The condition of the South African church
In 2015 the South African Church will focus on people rather than buildings, vision and purpose. More pastors that love and care for the flock are being raised. Many churches will evaluate their courses on the grounds of necessity, value and practical benefit.
People are being challenged to push beyond their present limits to become community-minded and lay down their lives for others. Due to this, borders and boundaries will be crossed while churches will be established as “lights on the hill”.
In more practical ways, rural churches and city churches will start to impact their surrounding communities. Because of the less fortunate’s plight, churches will use their resources to assist those in need. The desire and compassion to help have developed because of a new influx of the pastoral anointing into the church. The emphasis falls no longer only on apostolic and church planting ministries. Churches will not measure their importance on how many branches they have but will instead concentrate on integration with the community. It is not about numbers any more but about reaching out to people that the Lord has placed around them. Bigger churches will extend their ministries to support smaller ones, similar to an umbrella covering them.
Although churches seem to be in a healthy financial state, households are experiencing financial constraints. Many churches have taken the warnings of the last two years seriously and placed a restraint on spending. Because of this, they are now able to help struggling congregants in practical ways, i.e. compiling and distributing food parcels. Instead of using finance for grand publicity, the church utilises what they have more humbly by helping the flock. Church leaders and congregants agree; murmuring and complaints have changed into appreciation. The Lord is putting compassion into the leaders’ hearts. Many building projects, garden maintenance and hiring of new staff will be put on hold. The Lord said, “you need to tread water for a while, keep things afloat and first look after the people in need.”
Competition between churches has almost come to an end because they do not have to compete with one another. This will have a stabilizing effect on the church environment. Churches will start to focus on their unique character. Identity will, in general, become a focal point, congregations will talk about who you are and God’s unique view of who He made you be with regards to individual qualities. Local ministries will minister to their unique communities, leading to a new understanding of who the communities are and what they need. They will receive Godly input and direction on how to minister to their communities. Networks of churches will still exist, but they will not build organisations. They will rather build up God’s people.
The government will reach out to the church in SA for counselling and advice. This will lead to a sharp increase in moral conscience. Political leaders will become active church members without VIP status. The Lord is making the importance of following Jesus public. Certain political parties will become active followers of Jesus and lead others in following Christ. It will become evident that parties’ members pray and seek God. This will not only happen in Christian political parties, but also in those not known to be Christian. Prayer rallies will accompany this.
A vision was seen of churches taking responsibility for public parks and the maintenance thereof. This will become a way by which the church will minister to families and communities. The Lord is saying: “You have been faithful in the past and I am entrusting you with more”. He has raised the level maturity of the church so that communities can be influenced. Municipalities and communities alike will welcome this strong community move as people are hoping that someone will take a stand. Municipalities will place parks under churches’ direction and fund children’s ministry in these parks. The Lord is opening doors that were previously shut.
Movement of leadership in the church will cause new congregations and church groups to be formed. Positive networking between different leadership and groups will increase. Even though many will leave large churches for smaller groupings, large churches will still increase in numbers. Many individuals will be involved in activities in more than one congregation at the same time. New emphasis will be placed on Bible knowledge and understanding, accompanied by a greater degree of Holy Spirit-revelation. Old teachings will return, accompanied by greater revelation and understanding.
Theology will come alive; emphasis will be placed on the practical application of Bible knowledge. Leaders walking with their people will advance very quickly, but those dominating their people will experience more difficulty. Churches have to be frugal with their finances in this season to come, even if a lot comes in.
Prepare yourselves for the next season that is to come. More church leadership will connect with businesses. Youth development will become increasingly important for the prosperity of congregations. Elderly care will become a great concern in communities, and the public and churches will be expected to fill the need for caring for the elderly. Normal settings for the church will be re-invented in SA, and unconventional places will be used. Great pressure will be placed on morality, leading to conflict in the church. A choice to stay true to the Word and not to compromise will be required.
People in church will help leaders to “carry the light”. A vision was seen of a dim light that illuminates the path just enough for other people to be drawn onto it.
In the past church, structures have not accommodated the youth; causing a generation gap. This has led to some leaders becoming discouraged. There are 30 or 40 leaders that wish to exit in the next few months, saying: “I had enough, I cannot continue with this, I am getting out”. God is encouraging them not to give up. He is saying: “I am raising a generation that will break out of their boundaries to help you to cover missing ground. Just hold on.”
In the previous season, church members have grown in maturity. The Lord is going to use this development to influence the nation. He has strategically planted his church in different areas – for example, politics, business and other spheres of life. Due to a reshuffling over the last years, we will this year start to see fruit coming forth from people’s lives in their jobs, business, and government offices.
People in the nation are maturing and thinking for themselves. People are starting to take responsibility for their own growth on an individual level. They are spirit-driven in their choice of church rather than being led by ulterior motives. Within the church in general, there is a greater desire for accuracy versus visibility; people are seeking God’s blueprint for their lives. Their specific calling is becoming far more important than competing with that which neighbouring churches are busy with. Churches will be mature enough to realize that each congregation should follow their unique calling from God.
A vision was received of churches that take hands with the media, especially Christian media. The Christian media sector will start networking. Although they previously have been rather reluctant to join hands because of competition; they will be reaching out to each other. This will create platforms in the Christian media, where it is possible to come together and seek God’s will regarding further moves.
2015 will see a lot of media development within churches, by which very close relationships will be built with local media. We will see a lot of new churches on television and churches will become involved with radio productions. This will establish great worship events comparable to the “Huisgenoot Skouspel”. High-quality Christian media events will draw even international Christian artists to come and perform. This will be similar to Angus Buchan’s mighty men conferences; huge crowds will be drawn to convention centres. Because of an overwhelming response, these events will have to run multiple nights to accommodate all the people.
