Challenges Encountered within the Spheres 2022

In 2019 we published a number of responses to the question “What are the Challenges that are affecting the Spheres of Influence in your city, in your region?” (click the links Part 1 and Part 2 to see those responses) which we sent out to our network. Earlier this year 2022 we sensed in the Spirit that it was time to do this again, so in April we sent emails to our network to ask them the same question. Below are the responses we received. 

Note that the opinions expressed below are those of each author, and these may or may not align with the opinions of yourself or us. 

From Australia

Pam Curtis, Prayer Leader – Central Coast, NSW, Australia

We on the Central Coast of NSW need powerful prayer in relation to: 

  • The sphere of Medicine and the Health System – Opening a new training college for medical students 
  • The sphere of Unity across the Body of Christ 
  • The restoration of broken families. 

Juliet Ballinger, Pregnancy Support Worker – Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia

  • Family – Lack of understanding or pursuit of covenant resulting in fractured relationships, multiple partners, ‘fatherless’ children, children removed into foster care, Third and Fourth generation substance abuse and dependence.
  • Church (Ecclesia) – some lack of understanding of the value of local missions and hesitancy to support local ministries involved in justice/mercy issues.
  • Government and the Military – Laws that contradict God’s laws e.g Queensland Termination of Pregnancy laws (2018)
  • Arts – Influence of pornography in artistic expression
  • Education – Pro-choice (in the traditional, anti-life sense) training of school nurses and counsellors; few flexible education pathways available for young women who choose to continue their pregnancies resulting in high dropout rate for young mums.
  • Charity and Not for Profit Welfare – Emergency Relief for clients is in high demand as cost-of-living increases.
  • Health and Science – Termination of Pregnancy is accepted as health care and facilitated by health professionals; Post abortion trauma remains largely undiagnosed because Health Professionals are not trained to ask presenting patients if they or someone close to them has had an abortion experience.

Huw Luscombe B.Ed M.Div – Gordon Baptist Church, Sydney, Australia

  • Family is the thing I pray most earnestly for my 3 teenage children and my aged parents are my primary responsibility 
  • Church (Ecclesia) I pray that the church will more deeply understand what it is and what its role in the world is – To Manifest the Christ 
  • Trade and Finance (Business) gets ahead of itself all the time – needs to be redeemed and simplified 
  • Law and Justice is the biggest mess here is the family court which needs …… something drastic, so many lives affected so badly by the delays and the lawyers making huge money out of conflict 
  • Arts – Most important calling any person can have, not well understood or supported by the Churches 
  • Education is losing its way because of secularisation. One area where we can only get out of the way and offer to help AFTER the car has crashed. So called “Higher education” is the most lost. If Jesus was here he would go to TAFE – become a tradie 
  • Charity and Not for Profit Welfare 
    Wisdom is needed to know what is best left to Governments
    and what is best done by the churches, I think – strategically – the churches need to be creating new welfare programmes and then handing them over to Govt’s to run so, they can then create more – continuously 

Ps. Peter Pritchard – Victoria, Australia

  • Family …. they are being decimated by the world. Gender confusion is creating chaos. Parents don’t lead and have poor standards for children to follow. Marriage is an option. Partnerships exist in many forms. Christian families are isolated by society and belittled by media, cults and evil. Many so-called Christians do not hold biblical values and use church as a social buzz. Why have Easter egg hunts at church for the kids etc etc. 
  • Church (Ecclesia). Traditional churches struggle to uphold the values of God. Many have gender issues in ordination. Contemporary churches fall for the trap of trying to make church interesting. However, there are great pastors out there speaking about Jesus as our Saviour. 
  • Government and the Military. Australia is under pressure from leftists who want to isolate society to control it and create a poverty class. E.g. Communism. Conservative politicians are constantly lambasted by media and extremists. Military issues for our nation are difficult as we are a small population with a huge land mass full of minerals and fossil fuels. China et al want it. Israel is tough enough standing up to the ongoing war. Perhaps we need to adopt some of the security strategies. 
  • Trade and Finance (Business). Sold out to China. Money hungry people transferred industry there. Now we have zilch. Economically we have done well in the global crisis. Too many money zealots are going for new energy options regardless of logic. 
  • Law and Justice. In Victoria our police were used by the government to treat people cruelly during the Covid lock down. This socialist state is corrupt, and some other states have borrowed some of the strategies. People are not being sentenced justly for wrong doings. They are dismissed with lenient penalties. The media aka ABC try people publicly. 
  • Religion and Philosophy. Far too many cults and anti-Christ religions hold sway as people search for answers. In my country city we have a mammoth Buddhist temple. Unreal. Tourists love it.
  • Arts. Extreme immoral dark forms are prolific and often funded by the taxpayer.
  • Education. Tragedy. As an ex-teacher I’m mortified at the gender issues placed before the young, the climate lies, killing of history and elevation of indigenous dark culture.
  • Charity and Not for Profit Welfare. It is prolific and usually helpful. But why do some open on Sundays?
  • Health and Science. Science is a wonderful journey but when they meddle with embryos, we see evil transformation. Health is being belittled by experts, abused by welfare types, corrupted by social engineering. JESUS HEALS.
  • Media and Entertainment. Awful paddock I’m afraid. Extreme brutality and sex clouds the landscape. Movies need to be truly labelled and vetted for TV use. Lots of great entertainment but like Europe of the 1920’s it’s decadent in many areas.
  • Sport and Recreation. Children are being confused over trans matters and softening of standards to make all kids equal is absurd. Sport can be great but it’s not a god. 

