We need to respond to the challenge to begin moving away from the elements in the current church that will be either minimized or fully eradicated in the future church.
We can’t have a perfect understanding of what’s coming and what’s going, but for the sake of discussion, let’s consider the following.
The sense is that what follows is accurate at least in part, though I humbly admit that it’s incomplete:
- Fire. The lukewarm will not last.
- A return to the cross. We will again embrace the truths that cause us to grieve and break under their weight.
- Holiness. God’s judgment will rest on the coming church.
- Military mindset. We will step up as soldiers, have a clear mission and will invest significantly in it.
- Night and day prayer. Literally every Christian will pray as their primary function in the church and this will occur corporately multiple times a week.
- Multiple weekly gatherings. The Sunday model will give way to continual gatherings for intense prayer and apostolic instruction.
- True worship. There will be a distinction between worship and encounter. Worship is costly and it will drive the church experience. Worship is us pouring out. Encounter is God pouring out.
- Groans. The peculiar church will arise with literal groans of intercession roaring out of it.
- Division. Jesus came to bring a sword. We will see him identify wheat and tares.
- Intercession for the nations. The focus will be on everybody praying intently and continually for cities and nations.
- Shorter services and longer services. Fluff and fillers will be removed which will result in shorter, intense services…that will often extend due to the power and life being experienced.
- Daily life will revolve around the corporate gathering. Everything else will give way to the call to gather by apostolic leaders.
- Extreme training. The coming church will be a training center—and it will push people to their limits.
- Apostolic leadership: The future church will be locked and loaded, ready to respond to bold apostolic leadership.
- Apostolic teaching. Truth will absolutely return to the church, and it will offend many.
- Upward focus. The demands of people will be replaced by the demands of God.
- Authentic Christians. It will become clear who is radically devoted to Christ to the death and who is looking for their needs to be met.
- Much smaller churches. The coming church will be so challenging and different that marginal or false Christians will leave en masse.
- A casual connection. Services will call for radical participation from everybody. We won’t have the option to sit back, disengage or hope to be entertained.
- Tepid atmospheres. Trembling, fear and fire will replace humanistic environments devoid of God’s presence.
- Artificial atmospheres. Human attempts at zealous, party atmospheres will give way to a genuine arrival of God’s presence.
- Inclusion. Everybody will be welcome, but only authentic followers of Jesus will remain in such a hard core, supernatural environment.
- Relevance. The future church will not attempt to match the culture it’s called to shock.
- Youth/single/age centric ministry. We will all be together experiencing the same God and growing at the same pace. Mothers and fathers, sons and daughters.
- Karaoke worship. Today’s sing-a-longs will give way to supernatural groans of worship.
- Programs. The church will be known as a prayer meeting and this will take the place of myriads of affinity groups in the current church.
- Predictability. The future church won’t be comfortable and consistent. A prophetic edge will require everybody to constantly embrace and expect quick shifts and changes. Their life will have to be flexible enough to respond to this.
- Teaching centric services. Granted, there will be times when teaching will be front and center, but the coming church will be more prayer meeting than a monologue.
- Perpetual immaturity. The pressure will be constant to grow, and grow fast.
- Pastoral focus. The five-fold ministry will function as it was intended to, and the office of pastor will no longer be primary.
- Inward focus. Instead of people demanding shepherds attend to their desires and to intimately know their heart, shepherds will know God’s heart and instruct people from that place of revelation. (Jer 3:15)
- Sunday services. While we will still gather on Sundays, they will no longer be known as a special day set aside to God. Instead of gathering two hours a week on a Sunday, we will gather most every day of the week.
- Optional participation. The whole church will be called together, and the whole church will respond by attending, serving and advancing together.
- Dependency. The body will assume the responsibility to grow both independently and corporately.
- Seeker sensitivity. Seeker sensitive churches will either close, or thrive as illegitimate, socially focused, spiritually empty affinity groups.
- A focus on church growth. Yes, the true church will ultimately grow, but initially it will shrink as the bar is raised and the true remnant is revealed.
- A local mindset. Instead of going to church and enjoying a local experience, we will attend with cities and nations on our minds. Media will help impact regions well beyond our local reach.
- People-to-people focus. A focus on connecting people to people will remain but diminish as our energies are given to connecting people to God.
- A one-stop shop. Churches will become more focused instead of diverse.
There’s much more that could fit in either category. What do you think?
The pulse of my heart is simple—be ready to release almost everything that you presume is critical to the church experience, and allow yourself to go through a very challenging recalibration with God’s plans.
John Burton has been developing and leading ministries for over 20 years and is a sought out teacher, prophetic messenger and revivalist. John has authored nine books, has appeared on Christian television and radio and directed one of the primary internships at the International House of Prayer (IHOP) in Kansas City. Additionally, he planted two churches, has initiated two city prayer movements and is currently directing a prayer and revival focused ministry school in Detroit called theLab University. John’s mandate is to call the church in the nations to repentance from casual Christianity and to burn in a manner worthy of the King of kings. He is equipping people to confront the enemies of God (established religion, Jezebel, etc.) that hinder an extreme, sold-out level of true worship.
For the original article, visit johnburton.net.