A couple months ago God got me thinking about these things more seriously. We were on our way home from visiting friends in another part of the country. They sat around the table one night sharing their frustrations about their lack of fellowship. They had both served in a few churches but felt like that was not it anymore. They also have a constant flow of people in and out of their house–there is constant prayer and ministry going on. At the same time they felt there was a need for having relationships with people who weren’t always just pulling on them or receiving from them, but also friendships where they could share openly and honestly, friendships that helped fuel them.
As we sat around the table talking about all these things, I couldn’t help but picture the number of people I knew who also more or less live like this. I kept having this picture of circles going around and around us. They are a couple that we know is in “our church”–despite them living far away–because whenever we are together there is a charge and a love and a communing that we wouldn’t get from a million Sunday mornings elsewhere. This couple also has several other couples that they like to be with and that they grow with. As we sat around they couldn’t help but wish everyone lived closer to each other. But I saw that not everyone that they considered their church, their people, were in our church, our people, and vice versa.
As we drove home, God showed me the reason for this.
I am building circles of people and they must stay fluid and open and connected. This is one of the ways I’m joining my body together.
I saw the circles again. As I looked closer, each circle had a series of orbs rotating on the line of the circle. The orbs were people, and they were formed into these circles of community… as I looked even closer I saw that at each orb there was often a connection to another circle. So sometimes an orb would be rotating on two circles at once and by doing so it connected them.
He said, this circle is your community.
Sfome were our dearest friends, some were people to whom we’ve been ministering, but they all constituted Derek and Amy’s church. Then He showed me one of the couples who were in our circle. They also had a circle around them that included different people than ours, but our two circles were connected at their “orb”… sometimes there were intersections, but sometimes the people that were in our friends’ circles were not in our church… amazingly when I stood back from the whole thing I saw these dynamic circles that were all connected at these contact points, which made them almost like a strand of DNA that was fluid and moved and lengthened out until they filled an entire human form. And He said, these circles grow and connect until “they reach the fullness of the stature of Christ”… that one day all of the circles would be connected..
This gave me a lot of peace because I felt like it was important to both recognize the people in my circle but also understand that they were also connected elsewhere, to other people that we may or may not know–and maybe aren’t supposed to. However, the life that we supplied to our friends went out into their circles and vice versa. I knew this was not unlike the nervous system or the blood system or even the bone system, which have a series of valves, joints and synapse points where energy runs between different parts of the body and switches directions.
In body work, massage therapists often talk about energy lines. Sometimes a person’s lower body is disconnected from the upper body and a lot of the work then concentrates on the parts where the person gets “blocked up” or there is energy stoppage. People hold emotions in their bodies and sometimes fear or trauma create these blockades. Even reflexology is based on understanding proper flow throughout the body and it is certainly possible to touch the head or arms by pressing on certain energy points of the lower body. For people working in these fields, an understanding of energy synapses and joints–in muscles, bones, blood or nervous systems–is crucial.
Christ is the one who knows his own joints. His work now is getting the places where energy needs to be connected and properly joining each circle together and placing where it needs to be. Likewise there is trauma and places where these right connections are blocked because of our own fears or our pre-conceived ideas about how we’re supposed to connect.
Throughout this vision, He showed me a greater understanding of what’s to come in the church. He is giving the five-fold ministries (apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, teacher) particularly to build up the body and connect it in its right places. There is also an incredible need for us to wait on Him for these things–to let Him build it.
Here I came to an understanding of the role of the apostolic, too. There were a series of valves, almost like the valves in blood veins, that existed at some of the contact points, at some of the connected orbs. I saw that the last-day apostles were those who would “break the valves” and get the blood flowing. In a way they would travel between many of the orbs (as Paul did!) and get the blood flowing in the right directions.
A lot of this is not yet happening… for one reason, the apostolic has not all the way been restored to the church… another is that He is still teaching and raising apostolic people to be totally dependent on His spirit and not to build networks out of ideas. (And also, many of last-days apostles have not yet been born!) Their life is desperately needed in the church, and so is their absolute yieldedness and bentness in Christ. Until then many parts will be justifiably disconnected or even connected at the wrong places. Even a false network can be very strong because apostles have a “valve-breaking” energy that brings very lasting relationships between people, and so that requires apostles be absolutely bended to Him.
I saw also that He was sending some of the greatest encouragement to pastors. Pastors have very long arms, and many of them are holding very, very big circles… some of their work is to release those under their care to form new circles, but also pastors need to know who their particular church is, who their inner circle is in relationship to the wider circle that they hold. In this way pastors get the most burned out, so I felt Him praying and strengthening their arms but also telling them very pointedly who their particular church was so that they kept that in mind as they ministered to many. (This means that if you are pastoral, please ask Him who your church is–so you know where you receive things–ha, yes, God likes to give to you, too–they are your true communion and the foundation from which you give.)
[From Christ] the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love
And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ
So I prophesied as I had been commanded. While I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. As I looked, tendons appeared on them, flesh grew, and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them. He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man. Say to it: This is what the Lord GOD says: Breath, come from the four winds and breathe into these slain so that they may live!” So I prophesied as He commanded me; the breath entered them, and they came to life and stood on their feet, a vast army.