Purpose of BLIF
Bethel Life International Fellowship ®
Every fellowship of ministers is distinct because of a common heritage, spiritual belief system or focus. Even as the Children of Israel in biblical times were all one people of God and yet had distinct tribes, so it is with the Body of Christ today. From God's perspective, there is only one Church. It includes all believers living and dead all over the world who have distinguished themselves by their separation unto the covenants of God through faith. When someone joins BLIF, they join a spiritual family with an ability to fulfill the express purposes of the Word of God (The Bible) through Fellowship and Anointed Covering.
1. Worship and Praise.
We believe that the pattern for New Testament worship is to be found in the order of worship described in the Psalms and birthed in the Tabernacle of David in the Old Testament. Within this belief is the concept that we as believers are to be spiritual priests who offer up spiritual sacrifices to God. One of the primary sacrifices is the "fruit of our lips" or our audible worship given to God (Hebrews 13:15). Davidic worship is demonstrative worship that is characterized by the biblical expressions of clapping, shouting, singing, dancing, lifting hands, bowing and kneeling.
2. Prophecy and the Laying on of Hands.
We believe that prophecy and the ministry of the prophet are to be fully operational in the Church today. If the church is going to be filled with vision and under the full direction of Jesus, the prophetic voice must be heard. We do not accept that this and other ministries were to be confined to an "apostolic age" but they are to be fully activated until the physical return of Christ.
3. Prayer and Intercession.
We believe that both personal and corporate prayer are absolutely essential if the Church is to grow as Christ intended. The New Testament Church was birthed in prayer, it continued steadfast in prayer and bathed all of its activities and ministries in prayer. In fact, when the Bible labels the Church or the House of God, the label it gives it is "a house of prayer for all nations" (Isaiah 56:7). If that is the name that God has chosen for His house, prayer should be a major focus of every minister. Prayer is a pipeline through which the Spirit moves.
We believe that the local church is the aspect of the Church that God is focusing on building in these days. While we all recognize and understand that the larger Body of Christ encompasses all believers, it is on the local scene that all of the plans and purposes of God are going to be demonstrated and fulfilled. Every person that oversees all ministries must find himself or herself in right relationship to God and to a specific local church in order to find a place of ministry and fruitfulness. It is essential that rather than criticizing the Church, we do everything we can to make the Church of Jesus Christ glorious. The Church is God's instrument to extend His purposes in the earth today. It is the instrument of the Kingdom.
5. Restoration of the Church.
We believe that the Church which began with great power and anointing can fully function as God's instrument in the earth. BLIF believes that for the local church to fulfill God’s purpose on earth, God is raising up leaders that many times are not recognized by some organizations because of education or financial status. As we get nearer to Christ's return we can expect these leaders to be in a process of restoration to become complete and we can expect the Church to rise up and be what God has designed for her to be (Isaiah 60:1-5). The Church is the final instrument in the hands of the Lord to extend His Kingdom in the earth. Some other program or institution will not replace the Church, but the Church will finish the commission laid upon it by Jesus Himself.
6. Restoration of the Family.
We believe that at the same time God is restoring His Church, He is also restoring the natural family to its proper place and function (Jeremiah 31:1). One of the things that God is doing is turning the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to the fathers (Malachi 4:6). God is in the process of healing marriages, strengthening parents and teaching men and women more about their God given roles. Each minister will need to be parented by those who understand God's purpose and principles in order to have kingdom priorities established in their life.
7. House to House Ministry.
We believe that the early church focused on two equally important expressions of its assembly life. There was the corporate gathering that was vital for the equipping of the saints and corporate expressions of prayer and worship. In addition, there was ministry from house to house for the sake of fellowship, relationship, nurture and evangelism (Acts 5:42). If the church today is going to be successful in its ministry to the world and to itself, both expressions must be cultivated to the fullest extent. An anointed covering should be a requirement so that the ministry of the individual can be established.
8. The Kingdom and the Church.
We believe that the extension of the Kingdom of God is the function and ministry of the Church. The Church is the instrument; the Kingdom is the message. If the Church is going to fulfill its God given calling, it must reclaim its primary function of bringing the lost to Christ and extending the borders of God's Kingdom until the glory of the Lord covers the earth as the waters cover the sea.
9. The Five Fold Ministry.
We believe that the ministries listed in Ephesians 4:11, 12 are to be fully functioning right up to the return of Christ. This includes Apostles, Prophets, Pastors, Teachers and Evangelists. All of these ministries are needed if the Body of Christ is going to be properly equipped and the Church is going to be properly built up.
10.The Gifts of the Spirit.
We believe that the gifts of the Spirit enumerated in I Corinthians 12:7-11 are not only for today, but should be desired, sought after and evidenced in every church. If there was ever a time that these gifts were needed, it is today. We do not believe that these gifts were only for the embryonic church of the first 100 years. They are to be a part of the Church right up to the return of Christ for His perfected Bride.
11.Unity and Diversity.
We believe that every local church should be inclusive and actively seek to include all peoples of all races, ethnic origins and social and economic standings. The Church of Jesus Christ is a multi-ethnic group that has within it the seeds for demolishing the scourge of racial prejudice. God's purpose is to make all people into one for the glory of God. No minister or ministry should be established for any one group of people or race.
12.Church Planting and Global Workers.
