Every fellowship of ministers is distinct because of a common heritage, spiritual belief system, vision and 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.
However, within the family of God there are smaller groupings of people and leaders that God has brought together based on a common vision and understanding of God’s eternal purpose. This is similar to the tribes within the nation of Israel. Each tribe has its own distinct characteristic based on a common heritage and root system.
In biological terms, the human race includes everyone. However, within this race of mankind there are families of people who have a common genetic history and thus a certain biological compatibility. They share a common thread (DNA) to do with how they will actually express themselves. Every family has a “family resemblance”.
MFI has certain things in its spiritual “DNA” that make it distinct. Much of this is integrally related to the history of MFI and the belief system of those who founded the Fellowship. When someone joins MFI, they join a spiritual family with a DNA code that is vital to its ability to fulfil the express purposes of the Fellowship.
Davidic Praise and Worship
We believe that the pattern for New Testament worship is to be found in the Davidic 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.
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.
Prayer and Intercession
We believe that both personal and corporate prayer are absolutely essential if the Church is to succeed. 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 church. 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 recognise 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 believer 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 criticising 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.
Eldership Church Government
We believe that God has a plan and pattern for government in the local church. It is the same form of government that God has used in every institution that He has established. We refer to this as team ministry or an “eldership” form of government with a senior pastor or chief elder. This is a form of government that involves equality and headship which is modeled in the Godhead, established in the natural family, set up by God in Israel, used in the synagogue and ordained in the Church in the New Testament (Hebrews 13:17, Acts 14:23, Titus 1:5). The elders are the servant leaders of the local assembly who are responsible before God to raise up and equip the members of the church to be able to function in their God-ordained callings.
Restoration of the Church
We believe that the church which began with great power and anointing fully functioning as God’s instrument in the earth went through a period of serious spiritual and doctrinal decline through the Middle Ages. Since Martin Luther, God has been in the process of restoring the Church to her former glory and power. As we get nearer to Christ’s return we can expect this process of restoration to become complete and we can expect the Church to rise up and be what God has designed 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.
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. He is doing this because He wants to use a godly seed in this generation to rise up and destroy the works of the wicked one. Such a prodigy will need to be parented by those who understand God’s purpose and have kingdom priorities established in their life.
House to House Ministry
We believe that the early church focused on two 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.
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, which is composed of both Jew and Gentile, is God’s instrument in the earth to establish God’s rule and His reign. 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.
The Five-Fold Ministry
We believe that the ministries listed in Ephesians 4:11 are to be fully functioning right up to the return of Christ. This includes apostles and 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.
The Gifts of the Spirit
We believe that the gifts of the Spirit enumerated in 1 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.
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 seeds for demolishing the scourge of racial prejudice. God’s purpose is to make all people into one for the glory of God.
Church Planting and World Missions
We believe that the Church has been given the commission by Christ to go into the entire world with the kingdom message 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.
Raising Up and Releasing Lay Leaders
We believe that five-fold ministers are to be servant leaders that equip and release every member of the local congregation to function in their God-ordained ministry.