A Look at Kent Hunter’s “The Future Is Now: How God Is Moving In The 21st Century Church
I came across an ebook recently that spoke to my spirit. I said “Right on! Someone is receiving an insight of what the Holy Spirit is doing in this century.” Kent R. Hunter of Church Doctor Ministries posted an ebook entitled “The Future Is Now: How God Is Moving In The 21st Century Church.” I would like to quote from this source since it is so good, and then add a few of my analysis to it.
From Chapter 3 – Holy Discontent: “What is the work of the Holy Spirit that occurs underground, before an awakening in a church? It is a move of God with certain individuals within churches. It represents a holy discontent, which can also be described as a spiritual restlessness.”
“Those individuals who feel holy discontent, however, are core members of the church. They are the tithers, generous givers, volunteers, love the pastor, are loyal to the church. But they wrestle with holy discontent. Because they are mature Christians, they do not vocalize this discontent to others. But, to themselves, they often express their discontent by saying, “I just think our church could do better.” They feel their church under-achieves: “I really believe our church should have a greater impact on our community.” They would say, “In the big picture of things, I just feel Christianity should have a greater impact on our culture.” Because they are loyalists, they do not want to spread what seems to be negative feelings.
In truth, these individuals have been spiritually marked, in my perception, as frontline leaders for an awakening. The key for churches is to identify these people and provide a platform for them to know there are others who have this same holy discontent: they are extraordinarily loyal to their church, but want it to become more effective. Their “restlessness” is not only holy, but positive. They are beginning seeds of what will grow into a spiritual movement in the church. But it will happen if, and only if, they are nurtured, provided a platform, and encouraged by the leadership! Therefore, it is my perception, as an analyst, that these are people who should be brought together into a Vision Team (which is a more positive approach than calling it a “Holy Discontent Committee” — anybody want to join?).
On the other hand, people with holy discontent, if not nurtured, will eventually leave the church. Not in an angry or even public fashion. They still love their pastor and feel loyalty to the church. They leave with extreme frustration, recognizing there is no platform, no outlet, and no one seems to want to listen. It appears, to them, that no one wants to make their church more effective for reaching the lost and impacting the culture. They seek another church for missional stewardship reasons: “I only have one life to live, and only so much money to give. I want to invest in a church that is making a difference. I’ve tried everything, and it just doesn’t seem like our church wants to move forward...or can’t. I have to go where I can contribute, making a Kingdom difference.”
Those churches that provide a platform — a Vision Team — develop a direction that will lead the church in the coming awakening and the subsequent revival. Those churches that miss this opportunity and do not provide an environment for those with holy discontent will actually lose some of the most valuable contributors (in every way) to their church and will actually become weaker, increasing the demise of their churches. This is the “pruning of the vineyard.” Jesus taught about branches that are cut off, which do not produce fruit (John 15:2). Leaders in churches who recognize the work of the Holy Spirit in these people will provide a platform and harness what the Holy Spirit is doing, or, they will lose them.”
Many who I know who love the Lord, love the Church, who are foundations in their local church, and are seeking the next move of God have experienced this discontent over the last couple of years, trying to figure out what is happening, where the Spirit is leading, what is the next revival. They fear that if revival does come, it usually happens outside the borders set by the current institutional Church, and usually brings more division, more denominations. What many of my friends desire is a movement of God, a revival that will bring unity in the body of Christ , not discontent and division.
I remember the Charismatic movement, which touched my life, and I became frustrated because there was no platform provided by the institutional church at that time to share the fruit of what was happening in my changed life in Jesus. I only felt resistance to what God was doing from the church. Decades later the church embraced those changes when “proven”, but unfortunately lost out in the freshness of the movement.
I truly believe the five fold will part of this next movement of God because as Ephesians 4 so amply shows the fruit of the five fold to be maturity of the saints into the image of Jesus and unity in the body of Christ. I have seen maturity, or spiritual growth, from past revivals in the lives of the saints they touched, but never unity. That is why I feel this next movement of God to be different.