By John Burkholder
What an awesome time we live in, and what an honor it is to be among the company of Believers of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I often ponder if the Body of Christ realizes the significance of the hour in which we live: if we perceive that the whole earth is groaning for the manifestation of the sons of God; if we really know who we are as the church; if we know what the church is, what it should look like, and who and what Christians should be.
For so many of us, the church is the place we go to on Sunday mornings for service. We gather for songs of praise and worship, the dreaded announcements, and of course we would be remiss not to mention whether the pastor is going to finish his sermon in time for us to catch the game that starts in ten minutes. Some of us go because we are expected to. Is this really God’s design for His Church?
With all of my heart, let me respond with a resounding “no!” The church is in one of its most magnificent times of transition. There is a growing sense of frustration, discomfort, and agitation in the hearts of God’s people. Lethargy and complacency are being called to a screeching halt by the power of the Holy Spirit. Our spirit man continually cries out with a deep yearning for greater dimensions of God with what seems to be an ever increasing hunger for more. We are not quite sure why and really do not understand, yet it presses upon our souls. We express dissatisfaction with thoughts like, “There has got to be more. Is this all there is?”
To fully comprehend the awakening of the Body of Christ, we must acknowledge that we have been lulled to sleep within what we call church. Religion, tradition, theologies, and eschatology have given us a cornucopia of reasoning for not simply being who we are called to be. In our sleepy state, God is awakening us. The alarm clocks are buzzing and chiming all over the earth and the Spirit releases a clarion call to arise!
The call to arise is an individual and corporate battle cry. The glorious sound of the revelry trumpet blows, and we the army of God are springing out of our cots, putting on our uniforms, and rushing out of the barracks of the church to gather in specialized battalion formations, each with an assigned, unique, and special mission. How great it would be that every saint is standing shoulder to shoulder with a fresh and new revelation of unity and rank compelling us forward through an inspired commonality and bond of purpose?
Each would be fortified in the knowledge that his or her capacity to march into the battleground of our own spheres of influence, as the sons and daughters the world is yearning for, is like no other. Each would be equipped with an experiential revelation that they themselves can move freely in the full manifestation of God’s power and the demonstration of His love through the mighty expression of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit in complete operation. This would be the beginning of restoration, transformation, and reformation. Are you ready to rumble with the greatest army of saints ever assembled, to plunge the sickle in the earth for the greatest harvest of souls ever, as a prelude for Christ and the establishment of His Kingdom and eternal reign with all of us, His Bride, the Saints?
Understanding that we are in transition is necessary; more so, we must embrace that transition! As influencers in the Body of Christ, we must embrace the season of personal transformation first. The Holy Spirit is revealing where we are on God’s time table and what He wants to do through us while we are here. God is connecting the dots of revelations, wisdoms, strategies, and timings for the implementation of God’s plan for this hour.
Every member of the Body of Christ has a sphere of influence and no one can minister in that sphere as effectively as that individual can. The premise for that reasoning is that every person has a network of family, friends, work associates, classmates, and social affiliations through sports, recreational interests, and the like, all represented outside church buildings. The operative component is personal relationship. As leaders, we are being challenged to see beyond those that we serve within the context of ministry, and realize the very ones we are serving also have a captive audience of people, with various degrees of already established relationship within their own spheres of influence.
This is such an exciting scenario. Seeing through this new perspective is awesome. As leaders it causes us to recognize the capacity we have to reach others through the gifts, talents, and calling of our people, reigniting our passion and refueling our faith, hope, expectation and a love to see destiny fulfilled in the lives of others.
Equally exciting is the challenge we have to impart this revelation to every believer, empowering them with a personal conviction of their viable, pertinent role in the Body of Christ. Their passion must be ignited by God’s purpose for their lives to fulfill personal destiny. What a win, win this is for all of us! As those we lead fulfill their destiny, collectively we fulfill ours, and the army of God garners a momentum to further advance the cause and purpose of this hour for reformation, ultimately co-laboring with the Holy Spirit to issue in the King of Kings Himself.
Once this revelation is received in the hearts of our own people, we will have the platform from which to train, equip, and activate the Saints in the working of signs, wonders, and miracles and the full expression and manifestation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
In this season, these components are beginning to unfold. Leaders are recognizing the treasures and potential of influence in their midst and shifting the Saints into position with revelation of purpose and destiny. We cultivate the revelation with the appropriate training and equipping. Now we have to answer the biggest question: how do we mobilize our people in their respective spheres of influence outside the familiarity of the church?
This is an excerpt from John’s chapter in Roads of Reformation: Proven Models and Methods. John’s full message is available in this book.
John Burkholder is a published author in Roads of Reformation: Proven Models and Methods. John worked professionally for over 20 years in Financial Services and Supply Chain Management and carries a passion to see the expansion of the Church into all facets of everyday life. He served as President of the Buffalo Niagara Chapter of the Community Impacting Business Network, a workplace ministry focused on the equipping of business people to forge impact in all aspects of their Marketplace endeavors. John and his wife Barbara have developed a “Lifestyle Ministry” Training Curriculum and travel throughout the U.S. and internationally, facilitating the training and activating of the Saints in the power and demonstration of the Gifts in their respective spheres of influence.
John is co-pastor and vision-holder of Sword of The Spirit Ministries in Buffalo, New York, an ethnically and culturally diverse inner-city church. He and his wife oversee a dynamic church of apostolic order, and have a mandate to prophetically impact the region through conferences and seminars as well as their School of Equipping.
John is a gifted preacher, teacher, and conference and seminar speaker with an accurate word for the Body, and a breakthrough anointing for business, healing, and deliverance. With a passion for prayer and intercession, he facilitates prophetic strategies for breakthrough, individually, corporately, and regionally.
John and Barbara are ordained with Christian International Apostolic Network under Dr. Bill Hamon and serve as Apostolic/Prophetic Regional Team Leaders for the CIAN New York/Ontario Region.