Are you ready to experience a fiery outpouring that impacts an entire city? Watch this week’s message!
FOUR FIRES PART 6: THE CITY FIRE
Now it's time for a full blow city fire!
After we have successfully disciplined ourselves to burn personally every day, and then watched a corporate fire ignite in our local church, the next expected manifestation happens on a city level.
John teaches on the cost and complexities of working toward a city-wide outpouring.
God is ready to move in power. Are we?
The following was written after being awakened in the night—a word of reformation for the church.
It was delivered to the church of Colorado Springs many years ago, but it is applicable to the church of America. I shared this at Revival Church recently. It’s time for reform!
Reformation: The Church of Colorado Springs
God has given the Church of Colorado Springs every resource necessary to initiate a fire of revival that will burn our city, our nation and our planet.
We can all agree this fire is not raging- and the current structure in our city can neither initiate nor sustain a move of God of this magnitude.
It’s time for a radical and momentous change in the Church of Colorado Springs. It’s time for a reformation.
1. We must repent of prayerlessness. A call is being made for every believer to pray with hunger and passion to an extreme degree. Spiritual leaders of this city must model such a lifestyle of prayer on a daily basis. It must be our primary activity. Pastors and leaders- let’s agree to a minimum of one three hour prayer watch every day.
Leonard Ravenhill said, “Pastors who don’t pray two hours a day aren’t worth a dime a dozen”
Acts 6:4 “but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”
2. We must repent of competition. It’s time to promote the City Church ahead of our local Church. Are we willing to lose people, money, our ministries and our reputations in order for God’s corporate dream of city-wide revival to explode?
Phil 2:3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.
3. We must repent for being mindful of man ahead of God- and then resign our positions as salespeople. We are to once again lead with a bold prophetic mantle. As a leader, the primary role is to hear God in prayer and to declare his Word to the people. The body must renounce consumerism in the Church by asking not what our Church can do for us but what we can do for our Church.
Mat 16:23 But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”
4. We must repent for forsaking the house of prayer. There is a call for every church in the city to maintain a 24-hour prayer center as its primary ministry. It is to be modeled and led by senior leadership. The primary purpose of the Church is not teaching, visitor assimilation or fellowship. It is undeniably night and day prayer for the nations. Lengthy prayer should be taught and modeled as the dominant activity of every believer.
Is 56:7 Even them I will bring to My holy mountain, And make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices Will be accepted on My altar; For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.”
5. We must repent of pride. God resists the proud, and this city can’t afford for God to move away from us. We must repent, humble ourselves and cry for Jesus to come!
James 4:6 “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”
6. We must repent for quenching the Holy Spirit. Our cry must be, “Come as you are and do what you want!” Sunday services should be marked by significant and earth-shaking supernatural moves of the Holy Spirit.
1 Thes 5:19 Do not quench the Spirit.
7. We must repent for resisting the prophetic. Now, more than ever, we need to hear the Word of the Lord. We must teach every believer how to hear God, how to steward that Word and how to take responsibility in the fulfillment of that Word.
1 Thes 5:20 Do not despise prophecies.
8. We must embrace and teach on the experiential reality of the presence of God. If someone were to be on the moon, would he want to learn about air or experience air? Colorado Springs must experience the fresh flowing air of the Holy Spirit again.
Acts 2:2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.
9. We must be willing to forsake programs and policies set in place by the demands of man in favor of the divine vision of the Holy Spirit.
10. We must release control of our services and expect to stay late, burn hot, experience much, cast out demons, prophesy, proclaim the Word, worship intensely and enjoy a wonderfully messy but Holy Spirit ordered event. The first Church was birthed supernaturally in such a way that many marveled and many mocked. It must continue now as it started then.
11. We must raise the bar of expectations and do now what we will be doing when revival breaks out. Pray continually, be in the House of Prayer daily, cry out for justice, establish the 24-hour church, give, serve and enjoy God with other believers..
Luke 18:7 And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them?
Luke 2:37 and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.
Acts 2:46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.
12. We must repent for canceling services, closing the church doors and lowering the expected commitment. We have submitted to a deadly and apathetic American culture, and it’s time to lead the way and bring reformation to that culture. The Church must dominate our calendars again.
13. We must cry out for the love of God to weigh on His church in the form of both mercy and judgment. Pray for God’s judgment to rest on you, your church and this city so as to ensure wrong things are made right, holiness prevails and God reigns supreme.
1 Pet 4:17 For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?
14. We must teach Acts chapter two style- experience a move of God and then teach on it. Experience an overpowering move of the Holy Spirit to such a degree that highly anointed biblical teachings penetrate hearts. What God does is taught and explained from a supernatural perspective.
Acts 2:14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. 15 For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16 But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
15. We must admit there are demons and that they must be dealt with. Not through programs and projects but through prophetic proclamation. A unified assault on the kingdom of darkness will result in mass deliverance in our city.
James 4:7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
16. We must be available for repositioning and do away with the redundancy that a church on every corner invites. Many churches in our city should close. Those pastors would then assume more appropriate positions of service in other churches. Teachers would lead centers of teaching, pastors would lead small groups, and other leaders would serve in a variety of physical locations within the City Church. The goal is one City Church, many departments, unified leadership and individualized roles.
