Besides the differences in personalities and in applications of the prophetic gifts, I am continually noticing additional diversity in the prophetic realm. Within the body of Christ, we are finding a wider ethnic diversity than ever before, and we are also hearing from fresh new voices. Many of these new voices are from the next generation, but some are also seasoned warriors with a voice that can be heard in this time and for this hour.
We are hearing new prophetic sounds, in terms of up-to-the-minute media presentations. Continuous change seems to be the new norm. We are trying new things and figuring out what works best. New ways of thinking require flexibility and adjustment. From prophetic evangelism at New Age fairs to solemn assemblies of hungry, passionate people, the name of Jesus is being proclaimed as never before.
Other relevant shifts include new aims and goals. I call it “the gutter and the gold”. No longer can the prophetic movement be at home only in middle class Causian churches. As the Spirit leads, it is finding its way into hopeless slums and secularized governmental offices.
Year after year, new models of Kingdom life are developing. They include everything from mega-churches to small house churches, and from crowded stadiums to widely dispersed webcasts. Some flourish in places that have become centers of spiritual life, while others remain hidden from the public eye. Such a wide variety of new possibilities abound in this shifting prophetic landscape that I have tried to capture them in a memorable way. The following are my “nine M’s”.
The Nine M’s in Relevant Change:
- Mighty streams of prayer and praise, combined with the prophetic, are encouraging the manifest presence of God. The worship movement is maturing and bringing us into higher realms of glory.
- Miracle manifestations are proliferating, not only in Third World countries, but also in the West.
- Marketplace ministry, never heard of until recently, is increasing. Guided by the Holy Spirit, Christians exercise their prophetic gifts in their places of secular employment, bringing much-needed wisdom and prophetic intercession into new situations.
- Matrix of relationships. The gifts do not thrive in isolation; they require a healthy relational community of faith.
- Missions outreach. In spite of world recession and the well-established indigenous Church, both long-term and short-term missions continue to be launched, based in many countries including places that until recently were on the receiving end of missionary activity.
- Middle East emphasis. God is doing something in Israel and in the regions surrounding Israel as people bring the gospel of the Kingdom to the Jew first and them to the Gentile (see Romans 1:16).
- Ministry training. With the proliferation of ministry training centers and the organic spreading of the mentoring movement, established prophets, pastors, and teachers are able to give away what they have earned and learned. People are realizing that the little bit they have may be someone else’s magnificent meal
- Mercy ministries. My wife responded to a call for this one. She ministered in Mozambique, Thailand, among the First Nations and wherever else she was able, and she called it “the poor man’s watch.” In fact, she purchased a watch for one of those trips, thinking that she would give it away to someone who needed it. When she came home, she still had it on, and she felt that God was using it to remind her that she was on a prophetic mission to the poor, a true poor man’s (prayer) watch.
- Media mania (reaching for more “M’s”)—another way of saying that people of the Kingdom are using every new means of communication, public and private.
Although we may differ some in theological emphasis, in issues of style and in many other ways, the Holy Spirit is helping the worldwide Church to achieve a remarkable level of unity and energy in “doing the stuff,” as John Wimber used to say. Whether we face more storms or times of fulfillment, it is time to seize the moment, listening to the Spirit for direction. The body of Christ is accepting an incredible opportunity to shift and move into Kingdom alignment. You too can find your place in this amazing adventure.
Getting It Together
I wish that personal character could have been an outright gift of the Spirit like the gift of prophecy or the word of wisdom. Our character flaws contribute more to our ministry failures than any other factor. And yet, our puny character represents a stroke of genius on the part of God, who wants us to rely on Him for everything.
Here He is, living inside each person who names Him as Lord, with a goal of transforming us into His image day by day. As we come into union with the Creator of the universe – who knows us better than we will ever know ourselves – we grow in our experience of new creation realities. Christ in us is the hope of glory (see Colossians 1:27).
The Spirit who dwells inside us is also the spirit of prophecy, and, as you will remember, the spirit of prophecy is the testimony of Jesus (see Revelation 19:10). As the spirit of prophecy draws you continually to the Lord of Love, you will know God better and better. As John the Beloved, the one who leaned his head on Jesus’ heart, put it:
This is the message, which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:5–7)
There is our cure for weak character—and our primary prophetic message. What an adventure this life with Him is turning out to be! Yes, there will be a generation that walks in the double: fullness of fruit (character) and fullness of power (gifts of the Holy Spirit). And when we add the Spirit of Wisdom to that – oh what an adventure that will truly be! And that will make us relevant in any culture and any generation!
Let’s be relevant in this generation!
James W. Goll