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THE CONDITION OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN CHURCH
In 2015 the South African Church will focus on people rather than buildings, vision and purpose. More pastors that love and care for the flock are being raised up. Many churches will evaluate their courses on the grounds of necessity, value and practical benefit.
People are being challenged to push beyond their present limits to become community-minded and lay down their lives for others. Due to this, borders and boundaries will be crossed while churches will be established as “lights on the hill”.
Not only rural churches, but also city churches will start to impact their surrounding communities in more practical ways. Because of the plight of the less fortunate, churches will use their resources to assist those in need. The desire and compassion to help have developed because of a new influx of the pastoral anointing into the church. The emphasis falls no longer only on apostolic and church planting ministries. Churches will not measure their importance on how many branches they have but will instead be concentrating on integration with the community. It is not about numbers anymore but about reaching out to people that the Lord has placed around them. Bigger churches will extend their ministries to support smaller ones, similar to an umbrella covering them.
Although churches seem to be in a healthy financial state, households are experiencing financial constraints. Many churches have taken the warnings of the last two years seriously and placed a restraint on spending. Because of this they are now able to help struggling congregants in practical ways i.e. compiling and distributing food parcels. Instead of using finance for grand publicity, the church is utilizing what they have in a more humble way by helping the flock. Church leaders and congregants are in agreement; murmuring and complaints have changed into appreciation. The Lord is putting compassion into the leaders’ hearts. Many building projects, garden maintenance and hiring of new staff will be put on hold. The Lord said, “you need to tread water for a while, keep things afloat and first look after the people in need.”
Competition between churches has almost come to an end due to a realization that they do not have to compete with one another. This will have a stabilizing effect on the church environment. Churches will start to focus on their unique character. Identity will in general become a focal point, congregations will talk about who you are and God’s unique view of who He made you to be with regards to individual qualities. Local ministries will minister to their unique communities, leading to a new understanding of who the communities are and what they need. They will receive Godly input and direction on how to minister to their communities. Networks of churches will still exist but they will not build organisations. They will rather build up God’s people.
The government will reach out to the church in SA for counselling and advice. This will lead to a sharp increase in moral conscience. Political leaders will become active church members without VIP status. The Lord is making the importance of following Jesus public. Certain political parties will become active followers of Jesus and lead others in following Christ. It will become evident that parties’ members pray and seek God. This will not only happen in Christian political parties, but also in those not known to be Christian. Prayer rallies will accompany this.
A vision was seen of churches taking responsibility for public parks and the maintenance thereof. This will become a way by which the church will minister to families and communities. The Lord is saying: “You have been faithful in the past and I am entrusting you with more”. He has raised the level maturity of the church so that communities can be influenced. Municipalities and communities alike will welcome this strong community move as people are hoping that someone will take a stand. Municipalities will place parks under churches’ direction and fund children’s ministry in these parks. The Lord is opening doors that were previously shut.
Movement of leadership in the church will cause new congregations and church groups to be formed. Positive networking between different leadership and groups will increase. Even though many will leave large churches for smaller groupings, large churches will still increase in numbers. Many individuals will be involved in activities in more than one congregation at the same time. New emphasis will be placed on Bible knowledge and understanding, accompanied by a greater degree of Holy Spirit-revelation. Old teachings will return, accompanied with greater revelation and understanding.
Theology will come alive; emphasis will be placed on the practical application of Bible knowledge. Leaders walking with their people will advance very quickly, but those dominating their people will experience more difficulty. Churches have to be frugal with their finances in this season to come, even if a lot comes in.
Prepare yourselves for the next season that is to come. More church leadership will connect with businesses. Youth development will become increasingly important for the prosperity of congregations. Elderly care will become a great concern in communities and the public and churches will be expected to fill the need for caring for the elderly. Normal settings for the church will be re-invented in SA and unconventional places will be used. Great pressure will be placed on morality, leading to conflict in church. A choice to stay true to the Word and not to compromise will be required.
People in church will help leaders to “carry the light”. A vision was seen of a dim light that illuminates the path just enough for other people to be drawn onto it.
In the past church structures have not accommodated the youth; causing a generation gap. This has led to some leaders becoming discouraged. There are 30 or 40 leaders that wish to exit in the next few months, saying: “I had enough, I cannot continue with this, I am getting out”. God is encouraging them to not give up. He is saying: “I am raising a generation that will break out of their boundaries to help you to cover missing ground. Just hold on.”