17. We must again become Holy Spirit sensitive instead of seeker sensitive. People aren’t looking for something worth living for, but rather for a cause worth dying for. Show them the cross. The normal New Testament Church experience is one of extreme manifestations of God, death to self, prophetic preaching and an unapologetic invasion into the culture which results in momentous change.
Mark 8:34 When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 35 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's will save it.
18. We must again embrace dreams, visions, praying in the Holy Spirit and extreme encounters with God.
1 Cor 14:39 Therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak with tongues.
19. We must repent for presenting a watered down, socially acceptable gospel. Salvation requires death, surrender and commitment to the plans of God.
Mark 10:21 Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.” 22 But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
20. We must repent for emphasizing what people can get instead of what they are to give. To enter a church with the expectation of leaving with more than you entered with is to embrace the same spirit the money changers did. We must again, with fear and trembling, enter the House of Prayer with the expectation of making a sacrifice and giving an offering.
Mat 21:12 Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. 13 And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,' but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.' ”
21. We must encourage every believer to grow intentionally, rapidly and independently. And then, to step into their assigned ministry role.
Heb 5:12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
22. We must call for the fear of the Lord to return to our Churches and city.
Prov 23:17 Do not let your heart envy sinners, But be zealous for the fear of the Lord all the day; 18 For surely there is a hereafter, And your hope will not be cut off.
23. We must repent for rebellion, self-government, lawlessness and an independent spirit. This is evidenced through church hopping and by leaving a church without being sent out by the leaders. This results in compromised missions, a divisive spirit and a splintering of the body. Accountability and submission to authority must again return to the Church.
Heb 13:17 Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.
24. We must repent of gossip, complaining and other forms of witchcraft.
Prov 6:16 These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: 17 A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, 19 A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren.
25. We must repent for embracing a religious spirit. Religion is man’s attempt to use God to get what he wants. It’s time to cry out for God to remove our man made structures and advance his Kingdom in our city!
26. We must repent to the nation for misrepresenting Colorado Springs as a significant national Christian center of Holy Spirit activity. It is not. We have wrongly stewarded this responsibility.
27. We must repent for not praying intently for our leaders. Their failure is our failure.
1 Tim 2:1 Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.
As we pray, unify, preach the cross, love God and the people of our city with passion and embrace the present Word of the Lord Colorado Springs will be a propellant for revival around the world.
Written trembling in the fear of the Lord,
God forgive us for building kingdoms of man on doctrines of demons in your name. ~Brian Ming
IT HAS TO STOP!
Watch this short, raw video on the issue of competitiveness, accusation and jealousy in the church. It has to STOP!
When Amy and I first moved to Detroit and launched Revival Church we sent out 200 copies of my book Pharaoh in the Church to pastors in the Detroit region. The book is written to leaders and those who are called to lead the people of God into encounter.
In that book I deal directly with the issue of personal kingdom building & how it can be a threat to the advance of God’s Kingdom in a region.
Not shockingly, but sadly we only heard from one pastor. One.
When a new Kingdom building church arrives on the scene, the pastors of the region should celebrate their arrival!
PEOPLE, MONEY & REPUTATION
Too much energy is invested into keeping people, protecting our financial situation and enhancing our reputations as leaders—energy that can not be used for its intended purpose of going hard after revival in a region and leading people into encounter.
If we are serious about the city church exploding in life and power, we must be willing to lose people, lose financial security (salaries, benefits) and lose our reputation. Jesus was of no reputation, why should we be?
How can you deal with this issue? Have a healthy ministry policy!
HEALTHY MINISTRY POLICIES
- PEOPLE: Have a policy that any pastor, leader or other person can come into your church at any time, with no fear or guilt, and openly recruit anybody, even your staff, to leave your church and join theirs. The fear of losing people and the resulting spirit of competition will disappear.
- MONEY: Give regularly to other churches and pray for them to be blessed in a greater measure financially than your own. Giving always causes fear of financial loss to subside. Additionally, never hold back leading in a biblical direction with full unction of the Holy Spirit if key givers may get leave. Preach them out and trust God!
- REPUTATION: Die. Surrender. Go low. Be humble. Allow people to ridicule you, accuse you, attack you and discredit your ministry. This happens when you preach truth. If you are of no reputation, then when you lose people, money, influence or anything else, your ego won’t drive you whatsoever.
Here’s a definition: Any conversation about an absent third party that wouldn’t meet the approval of that person.
Gossip is biblically forbidden communication.
When I, as a church leader, hear anybody gossip about a former pastor they are immediately disqualified from consideration for leadership in my church.
Why? I can’t afford to give place to a demonic anointing in my church.
This is how important it is to honor other pastors, churches and leaders—and everybody else in the body of Christ!
What do you do if you hear someone gossiping about a leader?
I am personally blessed when someone displays their honor, love and faithfulness when they won’t receive gossip about me. But, it’s not about me…it’s about the health of the church and the church of the city we are called to run with. It really is a big deal.
