Entering into the Agape Reformation
by Jack and Trisha Frost
By the end of the 20th century, Christian leaders and their families experienced an increase in infidelity, divorce, pornography addiction, isolation, disloyalty, division, and discouragement. Thus much of the Church was ineffective in reaching the world. Rather, the world was very effective in infiltrating the Church. But now the 21st century has piloted us into the inlet of transition and we are entering into the Agape Reformation* where our experience of Father God’s unconditional love makes us more like Him and causes the world to seek Him. (See Malachi 4:5-6; Matthew 22:37-40; John 13:34-35.) What worked in much of the last century is not working today and a paradigm shift (change of thinking) has begun to take place in the world and the way the gospel is being presented to the world.
Much of the presentation of the gospel in the 20th century consisted of absolutes, such as: “You must…” “You have to…” “You should…” “You’d better…” This only added to many people’s feelings of failure, guilt, and distance. It required them to believe right and change before they could feel loved and accepted enough for God to value or bless them. But Jesus’ presentation of the gospel was much simpler and brought greater comfort, hope, and rest – you belong in God’s love even when you fail to deserve it – thus you begin to believe that you are loved the way you are – and this unconditional love is a greater motivation for change than fear and intimidation. (See Ephesians 2:3-8; Romans 2:4; 1 John 3:1-3; Luke 15:1-2, 11-32.)
Religious paradigms have begun to shift in the 21st century from believe – change – belong, to Jesus’ model of belong – believe – change! If transition is delayed, everything that can be shaken will be shaken. Many who are not walking in a genuine spirit of grace, humility, and love in their primary relationships will begin to see their influence diminish in the Church. Others who are entering into the Agape Reformation will quickly emerge to the forefront and will see great impact through a demonstration of anointing and power that will be released through a heart attitude of meekness (no self-assertion) and intimacy (into-me-see).
In the 21st century, the Agape Reformation has begun to bring relationship reformation in six major arenas:
1) Father God’s supernatural love is displacing fears of trusting, rejection, and intimacy and Christians are being convinced that they were created to dwell in love. Those who have been relationally handicapped in the past are now beginning to experience greater maturity in relationships. (See I John 4:18; Romans 8:15; Isaiah 66:12-13.)
2) Many Christian leaders whose insecurity with intimacy led them to walk in positional or controlling authority in the past are now being humbled. They are publicly confessing their misrepresentation of God’s love and repenting to their congregations. They are beginning to exemplify Christ-like humility, meekness, transparency, and unconditional love. A fresh anointing that is rooted in intimacy is being released through them. (See Romans 2:4; 1 John 1:5-9; 1 Thessalonians 2:7-12.)
3) Greater unity is being released within the Church. Many spiritual leaders are no longer competing for position, authority, and identity in their cities, but are seeking to serve their cities and other leaders. Theological differences are fading away in the light of God’s love. (See John 17:21-23.)
4) Prodigal sons and daughters are returning home. They are coming home to a compassionate and forgiving Father and to the fathers and mothers who have begun to be humbled by God’s love and are asking forgiveness from their children for misrepresenting God’s love to them. (See Malachi 4:5-6; Luke 15:17-24.)
5) Many who left the church wounded by religion (believe right – act right – and then you belong), are now returning to churches who model the ministry of Christ (belong-believe-change). These churches are no longer performance-based but are seeking to become a safe place where the hearts of spiritual mothers and fathers are being restored to the hearts of the sons and daughters. (See John 3:16-18, 5:19-24,12:47; 1 Corinthians 4:14-21.)
6) Christians who have entered into the Agape Reformation are beginning to experience pre-Christians seeking them out to discover why their life now seems so different. Pre-Christians are seeing a difference in Christian families and relationships and they are hungering for the same experience. Before, their Christian workmates and families were critical and judgmental of them, but now they are receiving acceptance and value from them. A wave of revival is building on the horizon. (See Luke 15:1-2; John 13:34-35.)
Safely Navigating the Inlet of Transition
We are to value what God has done in the past, but continue to seek for fresh revelation. Not doing so can result in old and new movements dishonouring and devaluing each other and can cause transitional crisis, creating confusion, conflict, confrontation, and chagrin. This can occur within our family, church, or denominational relationships. These relational trials can be a source of great blessing if we choose humility and allow the trials to break unbroken areas and purify our motives so that we place our dependency upon God’s love and not on our gifting, position, or tradition. (See Genesis 50:20; James 1:2-4; John 16:20-27; 1 Peter 3:9-11; Ephesians 3:17-19.)
