Living Stones Network

Introduction

Welcome to Living Stones Network.  Whether you are currently a part of this effort or are considering joining, we hope that this material will help you discern if LSN is for you. What has here-to-for been known as Living Stones Fellowship is now birthing this network of related ministries that is typical of  other  “God-called” fellowships, organizations, and  associations that are emerging world-wide as an expression of God’s purpose in Ephesians 4:15-16, “But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:  From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplies, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, making increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”

Living Stones Fellowship was formed in 1997 when three Assembly of God churches in Duluth, MN, merged to continue embracing elder-type church government and five-fold ministry described in Ephesians 4:11.  Recent developments have seen Living Stones Fellowship unfolding as a regional influence and beyond, relationally connecting churches and ministers who desire to build according to the Ephesians 4 pattern. In October of 2012 and June of 2013 “forums on five-fold ministry” were convened in Duluth, MN and Chicago, IL to discuss how a growing number of churches and ministries are trying to build this way.

The Bible teaches us that there is strength in combining resources.  Recognizing this, and that God is pouring out His Spirit all over the earth with a massive harvest taking place, the formation of LSN desires to serve Christ in  fulfilling the Great Commission (Mt. 28:19).  The synergy created by the cooperation of multiple like-minded churches, ministers, and ministries makes it possible to advance God’s Kingdom in a much greater way.

Furthermore, many ministry teams are looking for meaningful relational accountability; help with church growth, church planting, missions, and marketplace ministry. LSN aims to resource these efforts by identifying and utilizing five-fold ministry relationship. Relationship, not structure or organization, is key to LSN life (Eph. 4:16) with the desire to see the latter built horizontally not hierarchically. LSN does not ordain or issue credentials but serves to help develop and recognize local church and market place ministers.

Beliefs

Though not limited to Assemblies of God churches and ministers, LSN will be guided by the prologue and 16 Fundamentals of Faith set forth by the General Council Assemblies of God – Assemblies of God Fundamental Truths

Mission Statement

LSN is a relation based apostolic network of individuals, churches, para-church ministries, missions organizations, and market place ministries committed to loving and helping each other fulfill the Great Commission through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Vision Statement

LSN exists to resource its current members and promote future generations of the same.

Relationship

This network is always relational, employing structure only where it will enhance and provide for loving relationship among its members, continued equipping of every member locally and in the network, and administering the resources that God gifts to us. Hierarchy is not to be embraced or employed apart from recognizing that we have but one Head, the Lord Jesus Christ. Governmental designations or five-fold functions will not be viewed in a hierarchal fashion or pyramid structure.  We are all in common fellowship together with Jesus as our head. Oversight is exercised via example and service.

Government

Since government in LSN is relational, the network will not exercise oversight of any local group or minister.  Neither will it be an ordaining body per se. But network Members will be able to accept invitations from local groups to participate in their respective ordination processes. Any Member church or ministry can designate five-fold ministers or elders to represent the church at the network level.  Individual five-fold ministers who desire Membership may also participate in the network.  Current network Members will corporately determine in an on-going basis the addition of new individuals or groups that apply for affiliation.

Terminology from You Are The Temple  will provide a further explanation of government  in the network.  It can be referred to as “functional church government”.  This is government that emanates from Jesus in the unique ascension gifts to the church.  These five-fold gifts represent the pure functional roles that Jesus designed to equip the church universally.  This servant model of relationship for ministers and churches will be the primary resource to all network participants.   It will also enable five-fold ministers who are not serving as local elders to impact and equip the saints throughout the network.  In addition this will provide women ministers, para-church minister/ministries, and market place ministers/ministries who may be limited from governmental roles in individual local churches, to grace the network with their five-fold gifting.

Participation

Initially, LSN will include Membership status of Living Stones Fellowship A/G churches in Duluth and Side Lake and their respective elders, and Risen Savior A/G in Chicago and their respective elders.  Invitations will also be extended to churches and ministers represented at the two Forums on Five held respectively in Duluth (2012) and Chicago (2013). Invitations will also be extended to future participants of network sponsored events. Applications will also be considered via references by existing Member churches and individual Members.