Why is it a big deal? Many reasons. One that will become very clear as the end of the age develops is that the church is going to be shifted violently to calibrate with God’s end-time plans.
The announcement of the shift will come through people. Prophets. Apostles. Those chosen by God to move into a region and reveal with boldness what is changing.
These people will be a serious threat to the status quo, and if pastors rely on the status quo to keep people in position, their salaries stable and their reputation under their control, they will resist these prophets of God with ferocity.
This is why we need to develop a culture of celebration, humility and honor for other leaders, new churches and people who are in the body of Christ in a region.
If we don’t, crosses may remain on the steeples while Ichabod is posted above the doors of resisting, self-centered pastors flowing in the spirit of Pharaoh as they remain focused on building their own kingdoms.
God led Amy and my family to Detroit to see revival land. God is bringing many others here as well. Many others have been laboring here for years and have been prepared for what’s coming. Let’s do all we can to unite and take advantage of the amazing convergence in this critical end-time season!
It's time we stop looking for God to resolve issues, to revive economies, to fix society… and just start looking for God.
Living here only 3 1/2 years, I’m the new kid on the block in the Detroit region, but it’s not my first time around the block.
In my 22+ years of ministry I’ve experienced some great moves of God. Unfortunately, I’ve also had front row seats to an often sleeping church.
The only reason I uprooted my family, sold our house and moved to Detroit, with no promise of an income or position of any kind, no guarantee that anybody would welcome us with open arms, was for the sake of revival. Full blown regional transformation.
I have no reason to be here. I had no connections in Detroit. I have only visited a couple of times in my life prior to my six destiny filled ministry trips here in 2008. We were not even thinking of moving here—until God spoke. We are here on assignment—a mission for revival.
Enough is enough.
I am disturbed in my spirit beyond description. If I were to state it most honestly, I would have to describe it as sickening. I don’t want to use a dramatic word to grab your attention, but I can’t deny the sick and disturbing grief that I’ve been sensing in the spirit in this region lately. Something is going on.
Before I continue with that thought, it’s very important that you tap into the depths of my heart. First, there is a good measure of very important and effective work for the Kingdom occurring. I am humbled by having the privilege of knowing some of the most faithful men and women of God here in Detroit. There is a small remnant of revival minded people that includes pastors, intercessors and servants of the Most High God. You all have blessed me and I honor you! I know God sees you and is moving on behalf of you. You have done more than I could ever hope to do. It’s been amazing running with you!
In spite of some potent relationships with these anointed men and women of God, I can’t shake the disturbance.
Since I’ve been in Detroit I’ve heard a lot about revival. It seems the whole region is crying out for it. However, this is where the root of the disturbance in my spirit exists.
Most every time revival is mentioned, the intent of that desire is to experience some sort of breakthrough, blessing or restitution.
I believe the disturbance in my spirit is linked with the rapidly increasing jealousy of God. He is jealous, and he refuses to be replaced by material satisfaction.
Let me make this very clear:
It’s time we STOP crying out for God to revive the economy, for resolved issues, for racial tensions to subside, for a fixed city… and START crying out for God and God alone!
God is jealous and he won’t allow Detroit to be satisfied by money, security or anything else until we are satisfied in Him and no one or nothing else!
DO NOT expect revival until we return to our first love. It WILL NOT COME! In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if the situation in this region got dramatically worse. The choice is ours, however.
I STRONGLY recommend you read my recent article The Spirit of Abortion…in the Church? The spirit of selfish ambition that drives mothers to kill their babies is the same spirit that convinces Christians to abort their costly missions if they don’t get out of it what they want. If they don’t believe their participation will result in personal breakthrough, a greater personal experience, they abort mission and it has deadly impact on the cause of revival.
It’s absolutely shocking to me that so much emphasis is placed on the pursuit of breakthrough yet the call to breakthrough into a pursuit of God falls on deaf ears.
Will we only gather and pray if we have a hope of personal blessing? So far, generally speaking, the answer in Detroit is yes. Where are all of the hungry people in Detroit? The stadiums should be filled with zealous, praying people every night of the week! Have the cares of life and entertainment so bewitched us that we have become convinced that being with God is not worth it?
I propose starting a movement of encounter which only has one goal—to be fully satisfied in enjoying and responding to the Lover of our souls. Nothing else matters. If we all have to live in a cardboard box on the streets of Detroit to encounter God, so be it! Our goal is not financial! It’s not selfish! It’s to be with God! That is all!
Have you noticed that the majority of conferences emphasize the personal blessing we’ll receive if we attend? Church offering sermonettes all too often focus solely on the breakthrough we’ll get if we give. What if we show up to bless others? What if we gave with no expectation of return?
Listen church! It’s time to die! Instead of reading a book about “how to become a better you,” I believe God wants us to discover how to become a “deader you!” Revival at all costs! We die so that we can live and be fully satisfied in God alone!
I must again state my humbled admiration of a segment of extremely unified, love driven pastors and leaders in this region. You amaze me.
