The New Forerunnersby Roger Lehman on October 8, 2018
I have a vision that’s been burning inside of me for a while; but lately it’s been becoming more and more intense. I see a new forerunner movement emerging in our nation that will prepare the way for a Great Awakening. The key elements in this wonderful move of God can be found in the narrative of Moses’ appointment of the seventy elders (Ex. 18:13-27, Num. 11:25-30) and Jesus’ appointment of seventy apostles (Luke 10:1-12, 17-21). In this blog when I use the term “the seventy forerunners” I will be referring to a type of forerunner and not the literal number seventy.
Here are 7 characteristics I envision in this new forerunner movement:
1 THEY BRING REFRESHMENT IN THE WILDERNESS. While in various parts of the world there are revival hotspots, the American church has been in a wilderness season for decades. In God’s economy the wilderness is always meant to be a season of transition and preparation for the Promised Land. It’s not a place of destination. But life in the wilderness can be very dry and stressful as our faith is tested and our hearts purified.
The Lord never tests His people beyond what they can bear so He brought His people, Israel to Elim (Ex. 15:27), a place of 12 springs of water and 70 palms. There His people experienced rest and refreshment.
Well, here comes the seventy forerunners bringing with them not only rest and refreshment but also the beginnings of a very great awakening. You may be one of those forerunners.
2 THEY CARRY A NEW WINESKIN. Jesus said that we need new wineskins for the new wine He’s pouring out. If one pours new wine into old dry inflexible wineskins those wineskins will crack and burst causing the precious wine to spill out and be lost.
The old familiar way of doing discipleship will not work well in this new outpouring. We need a new one. The way Moses led Israel out of Egypt would no longer work for him as he sought to lead that same nation into their Promised Land. Moses was stressed-out carrying the burdens of His people, but he couldn’t see his problem until His wise father-in-law pointed it out. Pastors in America are overworked, discouraged and depressed carrying the burden of their ministry responsibilities, but the seventy forerunner movement will give them the rest joy and success they’ve always longed for.
It’s important to note however, that this new wineskin is a paradigm shift. It will require radical new shifts of leadership style. Moses had to give away and lose control of much of his ministry. It was broken up into 70 pieces and given to people some of which he barely knew. But this decision was not only for his survival, it was also for Israel’s preparation to successfully enter in and possess their inheritance.
A great harvest is coming but can we hold the harvest? Can we contain it? A fisherman’s net is made like a grid to capture and contain the fish that swim into it. How large is the grid in traditional discipleship models? Do the fish swim into our harvest nets and right through to escape back out into the ocean? I think so. In the new wineskin the grid will be much smaller. I see that where every string crosses over the other in our harvest net there is a teacher activated to disciple another. This new wineskin activates every believer in their gifts to nurture other believers so that none are lost.
When Jesus sent out His seventy He didn’t tell them rent out large venues and gather large crowds. They were sent right to the homes of the people where His love, power and healing reached the core fabric of their culture. Heaven’s atmosphere of peace and humility created receptivity in the hearts of the people. In that way they were prepared for Jesus’ visit when He came to their towns.
It’s interesting to note that for the first three centuries of the early church, most of the work of discipleship was done in house churches. Many scholars believe that nearly 50% of the Roman empire had become Christian by the mid third century. What success!
3 THEY ARE PROPHETIC AND APOSTOLIC. When Moses appointed the seventy he “took of the Spirit that was upon him, and placed the same upon the seventy elders”. As the Spirit rested on those elders they initially began to prophesy, but only two continued operating in their prophetic gift. Eldad, and Medad continued to run around through the camp prophesying. This annoyed some of the leaders and Joshua told Moses to tell them to quit. Moses replied, “Oh, that all the LORD’s people were prophets and that the LORD would put His Spirit upon them!” The gift of prophesy is the greatest of all the spiritual gifts. Let us all prophesy. When the spirit of prophesy comes upon a gathering of believers it’s as though God “shows up”. Everyone is comforted, encouraged and built up in their faith.
One of the primary anointings of an apostle is to plant new churches. What if the church planter didn’t have to purchase or rent a venue? What if he didn’t need a full time salary or a seminary degree? What if just an ordinary man or woman on fire for God could gather his friends or neighbors at their house and start a spiritual wildfire. Get ready for the seventy forerunners who prophesy, heal the sick and plant prayer gatherings and churches everywhere they go. They are coming. You may be one of them.
4 THEY CARRY A HEALING AND DELIVERANCE ANOINTING. When Jesus sent out the seventy He said to them, “Heal the sick, and tell them all, ‘God’s kingdom-realm has arrived and is now within your reach!’ (Luke 10:9 TPT). A forerunner is sent to represent a different kingdom and a different culture than the one that exists. It’s important that the forerunner goes right into their homes and display the supernatural power of that new and different kingdom.
