“The First Shall Be Last”
“We are alive to experience it.” Those were the words of a friend as we discussed the awesome reality of the changing of a millennium! It is a great privilege and responsibility to be the “torchbearers” of the 21st century. The days in which we are living are strategic, transitional and divinely energized … alive with opportunity and excitement, in spite of any sense of uncertainty that may occur over the unknown.
The writer of Ephesians described our day when he wrote, “Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise – sensible, intelligent people; making the very most of the time – buying up each opportunity – because the days are evil. Therefore do not be vague and thoughtless and foolish, but understanding and firmly grasping what the will of the Lord is” Eph 5:16-18 (AMP).
“Purposeful,” “accurate,” and “intelligent” are all words describing the necessary characteristics of the 21st century church. We must realize the moment in which we are living and enlarge our world in order to effectively impact this generation.
Statistics tell us that there are more people alive today than have lived and died since Adam. That means that over 50% of the people who have ever existed are living in our neighborhoods and cities NOW! When we understand that reality, we will also understand our challenge to reap the harvest. That statistical fact means that either heaven or hell will double its size in our generation! The task is ours to accept.
To effectively reach this generation, we must be sensitive to the opportunities and times in which we are living. That means change! Not change for faddishness or novelty, but rather purposeful and spiritually intelligent transitioning. It is important that we are positioned properly, understanding what the Lord of the church is doing in our times!
I believe there will be major shifts that will take place over the next several years as we move into the 3rd millennium. The “birth pangs” of these changes are upon us now, creating an uncomfortable ness among those who are stoic and tied to tradition. Here are some of the major shifts I see for the next century:
I believe we will begin to see the rise of the third world church. The places that we have seen only as “receiving ministry” will begin to be major “sending stations”! Already we are seeing the impact of ministries that have touched the world from places like Korea, South Africa, and Argentina, just to mention a few. The western church will have to learn to receive ministry from those in whom we have planted seed for the past 150 years and rejoice that our fruit is returning to us.
The Holy Spirit has shown me that there will be major leaders raised up from second and third world nations that will speak with a voice of authority to the world. In that day, the spirit of the western church will challenged to release its pride and arrogance and understand that the Holy Spirit and the move of God has no nationality or cultural allegiance, just Kingdom dynamics!
“The Kingdom is like unto a net”
Another major shift that is coming to the body of Christ is the emergence of networking. A net is made up of several cords that are tied together to enhance one’s ability to gather or possess. We will be confronted with a “corporate revelation” versus the individualism of previous days.
This ability to network will flow from the rise in apostolic leadership. Individuals who God raises up and gifts with the ability to father, birth and govern. These men will not be insecure and self-seeking, but rather confident and loving foundational people. They will move from a perspective of divine inspiration and out of relationship. I believe that these networks will allow a place for shared resources and the realization of dreams and promises that individuals could not obtain on their own.