That being said, the fear driven competition between so many churches in Detroit is an embarrassment to this city. And we think revival is near? Not until repentance is deep and unity is strong.
I believe its time that we are willing to lose our people, lose our salaries, lose our reputations, lose it all for the sake of blessing other churches and ministries in Detroit.
It’s time to celebrate every new church and ministry that launches in this region! Encourage them! Support them! Even if they start on the same block as your church! Even if all of your people leave your church to join theirs!
I firmly propose an open hands policy in Detroit. This is our policy at Revival Church. Any leader, any person, can come to Revival Church and openly, without fear or guilt, recruit any person in our church, including any of my staff or leaders, to leave Revival Church and join their church. Our hands are wide open. You can’t steal my sheep if I don’t own my sheep. We don’t own people, we are there to serve and bless them and encourage them into their destinies, even if that’s in another place.
We must stop building our own kingdoms. Brian Ming wrote a chilling worship song that included these words: God forgive us for building kingdoms of man on doctrines of demons in your name.
I included that in my book Pharaoh in the Church, and I sent that book to 200 pastors in the Detroit region a couple of years ago. It is a bold call to self-less unity. I was saddened that I only received a few responses.
As someone who has led my amazing team into over 60 churches in the Detroit region, both urban and suburban, over the last year and a half to pray and unite with pastors, both black and white, I do feel I have a right to say what I’m about to say:
When I pray with people of any color I feel absolutely no racial issue in the church of Detroit. Many, many have agreed with my perspective as Spirit-filled people of all colors have smiled ear to ear in the joy of the Lord as we have prayed in power together.
If you do battle with the race issue, you don’t have a racial problem, you have a humility problem. You have a prayer problem.
When I was one of the leaders of a remarkable prayer movement in Colorado Springs several years back, we prayed in fire with pastors and hungry people every Friday night—in over 100 churches. Pray! Magazine interviewed me and asked, “How do you handle the issue of competition between pastors as you are gathering them together in this movement?” I simply answered, “It’s not possible to hate someone you are fervently praying for. If I’m praying for another pastor to have more success than me, a bigger church than me, more money than me, more influence than me, I simply can’t at the same time be divided against him.”
I don’t care if revival breaks out downtown Detroit, down in Toledo, over in Windsor or in a wealthy suburb. If we really understood what revival was, we’d shut down our lives and run hard and fast anywhere it broke out!
I have no patience with the absolutely ridiculous racial distractions in the church that are keeping us from serving and praying in fire together. Yes, I’m the new kid on the block with a different perspective. I humbly pray you check out the view from my perspective. It’s much happier here.
A CASUAL APPROACH
This issue is directed to Christians in general—where are you?
Are you so sleepy that you aren’t active and vibrant enough in the spirit to hear the alarms? Wake up! Wake up!
Never again treat the call to battle casually. Never again participate in your local church casually. It’s time to awaken and advance with an alert and ready spirit! If you don’t know how to connect, ask! Ask again! Show up! Be a warrior! Serve!
Pastors aren’t there to entertain you! They are their to gather you, to equip you, to assign you and to ensure you fulfill your mission.
Show up early. Stay late. Be at every prayer meeting. Cancel date night. Cancel Little League. Bring the kids into the streets of Detroit. Evangelize. Pray. Serve. Work!
The 24/7 church is coming…yes, we will be in church every day of the week in the not too distant future. The question is, will it take a terrifying calamity to convince us to gather together in God’s presence, or will it result from a simple desire to be with God continually?
I’ve been to some regional revival events in Detroit, and the venue is often nearly empty! Are you serious? Muslims can show up in mass, on time, without any excuse or conflicting activity standing in the way…to pray…at inconvenient times…yet, Christians, who serve the Living God, can’t show up to contend for revival? Pastors, it’s time to lead your people out of your own church and into other churches for the sake of an outpouring! Be the example that Detroit needs!
It has been prophesied that if the church of Detroit doesn’t come into agreement with revival, God will bypass this city and give Chicago the next chance.
I’m beginning to believe that that may just happen.
So, what’s my response? To give up? No. Quite the opposite.
My family just bought a house here. We planted roots. We are starting a second church. We are helping three others launch home churches out of Revival Church this year. We are planting 50 churches in this region over the next few years.
And, we are ready to lock arms with anybody who is sold out, zealous, available and committed to extreme unity, hard work and a lot of time invested in this city that is very much worth it.
Here’s a partial picture of some of the projects and plans that you can join us in!
In the last 20 years of this ministry God has dropped some crazy huge vision into me, and I’ll be the first to admit that I have near zero ability to pull it off. That’s not false humility, that’s actually probably an understatement!
But, that reality doesn’t reveal a liability—it opens the door of unlimited opportunity as we yield to the Enabler.
God uprooted us from Kansas City and dropped us into Detroit to serve and give leadership to a massive, prophetic reformation in the church and outpouring in the region. We’re gathering pastors, leaders and hungry people to pray every week and contend together in the fire.
If you would like to participate in these projects, I would be so grateful. We are seeking an increase in financial support so we can more fully focus on what God has given us. We are also looking for local people to run the race with us in corporate prayer and mission advance at theLab, Revival Church and our other adventures.