There is lot said these days about generational curses that follow family lines from one generation to the next. Alcoholism, drug abuse, anger issues, fears, mental illness, sickness and the like can be generational. What if a seventy’s forerunner comes to a dysfunctional home with kingdom authority and removes all that demonic energy? Heaven breaks through the darkness and turns on the lights in that family. A transformed family is extremely contagious. Friends, neighbors, and extended family will show up at their doorstep asking, “what just happened to you”?
Jesus is thrusting out the “seventy” in these days and they are going to be surprised to see the level of authority they carry. “When the seventy returned to Jesus, they were ecstatic with joy, telling Him, ‘Lord, even the demons obeyed our words when we commanded them in Your name!’” (Luke 10:9 TPT). Like those seventy you will be surprised that even the demons obey you! But Jesus saw the bigger picture. He saw a major regional heavenly disruption. I believe He saw demonic kings thrown down from their places of influence. “To this Jesus replied, “And while you were ministering I was watching Satan topple until he fell suddenly from heaven like lightning to the ground!” (Luke 10:18 TPT). Such regional deliverances are coming to America today. The seventy forerunners will carry this affect to our towns and cities. I see deliverances and healings becoming common place in these numerous small gatherings springing up.
Sometimes entire neighborhoods will gather in the back yards of homes and in in local parks in the inner cities because the homes and apartments will not be able to contain the hungry wounded people coming for healing and deliverance. Even the mentally ill will be healed. These moves will be spontaneous. You won’t have to plan way ahead or advertise them. God advertises His own moves. There will be no end to the creativity of the places where these gatherings will take place. Forerunner gatherings will be in restaurants, market place lunchrooms, back yards, community centers, and street corners. It’s not about the place it’s about were 2 or 3 or more are gathered in His name.
5 IT’S A GRASSROOTS MOVEMENT: Peter stood up and preached to a large crowd on the day of Pentecost. They were gathered in bewilderment because of the roaring wind they heard. The response to Peter’s message was 3,000 salvations.
What would a church today do with 3,000 new souls? Any dedicated sincere pastor would scramble to put together some kind of administrative machinery in an attempt to hold onto those precious new believers. What happened here in Jerusalem? Were they ready and prepared for such a response? No. But God knew and His plan worked splendidly. The new believers simply gathered periodically in the temple to hear the apostles teaching but they regularly fellowshipped in homes all over Jerusalem. Was that planned? I think not. But a spontaneous, grassroot house church movement sprang forth. This new wine could not be contained in the temple. The apostles couldn’t contain or control it. So, it flowed out into the homes where it was not only contained, it multiplied. Was there a training program for house church leaders? That would have been good but how could it have been done? This was a surprise move. Those newly filled believers invited everyone to their homes. They ate meals and prayed together. They testified, and taught each other in their homes. Not only were all the new believers nurtured in this brand-new church, the scripture says that God kept adding to their numbers daily.
6 THEY ACTIVATE EVERY BELIEVER IN MINISTRY. In traditional church models there are a few overworked church staffers and the rest of the members are essentially an audience. I’m sure that nearly every pastor longs to see more than an audience on Sunday. They want to see every member activated in their spiritual gifts, and giving their time and energy to build up the church. I think most pastors don’t know if that’s even possible.
The seventy forerunners know that everyone can be activated in their spiritual gifts. Everyone can prophesy and heal the sick. A house church gathering is so interactive that soon everyone is contributing with a song, a word, a prayer, etc. There are no bystanders. Even brand-new Christians begin to flow in Spirit gifts that a Christian 10 years old in the Lord could have only dreamed of.
7. THEY OPERATE IN AN INVINCIBLE CHURCH PLANTING MODEL. How does one successfully grow a large church today? Besides being called of God one needs lots of money, a seminary degree, much skill, lots of talent, and creativity. It helps a lot to have a beautiful strategically located building, talented worship leaders, attractive ministry programs, and a senior pastor with very good oratory skills. Even all that may fall short to effectively impact a community.
The seventy forerunners pierce through the darkness with a totally different paradigm. Jesus specifically told these ordinary believers, “Don’t take any money with you, nor a traveler’s bag, nor an extra pair of sandals. And don’t stop to greet anyone on the road (Luke 10:4 NLT). Jesus directed them to find a receptive and respected person who would welcome them into their house. That house would become their ministry center for the whole neighborhood. The attraction would be the healings, deliverances and transformed lives. The workers would be everyone who receives the gift of salvation. The word would spread family to family.
Certainly in this coming great awakening there will be crusade evangelism and very large churches will spring up. We need them. But the apostolic house church networks I envision will be essential to not only open up the way for this awakening but to sustain the subsequent reformation of our society.
every month.These inspirations have been increasingly stirring inside of me since we started “Prophetic Calling”, monthly gatherings in our house in northern NJ. In these gatherings we focus on activating spiritual gifts in every believer. We welcome all who would like to come and see what God is doing. It’s held on the first Saturday evening of each month.