In the previous season church members have grown in maturity. The Lord is going to use this development to influence the nation. He has strategically planted his church in different areas – for example politics, business and other spheres of life. Due to a reshuffling over the last years, we will this year start to see fruit coming forth from people’s lives in their jobs, business, and in government offices.
People in the nation are maturing and thinking for themselves. People are starting to take responsibility for their own growth on an individual level. They are spirit driven in their choice of church rather than being led by ulterior motives. Within the church in general there is a greater desire for accuracy versus visibility; people are seeking God’s blue print for their lives. Their specific calling is becoming far more important than competing with that which neighbouring churches are busy with. Churches will be mature enough to realize that each congregation should follow their unique calling from God.
A vision was received of churches that take hands with the media, especially Christian media. The Christian media sector will start networking. Although they previously have been rather reluctant to join hands because of competition; they will be reaching out to each other. This will create platforms in the Christian media where it is possible to come together and seek God’s will regarding further moves.
2015 will see a lot of media development within churches, by which very close relationships will be built with local media. We will see a lot of new churches on television and churches will become involved with radio productions. This will establish great worship events comparable to the “Huisgenoot Skouspel”. High quality Christian media events will draw even international Christian artists to come and perform. This will be similar to Angus Buchan’s mighty men conferences; huge crowds will be drawn to convention centers. Because of an overwhelming response these events will have to run multiple nights to accommodate all the people.
Local churches will be making powerful movies, based on real life stories. These movies will make a big impact on screen. Churches will bring many true heartfelt stories through this medium to the nation. A lot of training with regard to media will be required in churches. There has been training before but it happened on a very small scale and has by far not met the level of need in churches. Media will play a major role in the next year.
Networks between churches and church organizations will start to develop around themes, focusing on objectives such as the youth, feeding the hungry etc. Churches and organizations will come together in order to try and combat these issues and give hope.
Many outreaches will be planned with the aim to help people with regard to certain areas like becoming self-sufficient, going back to basics and teaching God’s word in a simple manner.
A vision was seen of a church that wanted to start with outreaches but it seemed that nobody was willing to go. God is saying: “I have put people in place, the passion is birthed in their hearts and they will be available to move when you call.”
In 2015 very mature and recognized prophets from across the world will pronounce prophetic words over the church of SA and Southern Africa. These will be strategic words of confirmation about what God is doing and planning. God is preparing a whole new move that will spread beyond Southern Africa. Many more congregations that, in the past, were not open to the prophetic ministry or hearing God’s voice will open up to that. Even the most traditional congregations and denominations will become open to receive the prophetic word.
There will be a greater demand for the ability to hear the Lord and therefore raising up prophetic people will become important. Initially there may be great resistance but churches will soon realize that they need to have these prophetic voices. Due to a waning resistance towards the prophetic, an increase in the maturity of the prophetic should occur. Present prophetic voices will still work hard, but there should be a definite increase in the number of disciples. This will put pressure on people who do not want to hear His voice because they will be constantly confronted with it. Prophetic people will, as a result of the maturing process, be displaying a pleasant boldness. A new wave of deliverance and supernatural healing will occur. The power ministry will be of greater importance than the need for information and teaching. People need to experience God’s Word; therefore Words need to be understood. As a result of moving with boldness in God’s power, local traditional tribes will be delivered from witchcraft and deviousness. This will happen in areas all around the country.
RESTORATION OF HOPE
There will be a theme of hope springing up from churches, spilling over into the nation. The nation will start to see the church as a place of hope. God is saying to this country that He wants to bring hope back to this land and this hope will bring forth the faith that we need. Because of that faith the church environment will have an impact on the economy and government. People in church will start to have hope and faith, which will inspire them to take action.
More churches are developing a strong social conscience. Programs that do not help communities will be discontinued. Instead of focusing on building, pastors will be looking after the flock and developing social programs. Churches will provide aids like clothes for nursery schools. They will also get involved with schools, police stations and other community service points.
A vision was seen of a movement in the spiritual atmosphere opening up in Soweto. People will start to stream to churches in Soweto. God is going to open up doors in Soweto which will have a huge impact, almost comparable to the move when people started streaming to Nigeria. Soweto is going to start to become a focal point of what God is doing in the South African church. Drug addicts will start to go to church because God is planting people there who will be able to help them. Instead of using drugs, they will be going to church expecting to be touched by God’s Holy Spirit. They are going to be turned around and will pull other people into church.
