Watch this powerful, can’t miss message from Moriah Ranch—End Time Ready.
This is a can't miss teaching delivered at Moriah Ranch in Poplar Bluff, Missouri. John boldly deals with the current state of the church and tragic misunderstandings regarding salvation.
A prayerless people are at great risk of falling away, though they profess Christ and live an otherwise devoted life.
I had a dream, and afterwards I visited Detroit to minister, and then saw the mural of jumping whales which was a key part of the dream.
It’s a warning dream, and Detroit must respond in repentance and intercession—as must the nation. Here’s the picture I took last night at the game and also the dream. (This is taken from the chapter in my book The Coming Church titled Their Freedom is Your Mission.)
A Troubling End-Time Dream
Here is a clear example of a sharp, prophetic message. Will we respond to the call or casually watch from the sidelines?
It would be nice if all of our dreams, visions and communication from God had the feel of running and dancing through a field of daisies, but it’s more important that we receive accurate data than imaginary, feel good stories.
This dream was anything but candy canes and ice cream. To date, other than my encounter with Hell in the early 1990s, I’ve never received such an urgent and troubling dream of God.
The first scene in my dream represented a typical American day. I was in my basement in a really comfortable leather recliner, sitting in front of a large television. I was excitedly watching my favorite NFL team, the Chicago Bears, play in a nationally televised evening game. I was thoroughly entertained and was settling in for a great night of football.
The scene then suddenly changed. I found myself in the captain’s seat of the largest commercial airplane I’d even seen. In fact, this jet was capable of holding over 1000 people. Everybody in the airplane was excited and ready for the journey—and they were all blood-bought Christians. They represented an end-time remnant being prepared by God for the days ahead.
In the cockpit, I was overwhelmed by the magnitude and majesty of the airplane. I put my hand on the throttle as we were sitting on the runway, ready to depart. Simply touching it revealed a power that was sobering indeed.
I understood that, as the captain of the airplane, my responsibility was immense. I felt completely incapable of fulfilling my duties, but at the same time, I felt such an overwhelming confidence. I had the grace to do what I was called to do, even though I didn’t understand even how to take the first step.
In that grace, I gave the throttle a push. Every inch that I carefully moved the throttle forward it seemed that the power increased one hundredfold or more. The slight vibration that was caused by multiple jet engines kept increasing as I moved 1000 people down the runway.
Suddenly, we were airborne, and we were catapulted into our unknown mission.
Almost immediately, as I followed the flight plan, we were flying over an ocean. As I looked down, something unusual had caught my attention, and I yearned to move in for a closer look. I brought the jet down and flew just above the surface of the water. What I saw was remarkable. All around, sea life was leaping out of the water. Everybody in the airplane was glued to the windows as they were captivated by the same view. Dolphins and whales were jumping high into the air as were innumerable other creatures, many of which I had never seen before.
As I watched, my desire for greater revelation and encounter with this seeming other-worldly exhibition was rapidly increasing. I wanted more!
I then did what makes no sense in the natural—I nose-dived and took the giant airship under the water. The moment I did, the power of the engines rapidly increased. The deeper I went, the greater the power. Under the water, I saw things I had never seen before. It was dark, but all of the sea life was easily visible as they glowed in various brilliant colors. Needless to say I, along with my passengers, would never be the same again.
I then reemerged at the surface of the water and took the aircraft back up to cruising altitude. It was time to move on to our destination.
Just as we reached the appropriate altitude, I received an urgent radio transmission:
The airport you will soon arrive at has been overtaken by terrorists. When you land, you and your passengers will deplane and will be confronted by them. You have no option to divert to another airport. If you do, the missiles that are currently locked on to your aircraft will be launched and you will all perish. You have no option but to continue according to your original flight path and land.
I then passed that information along to the 1000 passengers. In a moment, our joyful awe of what we experienced just moments ago shockingly changed to sobriety. We were about to land.
When we did, my two older boys (who at the time were approximately 10 and 12 years old) and I left the plane and entered the terminal.
I expected to see mass chaos, but I did not. Though there were many thousands of people in the terminal’s various public areas, it was so quiet that you could hear someone cough from one hundred yards away. Fear had gripped everybody. They were scared silent.
Each public area looked the same. People were ordered to line up along the walls by a terrorist who was standing in the middle of the room. The terrorist was dressed fully in black and had a machine gun in his hands.
We were ushered into a room, and as we entered, my oldest son thought he saw someone he knew on the other side of the room. Before I could do anything, he broke away from me, oblivious to what was happening, and ran across the room to see his friend. I knew it was the last time I’d ever hold my son.
I then held my younger son closer than ever as we took our place on the wall.
The terrorist then started addressing people as he walked along the wall. He slowly, methodically moved closer to where we were standing. He then stopped and ordered the man who was standing next to us to move to the center of the room. The terrorist asked this terrified man a question, “Have you ever stolen anything?”
He didn’t know how to answer. Should he tell the truth and reveal that, yes, he had stolen something at some point in his life? Would that earn him favor with the terrorist? Or, should he lie and attempt to convince him he was pure and should not be executed?
I knew that it didn’t matter how he responded. He was about to take his last breath.
What I saw next was grisly. I shielded my younger son’s eyes as the terrorist pulled out a machete and started hacking the victim’s fingers, a half an inch at a time. He dismembered this man and was ready to move on to the next—us.
Then I woke up.
What did it mean?
Football. In America, football is one of the enduring symbols of passionate, cultural entertainment. Of course, there is nothing inherently wrong with watching a football game, but the game’s place in my dream was significant. It represented life as usual. I was happily distracted and nothing else existed on my grid that night.
The sudden shift to the cockpit is key. Vehicles often represent ministry when they occur in dreams. We must, as the remnant Church, be ready for a sudden move into critical end-time ministry. We have to be instant in and out of season. Our ears must be attentive to the prophetic voices that are sounding alarms in our nation.
Supernatural power and grace is coming to the true, remnant Church. The 1000 passengers represented the true Church—Christians who were ready to be carried by God and who were not doing so for their own enjoyment. The massive airplane and the immeasurable power that it produced was there for a purpose—to carry people into a mission. The coming Church will be marked by people, as in the first century Church, who are mission minded and willing to lay down their lives. They aren’t there for the benefits alone.
When the remnant Church is in position, the adventure will begin! As in the dream, the first phase will include such glorious, supernatural revelation that we will be forever transformed. Those who are distracted by the offerings of the world will miss out on this remnant call into the shock and the awe of the glory of God! There is a consecration that’s required for those who are interested in going into the deep places with God.
The deeper we go, the more power and wonder we will experience.
Then Joshua rose early in the morning and they set out from Shittim. And they came to the Jordan, he and all the people of Israel, and lodged there before they passed over. At the end of three days the officers went through the camp and commanded the people, “As soon as you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God being carried by the Levitical priests, then you shall set out from your place and follow it. Yet there shall be a distance between you and it, about 2,000 cubits in length. Do not come near it, in order that you may know the way you shall go, for you have not passed this way before.”
Then Joshua said to the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you.” And Joshua said to the priests, “Take up the ark of the covenant and pass on before the people.” So they took up the ark of the covenant and went before the people. Joshua 3:1-6
God is raising up captains, leaders who will, like Joshua, call everybody into position. They will lead the remnant Church out of typical, deadly desert life across the water and into promise.
The end-time company represented by the 1000 on the airplane will be those who, as priests of the Lord, will carry the ark of his presence into the mission.
We have never been this way before. It is a mystery, but a mystery well worth the trouble to discover. We must consecrate ourselves on this side of the unknown as we, in faith, get ready to experience the wonders of the Lord!
As we emerge out of revelation of the glory of God, we will be functioning from a place of power and radical transformation. We will then be ready for the troubling warnings of God.
I believe the terrorists in my dream are less symbolic than we might hope. Fear is about to grip our land as the enemy puts his boots on the ground. We must stand firm in the grace of God, even when horrific trouble comes, as it did for me as a father, when in my dream, my older son broke away from my care.
Very troubling times are ahead of us. The enemy’s primary weapon will be the spirit of fear. God’s primary weapon? The shock and the awe of the glory of God. The coming Church will be a Church that has gone deep in God together and my friend, this is the only Church that will be able to stand against the wickedness.
Interestingly, I discovered after I had this dream, that it is known that Islamic terrorists will actually chop off the fingers of thieves just as I witnessed in my dream. I had never heard of this before and it was further confirmation that the dream was communication from the Lord and that we must be ready for an assault against his Bride.
“As to the thief, Male or female, cut off his or her hands: a punishment by way of example, from Allah, for their crime: and Allah is Exalted in power.” Quran 5:38
Perfect love casts out fear, which is why we know the kingdom of darkness cannot win. This is all the more reason for the Church to go deep into God! We need a revelation of Jesus! The coming Church will have that revelation of deep, glorious love, and the enemy knows this. This is why he is unleashing a false-love movement that is actually founded on fear…
An end-time army of burning ones are coming together to serve with passion in Detroit!
Give leadership to the prayer movement in Detroit
The vision is hot and ready for you jump into. We want to help you understand the vision and what you can expect.
Habakkuk 2:2 (ESV) And the LORD answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.
The following is required for everybody who participates in theFurnace, theLab or theCore:
- A high standard of holiness
- Financial partnership (tithe)
- 6pm Saturday War Room Prayer
Who is theCore for?
Burning men and women of God who are desperately hungry, disciplined and available to commit at a high level.
At the Detroit Prayer Furnace we have three specific opportunities for you to lock into a lifestyle of prayer and ministry. Is theCore right for you? Maybe and maybe not.
