In my nation it is the day before the children go back to school for the fall season. Summer is winding down and the weather feels like fall. The flowers are starting to show signs of the coming winter. The trees are slowly turning colours telling us that fall is here and winter is not far behind. As we change seasons – activities change as we wind down weekends away and begin to become involved in preparing gardens for the coming snow. Children will become involved in after school sports. A new season brings many changes in our social structure, our activities, and family life.
As the seasons change in the natural there are numerous changes in activities and events and the way we spend our time. It is the same in the church. As September begins there are many changes that churches go through – new activities, new programs, ‘back to church’ events to welcome those who have been missing most of the summer and those who have recently moved into the community. Churches go all out to regain the momentum that was lost during the summer break. It is a time for fresh initiatives and new hope.
The Kingdom of God also goes through seasons. And, it appears that God takes advantage of the changes in the natural seasons to highlight changes in His Kingdom. So, as we move into fall we can sense a shifting in the spiritual realm – the Kingdom realm. We don’t need to guess what these changes are and the effect He is wanting these adjustments to make in the life of the believer and the life of the Church. God is not hiding what He is doing. In fact, He speaks loudly about the changes through His apostles and prophets.
In the Old Testament times He always spoke of changes that were going to happen through His prophets. Amos 3:7 states, “For the Lord God does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets.” In the New Testament – the Church age – God speaks about the changes through His apostles and prophets.
Ephesians 2:20 “(The Church) built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone…”
Ephesians 4:11-12 “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ…”
1 Corinthians 12:28 “And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues…”
These changes should translate into adjustments in the way we “do church.” These changes should bring about adjustments to our church programs and activities. However, that is often not the case. I see two clear reasons why this is often the case.
First, the local church does not believe in the present-day ministry of the apostle and prophet. Thus, they do not receive the revelation of the new season and the adjustments that are needed. They do not even recognize that we are entering a new season. So, for them, it is business as usual.
Secondly, some churches become aware of the changing seasons and simply don’t respond. They feel safe, secure, and comfortable with things as they are. They are literally not interested in changing as change can be messy. People may leave. Adjustments will need to be made to our priorities and out schedules. So, they don’t welcome or receive what the Holy Spirit is now saying to the Church.
In both cases God does not force Himself and the changes in His Kingdom upon these local churches. However, He also does not cancel His plans and the new season He is bringing upon His Church. He simply moves forward without these churches who don’t respond. Maybe they will join what He is doing later but, in my experience, that is not likely. He still loves them but He is moving forward with His plans and His purposes with or without them.
The new season will arrive and changes in the Kingdom will happen. He will give everyone who calls on His Name the opportunity to hear about the changes and to respond. But, He does not force His will on anyone. We need to choose to respond if we want to continue walking in His perfect will for the Church (Romans 12:2) and be part of what He is currently doing through His Kingdom upon the earth.