Renae Gonis – Doncaster East, Victoria, Australia 

  • Family – family aging very angry at their experience of the Church and blaming this on God. 
  • Church (Ecclesia) – apathy, self-centred – not looking outward. Think they have no resources. Lack of volunteers. Fear of volunteering due to legislation. Not flexible (due to lack of resources) in worship times. 
  • Government and the Military – Fear that it is the governments’ fault that the cost of living is rising and focus on wages not rising. The opposition is not saying how they will reduce this. 
  • Trade and Finance (Business) – People blaming COVID for everything. 

My main concern is being a front-line worker in a Christian organisation and Christians who are very religious not working on Sundays out of fear of being chastised. The Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, and non-practicing Catholic workers are shouldering the load and can’t understand why the Christian workers won’t help them. 

On a positive note, this is a great time to talk about Jesus with the worship music playing. [People from] Other religions are very interested in Jesus. 

From Overseas

United Kingdom

Steve Botham, Gather Movement – (part of the global movement day, living and serving in) Birmingham, England 

  • Family – key issues are families struggling with fast increasing cost of living challenges – leading to a sharp increase in mental health issues and a cry really for the church to take supporting local families much more seriously 
  • Church (Ecclesia) – this is a time of shaking for the church. The inward-looking hierarchical culture must be broken. Church needs to embrace the great commission and recognise this is a call to take kingdom into schools, hospitals, businesses etc – the church generally lacks a vision for the spheres. There is some good work across a range of cities to work together and break this. Another need is for us to rediscover the church (not called church, of course, but ecclesia) the fivefold ministry, being in the presence of God wherever he sends us and to understand that the ecclesia is called with decision making authority to change its location. 
  • Government and the Military – the UK government is weak, corrupt, and committed to a culture of lies and cover ups. Our Prime minister has no moral authority. We need the Daniels and friends to arise. At local level Government is bankrupt of ideas and resources and seeing the need for the wisdom from the church united. We are seeing encouraging relationships develop which build the credibility of the church and help us bless where God has put us. 
  • Trade and Finance (Business) – my new book His Kingdom, my business calls for us to see the workplace as a place where God’s kingdom meets the most people. We have serious relationships in the workplace, and we can pray for shalom, mercy, forgiveness, justice, righteousness and compassion to change where we are. I believe God is calling Christians to regain their call and confidence. 
  • Religion and Philosophy – I am in an environment where I must work in multi faith situations to get things done. I welcome this because I want leaders of other faiths to see Jesus in action. Building friendships and relationships with other faith leaders always lead me back to Jesus – the distinctive hope 
  • Education – again struggling with covid after math, a huge increase in mental health issues, fast changing Government guidelines and financial constraints. Teachers are struggling. Most people with mental health issues have got these by the age of 15, numbers rising at an unprecedented rate. Church needs to be creating mental health sensitive havens and praying for shalom in local schools 

Roger Ball, Chairman, RESOLVE Christian Mediation – UK

It is interesting that Father has been refocussing the Resolve ministry, so as to facilitate raising the understanding and application of being RECONCILED (resolving conflict) through teaching & training, based on biblical principles. It is a time of new beginnings/starts with New strategies appropriate for the new situation, (Commander of the Lord’s army) as when Israelites crossed the Jordan with Joshua and similarly when Jesus started his earthly ministry and shocked the Pharisees, Lawyers with the message of GRACE & TRUTH with great signs following.