Here are the three ways you can connect:
If you simply want to connect with other fire-breathers and involve yourself in a fiery culture of intercession and prophetic ministry, theFurnace is for you.
theFurnace is an extremely important part of our culture, and some of our most effective leaders may land here instead of theCore. Why? Because we highly value marketplace leaders and others who have more limited availability due to their assignment in the workplace or their place in life.
Anybody can start in theFurnace at any time, and even stay there without ever participating in theLab or theCore. Simply communicate your desire to lock in with our team, agree to the minimum commitments (see above) and burn with us as often as you can each week!
theLab University is a school of fire that prepares people for Holy Spirit baptized ministry.
We strongly encourage everybody in our community to enroll in theLab University. This is a focused, intense training environment that will unlock your destiny and set you ablaze!
theLab will also instruct you in the core values of the Detroit Prayer Furnace, the vision and how to best engage in our unique culture.
Everybody interested in joining theCore, a team of 40+ leaders in the Detroit Prayer Furnace, must successfully complete one three-month session of theLab.
You can get more info here: www.thelabuniversity.com
theCore is made up of leaders and emerging leaders who have successfully completed theLab, and who have the desire to serve on a focused, consecrated and submitted team of end-time warriors.
The vision is white hot—this team will be locking arms with fellow soldiers in continual prayer, training emerging leaders, carrying the fire to the cities of the Earth and modeling Acts 2 unity and consecration.
Keep in mind, for the sake of continuity, unity and corporate strength, we have unapologetically and intentionally raised the bar of commitment very high for this team—with very little, if any, flex.
Our target size for this team is only 40. We consider theCore to be our primary leadership team who serve under our senior staff, and, with this in mind, the commitment is the same as senior leadership.
Most people at the Detroit Prayer Furnace will serve with joyful passion in theFurnace. Some will get equipped in theLab. Few will choose to participate on theCore.
theCore is made up of ministry leaders who are able to consider this commitment primary over employment and other endeavors. Keep this in mind as you chart out your connection plan at the Detroit Prayer Furnace. You may not be able to join theCore due to other life focuses, and that is OK! theFurnace is an excellent place for you to connect AND you can participate in nearly every ministry and event that theCore does—just at your own pace.
While the commitment at theCore will work best for those who don’t work at all, there may be, depending on the specific situation, enough flex built in to the schedule to allow for some outside employment if necessary.
Keep in mind that local travel is required when the team is involved in regional events. These events can take place at any time, which is a key reason extensive availability beyond our regular weekly schedule is required.
- The full time commitment works out to be approximately 12-14 hours a week.
- The part time commitment works out to be approximately 9-10 hours a week.
Opportunities for those on theCore include:
- leading prayer watch teams
- developing ministries
- leading traveling teams
- advancing the prayer movement
theCore team is firmly devoted to consecration and modeling the lifestyle of an end-time forerunner.
theCore commitment includes:
- FULL TIME: Four prayer & ministry events per week
- PART TIME: Two prayer & ministry events per week
- A high standard of holiness
- 5pm Saturday meeting
- 6pm Saturday intercession
- Monthly small group at John and Amy Burton’s home
- Traveling locally (and further if available) for ministry events
- Financial partnership (tithe)
- Continuing education
If you want to join theFurnace, theLab or theCore, we want to hear from you! Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org TODAY! We will give you info on how to get started.
Of course, you don’t have to participate at any level! If you simply want to enjoy our events, come on out!
My gut says there is a remnant that is feeling the same raw emotions I am about God, the church and revival.
- First: TONIGHT at 7pm, you are invited to experience the fire of the Holy Spirit with us at Revival Church! He has been showing up in an EXTREMELY powerful way over the last week!
- Second: You can now sign up to join the1000 Intercessors for Detroit here: www.detroitprayerfurance.com/the1000, AND request info about joining theCore Leadership Team at the Detroit Prayer Furnace here: www.detroitprayerfurnace.com/thecore.
Sometimes it’s therapeutic to simply write—and let the raw emotions of one’s heart to be exposed to the masses in the hopes that a few can relate. I’m absolutely wrecked and near tears regarding the dire need for end-time warriors to emerge! Rise up burning ones! Be awakened to the alarms of Heaven!
23 years ago I was alone in an empty church room in Dayton, Ohio. It was a crossroads moment for me, much more than I realized.
I had witnessed a lot of what we are familiar with in the Charismatic stream—people dancing, falling over, praying in tongues and exhibiting a lot of passion. Some of it was legit, some of it was not—and I knew it.
I craved God so deeply, though I had never truly experienced him—or, at least I hadn’t in a way that I was immediately convinced I had an encounter with a supernatural force. I wanted God to touch me in an undeniable way—but, I had no patience for anything fake. It must be a legitimate move of God in my life.
I told God, “If you aren’t really a healer, a powerful force, a mighty God, a sign and a wonder, I don’t want anything to do with you…but, if you are, I’ll die for you.”
That simple yet profoundly deep, emotional cry of my heart changed my life—and it has caused me trouble. I didn’t realize it then, but I had just signed up for a very lonely life. Those who would run with me at that pace would be the most precious people in the world—but they would be very few and far between.
I signed up as a forerunner—and today my heart isn’t satisfied if I’m not moving aggressively, with extreme commitment, with a team of other end-time forerunners—or raw, hungry emerging forerunners. I am possessed by the Spirit of God with a never ending passion for finding those people.
If you know me, you understand the daily wrestling of my heart. I’m provoked, troubled, wrecked—yet joyful and expectant. The vision God has given possesses me, and I will see it to the end!
That being said, can I try to relate to you? I, like you, have emotions and a lot of unanswered questions and I wonder what in the world is going on at times! It’s not uncommon for me to consider just what God means when he says it’s time to shift. What is that cost? What will I really have the guts to lay something down so that I can pick the new thing up? Is it possible that he’s calling me to something radically uncomfortable and out of the box? Absolutely.
I have actually come to the place of understanding the true impact of the ministry may not be felt for another one hundred years or more. This is actually not uncommon. Consider Jeremiah. I think of people like Leonard Ravenhill who may not have seen even a fraction of the impact that they will ultimately have during their lifetime.
I tend to ponder and pray a lot, and I’m at my best when I lay all of my cards on the table and give God permission to radically shift my life. I’m in that place now. What is God saying? How will our current, ongoing efforts of intercession and training emerging leaders in our ministry impact the world? Of course, as we continue to pray and equip at Revival Church and our various ministries, there will certainly be a significant handful of people who will be transformed now—but what about the vision for masses of people who will live and breathe Jesus, serve with passion, pray continually, burn hot and change the world? When will they emerge? The laborers are truly few.
I think about the hundreds of houses of prayer that closed last year alone. Where are the forerunners and intercessors that were assigned to those ministries? Will they not respond?
One of the greatest challenges is leading a “church” with all of the baggage and false-expectations that are attached to our American understanding of it.
Though I hear so much about how people are “tired of church as usual,” when presented with the cost of the reformation, church as usual becomes the more desirable direction.
I’d strongly encourage you to watch a video about a dream I had the other day. It’s titled “Assisted Suicide.” The dream was intensely personal and it revealed something hard core: the church is attempting to kill off the prayer movement. Those who don’t pray will aggressively react against those who do—and it will increase as the end draws near.
Of course, as you’ll see in the video, quitting is not an option—but the emotional desire to do so is an important indicator for us! The enemy is most forceful with the breakthrough is near.
WATCH THE VIDEO HERE: http://youtu.be/VXP3h6SHrls
We have to break through the resistance, cares of life and other life issues and lock in. Period.
The end-time army of forerunners will be so radically distinct from typical church goers that it will sear your spirit just by looking at them!
The coming church won’t fit into our busy lifestyles. It will jealously demand our full attention and that we take captive the distractions to the prayer movement.
For me, I need 40 people—weak yet disciplined and hungry for revival—who will run with joy this race with us.
The call? Show up. Pray always. Burn continually. Serve passionately. Die daily. Give cheerfully.
Sign up for theCore Leadership Team here: www.detroitprayerfurnace.com/thecore.
I still hold out hope that this small group of zealots in Detroit will have enough Upper Room power to turn this city upside down.
I’m also looking for 1000 people, from all parts of the world, who will pray every week for Detroit. This mission is so simple, yet the enemy is fighting fiercely!
Sign up for the1000 Intercessors for Detroit here: www.detroitprayerfurnace.com/the1000.
What’s next? The advance of the prayer movement! The enemy will feel the impact of burning prayer!
If it’s only me and a handful of other fiery people, so be it. It’s time to pray and shock the planet!
Discover how you can participate in strategic intercession and personal growth as an end-time forerunner!
People have been asking how they can participate with us, even if they live on the other side of the world. I want to help answer that question!
We are looking for 40 burning men and women of God to join our core leadership team at the Detroit Prayer Furnace.
We are also identifying 1000 intercessors for Detroit—and anybody from any place in the world can participate!
Watch this short video and you are sure to be stirred by the fire of God!
After you watch the video, CONTACT ME and I will help you get started into a key leadership position for revival!
This is a raw, timely message to the church regarding the risk necessary to see revival come to a region.
I'd like to encourage you to read Piece of Cake which is a guide for those who are called to move into ministry—but are nervous and hesitant.
In the midst of writing from the prayer room, I found myself compelled to share some of my journey with you—the successes and failures, the joys and the troubles.
There will always be extreme pressure to adjust your vision, sometimes ever so slightly, to be more appealing to others, but it’s this adjustment that will put your entire mission at jeopardy.
I’ll just say it—when God gives you your mandate, you must be both humble and stubborn—and no matter how humble you are, your stubborn disposition will invite trouble. Convincing arguments from wonderful people can lead you to compromise. Don’t do it. Love people in your stubborn, unmoving determination to obey God. In ministry, there are negotiables and non-negotiables. Never move on the non-negotiable vision God has called you to steward.
I believe there is a remnant, a very small army of prayer-devoted awakeners, who will respond to the mission God put into my spirit years ago.
