This was article was featured on The Elijah List: http://www.elijahlist.com/words/display_word.html?ID=17504
This year the Lord is raising standards for the Body of Christ in key areas. He showed me seven major aspects of Western Christianity that will see measurable transformation along with opportunity to advance:
1. Emphasis on Actions of Obedience.
The fruit of obedience to God is going to be more immediate than ever. We will see quick results from our action (or our inaction) in response to the Lord's leading. This will be mostly positive and empowering as the personal realization of the value of obedience to our God grips our heart with greater devotion to Him. A love of following Jesus will overwhelm the Church as the direct result of obeying (or not) is consistently visible.
2. Emphasis on Scripture as the Ultimate Standard.
The foundation of Scripture will become an unavoidable discussion. The shrinking gap between theologians and charismatics will give way to unity as the Western Church learns to rely on one another in a greater way. The Bible will return to the forefront of discussion as the standard for all truth including all spiritual revelation. That which is exposed to the light of the Word and weighed to balance with it will produce a ripple effect of life and transformation for those who find it. Christians will find a greater urgency in studying, memorizing and implanting the Word of God in their hearts. As the Scripture says of itself, it will be life to those who find it and health to all their flesh (see Proverbs 4:22)
3. Invitation for Ministers to Embrace Their Own Calling as Five-Fold Leaders.
There is grace on ministers to step into the mantle God has for them as Apostles, Prophets, Pastors, Evangelists and Teachers. That mantle also includes the processing of the Holy Spirit and the "pearl of great price" of becoming a carrier and demonstrator of that gifting. It's time to have the heart and function of the five-fold, which is to equip the Saints for the work of the ministry. God is inviting people that have only functioned under a "preacher" or "minister" model to move into the fullness of the five-fold ministry. Meanwhile, Believers will also crave the deeper work that five-fold leadership brings to their lives. It is a season of Church leaders maturing into the full representation of God's purpose.
4. Less Corporate Resistance, More Personal Preparation.
While Western Christians will find some reprieve from cultural resistance, the internal demand for preparation will only increase. The Western Church will find that endless resources for the transformation and renewal of our minds are available, and the message of personal responsibility for our spiritual life will increase in all outlets and from all mountains.
As talk of personal choice increases, especially in science, religion and entertainment, the corporate Church will have a great opportunity to shed her sense of victimization. The choice to discipline one's own thought life according to Scripture and the Holy Spirit will become a tool of mass empowerment within the Body of Christ and ultimately aid in cultural transformation.
5. Innate Ability to Influence.
The Saints Movement/7 Mountain Influence focus has tipped in our favor. The new generation of the Church will arise with cultural influence as part of their automatized Christianity and personal beliefs. As part of their DNA, they will not have known a world wherein they were not influencers. It will take no convincing to activate the next generation into their positions of influence, but will require care from Church leadership to steer that influence in line with Biblical principles.
6. Christians Returning to the Church.
We will see a great return to the Church of masses that left in the last decade. Many will be disillusioned with the mob mentality of culture and will seek the Church as an anchor. This will produce relationships that connect the disillusioned with those who have anchored themselves within the Church.
7. Positions of Influence Readily Available.
Opportunities will open to Christians who would have otherwise avoided the "secular" world. However, in many cases, Christians will have to choose to partner with God in spheres outside their comfort zone and work closely with those unsaved to see God's Kingdom come. It will require dismantling any "us-against-them" mentality which Believers have carried in the past (see Breaking a Siege Mentality). As we take action in this direction, we will see the Church at large exchange the religious spirit for life and true Kingdom influence.