Our spheres of influence according to the vision we have given, ranges from the personal, home, work or service, church – locally, nationally, and internationally as guided.

However, from 30+ years of experience, most Christians and Churches do not understand the essential need of Reconciliation, but settle for compromise, rather than restoring our relationship, firstly with God and then man to man. Today our personal & church discipleship, witness & ambassadorial roles are so compromised, that virtually nobody can see the GRACE & TRUTH being offered or understand the lateness of the day.

We do not see any difference in scripture for any SACRED / SECULAR divide and as Citizens of Heaven we are responsible to apply prayerfully the understanding the Holy Spirit gives each Day.

Xander Coleman, Buckingham Salvation Army – Buckingham, UK

  • Family 
    Kids with additional needs, ADHD/Autism. Caring for kids damaged by lockdowns and school closures. 
  • Church (Ecclesia) 
    Workers are few. People are less forthcoming to serve in the church. Commitment levels seem low, perhaps there is a pruning. 
  • Government and the Military 
    Integrity/honesty in government & leadership. How to support Ukraine without going to war against Russia. 
  • Trade and Finance (Business) 
    Covid recovery, depressed economy, cost of living crisis. 
  • Law and Justice 
    Bureaucratic delay 
  • Religion and Philosophy 
    Culture wars around liberal/conservative continue to escalate.  Abortion continues to be a shibboleth, as does LGBTQ+ issues. 
  • Arts 
    Cynicism reigns, awe is dead. 
  • Education 
    Kids have been scarred and damaged by school closures, masking in schools, etc. Culture wars play out here too. 
  • Charity and Not for Profit Welfare 
    Increasing need. Fewer resources. 

United States of America

Mary-Catherine McAlvany, Global Strategy Forum – USA

My specialty is looking at the arts sphere around the world. 

We just convened a Global Strategy Forum think-tank symposium on all the mountains of culture with global attendees last week. These are the results of our findings. 

Societal and Christian Problems in the Arts Sphere, and potential Christian solutions: 

Many people are suffering mental health problems around the world, and the arts (like arts therapy) can be used (along with inner healing ministries) to bring healing. This applies to migrants, refugees, the military, teens, etc. The arts are a safe place to explore our unhealed wounds. They can open a door to deeper healing. The arts can nourish us. 

One solution is to empower and equip churches/Christians to serve effectively as “frontline”, or triage, for people needing counselling in their communities. This would involve training and mentoring lay people in our churches to become inner healing ministers through the employment of the arts. Arts Therapy degrees are too costly and time consuming for most people to access, so offering a kind of arts therapy/inner healing ministry from the lay people within the church could democratize this offering and allow more people within the church walls, and without the church walls, to find deep healing through Christ and the expression of the arts. 

Unless an art can be used in the church, like in worship, the Church has largely surrendered the arts to the world. We need to educate our congregations with a robust theology of the arts, whereby our young generation and our older generation can see the value in the arts and understand how God wants to use the arts to reach the culture around us. 

There is a great need to create an accessible (through technology, YouTube, or some other online platform) theology of the arts for both the leadership of the church as well as the 5–18-year-olds and college students. It should not be complicated, but easily understood so that believers can embrace the calling of the artists among us and dignify the arts. The churches perception of the arts will not change if the leadership of the church (such as the elders, deacons and pastors) are not educated on a healthy theology of the arts. 

The Church should be creating culture through the arts. This could look like churches becoming patrons of the arts in local communities. For example, a church could fund the painting of a mural on a local business in a prominent location and have a global contest to employ the winning artist in the creation of such a mural. The Church could ask submissions to revolve around the theme of hope, beauty, or truth, etc. Churches could also sponsor art or music scholarships in the community. Christians and churches in each community could sponsor public school art and music programs at local schools. 

As our younger generation is more visual, the Church could promote “lighthouse” examples of exceptional artists who are Christians through social media, to make art something younger Christians and the young unchurched can engage with. Churches could also sponsor music concerts in the church or outside in the community, open to the greater communities. 

Art is fundamentally “play”, and play is a powerful way to build community development (art and sport can do this). If we can find ways to “play” at art, as congregations, we can engage the cultures around us. It is meant to bring us together, to share, to have a sense of wellbeing and sense of belonging. 