So, what is the risk? Most would say, “Just go for it! Develop a ministry that gathers together those end-time firebrands!”
I absolutely agree, and we are attempting to do just that. But, there is significant risk when we consider what we are talking about here.
The purpose of this article is to help you eliminate fears and compromises as you develop your ministry. A fulfilled mission is required!
One of the most difficult barriers to overcome when developing a ministry according to a fresh but unfamiliar vision is the “supposed to’s.”
In our Western church culture, there are numerous focuses, ministries, attitudes and functions that are just “supposed to” be a significant part of the ministry. When attention isn’t given to what others presume are non-negotiable, discord and accusation can quickly enter the camp. Many leaders (most) will diplomatically, democratically attempt to avoid discord by entertaining these arguments in the name of unity. However, the result is false-unity around the desires of people instead of true unity around the mandates of God. How can you tell the difference? False unity is inclusive of all, true unity requires agreement that most are unwilling to adhere to.
Under Moses, there was accusation that he was most interested in his vision to enter the Promised Land, and that he wasn’t concerned for his people and their safety. Their arguments were convincing—and they won the argument—and then died in the desert.
I once went through a trying season that highlights this point very well.
Our mandate has always been unique. As a ministry of reformation, it is by design entertaining disruption and recalibration, and this will always cause trouble. I won’t go into the details, but suffice it to say that God gave me a very clear prophetic word when I was leading a ministry in Colorado to transition from ministering to people to ministering to him. I was to vertically focus on God and draw others into that encounter with me. That vision is quite offensive as it takes the primary focus off of people and puts it on God.
As a result, our ministry would not look like a typical one and would not focus on many of the expected ministries that you find in other churches and ministries. When we went through our trying time, there were some amazing friends who were wired a bit differently, and who were seeking some ministry focuses that were good, but not what we were to facilitate. There was confusion in the camp as I was running one way and they wanted to run in a slightly different direction.
It was presumed that our church, or any church, was “supposed to” be pastor led with a focus on community. Revival Church was Apostle led with a focus on intercession. Mostly vertical with a little horizontal. Our friends saw a lack of focus on community, and the lack of pastoral ministry, as a problem while we saw it as intentional and core to our mission. I’m so blessed to have Barbara Yoder as our spiritual covering. She and her team have gone to great lengths to communicate that their church is not a “family church” but rather a regional equipping center. They are key in the reformation from one system to another. The family church is the expected norm today, and it does truly take quite an effort of vision casting to break through that expectation.
To see reformation, you will have to work hard to cast the vision, and then to stay true to it. Our culture of fiery intercession and equipping awakeners has resulted in a surprising and deep community of people that love one another and who are keeping their gaze upon the Lord together! We have burning ones who pray as their primary ministry, and enjoy doing it with friends and family around them.
At the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, you don’t see a lot of hanging out for the sake of hanging out, but you do see people in the prayer room together ministering to the Lord. That culture is a problem for those who don’t crave to pray, but can you imagine IHOP bending to develop a culture that doesn’t emphasize prayer? It’s nonsensical. But, it’s only nonsensical now because they have gone through much trial and trouble to set their culture. They stayed true to the mandate even when it was confusing to more traditional Christians.
When you adhere to God’s risky vision, you are at great risk of losing the resources of the majority. Since an apostolic spirit of reformation is initiating change to the status quo, the high majority of those who still value the status quo will not invest in your vision.
The cash flow of your church or ministry is absolutely at risk of slowing to a crawl. Are you OK with that? Pastors may have to surrender their security and salaries, get secular jobs and trust that God will truly provide—because many people will stop giving.
They will also not show up. They won’t run with you. Are you OK with that or will you look for a happy medium that’s appealing to the majority?
If you pray for a remnant, don’t be surprised when a remnant shows up—and the majority leaves. I absolutely do want many to contend with us for revival, but, I am willing to sacrifice their investment for the sake of staying true to our mission.
I have a lot of weaknesses. That’s not false-humility, it’s true. Just ask my wife! However, I am convinced that I am skilled just enough to grow a church, with the right team, to possibly 250. We had a church consultant years ago that said we had what it took to grow a church to 300-400.
Why and I revealing this? To let you know how easy it might be to sacrifice the mission for the sake of personal satisfaction.
A church of 250 would ensure that I would have a great salary and the ability to pay other key staff members. We would also have significant resources to grow and facilitate additional ministries. We’d have the people and the money to do much. It would feel great to be ‘successful’ in the eyes of man.
In our recent trial, some friends were focused on church growth and on creating a vibrant, exciting atmosphere with people who were deeply connected to one another. This sounds great! And, I actually want this too. However, this is very important—that goal is not the goal. It is actually more of a desire than a strategic focus.
Yes, a lot of people gathering together each week can be very good, but I had already made the decision that we would not compromise the vision for the sake of resources—be it money or people or an energetic environment. I’m willing to run with a remnant and keep investing outside of the ministry to help pay the bills.
The resources this ministry needs are burning, interceding prayer warriors who minister to God night and day. Any compromise of the vision would ensure those people won’t show up. I’ve counted the cost, and that is my goal, no matter how great the challenge or how injurious it is to my ego, energy, time or ability to grow. In fact, the humility and challenge does me good.
Lack of Momentum
Small numbers and minimal buy-in are extremely hard for many people to look past. Staying the course on the way to mission fulfillment will result in that small remnant running with you, and for some, small numbers look like failure. The momentum won’t be there. That in itself can result in lost hope. This is not good! This is why unity around the vision is so critical. You must have buy in from those who are running with you.
Again, the vision is NOT a large group of people. It’s a fulfilled mission! I have to communicate this so false-expectations don’t result in frustration.
At one point in our ministry, our worship team moved on, and this is when we decided to hold off on finding a new one. We decided to lead the services in prayer. I knew numbers would drop, and they did. I also knew that I had a job ahead of me of communicating the true vision. Our vision is not to add people, and I had to make that clear. Anybody, including myself, loves a big crowd. There’s some sense of accomplishment when that happens. Momentum is addictive. However, it really is not the goal. I have led ministries that had decent sized crowds, and a sense of momentum, but I was grieved. We were growing with people who didn’t fully buy into the mission.
Trust me, I’d rather function without visible momentum while running with a few who are all in than with a crowd of people who are mostly there because of the experience. This is a huge point!
That being said, I am looking forward to the day when many buy into the vision and we actually see stadiums filled with burning intercessors! Now, that’s momentum! But, I don’t want to see a stadium filled with people who are only there for the experience. I’d rather buy a ticket to an NFL game at packed stadium and be legitimately entertained than attempt to spiritualize an electric quasi-worship-fest with an arena full of interested but non-invested people.
If we want momentum, we can create momentum. Just gather people around a self-satisfying, entertaining message and slap the name of Jesus on it. Or, you can reveal the costly, deadly message of the cross and call people to a life of inconvenient intercession and spend years and decades creating a prayer movement. I choose the latter.
Invisible Realities are Invisible Nonetheless
The true church is a supernatural church. When you start leading people into the invisible, you will lose those who walk by sight and not by faith.
I often counsel pastors and others to check on who really is and who is not with them. Is their team invested in the vision? The way to do this is simple—throw a prayer meeting and develop a prayer culture. Create an environment for your leaders where only those who are walking in the spirit can keep up with you. Those who are living according to the flesh, or who are leaning on their own understanding instead of living in the spirit will be quickly exposed.
The desire for unbiblical community (as opposed to biblical community) is a result of focusing on the visible more than the invisible. I regularly encourage people to get their satisfaction from the invisible, spiritual realm primarily—be with God and encounter him daily! The person that truly follows that advice is rare indeed.
True, biblical community actually exists in the spirit realm! In the invisible realm!
The problem with leading people into the invisible realm? Those people have to invest radically into a life of consecration, fervent prayer and going deep in God. Those who don’t do this won’t even understand where you are going or how to follow. Leading a spiritual church requires a spiritual people. For those are are invested at a lesser level, they will struggle, and usually leave. It is hard to lead a supernatural church.
Understand, I’m not talking about a church where the supernatural manifests in the natural, I mean a supernatural church that exists in the invisible realm. Those who truly walk in the spirit aren’t focused on physical manifestations nearly as much as they are encountering God in the spirit.
It feels quite spiritual to cry out for God to manifest in our natural realm, but his desire is for us to manifest in his supernatural realm. The call isn’t “on heaven as it is on earth,” but “on earth as it is in heaven.”
Not so Friendly Fire
There is a temptation to minimize the cost when moving out into a mission. However, a revolution is bloody. It’s not for the weak minded, or those who are looking for personal affirmation or a lot of friends. You absolutely will be slandered, attacked, accused, talked about, mocked and ridiculed. When you don’t lead the way that others believe you should, trouble follows.
The reason this point is so important to understand is that the enemy is extremely proficient at using the fear of friendly fire to keep leaders in alignment with his unholy plans.
You better be good at separating out people and devils! We cannot wrestle against flesh and blood. It’s extremely important for me to be able to easily, without issue, give those who have wounded me a big hug if I ever saw them again! That is the goal! The friendly fire will come, often through well meaning people who just don’t know how to facilitate their grievances. If you are afraid of the attack, you will compromise your mission before you even begin.
False-expectations will lead people to, at times, become quite fierce in their resistance. Since you are bringing reformation to a system they may value, you better get ready for a spiritual battle!
Gossip is revenge. I often teach on this, and I mention that I can most always feel the spirit of gossip, even when I have no natural indicators that its taking place. It’s a spirit of witchcraft, and I am very alert to that demon.