We believe that the Church has been given the commission by Christ to go into the entire world with the message of the Kingdom in an attempt to bring all men to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. We also believe that the result of this mission should be the establishing of local churches in every community in every country of the world.
13.Raising Up and Releasing Leaders from the pew.
We believe that five fold ministers are to be servant leaders that serve the other ministries of the Body of Christ by equipping and releasing them to function in their God ordained ministries.
Bethel Life International Fellowship has a strong conviction regarding the autonomy of the local Church. This foundational conviction affects everything that BLIF does and it serves as a guide to every policy that BLIF establishes. BLIF constantly seeks to balance a loving and caring responsibility that we have to all believers in Christ with a recognition of the special place that God has set everyone in their own local churches.
Philosophy of BLIF
Ministers Teaching Ministers
BLIF is not a fellowship of churches, it is a fellowship of ministers. This means that ministers of like vision and doctrine voluntarily associate themselves with other ministries for the purpose of fellowship, encouragement, vision expansion, equipping and strength.
This also means that the members of the fellowship themselves need to be aware that when they become a part of BLIF, they are not only asking for resources and strength, but they are also indicating that they desire to be there for others within the fellowship.
BLIF provides a structure and a context where these meaningful relationships can be cultivated, but it is up to each member along with the BLIF leadership to sense a personal responsibility for one another as "our brother's keeper".
Autonomy with Accountability
One of the strong doctrinal foundations of BLIF is its conviction that every local church is an autonomous organization. That means that each local church and/or ministry is to be self-governing, self-supporting and self-propagating. It is because of this teaching that forming such a fellowship was a sensitive task.
On the one hand, there was a desire to be a catalyst to bring pastors and church leaders together for the purpose of fellowship, relationship and strength, but on the other hand, there was an equally strong desire to not violate the structural integrity and authority of the local assembly.
Many groups have begun as a fellowship, but soon became a denomination where the central headquarters began to exert a growing measure of control on the local scene. BLIF has taken strong measures to avoid this pitfall. By organizing the Fellowship in such a way that the things that give denominations control cannot become a part of the Fellowship. The four things that BLIF does not do are:
1. BLIF does not control its credentialed members.
The local church is to be the place where ministries are birthed, raised up, trained, equipped, and licensed. It is BLIF’s specific function to ordain ministers of the local church whereby they can then allow the Holy Spirit to use them in the local assembly and administer on that level. Those ministers must follow the directives for establishing churches recommended by their local government.
2. BLIF does not own local church properties.
Often local churches do not own their church properties, but their properties are held by an outside organization. This can easily become another issue of control. Even though it has been the people's money that built and established the church facility, an organization can easily impose its will on a congregation because its name is on the legal documents.
3. BLIF does not control local church missions.
Again, the local church is to be the sending body for global workers. Certainly local churches may voluntarily cooperate with each other on missionaries and missions projects, but no outside organization should demand that the mission money of the local church be spent in a prescribed way. This again takes away authority and resources from the local church for the development of their own central missions strategy.
4. BLIF does maintain a central Bible
School. (Bethel Life International School of Biblical Studies)
BLIF’s intention is to train and teach individuals who sense a calling to Ministry. It is critical that each local church provides a way to train future leaders for the work of the Kingdom; There are many ways that ministers may be trained that do not necessarily require them to leave their local churches to attend a central Bible School. Should ministers choose to be trained in a Bible
School setting, it should be the choice of the person involved in conjunction with the counsel of local church leadership.
In spite of the fact that BLIF does not subscribe to organizational control, it does recognize the need that pastors have for a sense of spiritual family and identity. There is a need for committed relationships with like-minded ministries who can be a source of strength and a resource to them in time of need. There is a need for accountability to someone you can trust. BLIF is just that for many pastors and leaders. When they come into BLIF, they find new friends. They find spiritual brothers and sisters, and, at the same time, they find spiritual fathers and mothers who can provide wisdom and counsel in times of need. They enter into a relationship where they can watch over one another in a loving and caring way.
Covering without Control
BLIF is a covering body only in so far as it provides a context for spiritual relationship and oversight in a balanced fashion without having any official or legal control over any pastor or church.
As a fellowship of ministers, BLIF provides a context for ministers to find strengthening and supportive relationships with other "peer" and "fatherly" ministries. However, these relationships are voluntary and unofficial and are not intended to replace the legal and official authority of the local church.
All ministries including the senior pastor should be under the legal authority of and accountable to their own church appointed leadership. If a pastor has no directors, then he should be submitted to the accountability of another pastor or a group of individuals while that directorship is in the process of forming.
BLIF does not seek to cover churches or their ministers in any direct or legal sense. However, the members of BLIF, and the churches to which they minister, may provide this more "official oversight" for each other. In doing so they would not be acting as official representatives of BLIF, but they would be acting as representatives of their own local churches.
In the event that a senior pastor member of BLIF was to be disqualified from ministry it would not be the place of BLIF to officially discipline him. It is the responsibility of that local church and/or its covering "mother" church to judge and administer discipline officially. However, the local church may call upon BLIF leaders or members to assist in these matters.
In the event that a church elder board was to call BLIF for help in any such matter, their participation would be in a purely advisory role to the local board. BLIF would not be involved directly in any pastoral discipline in the church setting, which is the function of the local church itself. However a member through counseling from BLIF and its leaders should follow for the purpose of restoration. BLIF's only official disciplinary action could be the removal of a disqualified minister from membership in BLIF.