Testimonies in the form of ‘story telling’ will become popular in churches and communities. This move will especially become pronounced in the African churches. ‘Story telling’ will create better understanding. Through this people will be equipped, similar to the way Jesus equipped people by using parables. A lot of poetry is coming particularly out of the African churches. New poetry books will be published out of the church and Christian environment.
TIMES OF REFRESHING
A season of refreshing is on its way. The Lord is saying He is breathing a fresh breath over churches; it is as if the dust has been blown off, refreshing the hearts of His people. Acts 2 says that times of refreshing will come from the presence of the Lord. All over we will hear of churches that entered a season of revival, flowing in the Holy Spirit and manifesting His touch. People will fall over, roll, laugh and lie on the floor.
Church leaders will work with the people and resources they have available instead of searching for professional musicians. The focus will fall on teaching the church audience about worship and how to do it. A new influx of worship music will develop in the church arena, but not necessarily within the congregations.
Worship bands will take part in art festivals such as “Oppi-koppi” and “KKNK”. Youth bands are going to become exceptionally popular. They will not compromise and will draw both young and old audiences. Even elderly people attending the art festivals will love it and throw away their walking sticks as God touches and heals them during the shows. Secular artists are going to be touched by this. This will add fuel to the fire because even these artists will want to flow in this “product”. The Lord wants this to touch the rest of the world because of the radical nature of these people.
The Worship bands will receive a lot of exposure on television. Music programs and TV interviews will introduce them to the rest of SA, even secular music shows on television will have interviews with these bands because of their popularity.
Big youth festivals will take place that will expose SA youth to new worship. This will not be merely nice Christian entertainment but challenge the youth to become radical Christians.
God is warning to not try to keep the youth bound to specific congregations. Congregations should not try to grow their “numbers” by focusing on the youth. The youth will not be told what their preferences should be. They are going to move between congregations and be equipped by various churches. At times there will be a total mix with them visiting more than one church in a week, to be equipped through the various ‘gifts’ in which the different churches flow. They will not visit churches because these churches look good – they will be after true spiritual growth. Churches will be chosen on the grounds of how they are perceived in the spirit and not on a ‘pretty picture’.
WARNINGS AND INSTRUCTIONS
A vision was seen of churches that were collapsing, it looks like the whole building is imploding. They did not have a strong foundation to keep the building together. Make sure to adhere to building regulations.
Young leaders, which God has selected will be boosted into higher positions quite quickly. The older leaders should not feel rejected or upset but work together with those who have a specific calling.
More prayer is necessary for senior pastors and their families’ lives. Specific groups are called to pray for the senior pastor and the family surrounding them and they must take this call seriously.
New denominations will be created by the mixing together of traditional type of churches and the Pentecostal/Charismatic in a manner not seen before in SA. A greater emphasis will be placed on the pastoral and teaching gifts in this next season and less emphasis on the apostolic and evangelism anointing. Prophetic prayer, intersession and worship will be popular areas of development; this will create a future platform for stronger evangelism. The stronger evangelism platform in turn will create a new platform for the apostolic.
There will also be a stronger connection between the Christian and Jewish communities. The importance of baptism will come to the fore again. A John the Baptist type of anointing will come forth, where saved people will rededicate themselves to God with visible actions and signs.
Traditional churches still have value in the nation, because they have solid rules that have kept them to a high moral standard. A lot of them don’t agree with divorce, a lot of them have the Ten Commandments constantly before them. The followers of the traditional churches have a very strong moral fibre that is very important to the country. They have a much bigger following than we realise and they need to know that they are important in the nation.
There will be a melting of the barriers between the traditional church and all the others. Many of them are coming together already. There have been forums that are non-threatening and the traditional churches have begun to attend these forums. Although the traditional churches will still remain traditional, they will look different in their services, in their attitudes and the people that are their members. The previous generations have been accommodating but have dwindled and their voices are weak. Traditional churches will have a brief service for the traditional folk but then have another service for everyone else.
National Leader Changed
There is a strong traditional leader that had an encounter with the Lord. He has been known to have refused the manifestations of the Holy Spirit in services and baptism in the churches, but he had an encounter with the Lord and now he has changed his heart. God is busy giving him a strategy to address these issues. There will be an announcement coming in February/March 2015 where this leader is going to announce what has happened to him. He is a very strong man of prayer. He is wearing the traditional black toga signifying that he stems from within one of three traditional Afrikaans denominations. The Lord is touching him first and then this renewal will spill over to the congregations.