Here’s the big, big ideas:
The Coming Church: I’m currently writing this book on extreme reform that is coming to the church. The shift will arrive with force and it will only be discernable in fullness via the Spirit. You can read the article where I reveal the shocking vision I had of the coming church here: https://burton.tv/2011/07/21/a-fearful-vision-of-what-the-church-will-soon-look-like/
Drop That Sheep: This may be the next book I focus on as I am wrecked and troubled at the level of competition between churches. We as pastors don’t own sheep, we love them, equip them and release them into their destinies.
Unoffendable: This extremely popular teaching will be made into a book as well. It is fully possible to live a life totally free of offense so we can draw our strength from God alone and be free to love and bless those who hurt and use us.
Ten Threats to Revival: This will most likely be a short booklet yet it’s a key message to those who are hungry for the burnings of God on a city level. You can read the article that is leading to this book here: https://burton.tv/2011/03/20/ten-threats-to-revival/
A Spirit of Insignificance: This is another very popular and liberating teaching that has launched a lot of people into their destinies via the revelation of the burning One that they ‘carry like Mary'.
MINISTRY IN DETROIT
Revival Church: We are growing powerfully! We are becoming more established as a regional center of revival and are intent on equipping people to carry God to this city. Our worship team is leaving a powerful mark in the region as they are one of the ‘go to’ teams for people like Catherine Mullins, Aaron Crider and others when they are in town.
theLab Internship: God’s grace is all over this ministry! I’m in awe! What started as a small noon prayer meeting has launched into a testimony machine where people have come alive in the furnace of God’s presence. We have four internships scheduled for 2012 so start praying about how you can participate!
Seeking a new property: We are very actively praying for a miracle to occur so we can house theLab and Revival Church seven days a week. We are maximizing what’s available to us in the building that we lease and share with another church, but the amount of activity that we have simply demands a full-time headquarters.
Prophetic Ministry to the city: I moved here from Kansas City with a mandate and a message for this amazing city of Detroit. My heart is to serve and give apostolic and prophetic leadership to the revival movement here. This is truly the driving force of my life in this current season and we are seeking extreme fire-fueled unity in the churches of this region.
1000 Intercessors: This is a critical piece of the puzzle. We pray in a different church every Friday night from 10pm-midnight, and I’m urgently calling every pastor in the region to gather with us each week. We also need burning intercessors and revivalists to step into position and pray on site with us each Friday. Can you imagine 1000 people converging at a different church every seven days in Detroit? I can.
The new sound in Detroit: God dropped a bomb on me. I clearly see a worldwide worship movement being birthed in Detroit, but it’s quite different than what many would presume. This is a Romans 8:26-27 worship movement. A deep groaning worship movement that shatters atmospheres.
MINISTRY NATIONALLY AND INTERNATIONALLY
Carrying fire: I feel a season of shift is upon me, and I’m starting to focus more on traveling to churches, conferences and city events to release the fire of God. The vision is to travel often with the team that I’m raising up at theLab and to hold workshops, schools of fire and other events, and also to travel individually nationally and internationally to teach on the topics of my books.
Schools of fire: We’ve already heard from people in other cities who are craving an internship and school of fire like theLab to be launched in their region. We will see teams of people from Detroit spending a week or a month in another city somewhere in the world to setup this unique ministry.
Television: There has been a good amount of prophecy on this topic. I see a wild, prophetic, explosive and edgy television program that has deep, groaning worship, quick snips of prophetic teaching, fervent prayer and other elements.
BurtonSites: My web design business is doing great, and I’ll be eventually looking to bring someone on to take over the design so I can oversee it and focus on ministry more fully.
Burton family finances: We believe in full disclosure so you can understand clearly the needs we have. Currently our personal finances primarily come from a part-time Revival Church salary and my web and graphic design. Some smaller amounts come in from Amy’s 8 hour a week job at a crisis pregnancy center, sales of my books and honorariums when I travel and speak.
We have our monthly bills covered (barely!) and we are debt free as a family. However, there are two issues we would love some support in:
- I need to rework the hours spent on web and graphic design so I can be more free to write the books, develop the church and ministry and travel. As income comes in to replace my design income, I’ll be able to bring on an employee to handle my workload.
- We need two new(er) vehicles. We have some pretty creative angles holding our two mini-vans together! One has nearly 180,000 miles on it and has served us well for nearly 10 years. The turn signals, air bags and horn don’t work, it leaks oil, the air conditioning is broken and the sliding door barely closes! No complaints, as I’d rather drive a rust bucket than have a car payment, but, cars only last so long. I’m getting ready to focus on traveling in ministry and I’ll need a solid car pretty soon.
How you can help
The two easiest ways to help would be to either give a donation (recurring monthly donations are great too!) at www.johnburton.net/donate. Or, hire me. Head over to www.burtonsites.com and order a site or check out www.johnburtondesign.com and let me know how I can help with logos, graphics and print design.
Additionally, if you have the resources to donate a newer, reliable car that can hold six people, that would be awesome!
