A Look at Kent Hunter’s “The Future Is Now: How God Is Moving In The 21st Century Church
I came across an ebook by Kent R. Hunter of Church Doctor Ministries 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 14 – Christian Impact Beyond Human Explanation, Hunter says: “Christians will be stretched to think deeper, larger, and faster. Get ready for the explosive growth of Christianity. Christianity, when released as an epidemic — a Jesus epidemic — grows in exponential proportions. It is connected with signs and wonders, and people become Christians faster than churches can keep track of them. While most Christians in North America have never experienced this, many of us who have traveled widely have seen this frequently. Most Christians in North America have never been in churches where people cannot get in for lack of room. They have not seen situations where many are standing outside open windows, taking notes as the teacher presents. Some of us who have had the privilege of being involved with great moves of God in Africa, the former Soviet Union, South America, the Philippines, and elsewhere have experienced Christian impact beyond human explanation. This is what revival looks like. Now is the time to prepare, so limited expectations do not hinder the ability to catch God’s wave of action.”
With revival always comes explosive expansions, not only supernaturally, but also in numbers. I remember going to Jesus 76 where Ern Baxter invited “any young man who wanted to grow spiritually to be used in the kingdom of God” to come to this huge circus tent during the noon hour to hear him speak. It was originally billed as a “youth pastors/youth workers” seminar, but Ern felt lead by the Holy Spirit to expand the invitation. He was shocked when he came out on stage to a packed circus tent that was three to five people deep beyond the tents boundaries. Revival was occurring among men under the age of 30 who were hungry for God and wanted to be used of God to further His kingdom.
The institutional church was not “prepared” for the move of God came through what has been labeled the Charismatic movement; in fact, the institutional church fought against it, and often subtly still does. It is a matter of who is in control, we, the church, or the Holy Spirit? But how do you prepare for a spiritual explosion, a sudden expanse of spiritual life as well as growing numbers? How did the newly birthed Church recorded in the book of Acts after Pentecost handle 3,000 being saved at once? How did the Church in Africa handle the thousands who were saved when hundreds of thousands of people showed up for major evangelistic crusades? How is the Church to prepare for this revival for which they have been praying for decades?
I believe one of the tools of preparation for the next revival is acknowledging, accepting, being receptive, and developing the five fold in the body of Christ. Revival is always birthed out of spirit of evangelism. We need “to equip the saints for the work of service,” so when revival hits, God’s people, the priesthood of believers, will be equipped to handle the masses, to care for them, nuture them, develop them through the pastoral shepherding spirit of the five fold. In the book of Acts we keep hearing how they broke break in each other homes, met needs when they arose, sold real estate properties for the common good, etc. We need five fold teachers to teach apostolic principles of truth about the kingdom of God to all these new converts to ground them in the Logos Word, the Bible. We need to prepare and release the prophets to teach these new converts how to make the Logos Word the Rhema, the living Word, how to commune with the living God, and how to hear the voice of God for themselves and be obedient to that Word. Finally we need to equip this revival with apostles who “see over” the lives of the individuals who are swarming to the Church as the Church equips them to mature into the image and likeness of Jesus Christ, as well as “see over” the Church as a whole, not with a controlling spirit, but as an accepting spirit of what the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ is doing to bring unity to his Bride, the body of Christ, the Church.
Yes, I hear Hunter’s call for preparation, and encourage the Church to embrace the five fold, birth the five fold, and allow the five fold to develop under the leading of the Holy Spirit to the priesthood of believers. God sent John the Baptist to the earth with one message, “Prepare ye the way”, which instead of King James but in today’s terms means, “You need to prepare for what is coming!” Jesus sent the 70 out before him to “prepare the way” for when he comes. The Spirit of Jesus Christ is again heralding the cry to “prepare the way.” Let’s embrace the five fold as a way the Church could prepare the way, so it can equip the saints for “works of service” for when the next revival does hit, the next wave of unexpectancy hits, when the Church could be overwhelmed by the results of the revival, or when the Church rejoices with the “expected” revival because it has prepared.