Members will have demonstrated a desire to develop life-long relationship with other network Members. This will require regular first hand participation in network events and on-going relational building with other network Members.  Member churches and individuals will be asked to prayerfully consider a financial commitment to the network as outlined later in this proposal.  Benefits derived from Membership will include priority relational support from other Members in the network, ministry opportunities developed from these relationships in on-going expansion of network activities, “functional church government” participation, connection via published and electronic communication, participation in the School of Ministry, and various levels of financial support as need and availability dictate.

In addition to Member status, both Partners and Friends will be recognized in the network.

Partners will include those who fully support the vision and mission of this network but are unable to participate fully as Members defined above.  They will be recognized as such (if willing) because of occasional personal or financial participation.  Benefits derived as Partners will include relational support as available from network Members and other Partners, access to the School of Ministry, and informational reports concerning network events and development.

Friends will include any who inquire about the network and desire a growing relationship.   Benefits derived as Friends will include notices of network events and access to the School of Ministry.

Finances

In that Living Stones Network is not a legal corporation or a local church, a beginning financial structure may seem difficult to define.  Here are a few guide lines that may serve as a starting point.

Since local churches already have financial structure, including accountability of the same, individual participants are encouraged to be members of local churches.

Financial participation in the network is voluntary, but churches are encouraged to contribute one percent (1%) of their tithe fund.  Para-church and market place ministries are encouraged to contribute ½ of one percent (.5%) of their budget.  Individual Members will be encouraged to offer a minimum of $10 per month to the network. Though these amounts may seem high at this stage in the development of the network, it will provide an immediate resource to Member ministers who are laboring on a network level.  In addition, it will provide immediate funding for the development of the Administrative Center, the School of Ministry, and the Pure Gospel Network, all of which will enhance the equipping of every Member, Partner and Friend at every level of the network.

Financial reporting and accountability will be assigned via a team defined under Administration.

Administration

Initially, a LSN Administration Center will be established by John Krhin in Hibbing, MN.  At the next Forum on Five or its equivalent, those desiring to affiliate as LSN Members will be asked to designate John Krhin as LSN central facilitator for a two year term and designate regional facilitators as needed to serve for two year terms, terms repeatable at the discretion of the Members gathered every other year. This process will be repeated every two years as long as the network functions.  The LSN central facilitator with the advice and consent of the regional facilitators will receive, distribute, and account for funds on a quarterly basis to all Members. The finances of LSN will be administered initially under the Minnesota State incorporation and US Federal 501 (c) 3 status of Living Stones Fellowship, House of Praise, A/G in Side Lake, MN…doing business as LSN.  Further adjustments to this arrangement will be made as needed by successive facilitators of LSN.

Local expressions of the LSN Members are encouraged to congregate at least quarterly for events as they desire.  These participants can input to the central and regional facilitators as desired. Regional expressions of the network will congregate at least twice a year as scheduled by the respective regional facilitator. They too can input to the central facilitator as desired. LSN will congregate at least once a year as scheduled by the central facilitator.  Participants (Members, Partners, and Friends) will be added to the network at these varying levels throughout the year and subjected to review at the annual gatherings.

 School of Ministry

Over two years ago Living Stones Fellowship initiated a School of Ministry as part of what has now become LSN.  After an initial flurry of activity, it has pretty much remained dormant.  Thank God that even dormant seeds can begin to grow. With the recent initiatives presented by Kevin Raihala, LSN has the opportunity to incorporate this equipping effort into a permanent part of our School. The Pure Gospel Network, an internet radio ministry created and administrated by Kevin, gives LSN activities world-wide exposure 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  Not only so, but we have growing relationships with a number of churches, ministers, and ministries who can offer much to the School as well. 

This being said, now is the time to put renewed effort into the development of the School of Ministry.  We continue to have access to a high level of education for ministerial training in the Assemblies of God University system.  We also have a wide range of Assemblies of God District ministry training that is available. Now unique contributions to the School can be offered by all Members of LSN both on line and at the periodic network gatherings.

Please consider reviewing the School of Ministry , the Pure Gospel Network and related ministries at livingstonesnetwork.com.  We look forward to your participation.

Multiplication

Recently a concept called “gone viral” was presented to the local elders of Living Stones Fellowship. You are encouraged to read an edited version (Read Further Here) as an inspiration to advance the development of Living Stones Network and to position all participants in the network for the growth that has always attended the ministry of Jesus.