We love you all! God is doing big, big things and we have big, big, faith!!
Blessings to you!
While potentially provocative, it’s important to discuss the issue of church competition as we progress toward revival.
It hits me very deeply, and it saddens me so much when I encounter a spirit of competition within the landscape of the church.
This issue is rampant and it has resulted in a weakened, compromised city church structure, which is extremely problematic as we prepare for revival.
1 Timothy 3:14-15 (ESV) 14 I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, 15 if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.
This passage is written with leaders in mind. It’s important to know how to behave in the household of God… and how not to behave.
Keep in mind, scripturally the church is identified by the larger city, by geography. It’s the Church at Ephesus, not the First Church of Jesus Christ and the Second Church of Jesus Christ and such and such Baptist church in the city of Ephesus. We don’t see the local church in the Bible, though God has and will move powerfully through local, smaller groups within the larger city Church. However, we have to understand that local churches are simply departments of a single city Church. Senior pastors are departmental leaders under the apostolic leadership of the city.
The call of leaders is to raise up a company of burning ministers of God with the expectation of seeing them released into world shaking endeavors. Some will be released into ministry in other cities, some will be released into other expressions of the church in their own city, while others will remain directly involved where they were trained.
But, everybody must be trained and released. The message to Timothy continues:
1 Timothy 4:14-15 (ESV) 14 Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. 15 Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress.
Everybody must be progressing.
prog·ress n. 1. Movement, as toward a goal; advance.
Everybody under my care at Revival Church must be moving! If someone is not able to progress, to move, to advance in their ministry due to nervous pastors, it is a serious violation of God’s instructions to the Church. As I said, movement may take people out of a local ministry and into the place they are called to advance into, and we as leaders must celebrate when that happens.
A spirit of Pharaoh within spiritual leaders will do everything possible to keep their people from leaving into their wilderness of encounter, into their destiny.
That unhealthy spirit of Pharaoh will use people to fulfill leader’s personal endeavors, and any thought of those people leaving will strike them with fear and anger. A divisive, controlling spirit is embraced while people who are meant to fulfill their destinies are required to continue making the bricks of a man-made Egypt.
I didn’t realize how much a simple statement would set someone free.
A new friend had been through a troubling situation at a church and her transition out was filled with unfortunate and unnecessary struggle and guilt.
She cautiously started to investigate Revival Church from her place of fear and pain. We were discussing our pursuit as a church of freedom in Detroit one day, and I told her, “I don’t own you. I don’t own people here. As a pastor, my role is to serve you, not use you.”
That simple statement changed her life dramatically and caused her to breathe more easily.
I often tell the people who are pressing ahead with great commitment and focus at Revival Church that I, as their leader, have wide open hands. They aren’t my possession, they are my joy. Anybody from any church or ministry can, at any time, openly recruit any person at Revival Church. I have open hands. Sheep stealing cannot happen at Revival Church because it’s impossible to steal what someone freely gives.
Additionally, I know that my church is simply a department of the city church. I am not an island to myself. I’m not the supreme leader (yeah, doesn’t that sound ridiculous?). It would be silly for a local church’s single’s pastor to refuse to allow someone in his ministry to also commit to a weekly small group in the same local church. The same is true within the context of the city church. It makes no sense to presume people running with us at Revival Church wouldn’t also have opportunities to serve in other local ministries. My job, as 1 Tim 4:14-15 declares, is to lay hands on them and allow them to immerse themselves in their ministry, to practice, to progress, and I realize that much of that practice will take place in places other than Revival Church.
If a pastor in Detroit encourages one of my key leaders to serve on his leadership team, then I should celebrate! And I do! They aren’t stealing one of my sheep. We are on the same team, in the same church!
A youth pastor once confronted a friend of mine, who was a youth pastor at a thriving youth ministry in Texas. He very boldly, full of agitation, accused my friend of stealing his sheep because many of the youth from his church were also attending my buddy’s youth ministry.
My friend boldly replied, “How is it that you are accusing me of stealing sheep that simply wandered away from you? It doesn’t sound like you are feeding them what they need.”
Now, there is some merit (harsh but true) to that reply. However, another scenario might very well be more accurate. Is it possible that the other youth pastor was so successful at cultivating hunger for God that his disciples were making determined decisions to go after God with abandon—beyond the walls of their local church? Is it possible that their ‘wandering’ could be looked at as a sign of success on his part? I think that might be the case!
I have to tell you, I absolutely come alive when people under my care are moving about the city involving themselves in other churches and ministries. I love it! I want them to carry the fire of God into every place they can every single week!
We often hear that churches should not focus on transfer growth, on growing as people from other churches start connecting in the new church. Of course, I agree that we must see the church globally grow through evangelism, through conversion growth. The lost must be found. However, a common reason we hear some pastors renouncing transfer growth is because of insecurity and nervousness. They don’t want to lose anybody because that loss would equate to lost money, lost reputations, lost control, etc.
Again, we must expect people to participate in a variety of churches and ministries in the city Church. Since we are all in a single city Church, people moving from one local expression to another does not mean they are leaving one church for another. They are still in the city Church. If someone moves from the single’s ministry to a small group, there’s no transfer growth for the small group. The city Church has remained exactly the same size.
