https://ralphhoweministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/31009-dark-church-1200.1200w.tn_.jpg 627 1200 ralph https://ralphhoweministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/ralph-howe-ministries1.png ralph2019-06-27 11:28:232020-01-12 13:00:06Church as Usual is Coming to an End – Part 1
(and Prophetic Churches Must Emerge to Fill the Void)
Around the world the Church, as we know it, is in trouble
In some places it is seriously dying – growing smaller every year
20% decline a year due to deaths, moves, and people leaving
So to remain steady at the same number of people annually need to grow 20%
In some places the Church has fallen into heresy – teachings that are not biblical
In some places there are what we call “man-made moves of God” where the churches are growing but it is by programs and hype, charismatic leaders who tickle ears
In some places the Church is growing quickly and attracting young people but these young people soon recognize that the structures and traditions are, in many ways, hampering and hindering the flow of the Holy Spirit
And so they don’t stay – they look elsewhere or plant a new expression of the Church
Everywhere I go, I hear people desperately crying out for the end of church as we know it.
Leaders who are sensitive to the moving of God’s Spirit and the seasons in the Kingdom understand that the Spirit of God is creating a disturbance, a dissatisfaction and a yearning for brand new wine.
I call this “feeling” Divine Discontent
We are in a season of massive change and adjustment
The Church needs to respond to the prompting of the Holy Spirit
God’s people need to refocus and put the Kingdom first in their lives
Not everyone will respond to the moving of the Spirit
Not every church will recognize the prompting of the Spirit
Many false teachers, prophets, and apostles will arise and deceive many (Matthew 24:24)
Apostles and prophets believe…
That there will be a Spirit-driven remnant that will recognize the nudging of the Spirit
That God is uniquely awakening a remnant to have a role in this move of the Spirit
That this remnant will function in a raging furnace of intercession and extreme Holy Spirit activity in the church and out into the world
I have people write me from all around the world, pleading for assistance in finding this type of church where they live.
They have been aggressively searching for vibrant churches marked by supernatural revelation.
They are disappointed and deeply disturbed by what they see and experience in the Church today
They are looking for the Church that Jesus is building (Matthew 16:18)
These churches are hard to find but they are rising out of the graveyard of religion, tradition and denominationalism
“Church as Usual Is Coming to an End” and apostolic-prophetic churches must emerge to fill the void
These churches will be known as “revelation-driven” churches (Matthew 16:18)
Also known as “apostolic-prophetic” churches
Marks of Revelation-Driven Churches
1> Distinctly Prophetic
Leaders will be given to insane amounts of prayer throughout the week, and they will be supernaturally alert night and day.
Non-leaders will have powerful prayer lives and prayer be a central focus in their daily lives
The result will be leadership that’s marked by a powerful fellowship with the Holy Spirit.
Every decision, every service and every message will be branded by the active, rhema revelation of the Spirit of God.
Rhema – a now word of the Lord for the people
Dreams and visions will be normal among the leaders and members alike.
The entire culture of the church will be driven by this critical fellowship with the Holy Spirit where revelation is received
2> Fuelled by Prayer (Intercession)
The only way to develop and sustain a revelation-driven church is to first develop and sustain a a serious focus on prayer
A large portion of the teaching must be devoted to supernatural, prophetic prayer.
People tend to blank out when they are presented with the call to prayer (as practiced today), and the way to meet that reaction is by teaching continually on prayer or prophetic prayer.
People need to understand…
How to pray
Why we need to pray
How to yield to the Holy Spirit in prayer (and life in general)
How to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit
The power of praying in tongues
How to receive and manage prophetic revelation
How to pray the Scriptures
How to develop intimacy with Jesus
How to fellowship with the Holy Spirit
Then, a culture of raging, expressive, authoritative night and day prayer must overtake the whole of the church.
People who don’t pray as a primary call must be challenged and given continual opportunities to jump on board – joining with the Church in serious prayer
Then we will truly wage war against the spirit of the age
Then we will walk in extremely powerful authority
Understand, this culture of prayer must form the foundation of every aspect of the life of the Church
Those who aren’t interested in such a relationship with Jesus will leave—and the remnant will be revealed.
3> Unpredictable and Spontaneous
The days of predictable, scheduled, ordered church services must come to an end.
We have become so enamoured with human order in the church that Holy Spirit, biblical order is completely rejected or, at least, neglected
The Church that Jesus is building will be unpredictable and spontaneous
Revelation-driven church services will have some of the elements that we now see in a regular gathering
Worship… mostly praying and singing in the Spirit.
The Christian karaoke will come to an end.
Worship will bring revelation – revelation takes us into intercession or prayer
From this time of worship and intercession, leadership will give prophetic messages that will be right in step with what the Holy Spirit is doing in that moment.