I’ll be very raw and honest with you. It’s grieving, but nonetheless a reality in my life—I am gossiped about a lot. I feel it. My family feels it. The wounds are real. It’s usually spiritualized gossip—wonderful people sharing their concerns about our ministry’s lack of ‘balance’ with other wonderful people. The spirit of Absalom is crafty—it highlights often accurate analysis about a leader, and it devises a plan to cause what they want to come to pass—or else.
You cannot avoid this! Stay humble and full of love. I was talking to a national leader once about a website that was fully devoted to communicating the author’s issues with him. It was vile. He even secured the domain of that leader’s name! He was intent on exposing and destroying. He was frustrated, mad, hurt and in disagreement with this leader. He used scripture to “back up” his claims and gathered other people around him to discredit the leader.
What was the leader’s response me when I asked him about it? He said God sent that man as a thorn in his flesh to keep him humble. Friendly fire turned to good!
Mike Bickle at IHOP has regularly been accused of not caring about people or creating an environment where people can socially connect with one another. What his accusers didn’t understand was that God was requiring him to develop a reformed culture where ministry to God was primary, and any ministry that stole focus from that had to be tabled until it could be developed in such a way that it supported the prayer movement.
Mike wasn’t anti-community, he was anti-distraction. He was guarding the main thing. However, the assaults against him have been merciless. Thank God, Mike has stayed the course and hasn’t compromised the mission of intercession for the nations.
High Potential of Failure
If you fear failure, you better find another line of work!
I’ll give you a glimpse into my book Piece of Cake where I address this issue in detail. Keep in mind, it’s a rough draft and I will be adding to it as I get closer to completing the book:
Yes, you are going to fail. Go ahead and wrestle with it now, you can’t avoid it. I don’t mean ultimate failure, of course. But, I do mean that you will pray much, do your best to gain insight from God, consider your best options, seek wisdom from others and then move out with at least a measure of confidence—and you will experience failure!
Most young ministers crave for others to presume them to be successful and steady with a pipeline directly into the command center of Heaven. The reality? We see in part. We understand little. We have clarity on a small part of the big picture, and when we initiate action, others will watch as we stumble and struggle. Are you OK with that?
Thomas Edison said, “Just because something doesn't do what you planned it to do doesn't mean it's useless.” Quoted in Artifacts: An Archaeologist's Year in Silicon Valley (2001) by Christine Finn. p. 90
Your job is not to be so careful that you avoid failure, it’s to be instant in obedience! In fact, failure is sweet when you learn how to handle the pressure it brings. Failure is an effective and desirable teacher. You may actually find yourself enjoying the various failures you experience, as a researcher would in a laboratory, in your pursuit toward efficiency and success. Really, the main thing standing in the way of the sweetness of failure is pride. If our goal is to impress people instead of developing ministries that set them free, we have no business even considering entering into a ministry project. We need to mature a little bit more first.
One of the most prevalent issues that I come across on a regular basis is the fear of missing God. Often people feel led to initiate a ministry, or to make a move in that direction, and they are afraid of being outside of God’s plan. This is a legitimate concern, but fear should not drive us. Wisdom should.
There was a time when I was living the life as a youth pastor in a church in the San Diego area. It was amazing! I was at the beach every Thursday and had a stress free, invigorating position in the church. I had full liberty to develop the youth department according to my vision and ideas. After a year and a half in that church I was offered a position in a large church in the Dallas area. It was a completely different environment, and making such a move would be a huge decision. I felt I had confirmation and I was excited about the possibilities this new opportunity presented, but I was afraid of missing God.
A good friend of mine gave me some of the most simple yet most profound and life changing advice I had ever received. He simply quoted scripture and said, “The steps of a righteous man are ordered of the Lord.”
The revelation was instant. If I was living a righteous life, and was making righteous decisions, God would order my steps—even if and when I ever made a misstep! The fear and pressure of making a wrong decision lifted off of me! I have used that counsel countless times in my life sense. When I feel led to make a decision, I ensure I’m living in righteousness and am doing my due diligence through prayer and seeking counsel, and then I step! I trust that God will direct my steps, and if I’m off track a little bit, he will lovingly guide me back. It’s really a glorious way to live!
As I do this, I am fully confident that a lot of sweet failure is ahead of me, and I learn how to stay joyful and teachable as I learn from every ministry experiment.
Keep in mind, I am not advising a haphazard life. That will only cause you unnecessary frustration. Measure your decisions and step according to wisdom as you live in the spirit, and refuse to fear knowing that both temporary failures and ultimate victory are both ahead!
I’ve heard it said that we should make quick, pretty good decisions as opposed to calculated, perfect ones. Using this book as an example, I could have pulled out various resources, created a perfect outline, pondered it for a few months and eventually start writing. But, instead, my quick, pretty good decision has resulted in writing chapter two just one day after I started designing and writing the book. If my schedule allows, I can have this entire book written, in less than perfect but fully acceptable form, in just a few days! I’m literally sitting here in the prayer room unsure of what I will write next, but that’s OK. My goal is to pour out my heart, get the message out and move on to the next project sooner than later.
I have no fear of failure. Many will enjoy this book, many won’t get past the first chapter and many will think it’s a ridiculous concept and never pick it up. That is OK! There are people who will be unlocked into their destiny and that is all that matters!
I’ll share another failure with you. I value the advance of the Kingdom through church and house of prayer planting. I personally love the process of starting with nothing and watching God build a ministry that truly touches lives.
While leading Revival Church in the Detroit region, my family and I moved about thirty minutes north by the apple orchards. It is a different environment than where our church is, and I felt the birthing and planting bug start to buzz in me again. So, we planted Revival Church North in my living room.
We met for several weeks on Sunday mornings and drew a handful of interested people, but, I could sense early on that the necessary traction wasn’t there. Just as quickly as I decided to plant the church, I punted. It was fourth down and we could go for it or we could admit failure and move on to the next project. If I was walking in pride, I would have fought to keep it going, but, rather, it was easy for me to let it go. That plant failed. So what? Clearly it wasn’t meant to be, and that’s OK. Believe it or not, I lost literally zero emotional energy through that process. I woke up the next day and refocused, prayed more and talked to God about next steps. There was still much burning in me and there are missions to attend to.
Thomas Edison said, “None of my inventions came by accident. I see a worthwhile need to be met and I make trial after trial until it comes.” Statement in a press Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, Alexis Carrel & Charles Lindbergh (conference (1929), as quoted in Uncommon Friends: Life with 1987) by James D. Newton, p. 24
If there is a need that you are picking up on, get to work! Trial and error are both your friend! Don’t allow a spirit of insignificance to keep you from being the one that God wants to use to bring transformation, whether it’s in leading a Sunday School class, developing a Kingdom business, starting a church or doing anything else God is leading you to do!
Remember Gideon? All he knew was that he was the weakest and the least, yet all God called him was mighty man of valor! Gideon was cowardly, as was his entire community. They were in hiding from their enemy, afraid of losing their crops, their livelihood.
Judges 6:14-16 (ESV) 14 And the LORD turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?” 15 And he said to him, “Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” 16 And the LORD said to him, “But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.”
This is God’s call to you! Don’t fear! Don’t fear failure! God had ordered your steps you mighty man of valor! Don’t wait for others to affirm you, you will be waiting for decades possibly! Don’t wait for the perfect plan. Gideon advanced with one percent of the army available to him and told them to blow their trumpets and smash their jars. That doesn’t sound like a good plan at all, but it was what God led them to do. God has a Gideon’s army waiting for you to have the courage to respond immediately with an imperfect plan and an insufficient army to lead them into their destiny!
Remember that failure is an event, not a person. ~Zig Ziglar
Life with John and Amy: Easily connect with the Revival Church family THIS SATURDAY at our home!
First, tonight is going to be HOT! I’ll be teaching on “Fire—Fervency and Friction.” Tonight’s emphasis is on friction. What should we expect as end-time warriors in the Kingdom of God?
Revival Church meets at CENTRAL CHURCH, 1529 E. 12 Mile Rd, Madison Heights, MI 48071.
Life with John and Amy
Every month we will gather together as a revival family at John and Amy’s house for a FULL night of food, fun (like ping pong!), worship, prayer and discussion on fulfilling your ministry!
Bring food to share! We’ll enjoy eating together! It could be fried chicken, nachos, dessert, an appetizer or anything else!
This is for you if you desire any of the following:
- Discovering how to fulfill your ministry
- Eating a lot of food with new friends
- Playing ping pong
- Prophetic ministry
- Learning the ins and outs of ministry leadership
- Worshiping with other zealots for Jesus
It all begins THIS SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 2ND, 2013 at 6pm at the Burton homestead! 64639 Tara Hill Drive, Washington, MI 48095. Invite anybody you want, bring food and get ready for a fun filled night! (Oh yeah, bring the kids!)
7 Characteristics of the End-time Praying Church
4:00PM EST 1/3/2013 Mike Bickle
Here’s another must read article… a repost of a message by Mike Bickle. You can read the story in its original location here: http://www.charismamag.com/spirit/spiritual-growth/13386-not-just-a-movement
The end-time role of the praying and worshipping church
Right now, all across the earth, the Holy Spirit is raising up a worship-based prayer movement that will culminate in the second coming of our King, Jesus. This isn’t a new idea, but one rooted in history and, more importantly, in the Bible. This prayer and worship movement that we see exploding across the planet was prophesied many years ago, as recorded in the Scriptures. I believe that what we’re witnessing today, with the rapidly growing worldwide prayer and worship movement, is the beginning of the fulfillment of biblical prophecies about the end times.
This conviction that God is raising up a worldwide prayer movement that will precede Jesus’ return has strengthened my resolve to build a 24/7 worship community. We started on May 7, 1999, and for the last 12 years the International House of Prayer Missions Base of Kansas City (IHOP-KC), consisting of full-time missionaries who serve as worship leaders, singers, musicians and intercessors, has continued nonstop in worship and prayer. Our hearts are set on gathering corporately to worship Jesus 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year. Partnering with Him in intercession, we contend for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit and for the release of justice, both in our own city and in the cities of the earth. What started with 20 full-time missionaries has grown to more than 1,000 full-time staff and 1,000 students and interns in our Bible school.