We must also admit that any single local church simply doesn’t have everything necessary to equip everybody. In fact, we’d be a much stronger city Church if we understood that. I am able to focus on the vision God has given me at Revival Church, and I don’t have the pressure to be an expert in everything. I can encourage people to connect in another church that’s strong where I am weak. And, if they feel they must spend the majority of their time there, under the leadership of a person who’s more able to give them what they need, then that is great! They can transfer from my local church to theirs, but the city Church has not lost…it has actually won. That person will now be more able to grow and progress, and the city church will be the better for it.
This is where the gloves have to come off. It’s a serious violation of God to foster a spirit of competition.
I was with a well known apostle who has a huge heart for revival in Detroit. He has a lot of influence and a very successful church in another state. He felt led to make several trips to serve Detroit, and on this particular trip he was with a group of pastors. He said, “Don’t worry, I’m not going to move here and start a church.” Everybody laughed.
While funny, I was disturbed by that exchange.
Why would the thought of this man opening another department in the growing city church cause other pastors to worry?
Of course, I know the answer. Because a successful man starting a new church would threaten their own kingdoms.
I don’t want to be overly dramatic, but I have to say that actually sickens me. People are going to Hell and pastors are worried about another ministry being successful? Sick.
Dr. James Emery White said: If you think a new church opening up in your area is a threat to your “mission field”, you need mission lessons.
Mark 3:24-25 (ESV) 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.
Is there any wonder why there is no revival at a city level anywhere in the nation? The city Church is divided tragically. There is gossip about pastors and churches. There is fear and nervousness when other churches succeed. Hands are closed tight, not opened wide. The sheep are being used not served. People are jealous and divisive. This must end. Jesus is the head of the church and we have to finally let him govern freely.
3 John 1:9-10 (ESV) 9 I have written something to the church, but Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority. 10 So if I come, I will bring up what he is doing, talking wicked nonsense against us. And not content with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers, and also stops those who want to and puts them out of the church.
This is a powerful verse. This is descriptive of situations that repeat every day in cities all over the world. Diotrephes gossiped and slandered and aggressively divided threatening people out of the church. Anybody that was a threat to his own preeminence was dealt with swiftly.
Contrary to this worldly, demonic approach to church leadership, look at how Jesus led:
Mark 9:35 (ESV) 35 And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”
That is leadership, and that is how we must approach other churches and ministries.
Every Friday night from 10pm-midnight our team travels to different church somewhere in the Detroit region. We pray in the Spirit and release blessing over that church, that pastor and their mission. I tell them that my prayer is for their church to grow much bigger than my own. I want them to receive greater offerings than we do. If they want some of my team to join their team, they are free to approach them about it.
Additionally, the call is for every pastor that we visit to join us every Friday night in another church and to pray the same things there. Can you imagine what would happen if every pastor in Detroit did that with us every Friday night? Revival would land nearly immediately.
One last point is critical: We cannot hold onto people so tightly that they are unable to respond to the greater, regional call. If something in the city church requires people from my team to move out of position in my local ministry and into position into the city ministry, I have to release them. A spirit of Pharaoh will keep people away from the greater calling. It will be common, as revival lands, for people in local ministries and churches to move out to serve regionally.
This will be a challenge for many. What do I do if my worship leader is tapped to serve the department that’s over my own? I let her go and trust God that he’ll ensure everything locally is covered. In fact, if it’s a city Church event, it would make more sense to shut down my ministry for the day or week and head out with everybody, in the spirit of Moses, into the greater, regional mission.
So, how about it church? It’s time to celebrate the growth of the city church, to release the people under our care, to burn with love and to lock arms with other Believers in the region—even if it means our own ministry shrinks. People with that type of heart will be exalted and rewarded as those with a heart after God’s own.
First—Revival Church is a REGIONAL strategic center of revival. We are calling all of the hungry people in Detroit, everybody who’s ready for a move of God, to converge every Sunday night with us. TONIGHT we’re gathering the army and preparing for revival at 6PM. Come on out if you are anywhere within 50 miles! www.detroitrevivalchurch.com
Those of you who follow my ministry know a key component is the preparation for a massive reformation in the church. Extreme change to the current structure, style of service and day-to-day operations of the local church must come—and quickly.
I trust that you’ll understand that I am intensely positive and driven by excitement and joyful expectation for the coming revival in the church. I love and currently lead a local church myself. However, we’re at a critical point in history where honest analysis must come forth. Everything is not OK, and a reformation is coming.
Here are some key concerns I have in regard to the local church:
- THE LOSS OF CITY CHURCH IDENTITY—Scripturally we see the church of the city emphasized much more than the smaller, localized church. Today, it seems that the concept of a city church to many is more a fable than a biblical reality. Without question, the proposal to function as a city church has little positive response when discussed among pastors and other leaders. It’s one thing to participate in token city church functions a few times a year, but it’s something entirely different when we’re talking about weekly city church staff meetings, shared responsibilities, pooling of resources and releasing the body to intentionally connect several times a week in other local churches.
