In prayer the Lord brought the phrase ‘global government’ to me. That same day I was reading the national newspapers and there was an article on ‘world government’. I spent some days seeking the Lord for more wisdom and revelation on this and as a result I was aware of four key issues that the church will need to address in this new season in order to prepare the people of God for changes that are coming in the natural and spiritual realms. God has purpose for us in our generation and we are called to receive, reveal and release his governmental authority to outwork His purposes – whatever the cost! His people on earth are guardians of His truth and releasers of His will. Guarding is a key function for all of us.
We guard our hearts to ensure they stay right. We guard our minds and take every thought captive to ensure it is in line with Christ’s thoughts. We guard our body to keep it pure as a temple of the Holy Spirit. We guard our faith, standing firm in the face of personal and corporate attacks or temptations to pervert or discredit the truth of the gospel. I heard the phrase ‘changing of the guard’. I did not sense that this exclusively meant change of leadership personnel, although that was implied in part, but that the guards are being given new instructions and needed to be ready to change their position and strategy in line with these instructions.
Leadership has a key role in ensuring the corporate expression of Christ on earth, the church, is in line with God’s plan and purpose for each time and season. Leaders guard the people from wolves and thieves. They guard the mission of the church and effect ways of equipping the people to carry out that mission. But above all, they are to guard the word of God – as revealing through scripture and the Spirit of God. The word and the Spirit together ensure wholeness and balance in the church. Smith Wigglesworth’s prophecy from the 1950s spoke about the different decades when God would move his church forward. He spoke of a decade when there would be:
..… a coming together of those with an emphasis on the Word and those with an emphasis on the Spirit. When the Word and the Spirit come together, there will be the biggest movement of the Holy Spirit that the nation, and indeed the world, has ever seen.
It will mark the beginning of a revival that will eclipse anything that has been witnessed within these shores, even the Wesleyan and the Welsh revivals of former years. The outpouring of God’s Spirit will flow over from the UK to the mainland of Europe, and from there will begin a missionary move to the ends of the earth.
This is encouraging to us today, as many sense that we are in, or about to enter, this particular time. However, there needs to be a realisation that this change will challenge both leaders and individuals in the church and will affect church structures, as choices need to be made on whether to embrace and adapt to what the Spirit is doing on the earth – or not.
I believe these four issues are ones that the Lord is looking to His church to take up and seek His direction. They are issues that will impact the world, as well as the church and which have global, as well as local, implications for church government.
The issues will have impact in the natural and spiritual realms. They are issues for all humankind and will express and release God’s purpose, from the time of Creation, and in line with his specific purposes on the earth today.
1 Global church
3 Apostolic Government
4 Local priesthood
1 Global Church
The world of the 21st century is a world beyond anything that previous generations could have imagined. National identity is being absorbed into pan-national or continental economic or governmental regions and alliances. European legislation has superceded most of the legislation and control of its member states. Government on earth is positioned in the midst of rapid changes, supported by global communication technologies and transport infrastructures which facilitate global relationships.
The church is perfectly placed to embrace and exploit global developments in communications technology in order to impact unreached and isolated people groups through evangelism. Christian TV broadcasting takes the gospel to the nations 24 hours a day. This brings the concept of community into a global context, as we can see, hear and join others in worship, teaching and service through direct access into homes and churches across the globe.
Mission teams are now a normal part of many major Christian ministries, with ease of transport and relatively low cost travel providing opportunities for individuals to go to the nations on short term mission trips while maintaining a home base.
The global context provides a unique opportunity for strategic, relational, global connections across national and denominational boundaries. There is now an opportunity for global leadership to emerge, enabling partnerships and relational connections which will serve the Lord’s purpose on earth today.
A global church led by the Spirit of God could transform the earth through relational, servant hearted, sacrificial relationships ‘speaking’ to and across nations.
We truly are one nation – God’s people on earth.
There is much concern within the church today around issues of sexuality, which threaten to undermine church government and leadership. While these issues need to be addressed, they are predicated on human sexuality being the critical dilemma to be addressed.
However, while the church debates the validity of diverse views of sexuality, it seems to be overlooking more important issues relating to gender. God declared that man and woman – together – reflect God’s image on earth. Man and woman were designed to stand alongside one another, upright and whole before God, imaging Him in their relationship and function.
CS Lewis in his book ‘Perelandra’ said:
‘Gender is a reality and a more fundamental reality than sex’
I believe the issue of gender is one that will release or constrain the church in this new season. There is an urgent need to understand the masculine and feminine expression of God on earth in order to present a right image on earth.
God’s love is expressed on earth through His people. Male and female qualities express love differently, but together they resonate a true expression of God. The church, in its male and female expression speaks and ministers the heart of God. God is Father to us, yet He is not male or female by gender, for there is no male or female in heaven – all are one in Christ (Galatians 3:28). The Father initiated love – as He first loved us. We are His Bride, a primarily feminine, responding role.
