The World is About to Become a Very Different Place
The Convergence was articulated at a historic gathering in June 2000 hosted by Strategic Christian Services. Participants begin to engage in the conversation that must take place between the Christian community and the secular world on these key issues; 1) Transferring life values to our children, 2) Racial justice, 3) The value of everyone's work, 4) Getting out of the left/right political game, and 5) Why character matters.
Understanding the Convergence will energize you to fight the good fight of faith and help equip you to speak on the most important issues of our day from a biblical perspective
Defining a Movement
The third millennium is now upon us, with all its historic landmarks and challenges. God is releasing insight and motivation in the minds and hearts of men, which will change history and push it toward God's sovereign goals. A movement is emerging which will eventually shake our world to its very core.
I am eternally grateful to be alive, both to witness this move of God, and to play my part in it. Name your favorite historical leader or move of God in either Church or world history-it is but an essential precedent to what God is about to do now.
The remnant Church and the world system are on a collision course. Christ said that two seeds (Gen. 3:15), two kingdoms, have been planted by God in the earth (Mt.13: 24-30, 37-43). They must grow to maturity together until the cataclysmic intervention of God, which will end time. They are in intense opposition to each other. They are competing for the hearts and minds of men and the resources of the earth. These two kingdoms are likewise competing for the right and responsibility to govern the nations and economies of the world.
Over the centuries, some of the leaders on both sides of this great cosmic conflict have been aware of the ultimate reality of this war between two kingdoms. Until now, however, it has largely been hidden from the masses. Like fog burning off in the heat of the sun, the vapors are beginning to lift around the edges of this reality. And the Spirit of God is the One who has been assigned to gradually perform this unveiling.
This movement, which God is energizing in the saved and unsaved alike, is characterized by the growing arousal of man's spiritual being. Western man is revisiting the issues of spiritual reality and spiritual conflict as we approach the 21st century-values that he discarded in the name of "science" or "modern reality" earlier in the 20th century.
God moves in history, and He moves history itself. Movements, which are socially significant changes in history, occur when man responds to the hand or truths of God, willingly or unwillingly. They are characterized by the focus and shift of resources (both intellectual and material) toward a particular truth, need, or cause.
Sometimes movements trigger permanent changes in the way humanity lives. Some obvious examples of history-changing movements would be - 1) the "priesthood of all believers"; 2) the technological and material changes due to the use of the "scientific method"; and 3) the emergence of the modern economic world due to the nearly universal application of the concept of the division of labor and economies of scale.
This emerging movement, this redrawing of the spiritual lines of conflict between God's Kingdom and the kingdom of this world, will change the world on all those levels and more. And ever-increasing economic and social conflicts will help pull the trigger.
Movements are spawned and fueled by seminal ideas. Seminal ideas, once discovered or revealed, produce a critical mass of human numbers and commitment which forces the "way things are" to change forever. Trends may change the way we live; history-making movements change the way our great-grandchildren will live.
Movements of this sort cut across class, ethnicity, and to some degree, even religious differences. When God "pours out His Spirit on all flesh" (Joel 2:28), He means everyone, not just the people whom we think are entitled to this blessing!
This emerging movement, which has four major components, has already begun in the world and in the Church. No one can stop it. It will build upon and eclipse the other essential movements God has already built as a progressive process. It will cause enormous controversy, significant divisions, and amazing new configurations and alliances. What is coming will both reveal heaven and raise hell.
History has always been changed when men and women-those who could not be bought, changed, or scared off-moved together to achieve common goals. A core of believers, soon to be joined by awakened unbelievers, are unwittingly beginning to move toward convergence in this coming movement of God.
Because the history-changing movement we are discussing has its roots in the Church, we must first identify three major truths that are driving these believers toward massive change. In our next article in this series, we will look at how believers and unbelievers will converge into a parallel movement.
Four Key Signals of a Fresh Movement
I. GENERATIONAL TRANSFER:
The first sign of God's move is the growing focus on the need to transfer life-giving values from one generation to the next. This concern with "generational transfer" carries with it huge implications, such as:
1. A visible fulfillment in the Church of the scripture of Malachi 4:6, where the hearts of the fathers and their children are united with common life vision. This will stand in stark contrast to the increasing breakdown between the generations in the world.
2. An end to the idea that man should be living and consuming as if the world were ending tomorrow. Instead, we ought to be living and investing in the future and future generations-passing on eternal values, celebrating life together, and working toward life goals which may take several united generations to bring to pass.
3. Recognition that life for believers in God's eternal Kingdom begins at their new birth-not at their entry into heaven. While God's Kingdom will not be completed until Christ returns, we have been called now in order to extend His Kingdom on earth, for the benefit of current and future generations.
If you find yourself increasingly concerned with the world your children will inherit, and how to prepare them to lead it, the movement is already capturing your heart.
II. ETHNIC JUSTICE:
The second sign of this emerging movement is a deepening concern for ethnic justice, along with the increasing revelation that we need to recognize and value all of God's ethnic groups as playing an essential part in His symphony of human souls and multicolored community. This liberating truth will-
1. Challenge the fundamentally racist origin and doctrine of Darwin's theory of evolution, that undergirds man's view of himself as either superior or inferior relative to his human brethren of different color or culture.
