Posted by: Rowland | February 10, 2011

North Africa – a sign?

In recent weeks popular demonstrations/uprisings in Tunisia, Jordan and Egypt have occurred. The president of Tunisia has been ousted, the king of Jordan has sacked his government and now the Egyptian president is fighting a  rearguard action trying to stay in power (under the claim of preventing total anarchy and possible Islamic rule). These are long-standing ‘dictatorships’ which appear to have held the people in poverty for many years leaving it too late to show any adequate care i.e. ‘too little, too late’ is the general assessment, and the people have had enough.

I’m reminded of the church for so long subject to clergy or ‘one man’ rule and institutions that appear to care little for the complete development of their people who often simply have to fit into the system and ‘toe the line’. There is an unbiblical concept of separation between the people and those ‘in the ministry’. I believe the time has come when this is unacceptable, for the people as a whole are destined to reach maturity, not simply be kept as pew-fillers and tithe-givers, and the Spirit is stirring many hearts. Movements such as ‘alternative worship’ and ‘emerging church’ reflect this cry; elsewhere there are just undercurrents of discontent and ‘church-hopping’.
Where are the leaders that are recognising this change? Society at large is changing fast, aided by e.g. the internet which empowers  individuals and gives them a say. As Clay Shirky puts it, “Here comes everybody”.
Leaders without a genuine scriptural care for the development of people and a readiness to rethink church will be left behind, as will organisations.
Of course there will be risk and challenges (e.g. The Muslim Brotherhood appears a real threat to the cry for democracy in N. Africa) but it is time for every member to function; for true leaders with heart and vision to emerge, so that we do indeed face the challenges of the hour rather than maintain an increasingly inflexible and irrelevant system that perpetuates the unreadiness of the Bride of Christ and leaves us even more vulnerable to the enemy who will show increasing resourcefulness to achieve world dominion.
‘Here comes everybody’ is happening in North Africa, in Muslim countries, to our complete surprise. Let’s hope the church reads the sign and takes a leaf from Issachar of old to understand the times and know what it ought to do.



  1. I agree with you, Rowland. The one-man leadership in the Church has to go! It’s time to go back to the Biblical concept where Elders rule and the five-fold ministry is in operation. There is too much lack of accountability in the Church. It is sickening to watch the rampant mismanagement of church finances, improper use of administrative tools, and “pastors” ignoring basic church procedures. It is time for the church community to “call out” those leaders who are found in error. The Church deserves better! Don’t you think?

  2. Glad you are back blogging. Missed you!! The North Africa scenario I believe is a sign in our time. I am sure it will go a little quiet and have ebbs and flows, but this to me is the third major shift to our world as we know it:
    1. Berlin Wall (9/11/89), a 12 year gap to
    2. The Twin Towers – (US 9/11), followed by 7 years to the day the trigger for the economic crisis – Lehman Brothers on 9/11/08 declaring themselves in trouble
    3. Now Tunisia / Egypt and beyond.

    Maybe we can be expecting things to accelerate – other nations in N Africa; Middle East – also China?

  3. Aubrey – good to hear you. I thought after my long absence I deserve to have fallen right off your radar screen!
    You refer to ‘elders ruling and the five-fold ministry’. A concern about that would be the mere imposition of another ‘religious system’, albeit a seemingly more scriptural one as demonstrated by Watchman Nee years ago and others since. I suspect church structures need to be more relational, organic developments related to scriptural principles but not imposed from the outside/in. And the whole expression of church is likely to be more fluid and flexible in this rapidly changing world, perhaps seeing things less church centred and more kingdom centred.
    I’m thinking that ‘accountability’ is a rather heavy word: I prefer mutual submission. Hope you don’t think I’m just being pedantic but I’ve veered away from too controlling an emphasis.

    • “Radar screen”? Never! You are a decent brother in Christ, Rowland. Hope you can check me whenever you visit the USA. Interesting comment. Would love to further “discuss” over some nice English tea. Cheers!

  4. Thanks Martin.

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