Yet males and females on earth express both masculine and feminine functions as initiators and worshippers. After all, the Lord told Adam and Eve to rule the earth – not just Adam. The earth is a place that requires initiative, action and dominion. Adam and Eve were also subject to the Father, made to relate to Him and respond to His will. In essence, the divine plan for humankind is for people who are responsive (feminine) in order to initiate (masculine). Worship of God is the response of humankind to the Creator. It is a feminine ‘response’ and a critical element in our relationship with God.
If the church is being prepared to be the Bride of Christ – the ultimate feminine response, the issue of gender needs to be embraced, understood and addressed in the church on earth. Failure to address this issue will hinder the preparation of the Bride. The Bride is to make herself ready and all those who are part of the Bride need an understanding of the responsive nature inherent in both male and female.
3 Apostolic Government
The call of the apostle was to be a servant:
SO THEN, let us [apostles] be looked upon as ministering servants of Christ and stewards (trustees) of the mysteries
Five fold ministries are the functional roles necessary to build up the people of God, equipping them for their work, promoting and leading to unity, maturity and an increasing knowledge of God until we reach fullness in Him. Since Paul is clear about the purpose of these roles and the intended outcome of their ministries, we can look for these signs as fruit of the reality of that ministry. Is the result of apostolic leadership a greater unity, maturity and knowledge of God for the people? Is this their priority and passion? What’s the fruit? We are recognised by our fruit. Or is the fruit a successful ministry in terms of position, finance, numbers or profile? There will be a sorting and sifting to expose the root and fruit of what is established in the name of the Lrod.
It was never God’s plan for kings.
It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
It was God’s plan that His people on earth value relationship above function, making unity a priority which would send a message to the world so that they would know and believe in Him.
Spirit-led apostolic teams will develop relationally across the globe in this new season. Their values will be unity, relationship and preferring of one another, rather than building their own ministries. Apostolic functioning ‘teams’ will impact local, national and international gatherings and communities of ‘church’. Apostolic teams will connect and inter-relate across the world, serving and releasing the people to preach, live and demonstrate the Kingdom of God with signs and wonders following.
4 Local Priesthood – Local Prophets
Another aspect of leadership, which will be significant in this new season, is the establishment of the kind of local leadership the Lord wanted for the people. The Lord had identified two types of spiritual leadership that He had ordained in the Old Testament context: the prophets and the priests. You will recall that it was because of the failure of Samuel to ensure the prophetic ministry was rightly prepared for the next generation that the people lost confidence in the prophetic function. When that happened they lost confidence that the prophets would be valid to speak on behalf of God. So they looked enviously at the world and took their model as their own. They made a king for themselves.
The Lord was rejected as King over them in favour of a king with flesh on.
Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation
Every kingdom citizen is called to be both a priest and prophet. A priest without a prophetic spirit will not be able to proclaim and release the kingdom. A prophet without a priestly function will lack identification with the people. There is a call for team working of prophets and priests and there will be many leaders working in tandem, across denominational and geographical boundaries, in this new season. Some will have both a priestly and prophetic anointing, some will be more ‘specialist’, but the new generation leader will recognise and discern those in the Body they need to be connecting with and they will seek to work collaboratively, honouring and preferring others rather than building their own kingdoms.
We all need both the priestly call and a prophetic anointing to live the Kingdom on earth today.
How can we minister the Kingdom unless we are in conversation with the King?
How can we reach the people unless we have a servant heart towards them?
The new kind of leadership will ensure the people serve the true King and have kingdom values and strategies. Unity, humility, holiness, obedience and sacrifice will mark them out.
It’s both an individual and corporate anointing
Leadership of Prophets and Priests, significantly local leadership, will lead the people into the place prepared. They will proclaim, preach and release a priestly, prophetic nation to go out with the presence and power of God before them.
They will displace structures with strategies: strategies to equip and release the people to go into all the nations and establish kingdom rule. They will discern and embrace the truly apostolic and work in partnerships with the five fold ministries.
Prophetic leaders and ministries face the challenge of finding ways to building relationally, for there will be a great value on relationship over function. Prophetic people will recognise and respond to the need to have a corporate voice, made up of many individual voices, rather than an emphasis on the individual. It’s a time of personal sacrifice for the prophets and priests. Prophets will seek out others to connect with and share revelation. There will be companies of prophets gathered to humbly hear and release the word of God to the church.
I’m utterly convinced we are at the end of a significant period of church history, an end of the Holy Spirit doing one thing and a beginning of a new thing. There can only be one Kingdom established and all other kingdoms must fall to the King.
Moses My servant is dead. So now arise, take his place, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land which I am giving to them, the Israelites. Every place upon which the sole of your foot shall tread, that have I given to you, as I promised Moses.
The new leadership will lead people to a renewed commitment to God. It is a call to holiness, separation and declaration, through equipping and releasing the people to extend the Kingdom on earth. As the people are equipped so they will find that every place their foot treads will be theirs for the King.
God’s kingdom on earth will be filled with prophets and priests for God. The kingdom will be established through sacrificial, servant leadership of the five fold ministries. There will be global, international, national and local connections that will inter-relate and provide an infrastructure for the future challenges to the church on earth today.
This will be a season on the earth when it will be said in heaven that the Bride truly did begin to make herself ready.