2. Force us all to examine our hearts and deal with the fears and prejudices harbored in them, that separate us from our brethren of other cultures.
3. Press the Church into an honest discussion as to which attributes of ethnic culture are truly biblical, and which attributes are simply soulish. Such a frank discussion will help us determine how we can use each of our cultural strengths to disciple nations and advance Christ's Kingdom.
If your blood pulses with a desire to work with people of all colors and ethnic backgrounds, then God has already begun to prepare your heart for the movement.
III. MINISTRY OF ALL BELEIVERS:
The third sign of this swelling tide of God's life is the growing concern for the value of all people's ministry and vocations, especially in the life of the local church. The era of the senior pastor being the primary source of ministry is coming to a much-needed end.
Those who truly love God will no longer feel limited to becoming an evangelist or a Bible teacher. As a pastor, I remind us all that every Christian who is awake is already in full-time Christian ministry. As this concern for equipping the saints in the various jurisdictions of life, service, and influence continues to grow, it will have profound effects on church structure, leadership development, and the local church's role in their community.
A church is coming that will have no "little people." In order to produce such a church, we are seeing a concept of leadership emerge that makes the scriptures of Ephesians 4:11-16 come to life before our very eyes.
Among the implications of this phenomenon is a focus on equipping the saints for work and evangelism in the marketplace, since this is where most people spend the majority of their time.
When God moves, the "fisherman" nature of His people begins to stir. It is stirring as believers are being equipped to "fish" where they work and where they are surrounded by unbelievers. Evangelism "programs" are never as effective as Christ's life on display.
If your heart is saying, "Where do my gifts and callings fit into what God is doing so that I can help change the world?" then God is already getting you ready for the movement.
IV. THE END OF LEFT/RIGHT POLITICS:
As the nations of the world enter the 21st century, there is a growing sense that neither the political "left" nor the political "right" has been able to bring solutions to the problems that increasingly face our society and the world.
The old way of defining things is unable to unify people around the ideals of justice, compassion, productivity, and freedom. Disillusioned people are beginning to look for a "third way," some viable means of addressing social dilemmas and experiencing genuine community. Enter, please, the Kingdom of God and Kingdom culture.
While many Christians have already been awakened to the need to take a stand politically on issues that affect their responsibilities as parents, believers, and citizens, often they have felt somewhat limited in their ability to impact the culture.
They protested abortion and pornography, or tried to vote Republican in an attempt to tip the balance of the existing left-right game that has stalemated the Western world for decades. Many Christians are now restless or even apathetic because it seems that little has changed as a result of their activity and their seemingly futile passion for change.
Even more than the disquietude of Christian activists is the stirring for a breakout from this stalemated, "left-right" game in growing numbers of people on both sides of the political spectrum. This is a potentially dynamite situation, and one which leads us back to the point I made in earlier when I alluded to Joel 2:28 and God's promise to pour out His Spirit upon all flesh. People from very different backgrounds, denominations, and socio-economic levels are being moved by God's Spirit toward an ideological convergence.
Convergence occurs when people of different ideologies begin to approach the same point, even though they may be coming toward it from different directions. Historic movements are always characterized by some level of significant convergence.
A biblical example of this principle of convergence is when God brought the animals together to Noah's Ark, even though many of them were mortal enemies or had no use for each other. I can just imagine the lion and the lamb walking together toward the Ark. The lion says to the lamb, "Where are you going?" And the lamb says, "I don't know, but whatever is driving you toward that big wooden thing is also driving me!" God is the author of convergence, and He uses it when some part of His ultimate purpose for man is about to take place.
The "animals" are once again restlessly stirring- Charismatics and non-Charismatics; intercessory prayer warriors and hard-line evangelists; city changers and back-to-the-land believers; prophets and pastors; historic groupings and emerging Apostolic streams-black and white, Latino and Asian.
As this call for the "third way" begins to grow in the coming years, the converging power of God's Spirit will link believers of all types together on the same journey. And moving with them will be a rapidly growing number of disillusioned, unsaved people who are looking for real answers in a world where the establishment's old ones have proven to be hollow, sterile, and often destructive.
As the "march to the Ark" builds, it will bring with it salvation, transformation, and the polarizing of the wheat and the tares. This polarization will press us all to new levels of spiritual intensity and maturity.
The Convergence Bring Revival and Reformation.
More significantly, it will force the awakened Church back up on the Mountain of the Lord to act as a beacon of God's light for the nations. The redeemed community, like a global change agent, will be broadcasting a signal of divine transformation to all who truly seek it.
The movement will then be characterized by the synergy of united generations, co laboring ethnic groups, trained and commissioned believers from every sphere of culture and vocation, marching convergently with an army of unbelievers who are being converted as they move toward the "third way." This way leads to Father's "Kingdom coming" and His "will being done on earth as it in heaven."
The march toward Father's ark has begun. I can hear the sound of marching feet and I can smell the scent of dust mixed with sweat and holy passion.
What is Your Role in the Convergence?
If your heart longs to march to the beat of this drum, call 1-800-700-0605 for a free tape - "The Movement" by Dennis Peacocke. Or visit http://www.gostrategic.org.