No More Theology
The words “stop your studies” were heard. Many of the students in theological seminary, are going to stop their studies because God is calling them to be authentic. Because of this the boundaries between charismatic and traditional churches will blur as people are looking for solid answers. Theology by itself, and experience by itself is not be enough anymore. There will have to be co-operation between the two flows in ministry to get answers to speak to the people’s hearts with the true word of God.
Renewal vs. Revival
Revival does not equal renewal. Renewal alone will not be enough anymore, revival is what God wants to bring into the churches. He is going to bring revival into the traditional churches, first on a small scale but it will just increase and spread among traditional churches. God is warning against renewal in terms of trying to shake things up a bit and simply adding a more modern approach. God wants to bring genuine revival.
A strong movement in the traditional church towards life in the word will occur, but there will be a small faction that will try to protect their customs, cultures and traditions. This faction will break away from the bigger traditional movement and start their own movement. This movement will be marginalised in rural areas and very conservative places. Their buildings will run empty. Because of the renewal in the previously traditional denominations some charismatic churches that have not been open to revival will become the “new traditional” church stuck in customs and traditions.
A vision was seen of the traditional church. A big church building was seen standing on the edge of a cliff with a landslide taking place and the both the foundation of the church and the church itself came crashing down. There is a moving away from the strong foundations of the church beliefs. This is putting the traditional church at risk, and the Lord wants to remind them of the true values of His Word and not the dogma. Traditional churches that are built on the true values of God will stand in this coming season, but those who focus on dogma will fall by the way side. Every church including the traditional churches are called to uphold His word in society. The frustration growing in the hearts of the members of the traditional church will cause people to want to get out, and a small action towards commitment to God’s word in the church will have an immense positive impact on their lives.
There will be some rather peculiar shakings surrounding the Pope. This will have Catholicism spinning and turning on its head. A lot is happening behind the scenes that will be brought to light and this will cause cracks and division in the Vatican and again in Catholicism.
A New Move
There has been a slowing down and stagnation in the Pentecostal Church. For many years there has been no progress. The leaders are coming together at an annual forum with their agenda. They will put this agenda aside and wait on the Holy Spirit to reveal the next phase of the plan for the Pentecostal churches. Revival will visit the hearts of the leaders. Many traditions they developed and held dear will be addressed and removed. The people in the pews will be shaken by the new things that are going to be implemented and by revival coming into the churches. Many of the Pentecostal leaders are so set in their ways and unable to break out of the mould they created for themselves. They are too conscious of what the people will say about them to allow themselves to grab hold of the new. Those that don’t embrace the changes will have empty churches.
The Pentecostal groups have tried to close the circle and lock it so that no one else can get in. This is a futile exercise as the Lord will keep breaking those doors down. He will keep sending people deemed unnecessary to disturb them and prohibit them from forming a closed group.
The Lord is disciplining the Pentecostal church saying: “I have called you to make disciples and not to cage people in”. Instead of discipling them the church has held on to people. In this next season there will be a whole strong focus from God for a discipling process in Pentecostal churches. Where leaders have held onto a shepherding function instead of a discipling function, and the Lord said is calling leaders back to disciple their people. A lot of Pentecostal churches will run empty, people will join other Pentecostal churches because of their focus on shepherding people instead of discipling them. Unless there is a clear strategic move of discipling these churches will lose purpose and the people will move away.
The plans of the Pentecostal churches’ counsels will be shaken during the next move. These churches have followed their own rigid set of rules for a long time. But God is saying: “No more! These are not My plans and not My commandments.” The slate is clean, all own agendas will be removed.
A constitutional change will take place in many Pentecostal denominations; for some it is only a partial constitutional change but it will transform their church environment.
A prominent Pentecostal leader
God will increasingly use people like Dr. Izak Burger and other prominent Pentecostal leaders in a public capacity to speak against atrocities and corruption on government level. He will be a regular feature in the media.
Many charismatic leaders are old and worn out. They have forgotten the original intent of their calling. The only way that they are going to revive themselves is by waiting on the Lord. The responsibilities of keeping the ministry running caused many pastors not to have the time to wait on the Lord. There will come a renewed realisation of their need to spend time with God. He wants to revive them by rekindling their first love. Then revival will spread to the rest of their church. These churches have gone into maintenance mode where people have become inactive and dissatisfied with nowhere else to go. The leaders have fraternised with friends in high level positions and lost their love for the ministry and the people. It is time for these leaders to get back to the things that inspired them originally.
