Examine ten clear points the church must consider as we prepare for Kingdom advance.
The prophet comes to set up that which is upset. His work is to call into line those who are out of line!~Leonard Ravenhill
I always feel a bit strange when I cry most every time I watch the TV show Kitchen Nightmares. Then, the light came on. Gordon Ramsay is a prophet in waiting, a man who, in the natural, brings order to disorder in dying restaurants. He is doing in secular culture what prophets are called to do in the spiritual. He is doing what Leonard Ravenhill is talking about in the business realm and its time for us to see it in the church realm. That prophetic reality results in tears for me—and a yearning for action—now!
I’d encourage you to watch the entire teaching on this topic (it was a spontaneous prophetic message that God rocked me with Sunday night during worship as I was getting ready to preach).
I‘d recommend reading a similar article: 10 Threats to Revival.
- A CRY FOR HELP—Historically, when a cry for help sounded God sent a prophet. Judges 6:7-8 (ESV) 7 When the people of Israel cried out to the LORD on account of the Midianites, 8 the LORD sent a prophet to the people of Israel. In Kitchen Nightmares, the restaurant owner is usually in a very desperate situation so Gordon Ramsay is summoned to help.
- THE ANALYSIS—In every episode I’ve seen, the restaurant owner is convinced that they are on the right track, and simply need some expert guidance and a little enhancement to see things turn around. For those who watch the show, you know that this is the place where things get ugly. On the first day of a several day process, Gordon Ramsay enters the restaurant, meets the owner and then sits down to order a meal. Without fail, the owner and the chef are absolutely convinced that the food they are serving is wonderful. At least an 8 on a scale of 1 to 10.Without fail, Gordon Ramsay samples the food and is horrified. His unique and expert perspective grants him the ability to immediately determine whether the food is good or bad—an analysis that is contrary to the analysis of the owner and the chef. It’s immediately clear, after just a few moments, to Gordon Ramsay why the restaurant is failing, though the ownership, after hours, days and years of analysis is confused and clueless.
- OFFENSE & CONFLICT—Gordon Ramsay then goes directly to the kitchen and shocks the staff with his brash and direct approach. He is often extremely upset that he was served food of such a low caliber. He has accused them of lying to to the patrons by offering one thing on the menu and delivering something totally different on the plate. People’s faces show shock and anger as Gordon attacks ‘their baby’…their food, their dream, their way of doing things. Similarly, prophets, who are called to analyze situations and sound alarms for radical change, are often resisted vehemently when they touch the dreams and efforts of pastors and people in the church. Offense can spike and division can come if honesty and humility don’t reign. The prophet in his day is fully accepted of God and totally rejected by men. He is unquestionably controversial and unpardonably hostile.~Leonard Ravenhill
On the show, at this point of the process, people are radically offended, often in tears, shocked beyond measure and second guessing their choice to invite Gordon to help. They usually want him gone—and fast.
- THIS IS NOT AN ENHANCEMENT—As I stated previously, the restaurant owners on the show, and also pastors and leaders in the church, are expecting their endeavors to be affirmed and then enhanced so as to yield a better result. The reality? The mission of Gordon Ramsay and the mission of prophets in the church is not one of enhancement. It’s near total deconstruction and complete reformation—or nothing. What is presumed to be untouchable is touched—and torn down—without apology by Gordon. Staff is fired, food that has been served for years is removed from the menu, the owners are rebuked for their poor leadership, and on and on.In less than a week, Gordon Ramsay comes in and enhances nothing, but reforms everything. The décor is modernized, old equipment is replaced with new equipment, staff is reassigned to new, better suited duties and everything becomes instantly better.In the church we see the same issues. Leaders are often so set on the way they are doing things, on the vision of yesteryear, that they simply want their comfort zone of ministry to be affirmed and enhanced. Churches open their doors wide to consultants but slam the door hard to prophets. One brings enhancement and affirmation while the other shuts everything down in favor of developing a brand new wine skin.