Witness Lee said this: “…we cannot have a street church, nor an avenue church, nor a church on a college campus, nor a church in a house that is not also the church in the city. According to the New Testament we can have only a city church, that is, the church in the city where we are.”
Watchman Nee said, “I believe God in His great wisdom made the locality the boundary of the church in order to eliminate the works of man, which try to divide the church within one locality.”
The local church is a puzzle piece. A single puzzle piece has no purpose or value if it’s not connected to the completed picture. But, when connected, it’s powerful.
- A TEMPERED ENVIRONMENT—When I led Revolution Church in Manitou Springs, Colorado I made a promise to the church. I would never tone down the activity of the Holy Spirit out of respect of those less hungry. If we fear that extreme Holy Spirit activity will drive people away, I’ll propose we’re in an extremely dangerous place. Our true motive of church growth ahead of Holy Spirit freedom becomes clear. We presume we have a more natural, logical, social and appropriate way to touch lives. We actually say, “Holy Spirit, I’ll take it from here.” The reality is that it takes a supernatural infusion to touch lives. A logical, social approach as the primary strategies just can’t work.
Today it has become rare to find a church that is exploding in life, power and heavy moves of the Holy Spirit. The reality is that, at least in the formative stages, a church that emphasizes Holy Spirit liberty and allows a weighty manifestation of God’s presence is at risk of losing people. Most people do enjoy a quick touch, a healing, an experience in God’s presence—at a low cost. However, few—very few—are willing to pay the price, week to week, to go into the deep. The cost is high and the Western church has created a culture of satisfying the desires of the people ahead of mission advance and intimacy with God. I wonder how many people have been lulled into a false sense of eternal security due to a tempered corporate expression.
- IT’S DIFFICULT TO EMPHASIZE AND FACILITATE A CULTURE OF PRAYER—Why is this? Poorly steward time, for one. Most churches today intentionally limit the length of the Sunday service to less than two hours. Most people today only attend a Sunday morning service. We have little choice but to reform this model and introduce deep, zealous, faith-driven prayer and intercession for the nations back into our primary services. Today, pastors, on average, pray six minutes a day. This is a horrifying statistic. The church of our nation is being led primarily by people who know certain things about God, but may not deeply and intimately know him.
- COMPETITION BETWEEN CHURCHES—I’ll make my feelings on this point clear. It’s tragic and often sickening when churches compete, exhibit jealousy and aren’t clearly connected to each other. We have to admit that something’s wrong when established churches aren’t rushing to the front of the line to welcome and help a new church plant.
I’ll share my own story of insecurity from the early days of Revolution Church in Manitou Springs, Colorado—a city with only five churches, and only two that were open to a move of the Spirit. We had a huge vision for that region. We had invested much and were working hard to advance the mission. On day I stumbled upon a new church’s website that highlighted a vision of their own to plant a satellite church in Manitou Springs. Though I handled the news just fine publicly, I’m embarrassed by my personal, emotional response. I was nervous. I didn’t want to lose ground, lose people or be upstaged by something more successful. Sad but true! What should my response have been? What should the response of established churches be when other churches are on the move and advancing in their mission?
- I should have sent them money.
- I should have celebrated their arrival.
- I should have found some of my best leaders and families and sent them to the new church for several months to help them get established( even if those families felt led to remain in that new church indefinitely).
- I should have taken the pastor and his wife out to dinner.
- I should have rejoiced at the greater opportunity to expand the Kingdom of God in Manitou Springs!
I absolutely love Mike Bickel’s philosophy—anybody at any time can walk through the doors of his ministry and recruit anybody they want to leave and join them in their own ministry. That’s the way it should be! The time is growing short where building our own kingdoms and jealously guarding them is coming to an end. We simply have to keep our hands open. I encourage the people at Revival Church to serve, enjoy and connect with other churches in the city. We also welcome people with open arms from other churches to connect at Revival Church.
- REDUNDANCY—This point is so simple that it’s shocking that we haven’t figured it out. The secular business world is sharper than the church on this issue. McDonalds would never attempt to build a restaurant on each of the four corners of an intersection. It would be foolish beyond description to do so. The world knows this, and also finds it easy to laugh and mock when they see four Christian churches, one at each corner of the same intersection. It’s madness!
Our independent, controlling methodologies as church leaders have resulted in an extreme waste of resources. You see, it would make perfect sense for there to be one McDonalds, one Taco Bell, one KFC and one Pizza Hut on each of the four corners of an intersection. Each restaurant has a specialty, a fresh take on the dining experience. On Monday the family enjoys McDonalds, on Tuesday it’s Pizza Hut, etc.
If we in the local church could understand that we are to create departments of the city church as opposed to autonomous and independent local churches, and it’s ok to specialize on one or two Kingdom focuses instead of unsuccessfully trying to do it all, the Kingdom will advance very quickly. Let’s take those four churches, consider the pastors to be associate staff members on the city church staff, allow them to only focus on what they are gifted to do and encourage their members to visit all four at different points during the week.