God is saying: “Feed My sheep, feed My people”. Some charismatic church members will move out of the church to home churches. God is firstly going to feed the leaders so that they can come to a place where they can lead again. The Lord is using the assistant leaders in the church to feed the sheep in the home groups, in the home cells and in the home churches. This will happen for a season and then God will call the people back. Those who have gone out of the charismatic movement will come back again with new vision and determination. A new connection with the leaders will take place. Some home groups will bring new ideas and a new flavour. This will be seen as the new charismatic.
A vision was seen of a big bus with a driver in the bus. The bus represents the charismatic congregation and the driver represents the leader or pastor. This bus started off on a highway where it was able to travel quickly for long distances with high speed. But the charismatic road has changed into a winding road that goes up a mountain pass which is precarious and dangerous. The driver of the bus is holding onto the steering wheel trying very hard to steer the bus. God is saying: “Let go of the steering wheel and fall back in trust and depend and rely on Me”. The moment the driver lets go of the steering wheel the bus leaves the road and starts flying. God says: “I will be in control now. It will not be what you understand through human endeavour and knowledge.” God wants to take control and take the charismatic church to a place where it’s never been before.
There are many charismatic leaders that have become proud and arrogant in what they have accomplished. They have removed themselves from the people and set themselves above others. Because of this the flock cannot associate with their leadership anymore. Pride comes before the fall. God wants these leaders to repent and add themselves once again to the rest of the body. The traditional leaders will start to become mentors and teachers to the charismatic leaders in humility, in serving and in having a heart for the flock.
A vision was seen of pastors on television especially in America where a big X was drawn over them in order to cancel them. There are shows which are doing more harm than good. Christian media is called to be genuine and true and not puffed up.
The Charismatic movement is old and needs to move on. How will that be done? Leaders need to connect to those who have moved on but have been rejected. Through the support of the previously rejected pioneers, the entire direction of the charismatic move will be changed and renewed. The Lord wants a new momentum to get people out of stagnation. The process of finding those who have been criticised before will facilitate this.
Release of Finance
A Vision of a huge river with a dry riverbed being flooded was seen. The Lord is saying that for those who have been really working and labouring hard there is a great release of finance coming like a mighty river. The Lord is going to enable many churches to carry a lot of projects and other ministries along. Churches will have a big influence in areas where there are great needs.
Refreshing of Hearts
The Lord is going to refresh the hearts of His tired people. Many have been pulling and working very hard but have neglected some of the basic principles that brought them to a new life. God is calling us not to bind ourselves to a movement but to bind ourselves to Him. He will renew is from day to day. His mercy is new every morning. Instead of connecting to a movement, we must connect to a God that continually moves. The Lord is saying to the charismatic movement: “I want to move with you, move with Me and do not be bound to what you know as charismatic but be bound to Me and you will be continuously renewed.”
There will be a refocus on leadership and taking of hands. This will produce a different team dimension not only in team leadership but team strategy as well as pulpit ministry. Team ministry will increase.
The Fire of God
A vision of a huge fire was seen and as the fire subsided, it looked like the fire was extinguished. But the burning embers remained and became prevalent. God will do a secret work in the hearts of the people that will carry a fire across the nation. The Lord has used the leaders to ignite the fires. God will raise up specific people that will still infuse flames but coals are important. The coals still contain warmth and the fire of God. These coals within the hearts of the charismatic people will continue to burn and make big impact on the people.
The Lord is much busier than anyone could fathom and the church throughout the world is not going to fall apart. The Lord has appointed and identified people in every region and nation and He is convicting, convincing and bringing them in. Often the church might not resemble your own model of what church should be, but it is still church in the Lords eyes. The fact that we may not always see it does means that we have to trust Him with His church. The Holy Spirit wants to lift people to a higher place in order to have Gods perspective over the world. The church and individuals have lost some perspective and the Lord wants to change the focus away from all the crises; not looking at the things below, but to look at what He is currently doing in order to have the correct insight.
The church globally is far healthier than it’s ever been and is increasing in the Kingdom dimension. A young group of people will start to see these things happening under the world’s radar and they will start to document it. This documentation will bring a whole new release of life into the Body of Christ worldwide. The western church has been very vocal and very prominent whilst the eastern and African churches have been quiet and community focused. Through this documentation a balance will come and we should stand in awe of what the Lord has done as His glory covers the earth.
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