The Church of Destiny

By Paul Collins

A prophetic message for every Christian

The Church of this generation has opportunities and challenges like never before experienced in Church history. Well over one quarter of all the people that have ever lived, from the time of Adam till now, are alive today. Therefore if we believe that Jesus is returning soon, then this generation has become the focal point of God's entire plan for the Church and for the world.

The Abrahamic Call

The roots of the Church can be found in the call of God to Abraham (read Romans 4:16). The phrasing of that call has an eternal impact on the destiny of the Church, from its inception down to our time. God said:
"I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you" Genesis 12:2-3.
The call on Abraham's life was not simply to be blessed by God, but to be blessed in order to be a blessing. This call has been extended to the Church.
"If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise" Ga1.3:29.
Which is the promise that we are heirs with Abraham of? The promise that "all peoples on earth will be blessed through you".

All Peoples on Earth

"And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come" Matthew 24:14 (see also Mark 13:10).
The word translated "nations" here is the Greek word ethnos, which corresponds to the Hebrew word goy used in the promise given to Abraham. (Note that the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament, uses the word ethnos to translate goy). Both ethnos and goy mean, not a political nation, such as Papua New Guinea or India, but a people or ethnic group, like the Lahu, Gondh, ethnic Thai or Mongolian people, defined by a uniqueness of language and culture.

The Church has been given exactly the same call as Abraham, for we are the fulfilment of that call (see Hebrews 11:39-40). The promise of being a blessing, however, is now called "the Gospel".

"The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: 'All nations will be blessed through you'" Galatians 3:8 (see also John 8:46).

Explosive Growth

"Then Jesus asked, 'What is the kingdom of God Like? What shall I compare it to? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air perched in its branches'" Luke 13:18-19.
The growth of the Church has been absolutely phenomenal. At no time in history has the Church grown more rapidly. Statistics show that the Church is outstripping every religion in terms of worldwide growth. There are now an estimated 550 million committed believers, comprising around seven million churches. Over 70,000 people come to the Lord each day! On average (since the average church around the world consists of 70 members), this means it is conceivable to speak of around l,000 churches being established every day!

Centre of Gravity

Down through history, the Church has had what can be called a "centre of gravity", the place where:
  1. The majority of Christians reside
  2. The concepts of Church mission are defined
  3. The rest of the Church looks to as the "heart" of Christianity.
Throughout Church history, we see a slow westward shift in this centre of gravity. During the 1st Century, the Church's centre of gravity was in JERUSALEM. The apostles remained in Jerusalem, and all the Church looked to Jerusalem as the "Mother Church" (Acts 8:1; 15:1-30).

After the fall of Jerusalem, the centre of gravity shifted westward into ASIA MINOR (now modem Turkey). This is where the seven churches of Asia, addressed in the Book of Revelation, were located (Revelation 1:11; chapters 2-3).

By the 3rd Century, the Church's centre of gravity had moved westward again, this time to ROME. Most missionary activity radiated from Rome, and the Roman bishopric redefined Church structure and methodology. Centuries passed, and the centre of gravity moved westward and northward to Western Europe. The reformation was birthed there and later the new era of modern missions was launched from this region.

Then the Church's centre of gravity shifted westward again. In the last hundred years or so NORTH AMERICA has been the centre of much Church activity, structural redefinition and missionary sending.

In the last decade, another shift has been taking place. ASIA is becoming the focus of Church growth and missionary-sending activity. In 1970, two-thirds of all Christians lived in the West. By 1980, only a half of the Church could be called Western. By 1990, the percentages had reversed. Now the Western Church makes up only one-third of the total Church. The rest of the Church can be found mainly in Asia, Africa and South America - regions that make up what is now termed "the Two-Thirds World".

The Remaining Task

When God called Abraham, there were 70 people groups. By the 1st Century, this had increased to an estimated 60,000 people groups. Now, at the close of the 20th Century, there remains a top estimate of 12,000 unreached ethnic groups, of which over 6,000 have been identified and are currently being targeted. Whereas on the Day of Pentecost there was only one church existing in the whole world, commissioned to reach the then 60,000 people groups, there are now an estimated 7 million churches of committed believers commissioned to reach the remaining 12,000 peoples.

We know that we succeed in reaching every people group before Christ returns, for in Revelation we have a precious glimpse of the state of the Church at the Second Coming:

"After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb..." Revelation 7:9 (see also 5:9).

A Time of Destiny

"He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches..." Revelation 2:7.
Today, God is speaking across the board to His Church a message of challenge. He is challenging Christians to move out of the comfort zone and into the suffering zone with Him, in order to reach a world that knows nothing of His reality. He is bringing back to the Church the call of Abraham to experience the blessing of God, but to move beyond that blessing, into the purpose for which He blesses.

But God is doing far more than just challenging individual Christians. He is addressing our most fundamental concepts of ministry and the very structure of Church life. In order to mobilise His Body, He must first de-religionise the Church, deprofessionalise the ministry and reestablish a leadership philosophy based on a servant-mentality opposed to a boss-mentality.

One of the last things to go - the last vestiges as it were of post-1st Century Christianity - is the concept of the "self-contained church", where each and every church is an introverted unit, providing services "from the womb to the tomb" for its members. The pattern of the New Testament was of a "networking church", cooperating between congregations to see the commission of Christ fulfilled. Only as churches jettison the concept that they need to try to do everything themselves, and begin to specialise and cooperate in the gifts and ministries God has given, can the Church of this last day take up the challenge and fulfil her destiny.


Copyright & copy; 1981,1996 Paul Collins. All rights reserved. This study may be freely used and reproduced, wholly or in part, by the Christian Church for the non-profit purposes of study and training only, provided copyright and contact information is included.

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