Why do I mention this? Because if weak and broken people in Kansas City, Mo., can do this, anyone can! And that’s exactly the point God wants made. The Lord is determined to establish a culture of prayer in the entire body of Christ worldwide before He returns. Over the last 10 to 20 years, we’ve watched the prayer movement grow especially fast in Asia and Africa. Yet this rapid growth is only the first fruits of what Jesus is doing in His church in this generation.
I believe this is the hour in history when many of God’s people from a multitude of ministries, churches and denominations will align themselves with Jesus’ commitment to build His church. It will be in such a way that He Himself will call it “a house of prayer for all nations” (Is. 56:7).
The Scriptures describe several characteristics of the end-time worship and prayer movement that are involved in releasing God’s presence and power. When people pray, the spiritual atmosphere over cities and regions is changed. Demons are driven back from their place of influence, angels are more active, and the Spirit releases a greater measure of grace on our labors. Thus, the preaching of the gospel and the works of the kingdom become more effective. Jesus taught us to pray for God’s kingdom to be expressed on earth as it is in heaven (see Matt. 6:10). This includes worship—the Father desires to be worshipped on earth as He is in heaven.
The apostle John wrote more on the end-time worship and prayer movement than any other writers of Scripture. From two of their books—Isaiah and Revelation—we can define seven characteristics of this global movement.
1. It will be God-centered (Rev. 4:8; 5:11-14; Is. 24:14-16).
The worship order of heaven is decidedly God-centered. Night and day, day and night, those nearest God’s throne proclaim the truth about who God is and what He does. He desires that His creation would encounter His majesty, love and goodness and that, in turn, they would offer up their praise and adoration for all He is, all He has done and all He will do. Treasuring God and adoring Him endlessly is the priority of the prayer movement. It is the necessary and fitting response to His matchless beauty and immeasurable worth.
Worship is a witness on earth to the indescribable value of Jesus. The truth of His greatness must be declared in song and in proclamations because it is the ultimate truth on which the created universe exists. This truth of the greatness of God is powerful. God loves the truth, including the truth about Himself.
The power and supremacy of the grand truth about God demand expression on the earth. If the people do not worship our great God, Jesus said the rocks would cry out in our place (see Luke 19:37-40). The end-time worship and prayer movement will extol the majesty and worth of God as it joins the symphony in heaven, where the worshippers are forever crying out, “Worthy is the Lamb!” (Rev. 5:12).
Our prayer life is best energized when we experience intimacy with God’s heart. The Father relates to us with tender mercy. Jesus relates to us with fiery desire as our bridegroom God (see Is. 54:5, 62:5).In Revelation 22:17, John prophesied that the Spirit and the bride would say, “Come, Lord Jesus!” This is one of the most informative and significant prophecies describing the end-time church. In it, John describes an end-time church in unity with what the Spirit is saying and doing.
What is the Spirit saying? He is speaking to believers about their corporate identity as Jesus’ bride. What is the Spirit doing? He is interceding for Jesus to come in power and calling thirsty people to come to Jesus, the bridegroom God.
In the end times, for the first time in history, the Spirit will universally emphasize the church’s identity as Jesus’ bride. It is not the Spirit and the family who will say, “Come!” or the Spirit and the army, kingdom, body, temple or priesthood. Rather, it is the Spirit resting on the church as a bride. Forever, we will rejoice in our identity as God’s family, body, temple, priesthood and more.
As sons of God, we are to experience God’s throne as heirs of His power (see Rom. 8:17). As the bride of Christ, we are to experience God’s heart—His desire for us. The bridegroom message is focused on Jesus’ emotions for us, on His beauty, on His commitments to us (to share His heart, home, throne, secrets and beauty), and on our response of wholehearted love and obedience to Him.
Understanding this message begins with experiencing His affections for us. Jesus delights in us, enjoys us, partners with us in the work of the kingdom and is committed to our eternal success.
Isaiah described the end-time prayer movement as deeply relational, a quality that would stem from the revelation of God as our bridegroom (see Is. 54:5, 62:5). In no way should “the bridegroom God” term conjure up images of our Lord and King as some sort of sensual lover or “boyfriend God.” That is grossly inappropriate and dishonoring to Jesus.
One reason people burn out in intercession and ministry to others is because they lack intimacy with God through encountering Jesus as their bridegroom God. The revelation of the church as Jesus’ cherished bride is essential for keeping our hearts alive through the years as we diligently do the work of the kingdom.
2. It will be continual (Rev. 4:8; Is. 62:6-7; Luke 18:7-8).
In Revelation 4-5, the apostle John describes the heavenly worship order around the throne. In His vision of God’s throne room he witnessed celestial beings who “do not rest day or night, saying: ‘Holy, holy, holy ” (Rev 4:8). As already mentioned, God desires to be worshipped on this earth just as He is in heaven—continually and unceasingly.
Moreover, the prophet Isaiah saw a prayer movement on earth that would not rest night and day until God’s purposes were fully established (see Is. 62:6-7). In these last days God is raising up a prayer movement that will continually worship Him and cry out to Him for His plans to be executed and His justice to be released (see Luke 18:7-8).
The call to 24/7 worship and prayer is not an invitation to organize it all under one roof. Continual prayer usually is expressed by the body of Christ together as prayer is offered up from many different buildings across a city or region. The call of 24/7 prayer is to build a prayer culture among God’s people across cities and regions so that Jesus receives continual, corporate worship from many different ministries and locations. Each does its own small part, but together all offer night-and-day prayer and worship.
I do not believe the Lord is calling most churches to start a 24/7 prayer ministry in their building but instead to build a prayer culture in their church. Unless the Lord specifically calls you to start 24/7 prayer in your congregation, it is best to view it as what will result from the collective efforts of hundreds of prayer meetings held in homes, churches, universities and businesses across your city.
3. It will be global (Is. 24:6-7, 42:10-12; Mal. 1:11).
The Scriptures are clear that the end-time worship and prayer movement will extend all across the earth, even to the most remote and difficult-to-reach places. Isaiah prophesied that even in the remote islands of the earth God’s people would sing to the Lord in worship and intercession (see Is. 42:10). He witnessed worship going forth in the wilderness, or desert places—even in Islamic villages such as Kedar in Saudi Arabia and Sela in Jordan—and that God’s people would worship from one end of the earth to the other until Jesus returns (see Is. 42:11, 13-15).
Simply put, the end-time worship and prayer movement will be in every place, even the hardest and darkest places (see Mal. 1:11). That means it will be international. King David had a continual, musical worship movement in Jerusalem. About 300 years after him, Isaiah said, in effect: “The worship moment will go far beyond what David did. David was limited to one location. The end-time movement will be global.”
4. It will be musical (Is. 24:14-16; 26:1; 27:2; 30:29; 32; 35:2, 10; 42:10-12; 54:1).
Some who lead prayer ministries struggle with the idea of prayer meetings being led by music, but the idea is biblical. One aspect of the kingdom coming on earth as it is in heaven involves music in our prayer meetings. This is seen in Revelation 5:8-9.
When I first began having daily prayer meetings, we did not include music led by a worship team. We spent more time shouting at the devil than we did talking to God. It seemed like the mark of a good prayer meeting was exhausted and hoarse intercessors. Eventually I introduced music, and our prayer meetings became not just bearable but enjoyable!
The end-time prayer movement is musical. The human spirit is deeply musical because we were created in the image of God, who is very musical. Few things touch the human spirit in the way that anointed music does.
5. It will be missional (Rev. 7:9, 14).
The end-time worship and prayer movement will be instrumental in ushering in the greatest harvest of souls in history (see Matt. 24:14; Rev. 7:9, 14). Jesus said in Luke 10:2 that we must pray for the Lord to release laborers for the harvest. Throughout the Scriptures we see a pattern in which communities, such as the one in Jerusalem in Acts 2 and the Antioch community in Acts 13, gather together in worship and prayer. From those prayer meetings, missionaries are sent out and evangelism movements are unleashed that result in a significant harvest of souls.
Jesus connected night-and-day prayer to the release of justice on the earth (see Luke 18:7-8). He spoke of this in the context of the end times, with specific reference to His second coming (see Luke 17:24-37; 18:8). John spoke of the end-time prayer movement as being deeply connected to the release of God’s judgment to remove oppression from the earth (see Rev. 6:9-11; 8:3-6).
6. It will be youth-oriented (Mal. 4:5-6).
The end-time prayer movement will consist primarily of young people. We know historically that most people who turn to Jesus do so before they are 25 years old. Most great revivals of history were focused primarily on youth. This will be the pattern again because the majority of the world’s population is under age 25.
Malachi prophesied that the Holy Spirit would turn the hearts of the fathers to a focus on the youth during the generation in which the Lord would return (see Mal. 4:5-6). This means spiritual fathers and mothers will focus on God’s purpose for young people in the end times. Thus, the end-time prayer and worship movement will comprise youth who walk in a spirit of humility and honor.
David spoke of a time when young people would declare the excellence of God’s name throughout the earth. This will happen, in the fullest sense, only in the generation in which the Lord returns.
David went on to prophesy of the power of this worship movement that would flow from the mouths of babes. He said that even through the youth God would release His strength to silence the enemy and the avenger (see Ps. 8:1-2). Jesus referenced David’s prophecy during His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. It was at this time that He declared His house would function as a house of prayer.
