The following excerpt is from Qualities of a Spiritual Warrior by Graham Cooke. This is such a tremendous example of building kingdom from the bottom up that I had to share it. The entire book can be found at Brilliant Book House.
A church that is top-down led—that is not permission giving—that does not allow the people to dream or encounter God fully for themselves, can never produce a warrior. In truth people who want more of God are going to leave these inferior houses to seek the Lord and his greatness.
A church that has no concept of, or experience in, the kingdom is not fighting on the right battlefield. A church is the place of intimate devotion to the king – a place of fellowship, encouragement, dreaming and development. People are equipped and prepared for a life and destiny. They are released to discover their inheritance, to live in favor, and to move out of abundance, not poverty.
People who are developed specifically to serve another man’s ministry can never rise to a place of sonship within that organization. They will only ever be servants of someone’s anointing. This type of discipleship arises out of a task-oriented, functional paradigm of Christianity that actually can disengage people from their own dreams and disinherit them from God’s desire for their life. I have lost count of the times when prophecy has been spoken to an individual in this type of environment, and it has resulted in them being fired from their position because apparently they no longer fit the requirements of leadership.
In a relational paradigm like the kingdom, our challenge is to produce sons and fathers who are like the Godhead in personality, character and anointing. God gives dreams and sends prophets to confirm his desires. Leaders, who are also fathers, are intensely interested and involved in the identity, inheritance, and destiny of the people that the Lord has committed to their charge. Otherwise, we are merely using people.
This is fertile soil that produces warriors and champions for the whole of society not just the world of the church.
One of the most powerful corporate transformations I have ever seen occurred in my own church, The Mission, several years ago. Our senior team leader, David Crone, stood before the congregation and gave them permission to dream. I felt the roof lift off the church and an anointing came down that day that began to transform people’s lives.
Our journey as a congregation had been to rediscover and come under a relational paradigm of friendship, love, meaningful relationship in line with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We wanted their level of loving interaction, involvement, culture of honor, and teamwork!
Out of that desire we began the process of reshaping the church, and our journey began to change to reflect the growing passion for intimate friendships with God and one another. Our mindset, culture and ways of operating began to adjust accordingly. We began to make decisions that define our identity as we saw it being adjusted by the spirit. We saw beyond the world the church and its ministries and discovered the wider anointing and deeper power of the kingdom.
David’s permission released people to dream. As leadership we are becoming better facilitators enabling destiny and inheritance to shape people’s identity. The prophetic began to grow and become a normal part of life. We are no longer a church that loves prophecy; we are a prophetic community with a present-future dimension to all that we are and do.
The result of these decisions and that specific permission has been the release of the kingdom presence that has pushed us more into the supernatural realm. Healings, miracles, spiritual gifts, and personal encounters with God are increasing. David wrote a book, a journal of the events in the road we traveled towards permission. It’s a must read for everyone but especially leaders. It’s titled, Decisions that Define us.