We have initiated the process of decentralising the churches in Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai, under GMI. Several churches as of now have already got their trusts registered and some have even obtained the 12A Income tax registration. Others have filed their documents with Charity Commissioner and we trust that by the end of this financial year most of the churches will be fully independent.This is good, as this means the local church is empowered and autonomous. New leadership will be raised up locally and it is this leadership that will be involved in the decision-making process for their local church. They learn about managing a trust, and understand the legality of the same.
The 40+ churches comprising congregations in English, Hindi, Marathi and Tamil language groups were so far managed under one common policy. And it is always difficult to do that with a “one size fits all” type policy. But now that each church will be able to embrace their own policy, they will discover what works for them and what does not.
But I am suggesting another significant move. Most of the churches in the process of decentralisation are in the form of a cluster (or region). It is my desire that each cluster should grow into an apostolic sphere of its own. Each apostolic sphere should have their own five-fold ministry. That ministry team could consist of budding apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers and evangelists. These may not exist as of now in a distinct way, but can be developed in course of time. And unless we are intentional about it, it will not happen.
The local cluster will need to prayerfully and actively look for the right kind of people with those ministry gifts and include them in their team. Each week, they would need to make provision for their gifts to function. They would need to periodically arrange for them to have visit other more mature ministries so that they can learn and grow. For this exposure, experts on this gifts should be invited, and local training/equipping seminars need to be arranged or they could be sent to such events hosted elsewhere in the city or the nation. Resource materials need to be provided. The heads of the new trusts should avoid ministering alone but always include budding ministries from their own local set up and feedback needs to be given to all these ‘Timothies’. As Ken Blanchard says “Feedback is the breakfast of champions”.
And I believe each apostolic sphere will grow with a distinct flavour. That flavour will be based on the type of the gift mix and the passion each member has. For example, if a cluster has a leader who has a God-given vision for education, then whole team may get fired up for that vision. It will give expression to that vision. And soon they will become a prophetic voice in the realm of education. And so the flavour could be that of education, or politics, or church planting, or media, or arts & entertainment or social work, or even business.
Based on how the local cluster leaders act now, the outcome will be visible in the next 10 years. I look forward to seeing what will emerge by 2020.