The church is in an identity crisis right now, but God is bringing a clear message to help bring His balance into the existing church. We have always been called to engage culture and see transformation in the world around us, but much of the church is dualistic in its approach. We see anything not directly impacting the focus of the church as nonspiritual.
Because of this, we have become in some cases irrelevant to the world around us, building only organizational structures that affect other believers. It's the difference between Noah building an ark of protection and God raising up Joseph to build kingdom culture within a worldly structure. I believe we are called to be architects of kingdom. When we see many of the influencers in the Bible, they worked in occupations that saved nations, influenced cities and mentored kingdoms. These are our end-times examples, and the Holy Spirit is leading us out of self-protection mode.
Of course, statistics from Barna Group and others show a huge amount of believers don't even attend a local church. Much of this is because the organized structure of the church has not been making itself into a harbor in the vast ocean of humanity. Rather, we have been building isolated, manmade lakes and fishing from our own streams.
The Holy Spirit desires to coach us into the ability to influence humanity by showing the world God's original intention. I love how the Holy Spirit is so consistent in His message to the world: He wants to connect our hearts to the everlasting love nature of God. We have a Father in heaven who has always had an original design for all things, especially humanity. He has this incredible vision of reigning and partnership, and it's so unbelievable that when man failed, He sent His Son to restore us and make everything new.
The Holy Spirit shares with us today how to access this restoration of all things and gives us vision to see the Father's original design and desire. I love how 1 Corinthians 2:10-12 frames it: The Holy Spirit searches the deepest parts of God and connects us to those places in His heart.
I believe the Holy Spirit is bringing incredible perspective through His eyes of love to see the value of people and industries we have not previously treasured. He is commissioning Christians to influence in places that before felt off-limits or fringy but now have become empowered by mainstream Christianity—industries like music, film and technology. Daniel, Joseph and Esther are examples of people positioned differently in culture to have a kingdom effect that just wouldn't have happened if they had remained limited to the tribe of Israel alone. They were positioned for the good of God's people and for the good of the people they served.
Today, we are seeing huge numbers of pastors' and ministers' kids coming into careers in arts and entertainment, business, tech, science and even politics. They feel sent by God the same way their parents felt when they started their ministry. It is a clear sign when you can identify a generation of Western world leaders' kids not taking the direct legacy of their parents but instead being infused with the same passion to see impact through an industry instead of ministry.
On top of this, the Spirit is speaking and releasing prophetic perspective on how to partner with God in these industries, so that we can see a fuller expression of the truth that God created all things to work for the good of those who believe. As we allow engagement in these areas, people who have felt isolated by current church structure because of its inward focus will begin to find a home in our churches again.
The Spirit has also been speaking that healthy self-love, marriage, family and community should be pillars of our faith again. He is helping us to identify the love language of this generation. I believe the previous generation's love language was acts of service. Pastors knew their vision was believed in and loved by how people committed to work for it. The Spirit is revealing that the next generation's love language is quality time. That means people want to be known and treasured. The next generation doesn't feel love just by doing things; they desire connection through intentional time spent together. God is bridging these gaps between the older and younger generation, but we have to recognize that quality time might be more important than any project we accomplish. We must remember those we are serving so we don't end up missing our mark.
The Holy Spirit is called the Counselor, Coach, Friend and Comforter for a reason. He has so much wisdom for these issues. We just need to be a people reliant on His nature and love.
Shawn Bolz is an author, minister and pioneer in the prophetic movement. He is the host of the podcast Exploring the Prophetic, available at cpnshows.com.
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