I’ve spent the past 6-7 years travelling, training and meeting a variety of faith-based communities (simple churches, organic churches, house churches, missional communities, new forms of church and established churches transitioning into missional movements et al)
The main goal has been to catalyse and partner with others to pioneer and develop multiple movements of disciples and churches down to 4th generation and beyond across diverse people groups and places
The more one travels, the more one sees ‘paradigms‘ that whole groups of people operate within, that lead to ‘patterns‘ of operation on the ground…
Around 2010, prophetically, God began to speak to us about the Change of Paradigm needed in order to get to a Change of Pattern…
Will our current primary paradigms (ways of seeing and thinking/worldview) get us to movements?
Prophetically, Jesus led us to a passage in Joel (Joel 3:9-16– please note that in German versions this is Joel 4:9-16- short explanation later)
What we discerned prophetically from this (not literally- but, of course metaphorically) is that God was announcing a ‘Season Change‘
‘Say to the Nations far and wide: ‘Get Ready for War!”
In Britain, for example- we’ve experienced a literal ‘extended time of peace’. In peace time, the way you operate is very different to how one would operate in a time of war.
What might a change of mentality from peace to war mean for our current mindsets as christians (paradigm) or our expression of christianity (simple, organic, and even missional- patterns)
Are we fitted best for a seemingly ‘spiritual peacetime’ environment or are we ‘geared up’ to enter a time of ‘war’.
It’s not so much the forms (of church) alone, but more the ‘way we operate as people‘ and ‘what kind of people we are‘ and ‘what we do when we meet together‘ and ‘what we do when we scatter‘…in other words ‘do we have a war time mentality and associated practices‘ or a ‘peacetime mentality and associated practices’ and are we self-aware as ‘warriors’ or some other metaphor
Do we understand the time and season we are in and what we should do?
What Season are we in prophetically in Britain and in Europe?
‘Call out your best warriors […]. Train even your weaklings to be warriors’ (Joel 3:9-10)
What would it be like to ‘call out the best warriors’ in our midst (in our simple, organic, institutional and missional churches?)
What would it be like to train even our ‘weaklings’ to be warriors? If we have ‘weaklings’ in our midst- are we ‘training them’ and what are we training them in?
Now…this is where it touches on the ‘tools we use for training’
In the passage of scripture; a change of season, and an announcement of getting ready for war- requires a change of tools
‘Hammer your ploughshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears…train…’ (Joel 3:10)
The tools used for farming in peace time (ploughshares and pruning hooks) are to be changed dramatically (hammer) into weapons used for war
The tools we used last season won’t work in this new season. The tools need to be changed…and radically
What could that mean in practice?
The way we currently do things that works in ‘peacetime’ may need to change for ‘wartime’. This could involve a change in;
Our approach to leadership styles? (maybe we operated primarily in a ‘consensual leadership’ style in a ‘christian’ community – but to see new growth we need to shift to a ‘directive’ mode, or maybe we are not multiplying and need to shift to a ‘coaching’ or ‘delegative mod’)
Or maybe the group has operated primarily in a pastoral mode and needs to shift gear into an apostolic or evangelistic dynamic
What tools do we use in terms of leadership?
Our approach to group/church gathering styles and practices?
As a group of christians…things may be going really well. But can what you are doing as a group/community of already believers, be replicated by a 1 day old group of new believers in God (or even- by people who don’t yet believe in God)
What tools do we use to train people to gather as communities?
Do we unwittingly train people in patterns that only those who have been christians for a long period of time could emulate?
Our approach to worship styles and practices?
Our approach to training and discipling?
Our approach to prayer?
Our approach to evangelism/gospelling?
Why Has A Change of Season Been Announced?
Please bear in mind that this is a ‘prophetic word’…as opposed to a systematic and context-specific literal interpretation of the text (Joel)…and so, as such, needs to be ‘weighed’.
If you resonate with this post and sense that, ‘YES!‘, God is…calling for a ‘Change of Season’ from the church/christians in a ‘peacetime mentality’ to a ‘wartime mentality’ in the way in which we ‘see things’ (paradigm) and the way in which we ‘outwork things’ (process and pattern)
Then a question might be – WHY
Why the call for a change?
Why is a change even necessary?
Why not stick with the ‘farming tools’ or ‘peacetime tools’ we are already using?
From the rest of the Joel passage…
These words seem to stand out:
It’s about the Nations (vision/endvision)
It’s a time of Judgment (‘time for Europe’) (Joel 3:12)
It’s a time for harvest (Joel 3:13- therefore, a change of tools is needed to reap the harvest)
The ‘levels of wickedness‘ or ‘darkness covering the land‘ has reached epic proportions (Joel 3:13)
There are thousands waiting ‘in the valley of decision‘ (Joel 3:14)
Could it be that the level of darkness is already reaching breaking point in Europe? That God is a God of justice AND also God of mercy for all the thousands waiting in the valley of decision. And that he is looking for ‘warriors’ and even those who are not (‘weaklings’) to be trained in the tools of warriors to reap the harvest?
Maybe we are not yet ‘seeing this harvest’
Maybe we need a change of heart (paradigm)?
Maybe our tools need to change (process, practices and patterns)?
If so- maybe farming tools need to be turned (literally hammered) into army tools…?
Up until now, many of my readers will have perhaps been more familiar with the far more popular message of Isaiah 2:4
But that is why we need to discern and understand the ‘times and seasons’ and know what we should do in a particular situation and context…
Will our current tools get the job done that God is calling for in this ‘change of season’ in Europe?
[disclaimer: the visceral reaction of seeing the pictures of literal farming tools and literal army weapons will of course be off-putting to some. But I’ve chosen to include them as visual cues that could help to activate the level of disconcerting change potentially needed in our ‘imagination’ – our way of ‘seeing’ or ‘mentality’ when it comes to the ‘spiritual’ season we are in and the possible level of change required from peace-to-war]
[reason for this post: I had a dream last night whilst in Germany that I was going through this Joel passage of scripture with someone- and I was trying to find the passage in the Bible but couldn’t and the other person was also trying to find it on internet and couldn’t.
The very next day (in reality) me and a German friend were sitting in a cafe talking about paradigms in leadership when it came to ‘organic church’ and what may be needed to see ‘4th generation multiplication’
Anyway, as we were talking, I suddenly remembered the dream I had the previous night, and tried to find the passage in my Bible- but took a while to find it…in the meantime my friend was trying to find it on his phone.
Once I finally found the scripture reference Joel 3:9-16 – I told my friend- but he still couldn’t find it as in his German online bible, the same passage is actually Joel 4:9-16 in German, a chapter we don’t even have in my English Bible- When we both saw this ‘strange situation’ we realised that we were ‘living out’ the dream I’d had the previous night, and sensed that this ‘Change of Tools for A Change of Season‘ word, is an important prophetic message to continue to share to wider ‘the church’ in it’s broader sense in Britain and Europe at this time- what do you think?]