Matthew tells us that immediately after this the scribes were indignant at seeing children cry out in worship to Jesus. Jesus answered them by quoting David’s prophecy that from the mouth of babes God would perfect praise (see Matt. 21:13-16). David’s prophecy of young people worshipping God was so important that Jesus emphasized it in the context of calling God’s house a house of prayer. On another occasion, David prophesied about young people volunteering for the Lord’s end-time army at a time when God’s power would be openly manifested in the nations (see Ps. 110:3, 5).
7. It will be unified (John 17:21-23; Eph. 3:18).
In His high-priestly prayer, Jesus prayed and prophesied that He would pour out His glory, enabling His people to walk in unity and greatly enhance the effectiveness of the gospel (see John 17:21-23). The end-time worship and prayer movement will function in gracious cooperation because God has entrusted different aspects of His purposes and plans to separate parts of His body. Out of necessity, but borne of love, the prayer movement will be profoundly unified as the church experiences the fullness of God’s purpose by honoring and serving one another in relationship. This will be achieved by a supernatural grace that God will pour upon His body, enabling it to walk in love and a spirit of unity. For unity is the place where God commands His blessing in the greatest measure (see Ps. 133:1-3).
The Holy Spirit is calling the church to rise up in unity as the end-time prayer movement to offer fervent, continual intercession and worship that flows from prophetic music and intimacy with God. From this position of strength we will work together to fulfill the Great Commission and bring in the greatest harvest of souls in history. And Jesus will respond to the voice of His bride calling out as one with His Spirit for Him to come in power, vanquish His enemies and fill the earth with the knowledge of the Lord.
What the Bible Says About the Prayer Movement
Revelation 22:17 speaks of the Spirit and the bride—the praying church—crying as one to the Lord Jesus, saying: “Come!”
No one knows the day or the hour of Jesus’ coming. But we do know that He will come in response to a worldwide worship and prayer movement beckoning Him to return. Check out all the indicators of this in Scripture:
- Psalm 68:32; 96:1, 9, 13; 98:1-9; 102:15-22; 149:6-9
- Isaiah 12:4-6; 19:20-22; 24:14-16, 23; 25:9; 26:1, 8-9; 27:2-5, 13; 30:18-19, 29, 32; 35:2, 10; 42:10-15; 43:26; 51:11; 52:8; 54:1; 62:6-7
- Jeremiah 31:7; 51:8
- Joel 2:12-17, 32
- Zephaniah 2:1-3
- Zechariah 8:20-23; 10:1; 12:10; 13:9
- Matthew 21:13
- Luke 18:7-8
- Revelation 5:8; 6:9-11; 8:3-5; 9:13; 14:18; 16:7; 18:6; 22:17
Our role has become much clearer after the troubling end of the Presidential election.
My focus in this article is to bring clarity of our vision to the Revival Church staff and team, yet it’s something that any Christian will appreciate.
I am simply confounded. No matter how I try, I cannot even come close to understanding how a Christian would support a candidate that has so clearly, boldly and methodically renounced biblical truths. I’m beside myself.
2 Thessalonians 2:11-12 (ESV) 11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, 12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
That is a verse specifically dealing with the antichrist, but the principle remains. There is a strong delusion in the world today as the antichrist spirit gains momentum.
For example, consider abortion. If you understand biblical history, you know that it is a violent antichrist spirit. Just as with Herod during the arrival of Jesus on the Earth, there is an antichrist, God killing spirit in America. To stand with anybody who promotes this spirit is beyond nonsensical.
Yes, it’s true that one day after the election that Jesus is still the King. However, I’m trembling as I believe the King is closer to executing desperately needed judgment on America than he has ever been.
Franklin Graham, regarding the election of President Obama to another term: “…I think it will be to our peril and to the destruction of this nation.”
Have you ever considered the nation we love ceasing to exist? It’s possible. Many think it’s probable.
I’ve asked the following question several times yet it’s almost always dodged without an answer:
If a candidate were to support the murder of any child under the age of two, for any reason, would you vote for him? If it was OK to take your toddler, who was becoming an inconvenience to you, or if you couldn’t afford to take care of him, down to the clinic to have him dismembered and disposed of, would that be acceptable? If not, why is it OK to stand with a candidate who supports the murder of children who are younger?
Another even more provocative question is this:
If a two year old child was the result of rape, should it be OK to kill them? If not, then why is it OK to kill them at an earlier age?
The other issues that I consider most troubling are the destruction of the traditional family through the promotion of gay marriage, and the resistance to stand with Israel.
For me, the economy is a near non-issue for the Christian as our needs were already guaranteed to be supplied. My vote was not at all driven by questions about our economy.
A LUCIFERIAN SPIRIT
It’s shocking how deeply a Luciferian spirit has infiltrated the church and our nation. There is a deeper teaching that this article can’t give justice to, but allow me to share some of the key issues that we must be aware of so we can best understand our vision of reformation.
Simply stated, Lucifer was in the very presence of God, witnessing and experiencing all of his love, power and glory. The radiance of God’s presence and his unlimited and immeasurable power was before Lucifer continually. So, what happened?
With God in the room, Lucifer was focused on self.
It’s crazy! Yet, we see this every week in churches from coast to coast.
We see this troubling spirit in the story of the money changers in the temple. Jesus violently reacted as he picked up on this self-centered, Luciferian and religious spirit that resulted in people using God’s holy place for their own personal gain. The temple wasn’t about worshiping God that day, it was about worshiping self just as Lucifer did.
Today’s church, and today’s America is largely about the pursuit of happiness. God’s presence is not enough, and, an even more troubling reality is that, with God in the room, if he is blocking what we really want we will forsake him and spiritualize our own endeavors. That’s what happened with Eve in the garden. Satan appealed to her desire for godliness, for personal gain. So, she rebelled all while spiritualizing her decision.
It’s a Luciferian spirit that is driving so many in the church to focus on personal gain. It shockingly results in some Christians actually supporting abortion if it will result in a better life for the mother. It’s such a high level demonic deception that it has put our entire nation, not to mention the church, at great risk.
The Lucifiarian tradition usually reveres Lucifer, not as the Devil, but as a rescuer or guiding spirit. This philosophy is based on carnal fulfillment with consideration for the preservation of self.
This spirit must be dealt with from the opposing direction. Check out the story in Revelation:
Revelation 12:11 (ESV) 11 And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.
The blood of Jesus, the declaration of our surrender to him and focusing not on personal happiness but on embracing the call to martyrdom is the answer.
Our churches and our American lives can no longer be about personal gain, storing up blessings, self-centered happiness or loving our lives.
It’s so sad to me as a leader that the church at large is not satisfied with the fact that Jesus died for them. Is that not enough for us to lay down our own lives for him?
We see most every Christian conference today focusing on our blessings, our identity, our rights. Of course, there is biblical precedence for such topics when handled rightly, however the concern is that self-focus is what draws the crowds instead of the call to die daily and surrender all.
We also see this issue manifesting in the realm of finances. The greatest offerings are received when the greatest teaching on financial return is delivered.
It’s a Luciferian spirit that drives abortion as well. When focused on our own happiness, our delusion results in a willingness to to remove any hindrance to that pursuit—including unwanted children. That self-centered spirit is what drove Pharaoh when he tried to annihilate the Hebrews and what drove Herod when he tried to eliminate Jesus by killing children. It’s the same spirit that fueled the Holocaust. That spirit is powerfully active in America today.
The current abortion crisis in America is significantly worse than the horrific tragedy of the Holocaust. 17 million vs. 55 million dead.
Now, let me say this very, very clearly. I don’t believe the primary reason abortion is freely available in America today is our elected officials. It’s because the same Luciferian spirit that drives the abortion agenda drives so many in the church. Those seeking abortion are on the hunt for personal happiness and the elimination of any threat to it. In the church, the focus has become the same—personal benefit, happiness and freedom. The tickling ear messages and the focus on personal gain is rampant in the church today. Instead of calling the church to lay down their lives, the messages are nearly always about finding themselves and having the best life they can. As I’ve said before, I don’t believe it’s time to “become a better you,” it’s time to “become a deader you.” Dead to self, alive in Christ.
This is the current state of the church.
Charles Finney brought this strong charge back in 1873:
“The error that lies at the foundation of this decay of individual and public conscience originates, no doubt, in the pulpit. … Brethren, our preaching will bear its legitimate fruits. If immorality prevails in the land, the fault is ours in a great degree.
“If there is a decay of conscience, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the public press lacks moral discrimination, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the church is degenerate and worldly, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the world loses its interest in religion, the pulpit is responsible for it.
“If Satan rules in our halls of legislation, the pulpit is responsible for it. If our politics become so corrupt that the very foundations of our government are ready to fall away, the pulpit is responsible for it.
“Let us not ignore this fact, my dear brethren; but let us lay it to heart, and be thoroughly awake to our responsibility in respect to the morals of this nation.”
So, that’s our setup. Now, what should our response be?
Revival Church team, it’s imperative that we all understand what the vision is and what it is not so we can fulfill the very finely focused mission God has given us.
Further, we must understand if a function of our ministry is a key component of the core vision, or if it’s a supplemental support to the core, or even if it’s contrary to the core. This will help ensure that the main things remain the main things.
Our call is to deal directly with a sleeping and dying church. It’s our prophetic mandate. The alarms must be sounded and repentance must be the result. There is a holy grief and a spirit of mourning that must be upon us, even as we are driven by a deep, abiding joy as God moves through us. Remember, Revival Church is a prophetic ministry that is focused on reformation and calling the greater church into a revival ready model. Many of the messages that come out of this ministry are not only for those in our church but are for those throughout the Detroit region and beyond.
The two chapters in the Bible that must be continually opened at Revival Church are Joshua 3 and Acts 2. Those are our blueprints. Study them. Memorize them. Pray through them. Continually.
Our key verse is Joshua 3:5: Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.
My book 20 Elements of Revival is our practical guidebook as it gives us a step by step process of city-wide revival. If it’s in there, it’s in our DNA.