An idea would be for churches to give their congregations 5 or 6 art activities they could do with their neighbours to get to know then and give their congregants some suggestions of what they can talk about while they are creating together. This could especially be used in women’s ministry outreaches to get to know other unchurched women in the community around them. 

Artists are influencers and culture creators. People listen more to artists (think actors and musicians) than to other personalities. They have a huge influence on teens through social media (Christian and secular). And ultimately, governments defer to the cultures artists have created. Therefore, it is vitally important for the Church to take the lead and to train up the next generation of artists who are Christians. They must be discipled, educated, and encouraged by the Church. 

Artists in the Church often live at the fringes and do not feel they “belong” in the Church. After all, artists are often non-conformists, and this causes Christian conformists to “fear” and distrust them. There is a deep suspicion of the artists from within the church leadership and church body. Therefore, artists begin to identify with the secular world that embraces them. This must change. 

Again, the Church must take the lead in identifying the value of the artist in their midst and reminding them that the Church is the place where they belong. The artist can help us understand the world and God in a deeper and different way. They should be embraced and given a “place at the table” in the body of Christ. 

Artists engaging outside the church with their greater culture do not necessarily have to be overtly Christian in their art, but when engaging with the broader culture or community, they should address the human condition/experience (from a uniquely Christian worldview) in their artwork. It is vital artists connect with the world around them and help people to reflect and give them hope. 

There is a cultural perception of artists—especially male artists. The arts are considered a more feminine expression, therefore male artists are often viewed as potentially gay. This cultural perception can push male artists towards thinking they must be gay and identifying as gay. The Church should take the lead in teaching congregations that the arts are both feminine and masculine because God is the ultimate artist, and He has given us the arts which reflect His very creative character. 

Our church buildings waste away and are marginally used throughout the weeks, barely justifying the costs to keep them employed. This is such a waste of our tithes. BUT…what if we could employ our churches for community development, through offering the church building to host after school arts programs, plays, and voice and music lessons of excellence, open to the entire community?

This would accomplish a few things: It would encourage the arts in a community, help parents with after school activities for their children, break down the “wall” between the church and the community, it gets people who would otherwise not step into a church into a church, and it would employ the church building for good used when it would otherwise be unused. Churches could also hold summer arts camps offered to the surrounding communities. 

In developing countries, missionaries can assist local converts to identify their local arts and pray about how those arts can be used for God’s glory, in effect, redeeming that art for God’s purposes. 

Art can affirm life and affirm creation, and it has the potential to encourage the best in us. But if it is resigned to the secular world because the Church distrusts the arts or is ignorant of a theology of the arts, then we have lost a God-given voice that can speak mightily and powerfully into the world. 

God wants to bless people through the arts, and He wants to be glorified through the arts. He wants believers to bless their congregations through the arts, but He also wants to bless non-believers in the greater world through the arts employed by believers. 

Jane Snyder, Melchizedek’s Treasure – Aquasco, Maryland, USA

With Paradise of Hope – South Africa. Additional Support by: Robert and Annette Stagmer, Revelation 22 Ministries. 

  • Family – LGBTQ agenda – not eating dinner together – lack of fathering. 
  • Church (Ecclesia) – False sense of doctrinal purity – becoming man centred rather than God centred – Failure to recognize the operation of the religious spirit in the church. 
  • Government – the struggle to remain in power – the compromise of foundational truths to satisfy factions – not caring about serving the people. 
  • The Military – the commander is the President, and the military is guided by a politician. The army is to protect, and it should provide our national defence – not international business – obeying orders with no reasons. 
  • Trade and Finance (Business) – greed – amassing of wealth to pervert society – you violate your morals to be successful. 
  • Law and Justice – interpreting the constitution to suit your own ideology – making law enforcement to look negative. 
  • Religion and Philosophy – the end justify the means thinking. 
  • Arts – man expressing self when it should be man expressing to God. 
  • Education – farthing of agendas rather than the development of skills – forging statistics for funding – failure to identify life’s gifts and mission. 
  • Charity and Not for Profit Welfare – diversion of funds to personal gain – lack of accountability of them. 
  • Health and Science – lack of truth – manipulation of facts to achieve political agendas – not caring for the people – pharmacy prices out of control. 
  • Media and Entertainment – pornography – the use of the media to shift and mould cultures – slanted and opinionated commentary vs factual reporting. 
  • Sport and Recreation – accurate gender identification – making of idols out of athletes. 

