The other day I wrote about a coming movement. Today, I would like to look at a few indicators of this movement, its counterfeits, and some practical ways we can respond to what God is calling the Church into. This post is by no means intended to be exhaustive, but does seek to provide some insight that will hopefully help you engage with God regarding this season of transition.
There is convergence (meeting/joining together) of the Church’s faithful institutions and grassroots movements. In the past I’ve referred to these as streams of the Church, which is a way of summing up the different denominations, movements, and methodologies that exist in the body of Christ. Examples are Pentecostals joining together with mainline evangelicals, missions organizations joining with prayer organizations, traditional Churches joining together with home churches and para-church groups. I am hearing phrases such as, “If you love Jesus and believe the Bible is the infallible Word of God we want to partner with you.” The key here is that people are gathering around the mission of Christ (proclaiming the Gospel) and the priesthood of Christ (to worship God and pray in unity).
The counterfeit to this indicator of God’s movement is the rise of political and societal divisions within the Church. These divisions hinder our ability as a body to effect the mission and priesthood of Christ upon every tribe, nation, and tongue. When the Church throws its lot in with political or social agendas such as nationalism, party politics, or LGBTQ rights- we reduce ourselves to a mere voting block in a society full of voting blocks. Are we to be yoked to such things? We’re called to be ambassadors of God’s justice, and we can’t do that while being yoked to a dead ox. We need to take a closer look at our political allegiances and ask the Lord whether we’re truly to be involved.
I’ve said before that I believe in voting, but we are nobody’s voting block, nor are we the tools of a secular agenda. For some this has become a ridiculous departure from the Gospel of the Kingdom and those who push these agendas in the Church will eventually find themselves in opposition to Jesus. We are a priesthood of kings who legislate in prayer and effect change through preaching the Gospel and works of justice!
The ministry of Jesus is being exalted over the ministers of Jesus. A long time ago I heard a prophetic word about a nameless and faceless generation. A second wave, or fulfillment to this word is coming to pass. It isn’t that the Lord intends there to be no well known ministers (as I’ve heard many people interpret this prophecy to mean). We need leaders who are known and trusted, whose theology and example is proven to be consistent with Scripture. However, there is a grassroots movement within the Church where an unknown army is preaching the gospel, praying, and performing works of justice.
These works are being followed by supernatural signs and wonders. People are being healed. Words of knowledge are imparting the saving knowledge of Jesus to the unbeliever. People are being saved, healed, and delivered. The wild part about this is that people with little to no professional ministry training or degrees are often the ones at work in this move of God.
There is a counterfeit to this as well in the form of departure from fellowship and accountability. It is okay to lead bible studies, do evangelism, host prayer meetings and worship events, and even start ministries. You don’t need permission and it doesn’t have to be part of an “official” church ministry. What is not okay is separating yourself from fellowship with other believers, or dismissing the leadership of local churches and ministries so that you can push your own agenda. Such an effort causes division within the Body of Christ. We’re called to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Personally, I love those Christians who push the envelope and simply go out to do the ministry they see their Father doing regardless of whether or not they have another man’s permission. Where we go wrong though is when we start trying to build the Kingdom instead of preaching the Kingdom. Those who start their own church or ministry solely for the purpose of having control or to compete with the work of the body of Christ in their community is what I mean by a “kingdom builder”.
I am confident that God loves new ministries, but we must be wary of anyone who isn’t willing or able to put the vision of other believers before their own. When we put the vision of others before our own we edify the body and demonstrate faithful humility and submission. Such are the folks whom God truly exalts to preach His Kingdom.
Assignments from the Lord are being reassigned on a scale I’ve never seen before. I’ll give it to you that I am young in the Lord. I have known Jesus for seventeen years. Some of you reading this have known Him for longer than I’ve been alive. I’ve heard some compare it to the days of the Jesus Movement, but frankly I don’t know because I wasn’t around.
Other than to say, “Look out beyond your own movement or denomination,” there is little I can do to prove this point. I make an effort to be connected to and learning from as many denominations and movements in the Church as possible.
What I’m seeing from large ministries down to individuals is a shifting or reassigning at a dramatic pace within a window of mere months. Personally, I will remember 2018 as the year everything changed, but for many of you it may not be until next year that you see some of this effect kick in.
I will say this: “If you feel the tugging of the Lord to do something completely different than what you’ve been doing for years or even decades, it is time to start praying seriously about a change.” There is a window of opportunity right now and the Holy Spirit is ready to recruit anyone who says, “Here am I, send me.” Get ready for new careers and new assignments from the Lord. I say this for the many that are hearing this call.
For those of you who are not hearing anything, please practice faithfulness where you are. I can’t emphasize this enough. While I say many are being transitioning, those who stay put and hold their ground are equally important in God’s kingdom. In fact, those who faithfully “don’t move” are the ones who will provide the foundation for others to stand on.
For all of us, be mindful that the Lord is calling some of us to take some bold risks. Times of great transition have historically been moments when the Church has also faced the greatest temptation to divide and contend against one another. Pray that love would abound for your brothers and sisters, that the wisdom and grace of God might prevail in our midst. Pray for unity across generational, racial, and denominational lines. A war is raging, and we require the commanded blessing that comes through brotherly unity.
-J. S. Marek