Again, as we look at the vision, keep in mind the state of the church and the state of the nation. There is much calibration to be done.
WHAT IT IS AND WHAT IT ISN’T
- Revival Church is prayer-fueled and aggressive. We are calling people into an urgent lifestyle of holy striving and zealous prayer as we press toward the goal together. There is a literal groan of intercession that we must discover and release night and day.
- Revival Church is a movement of holiness, repentance, excellence and radical discipleship. Joshua 3:5 reveals that we are to consecrate ourselves and prepare for a life of wonders.
- Revival Church is an apostolic and prophetic church. As an apostle/prophet with a regional and national focus, we are leading from that edge. The constant focus around here is reformation, revival and regional impact which means we are always shifting and redirecting in our methods as we pursue the ultimate goal. Following a prophetic leader is a challenge to say the least. The vision is always expanding and the methodology is always changing which requires that everybody involved is ‘instant in season and instant out of season’. New projects are often initiated well before old projects are completed.
- Revival Church’s message isn’t locally limited. I say often that I’m a one string banjo. We are all about revival on a regional and national level. So, what this means is that those in our church will be hearing the same revival thread in our messages over and over again. We are intentionally focused and limited instead of diverse in our teachings. I understand that the messages I deliver are mostly for the region and nation, and the primary vehicle we are using is the Sunday evening Revival Church service. I’m certainly preaching to those in attendance, but I’m equally targeting those who will be hearing the message online. If I have to say the same thing over and over until those in attendance have it memorized word for word, that’s OK as long as the message is impacting those who are listening in our target areas around the world.
- Revival Church, by design, does not give all five of the offices equal attention. This is not to say that we don’t value all of the offices, but it does say that we know who we are and who we are not. In the current church structure the presumption is that all five offices must be active in every local church. That’s not true. First of all, that’s not realistic for smaller churches. Second, in scripture we know the church is identified by the city, not by the local expression. The five-fold offices must be in effect in the city church, which will require that we as leaders are OK with people in our church participating in other local churches that are anointed in another office.
- Revival Church, again by design, is not a Pastor led church. The current Pastor led church system in our nation has resulted in a lot of false expectations that are placed on leadership. This is one of our greatest challenges. Again, it’s not that we don’t value the Pastoral office, we do. However, our focus, time, energy and resources are not to be used to focus at a significant level on developing pastoral ministry. Interestingly, the presumption might be that without a strong pastoral focus that people can’t easily grow. It’s quite the contrary around here. We are raising up people who are growing at a faster pace than I’ve ever witnessed—and these people are self-motivated. When they notice a struggle in their lives, they proactively take steps to resolve it. False expectations can lead people to presume I as the Senior Leader will be fulfilling the role of pastor in their lives when, in reality, I’m not a pastor at all. This is a challenge to communicate and it can often feel like rejection to those who want close and constant access to me. However, it’s not rejection at all. It’s simply that a prophet/apostle interacts very differently with people than a pastor does.
- Revival Church has an unapologetically high bar of commitment. We believe the 24/7 church is coming, and the call around here is to start modeling this emerging church structure. Additionally, we are launching 50 new churches in this region alone, and we are asking everybody to consider how they will participate in this mission. Everybody here has the goal of changing the Detroit region and working toward revival. We are an “all hands on deck” ministry and are calling everybody to gather every time the doors are opened and the alarm is sounded.
- Revival Church has a vision that demands we expand and look outward. There is much that feels undone in our local church due to our focus to continue expanding in the region. We refuse to wait until everything is perfectly in place and mature before we move out and launch other ministries and projects.
- Revival Church’s core vision is extremely limited. If I had to narrow it down to just a few focuses I would have to include: Prayer, regional revival, church planting, groans of intercession, holiness, equipping carriers of fire and releasing regional and national prophetic alerts. Other focuses and ministries may or may not fit within the scope of our vision. Some are supplemental and greatly needed while others are beneficial, but not in our setting.
- Revival Church is less about the experience and more about raising up sober, broken prophetic messengers. We are preparing people who will prepare regions for coming moves and judgments of God. While having a happy heart, we will also carry the weight of the cross as we call people to surrender and awaken a sleeping church. Our services and ministries will reflect this, and while often joyful, the extreme nature of the burden and mission demands that we gather together, go low and allow God to use us to carry some of the most challenging burdens we’ve ever known.
- theLab is our primary equipping center. We are aggressively encouraging every person in Revival Church to permanently call theLab their home. It is where our core DNA is best experienced and where the team will discover their cohesion and receive their assignments. The limited focus of the church is mirrored at theLab as we raise up an army of people who carry the DNA of revival. (You can apply to theLab School of Fire here: www.revivallab.com.)
To confront the spirit of this age that has made significant advances even in the last 24 hours, and to promote the spirit of revival, we must all be signed up, locked in and carrying the message of freedom in our nation.
This means a de-emphasis on personal enjoyment in the church must come as we make way for the remnant to take position, lay down their lives and advance the Kingdom of God in America.
That’s not to say that we aren’t joyful in the house of prayer. We must be. But it must be unto something. The joy of our salvation must explode as we carry the vision of salvation for a sleeping church and a lost society.
God is identifying an emerging army of end-time leaders—discover how to respond to this critical call.
FIRST: Listen to the latest teaching in my series Ten Threats to Revival here: http://media.johnburton.net/5044148
I had a meeting with two of my several amazing leaders at Revival Church last night—and I felt impressed to share some practical tips on how you can be equally amazing as you serve in your ministry.
theLab School of Fire is a three month school that trains people to grow fast, run well and to serve with passion in the ministry God plants them in. If you want to learn more than this article could ever hope to relay, by all means, apply for theLab today! www.revivallab.com
OUR CRAZY DNA
I believe we are seeing some great leaders emerge at Revival Church because of our wild and crazy DNA, not in spite of it. It’s a thrill ride and a challenge to run with someone like myself. The pressure cooker that is Revival Church is openly revealing those who are responding and being formed into the next wave of leaders in Detroit!
To help you understand our context, I’ll share some of the primary vision points that will reveal the challenge of serving in a ministry like this. The challenge, for those who take advantage of it, leads to rapid promotion, favor and honor.
- Revival Church is an apostolic and prophetic church.As an apostle/prophet with a regional and national focus, we are leading from that edge. The constant focus around here is reformation, revival and regional impact which means we are always shifting and redirecting in our methods as we pursue the ultimate goal. Following a prophetic leader is a challenge to say the least. The vision is always expanding and the methodology is always changing which requires that everybody involved is ‘instant in season and instant out of season’. New projects are often initiated well before old projects are completed.
- Revival Church’s message isn’t locally limited.I say often that I’m a one string banjo. We are all about revival on a regional and national level. So, what this means is that those in our church will be hearing the same revival thread in our messages over and over again. We are intentionally focused and limited instead of diverse in our teachings. I understand that the messages I deliver are mostly for the region and nation, and the primary vehicle we are using is the Sunday evening Revival Church service. I’m certainly preaching to those in attendance, but I’m equally targeting those who will be hearing the message online. If I have to say the same thing over and over until those in attendance have it memorized word for word, that’s OK as long as the message is impacting those who are listening in our target areas around the world.
- Revival Church, by design, does not give all five of the offices equal attention.This is not to say that we don’t value all of the offices, but it does say that we know who we are and who we are not. In the current church structure the presumption is that all five offices must be active in every local church. That’s not true. First of all, that’s not realistic for smaller churches. Secondly, in scripture we know the church is identified by the city, not by the local expression. The five-fold offices must be in effect in the city church, which will require that we as leaders are OK with people in our church participating in other local churches that are anointed in another office.
- Revival Church, again by design, is not a Pastor led church.The current Pastor led church system in our nation has resulted in a lot of false expectations that are placed on leadership. This is one of our greatest challenges. Again, it’s not that we don’t value the Pastoral office, we do. However, our focus, time, energy and resources are not to be used to focus at a significant level on developing pastoral ministry. Interestingly, the presumption might be that without a strong pastoral focus that people can’t easily grow. It’s quite the contrary around here. We are raising up people who are growing at a faster pace than I’ve ever witnessed—and these people are self-motivated. When they notice a struggle in their lives, they proactively take steps to resolve it. False expectations can lead people to presume I as the Senior Leader will be fulfilling the role of pastor in their lives when, in reality, I’m not a pastor at all. This is a challenge to communicate and it can often feel like rejection to those who want close and constant access to me. However, it’s not rejection at all. It’s simply that a prophet/apostle interacts very differently with people than a pastor does.
- Revival Church has an unapologetically high bar of commitment.We believe the 24/7 church is coming, and the call around here is to start modeling this emerging church structure. Additionally, we are launching 50 new churches in this region alone, and we are asking everybody to consider how they will participate in this mission. Everybody here has the goal of changing the Detroit region and working toward revival.
- Revival Church has a vision that demands we expand and look outward. There is much that feels undone in our local church due to our focus to continue expanding in the region. We refuse to wait until everything is perfectly in place and mature before we move out and launch other ministries and projects.
HOW TO FOLLOW YOUR LEADER AND PREPARE YOURSELF FOR PROMOTION
If people can learn how to follow leadership with crazy DNA like we have at Revival Church, you can certainly do the same in your church.
Remember, the greatest servants make the greatest leaders. And, leaders who take their mission seriously are on the lookout for the rare few who will be the next great leaders in the church.
Your leader (Pastor, Prophet, Apostle, etc.) is looking for armor bearers, not in title but in function.
