*This is a prophetic vision Mike Jones shared with us recently, and we felt it was important for others to hear and see it as well.
Within the last year I started attending Living Word Church. I remember vividly my first visit, It was then that I had an open vision of football players on a baseball field. The message that day included a verse from Isaiah, which has stuck with me. Since then, this verse has been come up many times through different prophetic voices, and I believe it accompanies the vision I received that day:
Isa 43:18-19 KJV 18 Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old.19 Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, [and] rivers in the desert.
My interpretation of this vision is complimentary, but challenging at the same time. I believe this vision speaks to the season that Living Word is currently in. What I understand from the vision is that Living Word Church is an Ephesians 6 church. They are a people that are well equipped and ready for an intense game, more challenging. The challenge, however, means that Living Word Church is switching to an unfamiliar model, one that doesn’t necessarily make sense given the normal framework of how things “ought to be done.”
How can football players play football on a baseball field? Football uses a different ball and a different field, It incorporates different methods and strategies - everything is different.
In baseball, all players essentially do the same thing with only minor differences. Throw the ball, hit the ball, catch the ball—everyone keeps their eye on the ball. In a sense, only one player at a time is performing any kind of action while everyone else just watches. In football, however, there are multiple people doing many different things, all at the same time. The play only succeeds when all jobs are performed at the same exact time. The play changes each time on both sides, and requires a lot of responsiveness and unity in the moment.
The “baseball” church model has been around for over 50 years, and I believe that era has ended. For many American Christians, this may be the only model they have ever known. Moving forward, the temptation to retreat to the familiar way of doing things will be too much for most congregations to overcome.
A “football” style model would take a well-equipped, brave, humble, diversified and prophetically responsive church for it to be sustainable. Being a forerunner to this model would make it even harder. The simple idea that God could be challenging us to a step this drastic is a huge compliment in itself.
I believe Pastor Evan’s last sermon of 2018 about the diversity of gifts and operations in the church (1 Cor. 12) and his prior message of “New Hinges On Old Doors “ could be viewed as confirmations of this vision. Furthermore, I would like to add a simple confirming observation that came after the vision—our church literally gathers in a space the size and shape of a football field and we are assembled in a baseball diamond focusing on home plate.