This will release life because Jesus said His Words were spirit and they are life” (John 6:63)
And, as a result, lives with be transformed
The Holy Spirit will move in the assembly and there will be…
Prayer, worship, prophetic direction and declarations, instruction, healing, deliverance
Prophetic revelation will fill the room and the time of the saints coming together will be directed by the Spirit
If the leaders and people are not fellowshipping with the Spirit and keeping in step with the Spirit …
The tendency will be for them to begin to take control and, as they do so in the flesh, they with quench the move of the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19)
4> Regionally/Nationally/Internationally Focused
There is a deep grieving in the spirit-realm when churches become focused on and driven to grow the church numerically.
We need to understand, numeric growth, when done rightly, can be healthy – and God wants the Church to grow
We see in Scripture that God added to the church daily (Acts 2:47)
However, the compromise that has overtaken the church in order to see this type of growth is truly grieving to the Spirit
Instead of focusing on the growth of their local church, those who are embracing the revelation driven church – apostolic-prophetic church – will be mostly interested in what God is doing regionally and nationally.
They will be Kingdom focused and not “me-focused” or “church-focused”
They will be focused on saving the lost and expanding the Kingdom
They will be focused on what the Holy Spirit is doing and getting involved with Him
They will be focused on the “new wineskins” that Jesus is building for the new wine
This will mean dealing with regional, national, and international issues in an intelligent manner
The abortion issue – now coming back into the news
The environmental issues
The whole area of DNA manipulation
The awareness of LGBTQ
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (questioning)
Added a “T” to it – “two-spirited” meaning both male and female
They will train the people and equip them to minister within this rapidly-changing world and all that is confronting the Christian faith and her beliefs
It is a battle against the deadly, raging spirit of the age that’s destroying nations
5> Everybody Participating
Church as usual will be a thing of the past
Where there is a team up-front leading worship and picking a song list
Where the paid professional does the preaching
Where only the elders can pray for people and minister
Where women are not allowed to lead or to teach
Leaders will no longer ask for volunteers to fill positions
Leaders will not try to “find jobs” for everybody, hoping that keeping them busy and engaged is the answer to keeping them interested in the church.
While everybody isn’t ready for leadership in the church, most everyone should be given opportunities to pray, prophesy and minister
The Church has muzzled people for too long – time for the “movement of the saints”
Prophet Bill Hamon spoke of this in the late 1990’s
6> Prophetic Assignments
When you successfully lead a deeply prophetic culture in the church, God will be talking—a lot.
This prophetic leading must be rightly responded to.
Prophetic assignments will emerge and people will be released for ministry and into ministry
New ministries will be birthed as the saints move out in the power of the Spirit
We will see the body dynamically moving from season to season, assignment to assignment.
Everybody will have a part to play as we advance as a unified army into the darkness and see people come into the light
7> Believers Meetings
Church services are not to be seeker sensitive.
The days of focusing on drawing the lost in as a primary goal are coming to an end.
Gathering or scattering or both
The New Testament church is a movement of believers who are praying continually and ministering with great authority in the region.
Of course, the lost can and will come in, but the focus of the meeting will not change.
The focus of the meeting is to hear what the Spirit is saying and to respond and thus glorify God!
The extreme activity of the Holy Spirit will be maintained and those who decide to say yes to Jesus will meet him in a way that could never be done in a dry, dusty, seeker environment.
These believers meetings will be white-hot, supernatural and other-worldly producing believers who are on fire, equipped, and released to minister in the power of the Spirit
8> Focused on Spiritual Growth
The goal of each individual believer and the Church is obedience, impact and responding rightly to the instructions of the Holy Spirit, not numeric growth.
Growth can and will happen, but it’s not an automatic indicator of health or success.
In fact, most churches that respond to this new spiritual reality will be pruned as they develop into a revelation driven church … so they will grow smaller first
Those who want to just sit and receive will become uncomfortable and leave
It’s a rare person who will sign up to be part of this new wine, revelation driven church, so small numbers should be expected.
The goal is to go deep, grow spiritually, and impact their community
The challenge of such a church will be rejected by some
There will be no compromise
Programs to bring people in will end
Things will become uncomfortable for those who are not serious
Believers will not be able to just sit and absorb – they will be asked to become involved
The Church will become a powerful place where people are challenged to grow and become ministers of reconciliation and ambassadors of the Kingdom
9> Deep, Challenging Teaching
Teaching will be by revelation – prophetic revelation
The tired Sunday-school lessons of old will finally come to an end.
The teacher will have already been pierced and changed by the message he or she is preaching
No longer just presenting information for the sake of information that few act on or apply
The messages will absolutely rock everyone who hears them.
Many will reject such an anointing as it demands a costly response, but those who respond will become sharp, full of fire and a mighty minister in the hands of God.