- EXTREME MEASURES—More than once Gordon Ramsay has shut down the dinner service with a full house of hungry customers. He had the staff send them home due to breakdowns in the restaurant. The staff is usually embarrassed and furious. The risk of losing people through such a method is extremely high. They usually feel that Gordon, at that point, actually destroyed their business instead of helping it.What the owners determined was an acceptable way to run a business was actually so below the bar that Gordon Ramsay closed the restaurant for the safety of the patrons.I believe it’s critical to allow God to shut down programs and even entire churches, at least for a season, for the sake of a full deconstruction and reconstruction of systems, policies, functions and vision. Yes, many people will leave, but the resulting structure will be able to fulfill its mission.
- NEW IDENTITY—One of the most powerful moments comes when Gordon’s crew spends the entire night ripping out the old décor and refurbishing the entire restaurant. Everything changes. Gordon has gone as far as changing the name of the restaurant and hanging a new sign outside! He changed the restaurant from specializing on one type of food (sea food, for example) to another (burgers and shakes). The reformation went as deep as the very core of the vision that the restaurant was initially developed from. The prophet breathes the rarefied air of inspiration. He is a “seer” who comes to lead the blind.~Leonard Ravenhill
- NEW ASSIGNMENTS—Gordon Ramsay is an expert at analyzing people’s strengths and weaknesses. He reassigns people according to their passions and abilities. The chef may become a bus boy. A waitress may become the manager. The owner may be asked to stay out of the way and let more gifted people lead.We must see this happen in the church as well. Prophets and apostles are experts at bringing order to disorder. The pastor or leader of a church or ministry may not be gifted with this level of revelation, and it will make sense for them to give way to those who do.
- SIGNIFICANT INVESTMENT—Gordon, when he arrives, assumes control to an offensive degree. But, he also invests himself, his time and his money. Thousands of dollars are put into new equipment, the new branding, food, remodeling, etc. More than once he has actually hired a world renowned chef for thirty days to help the restaurant stay on track after he leaves.We can expect this in the church as well. Prophets and apostles are often willing to cancel other appointments and ministry assignments to come to a city to help with the reconstruction.
- HUGS, TEARS AND THANKS—Every single time owners and staff—that absolutely hated Gordon and wanted him to leave almost before he arrived—end up thanking him passionately, usually with tears in their eyes. Gordon did what they could not do because of his unique calling and gift mix.Gordon Ramsay has such a tender heart and desires deeply that every restaurant owner would be prosperous and successful. You see him truly developing real friendships with people who once despised him.If pastors will trust the offensive and threatening process that prophets and apostles will call for, at the end of the day, they will thank them. Proverbs 16:7 When a man's ways please the Lord,
he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.
Years back, Dr. Gregory Mantle was right when he said, “No man can be fully accepted until he is totally rejected.” The prophet of the Lord is aware of both these experiences. They are his “brand name.” ~Leonard Ravenhill
The prophet is the villain of today and the hero of tomorrow.~Leonard Ravenhill
- RETURNING TO OLD PATTERNS—Time and again it’s proven that those who revert to their old ways, and forget everything that Gordon Ramsay set into motion, end up failing. Some of the shows are devoted to visiting restaurants that Gordon had been in previously. Often, he’ll find the restaurants closed and the reports from the old employees he tracks down are always the same—the owner reverted back to their old way of doing things.On the other hand, those who stuck with the new menu, who embraced the rebranding, who fired employees who should not be there, and who ensured the employees who remained stayed in their newly assigned roles reported great financial gain and and a restaurant that’s packed every night. Philippians 3:13-14 (ESV) 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
I’ve stated many times in recent years, and have written in my book 20 Elements of Revival, that the reformation that’s coming to the church is going to be extreme and everything we hold dear is at risk.
Another key point to understand is that every church in the nation is included in this massive reform. It’s easy to think that God is referring to the dead, dry, religious churches when he speaks of reformation. The reality? The most Spirit-filled, fiery churches are those who must be reformed first, so they can move ahead in the spirit of a forerunner and model the extreme change that’s coming to the rest of the church world.
What do you think?