wrong doing.
95) Be quick to stop wrong thoughts and behaviors and to get back on God’s track . When you think, say, or do wrong things; say to God (and to others you may have offended): “I’m so sorry. Please forgive me.” Then, as Jesus said, “Go and sin no more.”
If you would like to see an attempt to put these 95 theses into action, visit The Salvation Army Berry Street, 25 Berry St., Nashville, TN, 37207 on Sundays @ 10:45 am.
Read more in my book: Beyond Church — An Invitation To Experience The Lost Word Of The Bible, available at Amazon.