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Pioneers to Prophets: Building a spiritual foundation for numeric growth

3 min read By August 14, 2023October 2nd, 2023One Comment

You see with prophetic imagination what is not currently a reality, and then you build it–a church, a ministry, a movement. It’s what makes you a pioneer. Strategy is your native language. Passion is the air you breathe. Blazing a new trail is the only way to travel. I get you because I am you. Pioneers are my people. This loosely connected tribe that barely stops hacking at the jungle to have an honest conversation is ferociously loyal to one another. Send up the flare, and we’ll ally to where you need help.

What do pioneers need to hear that’s different from those who settle the land by opening their homes to the neighborhood and kicking back with iced tea on the patio? I’ve thought about that a lot. Pioneers are a rare breed, and their work is needed, especially in pivotal moments of history such as the one we’re currently facing. The message is not to slow down or do less but that how we do the work is as critical as the work itself. 

Jesus took a group of disciples and turned them into apostles. They were to pioneer the gospel into all the world, into every people group and every language. The work was enormous, making His instructions about how to do the work critically important: “You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:48-49)

The mission of Jesus began with a people committed to prayer.

For the kingdom of heaven to extend on earth, the pioneers must become prophets. Before the walls of the early church went up in the natural, there had to be a foundation in the spiritual. The first team for this new work of God was a prayer team. Children’s workers, ushers, greeters and even hospitality teams would come later. First, the pioneers learned to hear the Holy Spirit and walk in His power.

God is calling for pioneers in this hour. I can’t help but think how 500 heard how to accomplish the mission, but only 120 were waiting in the Upper Room when the Holy Spirit showed up on the scene. Could the explosive growth of the early church have tripled had all who heard followed the playbook?

At Sun City Church, where my husband and I pastor, we have a conviction that every new work begins in prayer: strategic, spirit-led and persistent prayer. As Oswald Chambers said, “Prayer does not fit us for the greater work; it is the greater work.” Our cities and nation are facing a crisis like never before. It is a moment for the pioneers to arise, but we cannot step forward without the power of God released through prayer. His mission requires His grace. 

How does a pioneer become a prophet?

  1. The first team for every new work is always a prayer team (in which you’re an integral member).
  2. Give your best focus and energy to building “A house of prayer for all nations.”
  3. Keep prayer as the greatest adventure you have the honor of pioneering.

Follow Jesus’ example and lead in prayer.

I’ll likely see you out somewhere in the jungle. Our schedules might not align to make conversation over tea happen (or maybe it will). Regardless, let’s commit to bringing one another before the throne as we continue to swing our machetes and push back the darkness.

This article was featured in the Spring 2023 AVAIL Journal. Click to read this article and the full “Inside the ARC” Special Edition at AVAIL JOURNAL

One Comment

  • Greg Hurlbut says:

    So good!! Love “For the kingdom of heaven to extend on earth, the pioneers must become prophets”. Working to be a prophetic pioneer in the North Country!

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