Mike Parsons –
In all that we are sharing about the Prophetic Timetable, it is important to remember that God has not revealed this simply so that we can be fascinated as we look into it and see what He is doing: He has revealed it so that we can be prepared to play our part. There is a place of authority that God has always intended us to occupy, in which the authority of God is expressed through our lives as we bring heaven to earth. All the earthly systems are about to be shaken and all the world will turn to the church for the answers: we need to be ready.
I have mentioned before that I believe that the first harvest of labourers, the harvest of harvesters, will amount to 20% of the population. Worldwide, that would be over a billion people. If that scale is too hard to imagine, let’s look closer to home: the population of Barnstaple and the surrounding villages is around 48000 according to the latest figures I could find, probably closer to 50000 by now. 20% of that is 10000 individuals. What would it take for the local church in our relatively small market town to handle an influx of 10000 people right now (I don’t mean just Freedom Church, but all the churches across the area)?
There are 20 churches who are part of the Barnstaple Churches Together network, and only a handful of them have congregations over 100 at the moment. Could each church take 500 people, disciple them and equip them to go out and reach the rest of the population? What if there were only 10 churches who were prepared for that? That would be 1000 each. No wonder we are thinking we need a bigger building! The biggest auditorium in North Devon is probably the Queen’s Theatre, which holds 600. Possibly if you used our local Leisure Centre you could squeeze in a few more. Even in a town like Barnstaple you would have 10 churches needing 10 places that size or bigger.
And if only 3 churches were ready… in that case, we are going to need the whole site we have been believing for. That is why some of us have been making those declarations and prayer-walking and staking out the boundary God has shown us. If you look on a map, or this aerial view, it is shaped like a footprint, with our present building at the ‘big toe’ (centre right, marked with our butterfly logo). That is very fitting, because God told Joshua that he would possess everywhere he set his foot. And just as God really intended Israel to take the blessing to the whole world, that footprint is not the limit of our inheritance or our influence – it is just the base from which we would look to reach out to transform our whole community (however wide that is).
So what if people came from further afield? In the revival here in 2012 we saw folk coming from the south of the county, from Torquay, from Cornwall and Somerset. If we are to be a regional apostolic centre, how big is the region? How big is our vision? As I update this post in mid-2015, we are connecting with thousands of people around the globe through our ‘Engaging God‘ programme, blog, websites, social media and YouTube channel. Wherever you are reading this, how does all this translate into your situation, your church, your community?
All this may well get you thinking: and it is just one aspect of what it would take to disciple and equip the harvest of labourers. I am really only quickly sketching it out now as an introduction to what I want to get into, which is this: if we are going to do all that God is showing us, we are going to need resources way beyond what we now have at our disposal. It is just one line on that Prophetic Timetable, but it is an important one: there is going to be a wealth transfer, to enable us to do all those things to which God is calling us.
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