Definition of an Armor-bearer: An officer selected by kings and generals because of his bravery, not only to bear their armor, but also to stand by them in the time of danger. — Easton's Illustrated Dictionary
In my book Covens in the Church I point out that most people think leaders should make it easy for people to follow them. I disagree. People should make it easy for leaders to lead them. Why? The very call of leadership is to lead people into the challenging, threatening new land of promise. True leaders make your life harder, not easier. They challenge you to your very limit so you can fulfill a naturally impossible mission.
I wanted to make this as raw and practical as I could, so here it goes!
- Understand the vision. Do you know what the vision of your leader is and is not? If there is any confusion at all, seek out a clear, definitive explanation. Then, memorize it. Repeat it to others. Often. At Revival Church, my vision is most clearly outlined in my book 20 Elements of Revival. All of our leaders are required to read this book and then work hard to implement it. I continually teach on the vision here so everybody on board has it in front of them week after week.
- Don’t attempt to tweak the vision.Vision by design is limited—extremely so. Remember, your church is not supposed to dilute their vision by diverting energy and resources to your vision. You must follow your leader’s interpretation of the vision as the vision will come directly through him.
- Don’t try to fit your vision into your leader’s vision.We like to think that our vision will complement our leader’s, and sometimes it will. But, sometimes it will not. Some personal endeavors can threaten the vision of the house while others can strengthen it. Find out from your pastor what category your vision fits in, and refuse to pull back or take on offense if you discover it doesn’t fit in the current season.
- Resolve problems.I tell my leadership team that I expect them to deliver resolutions to me, not problems. In fact, when someone is known for recognizing and highlighting problems to me, it’s an indicator that they are not ready for leadership. Generals don’t report problems without taking on the responsibility to take care of business.
- Don’t have false-expectations.“My leader should be doing…” Fill in the blank. There are many things people want their leaders to spearhead or to give attention to, but it’s not his place to do so. I often hear people come to me with great ministry ideas and I almost always place the ball back in their court and encourage them to make it happen. It’s not your leader’s job to run with your vision, but if it’s complementary to the vision of the house, he can open the door for you to run with it yourself. I remember sitting in a class with Dr. Peter Wagner and Dutch Sheets one day. Dutch is an apostle. I don’t think he has a pastoral bone in his body, yet he at the time was leading a church in Colorado Springs. He’s one of the most important voices in our nation, in my opinion, and his attention had to be given to that. Peter Wagner said that day to everybody in attendance, “If you are sick in the hospital or in need of counseling, don’t expect Dutch to show up. That’s not his role.” Expect your leader to fulfill his function and his vision, not the function you want him to, or even a function that desperately needs to be filled by someone else. Just because there is a great need with nobody to meet it doesn’t mean it defaults to your leader.
- Champion your leader’s cause. This is a big one. If you want to be received by leadership and experience on-time promotion, you must champion your leader’s cause. The alternative is to be a threat to his cause, which will result in stalled personal development for you. Know your leader’s vision inside and out—and refuse to promote any competing viewpoint. This will require you set aside personal doctrines or ministry philosophies that are contrary. You will also have to confront those who are negatively impacting the vision. Few people are truly able to do this, but those who are most usually experience great favor and rapid promotion.
- Never gossip—ever. You do not have the right to discuss frustrations, disagreements or negative analysis of your church with anybody in the entire world—except your leader. If your church doesn’t focus on evangelism to the degree you think it should, for example, it would take a spirit of treason for you to discuss your frustration or disapproval with others. Keep in mind that the Absalom spiritis alive and well in the church today. Also remember that your church, by design, is lacking in many areas so they can focus intently on their God given vision. Many people will come to you in the hopes of gaining a sympathetic ear as they voice their concern about the church. Don’t receive their complaint. Don’t listen to their frustration. Stand firm and communicate without apology the vision of the church. Let them know the vision is not up for debate. My leader in Colorado is a rock star in this regard. When people came to him with their concerns, he took them by the hand directly to me so they could share their issues! Guess what, people stopped going to him with their gossip.
- Be faithful.I don’t look for people with great giftings, I look for faithfulness. Ask your leader what his expectations are, and go overboard fulfilling them. Be at every service. Lead the charge. Model extreme, sold-out faithfulness not only to Jesus but to the leader he placed in your life.
- Openly respond.When he’s teaching, let everybody in the building know you agree and are ready to respond. Shout amen! Don’t get distracted. Don’t text. Don’t post to Facebook. Be obviously engaged. One of my favorite worship leaders is Catherine Mullins. She’s a good friend too. I often tell people that my favorite part of her ministry isn’t her worship leading, but, rather, the way she immediately sits in the front row after worship and actively engages in the sermon. She shouts, she has her Bible open. She changes the atmosphere from her seat. Powerful.
- Address him and his wife with respect.I’m personally challenged regarding titles. On one hand, I really don’t like to call myself anything other than John. I’m OK with others calling me John. But, I also understand what it means to honor authority and to recognize that person’s role in your life. The greater challenge is that I’m not a pastor, though people do call me Pastor John. That’s OK with me, and in fact, it feels more appropriate than for people to call me by my first name. The most accurate title would be Apostle or Prophet John, but with all of the goofy and prideful demeanors that can come along with a title, it’s a bit uncomfortable. So, how do you relate to your leader? Simply, with respect. Use a title if that’s expected and show your respect in other ways if it’s not. Remember him and his family on birthdays, on Pastor Appreciation Day, anniversaries, etc.
- Understand that you can disqualify yourself for leadership for a season.I’m a very active listener and watcher. You may not think it’s fair or right, but leaders analyze people, in love, and with a sober spirit. They are mandated to protect the mission God entrusted to them. As one who comes alive when ‘the least of these’ are awakened to their destiny, and as one who has a lot of grace when it comes to failure, trial, error and weakness, I also am looking to see who’s rising above the rest. Your leader will have his own set of tests. For me, as an example, gossip will quickly disqualify someone, until the issue is resolved and repentance is clear. I have to ensure my leaders are fully on board and that they don’t threaten or compromise the mission. This doesn’t mean that I don’t love them. Not at all. My grace level is high as they grow through their challenge. I still see them one day leading significant ministries and changing the world!
- Don’t require your leader to say things twice.Leaders have expectations that are necessary for the development of the ministry. I am always impressed and will give favor to those who respond to my requests without the need to say it again. I don’t have the time to repeatedly make the same requests over and over. Understand, this is usually simple stuff… but, not insignificant stuff. Don’t make the mistake of presuming a simple request is an insignificant one or one that can be ignored altogether. As an example, in theLab we have a call to excellence that includes never being even one minute late to any class or event. We say, “Early is on time, on time is late and late is unacceptable.” Those who respond to this call the first time have my attention.
- Undergird him much more than you pull on him.Leaders are looking for those who lessen the burden of the vision, not those who add to it. Of course, we are to help, as we can, the leaders on our team. However, all of our energy can’t continually be tapped by resolving problems. The job must get done and we have to ensure distraction is at a minimum. Be the one who is vigilant in resolving issues so you can hold up the arms of your leader as he goes to battle.
- Love, honor and pray for him.A few of my leaders specifically communicate with me on an ongoing basis sharing how they are praying for me. They also usually pull me aside before the Sunday service to pray for me, to break off any attack and to stand in the gap for me. This is greatly appreciated and needed.
- Don’t use your church for your own ministry platform.I learned this lesson myself over 20 years ago. I started serving in a church that I thought was a great place for me to establish my own ministry. I didn’t realize it at the time, but my ministry was not welcomed by the leadership in the way I thought it would be. I wasn’t championing their vision, I was using them to fuel my own. Big mistake. I was humbled (humiliated is more like it) one day at a staff meeting. I was serving in the youth department, and was starting to have quite an impact. At the staff meeting the pastor said, without even looking at me, “John Burton is not someone we are considering for the position of youth leader in this church now or in the future.” I was mad, but years later I understand. I wasn’t truly there to enhance their vision, I was there to leech off of them. Lesson learned.
- Grow intentionally on your own.Come to every service stronger than you were in the last. Take it upon yourself to work out spiritually so you can be an ever increasing benefit to the work of the Kingdom.
- Financially invest in the vision.Go beyond the tithe. Give extravagantly to the endeavors and projects that are initiated in the pursuit of a fulfilled mission.
- Refuse to take on offense.True ministry provides opportunity for offense continually. Don’t fall into it. Don’t get offended when you aren’t recognized, when you aren’t listened to or when you aren’t valued the way you think you should be. Don’t take on other people’s offense either.
- Model expected behavior.A spirit of entitlement can easily hit emerging leaders and church staffs. The presumption that we don’t have to participate at the level expected of others can halt a mission. For example, I want our leaders to lead the way by always sitting up front during the sermon, listening intently, leading the charge during pre-service prayer, to be at the altars prior to service for a time of intercession, etc. As our leaders model expected behavior they set a culture. That culture is invaluable.
- Be a long-timer.Attrition is an extremely disruptive occurrence in the church today. Church leaders are most always anxious about whether they can count on people to stick with them for the long term. Make a commitment and voice it to your leader. Let him know that you will stand with them through good times and bad in a covenant relationship—and you’ll do what you can to model that in such a way that it becomes a key part of the culture of the church.
- Be joyful!Be that person that’s always smiling, rejoicing and positive! Trust me, leaders can’t get enough of people like that. I have someone on my team that is contagiously joyful. That in itself has her on my leadership radar.
- Be the buzz. Be the most visible, radical, exuberant cheerleader for your church! I’ve been involved in just a few ministries that do this very well. People excitedly spread the word about the church God planted them in. You see it on their faces. You read their Facebook posts. They can’t stop Tweeting. They are fiery evangelists! Around here people can’t stop talking about theLab. There’s buzz. Be that buzz for your church. I know when people are running with the vision when I see them actively advancing the cause Monday through Saturday.
Some books on this topic that I highly recommend to you include A Tale of Three Kings, God’s Armor Bearer, Under Cover and my book Covens in the Church.