Earlier this year, I began hearing the same phrase repeated to me over and over: "Will the real leaders please step forward." This happened for about three months in a row. This was a whisper from Holy Spirit that was speaking to me about the kind of kingdom leaders that the coming age will require in order to continue to establish a stronghold of heaven on earth. This may seem like a slight towards current church leadership, but let me be clear, it is not. Rather, I believe it is a prophetic insight into some of the qualities, truths, and characteristics that leaders must begin to possess in the coming generations in order to continue to shift the momentum of our world from darkness to light in an even greater way. The following is my interpretation of what Holy Spirit has been speaking to me on this topic.
What constitutes a leader? Is a leader someone who can build a great company, ministry, or institution? Or is a leader, in the heavenly sense, someone who can raise up fearless people who understand healthy family, and can see what the Father is doing and hear what the Father is saying? I believe a leader is someone who isn’t building for himself, but building for the sake of others. Someone who can raise up other mothers and fathers to carry heaven and shift culture. A leader doesn’t always have a title, but they always operate from the base of community, and will always love well.
The gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, teacher exist to equip us for changing the world, for releasing the miraculous, and seeing people awaken to new life in Jesus. These works historically occur in church gatherings, but I believe they also apply to a greater spectrum of activity in the earth. This is why the gifts of leaders are so important. These leadership gifts for equipping us need to be valiant, courageous, and fearless beyond measure. Current culture has limited the permission that these gifts have because of the fear of offending those who visit our gatherings. On the other hand, some different streams have gone to the extreme in being bold, but have only isolated themselves in their endeavors and limited their impact in the earth. What I believe we need (and what we are calling for as leaders in this generation and the generations to come) are leaders who empower and inspire and equip at a MUCH higher level. Think about it. God lives in the life of those who believe. He went to great lengths, even sacrificing His Son, Jesus, so that His presence could not only be established on the earth for good, but that we could now actually be indwelt by God himself. We are carriers of not only the presence, atmosphere, and culture of heaven, but the creator of heaven Himself. Paul tells us in Colossians 1 that the mystery of the ages has been fulfilled. It is Christ in us, the hope of glory. This is not just a glory to come, but a glory that is being revealed right now on the face of the earth.
TRUTH: Unity is not an event. Unity is the product of leaders who create and grant permission to world changers to actually change the world.
The Body of Christ is starting to respond to its Head. The way we see this is in the unity and common heart attitude of different groups around the world. We are starting to be drawn to each other because of a common heart’s desire. My friend, Integrity Artist and Songwriter Dustin Smith, makes some great points on what hinders the Body of Christ from moving forward. He puts it this way: The three greatest hindrances are “personality, preference, and pride”.
Where a strong personality used to dominate to the point of control, now we are seeing leaders who have been hidden with God emerge as influential voices whose lives are anchored in a deep root system of personal history with God and His Word. These types of leaders have lost the “S” on their chest (Superman reference) and are now deeply steeped in presence encounters and carry those encounters as a lifestyle. Where preference has been the strongest “flavor” in our culture as followers of Jesus, leaders are emerging who have seen the limited fruit of a culture too heavily controlled by preference. I find myself holding my preferences very loosely recognizing the fact that some of the things we feel most strongly about regarding our models and expressions are actually hindrances to the Holy Spirit’s preference. Unbalanced preference blinds us, preventing others whom God has placed around us to be a part of the creative process that results in how we do things. Pride is not just an unwillingness or stubbornness to change, but a blindness and a deafness that does not see or hear what the Father is doing and saying.
You Were Born To Solve Problems
TRUTH: You have permission to dream, plan, and do the things he has placed in your heart. In your process is the power that changes the world. Get going!
God is releasing leaders who are not afraid to say what they hear the Father saying and demonstrate what they see the Father doing. Hollywood has been spinning some pretty incredible movies around the lives of superheroes. We see acts of courage and we watch heroes that step into chaos and put it into order. Could it be that Holy Spirit is whispering into the hearts of the influential to deliver a message to the church and the rest of mankind? What could that message be? We are facing an age of terrorism that is trying to shape the century and dictate a set of responses to us that become part of our culture. But God is releasing world changers with favor, influence, and authority. The sons of God are the true shaper's of the century. They are emerging to set chaos into order and are stepping into unsolvable problems as heroes. They push aside fear and impossibility in order to rescue, save, and deliver with wisdom, signs, wonders, and miracles. We are what the earth has longed for. We are what Jesus died for. We are the body. We are the bride. We are the sons of God. Let's lead like it!