The transitional shift into the Agape Reformation will continue to shake many present values in the Church and in individual leaders. We can make six key choices in our relationships to bring us through this transition:
Value intimacy more than ministry! A primary quality for greater growth, maturity, and leadership in the Agape Reformation will be that our relationship with God is evidenced by the degree in which we abide in love, intimacy, and humility (the willingness to be known for who we really are) in our family relationships. Ministry to family will take precedence over ministry to the world. (See John 13:34-35; 1 Corinthians 13:1-3; Matthew 22:37-40; 1 John 4:7-18; Ephesians 5:25-33; 1 Peter 3:1-7; 1 Timothy 3:4-5; 5:8.)
Value being seekers more than being speakers! Leaders in the Agape Reformation will be motivated by a heart seeking love and intimacy, not by a desire to receive information or anointing for ministry. In a season when the love of many is growing cold, we are to acknowledge our desperate need to daily be at home in Father’s unconditional love. From the posture of intimacy, we are to minister to our families, and then from the overflow – to the nations. (See 1 Timothy 1:5-7; 1 John 4:16-20; Revelation 2:1-7.)
Value a life of humility more than a life of visibility! A person who is a forerunner in the Agape Reformation will not be motivated by a desire to be seen or to have a ministry. They will be servant-leaders who delight in helping others reach their maximum potential in God’s kingdom of love, not seeking to promote themselves. (See John 3:30; John 17:22-23; Philippians 2:3-9; Isaiah 66:1-2; Matthew 18:4.)
Value a life of integrity more than charismatic personality! Integrity (wholeness, innocence, uprightness) is an issue of the heart that requires daily decisions to integrate God’s core values into life’s daily actions. God places a high value on integrity because it is foundational to building security, trust, and intimacy in our relationships with Him and with others. Living a life of integrity in family relationships and in daily life will be a primary qualification of those who will lead us into the Agape Reformation. (See Psalm 15:1-2; Proverbs 10:9; 1 Chronicles 29:17; 1 Timothy 3; Titus 2)
Value interdependence more than independence! Part of entering into the Agape Reformation is the desire for relational accountability from mentors, peers, and spiritual fathers and mothers. When we fellowship around our strengths (gifts, position, and isolation), we compete with each other; but when we fellowship around our weaknesses (acknowledging our need for relational openness and admonition), we complete each other. To whom do we look to speak the truth in love to us? (See 1 Corinthians 4:14-21; Hebrews 12:7-11; Ecclesiastes 4:9-12.)
Value impartation more than information! The Agape Reformation will focus more upon being the message than preaching the message. We impart what we are long before people put to practice what we preach. The Apostle Paul’s ministry was not focused upon persuasive speech but the power of impartation that was expressed through a ministry that modelled love, purity, gentleness, nurture, tenderness, affection, self- denial, exhortation, encouragement, and a fathering and mothering heart. (See 1 Corinthians 2:4-5; 4:14-21; 1 Thessalonians 2:7-12.)
The Agape Reformation is beginning to flow across the church. If the body of Christ receives a revelation that pastoral leadership has not first embraced, navigating the inlet of transition has the potential to leave us shipwrecked in strife and division in our churches and families. It will be humility, repentance, and submission to love that will help us to safely transition our life, families, and ministries into the Agape Reformation. The testimonies included in this edition of our newsletter help evidence the power of the Agape Reformation in the lives and ministries of several families.
In Father’s love,
Jack & Trisha Frost
*Bob Mumford has given definition to this coming revival: “The Agape Reformation will be nothing less than a reformation on the magnitude of Luther’s that has sufficient strength to provide an acceptable alternative to the natural inclination toward death so prevalent in society today. Enslaved by materialism, submerged in economic and political problems, the present ratio of response to the gospel is perhaps the lowest possible. Agape possesses the spiritual capacity to restore Father’s intended order in the presence of the Church’s and the world’s disorder which chooses death. Only Father’s love has the motivational strength to provide our hurting world and straying Church the needed life-style change.
© Jack Frost
Shiloh Place Ministries, PO Box 5, Conway, SC 29528
Used with permission.