Local churches will be making powerful movies, based on real-life stories. These movies will make a big impact on the screen. Churches will bring many true heartfelt stories through this medium to the nation. A lot of training about media will be required in churches. There has been training before, but it happened on a tiny scale and has by far not met the level of need in churches. Media will play a major role in the next year.
Networks between churches and church organizations will start to develop around themes, focusing on objectives such as the youth, feeding the hungry etc. Churches and organizations will come together to try and combat these issues and give hope.
Many outreaches will be planned to help people with regard to certain areas like becoming self-sufficient, going back to basics and simply teaching God’s word.
A vision was seen of a church that wanted to start with outreaches, but it seemed that nobody was willing to go. God is saying: “I have put people in place, the passion is birthed in their hearts, and they will be available to move when you call.”
In 2015 very mature and recognized prophets from across the world will pronounce prophetic words over the church of SA and Southern Africa. These will be strategic words of confirmation about what God is doing and planning. God is preparing a whole new move that will spread beyond Southern Africa. In the past, many more congregations were not open to the prophetic ministry or hearing God’s voice will open up to that. Even the most traditional congregations and denominations will become open to receive the prophetic word.
There will be greater demand for the ability to hear the Lord, and therefore raising prophetic people will become important. Initially, there may be great resistance, but churches will soon realize that they need to have these prophetic voices. Due to a waning resistance towards the prophetic, an increase in the prophetic maturity should occur. Present prophetic voices will still work hard, but there should be a definite increase in the number of disciples. This will pressure people who do not want to hear His voice because they will be constantly confronted with it. Prophetic people will, as a result of the maturing process, be displaying a pleasant boldness. A new wave of deliverance and supernatural healing will occur. The power ministry will be of greater importance than the need for information and teaching. People need to experience God’s Word; therefore, Words need to be understood. As a result of moving with boldness in God’s power, local traditional tribes will be delivered from witchcraft and deviousness. This will happen in areas all around the country.
Restoration of hope
There will be a theme of hope springing up from churches, spilling over into the nation. The nation will start to see the church as a place of hope. God is saying to this country that He wants to bring hope back to this land, and this hope will bring forth the faith that we need. Because of that faith, the church environment will have an impact on the economy and government. People in church will start to have hope and faith, which will inspire them to take action.
More churches are developing a strong social conscience. Programs that do not help communities will be discontinued. Instead of focusing on building, pastors will be looking after the flock and developing social programs. Churches will provide aids like clothes for nursery schools. They will also get involved with schools, police stations and other community service points.
A vision was seen of a movement in the spiritual atmosphere opening up in Soweto. People will start to stream to churches in Soweto. God will open up doors in Soweto, which will have a huge impact, almost comparable to the move when people started streaming to Nigeria. Soweto will start to become a focal point of what God is doing in the South African church. Drug addicts will start to go to church because God is planting people there who will be able to help them. Instead of using drugs, they will be going to church expecting to be touched by God’s Holy Spirit. They are going to be turned around and will pull other people into the church.
Testimonies, in the form of ‘storytelling’, will become popular in churches and communities. This move will especially become pronounced in the African churches. ‘Storytelling’ will create a better understanding. Through this, people will be equipped, similar to the way Jesus equipped people by using parables. A lot of poetry is coming, particularly out of the African churches. New poetry books will be published out of the church and Christian environment.
Times of refreshing
A season of refreshing is on its way. The Lord is saying He is breathing a fresh breath over churches; it is as if the dust has been blown off, refreshing the hearts of His people. Acts 2 says that times of refreshing will come from the presence of the Lord. All over we will hear of churches that entered a season of revival, flowing in the Holy Spirit and manifesting His touch. People will fall over, roll, laugh and lie on the floor.
Church leaders will work with the people and resources they have available instead of searching for professional musicians. The focus will fall on teaching the church audience about worship and how to do it. A new influx of worship music will develop in the church arena, but not necessarily within the congregations.
Worship bands will take part in art festivals such as “Oppi-koppi” and “KKNK”. Youth bands are going to become exceptionally popular. They will not compromise and will draw both young and old audiences. Even older people attending the art festivals will love it and throw away their walking sticks as God touches and heals them during the shows. Secular artists are going to be touched by this. This will add fuel to the fire because even these artists will want to flow in this “product”. The Lord wants this to touch the rest of the world because of these people’s radical nature.
The Worship bands will receive a lot of exposure on television. Music programs and TV interviews will introduce them to the rest of SA; even secular music shows on television will have interviews with these bands because of their popularity.
Big youth festivals will take place that will expose SA youth to new worship. This will not be merely nice Christian entertainment but challenge the youth to become radical Christians.
God is warning not to try to keep the youth bound to specific congregations. Congregations should not try to grow their “numbers” by focusing on the youth. The youth will not be told what their preferences should be. They are going to move between congregations and be equipped by various churches. At times there will be a total mix with them visiting more than one church in a week, to be equipped through the various ‘gifts’ in which the different churches flow. They will not visit churches because these churches look good – they will be after true spiritual growth. Churches will be chosen based on how they are perceived in the spirit and not on a ‘pretty picture’.
Warnings & instructions
A vision was seen of churches that were collapsing; it looks like the whole building is imploding. They did not have a strong foundation to keep the building together. Make sure to adhere to building regulations.
Young leaders, which God has selected, will be boosted into higher positions quite quickly. The older leaders should not feel rejected or upset but work together with those who have a specific calling.
More prayer is necessary for senior pastors and their families’ lives. Specific groups are called to pray for the senior pastor and the family surrounding them, and they must take this call seriously.