CHOP Jackson – Gulfport, Mississippi, USA 

  • Family- child neglect, poverty, suicide, murder. 
  • Church (Ecclesia)- Traditional churches. 
  • Government and the Military- divided government not working in unity, military needs to be trained and utilized in protecting the US only. 
  • Trade and Finance (Business)- deficit, inflation, greed. 
  • Law and Justice- inconsistency in justice and law being applied to minorities and disparities in treatment. 
  • Religion and Philosophy- segregated by denominations and religious dogma that is man-made not following the true theology of the Bible but in our own ideologies. 
  • Arts- that God be reflected with those that have God given talents and abilities and that we would be able to enjoy it. 
  • Education- ensuring truly no child is left behind and are able to represent ourselves and the US in the world. 
  • Charity and Not for Profit Welfare- having a real system truly designed to benefit and not enable people by loopholes. 
  • Health and Science- continue to have preventive measures in place to keep the nation safe from future pestilences and diseases. 
  • Media and Entertainment- being more reflective of God instead of perversion and wickedness. 
  • Sports and Recreation- that people would become more active and less sedentary stopping obesity and other health related diseases. 

Maryal Boumann, Director, Pray California – California, USA 

  • Family – Couples, both young and old, are living together outside of marriage (fornication). The older ones for financial reasons (afraid of losing a deceased spouses benefits etc) and the young ones not wanting to make a lifetime commitment… there is sexual/emotional/physical abuse within many many households…there are abhorrently wicked plots to destroy the God-designed family unit through abortion and if that fails, through the LGBTQAI+ agenda and/or suicide…drug and alcohol abuse with marijuana being legalized…pornography is rampant, even within the church…women have had to enter the workforce to help pay bills instead of creating a safe home environment for their children so that often, men are no longer viewed as the head of the household…many foster children need a safe home… 
  • Church (Ecclesia) – There is a clear division between Pastor and Leaders who boldly speak out and identify sin according to what God says, and those who stay silent and allow it to continue within their congregation/ministry. 
    Too much division within the 4,200 different denominations in the world! there is only ONE Church, ONE GOD, ONE Baptism, ONE Holy Spirit! We need to get back to unity based on the Word of God and stop creating division, control, and jealousy!
    Too many seek to build their kingdom instead of the Kingdom of GOD! 
  • Government and the Military – President and his Administration are causing great loss of morale among soldiers by not supporting them and forcing them to take the vax which thousands do not want.
    Also, sexual harassment and molestation goes unreported or is ignored. It appears the goal of the current American Administration is to weaken our once vibrant and strong military forces. 
    Soldiers and their families are feeling forgotten, and many get wounded in ‘practice excursions’ without proper treatment.
    Many Military Chaplains are not allowed to speak about Jesus! 
  • Trade and Finance (Business) – In California and in America, tragically it has become very difficult to purchase products that are made in the USA. Most products are made in China….that is crazy!
    In California, the average price of a home has increased so greatly and with interest rates and taxes rising, it is becoming extremely difficult for people to purchase, or keep, a home. 
  • Law and Justice – Most of our Legislators no longer care about the people or what we say! They have their own new world order agenda and only seek control. People are beginning to feel as if their voices and their votes do not matter…rightfully so!
  • Religion and Philosophy – Too much mixture and compromise of God’s Word in California and the nation! 
  • Education – Sexual and sinful indoctrination of our children continue…so many parents are asleep/too busy/don’t care what is being taught to their children. 
  • Charity and Not for Profit Welfare – So many millionaires and billionaires in California and this nation who use their money to promote evil! And not to help extend the Kingdom of God. Smaller ministries do not have much, if any, financial support…the mega churches do yet what are they doing to speak the truth, to raise up disciples to get out on the streets?! 
  • Health and Science – The Governor of California continues to be a pawn for those who want to control us and our children with their unhealthy, unscientific demands, continuing to PUSH the wicked vaccines and boosters…for the love of money and power! 
  • Media and Entertainment – Conservatives are being censored on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram). LGBTQIA+’s agenda is no longer creeping into in, but coming forth with pride and with loud, boisterous voices…Former ‘Family-based’ companies like Disney and Hallmark can no longer be trusted…they are seeking to indoctrinate our children into their sexual agenda with a vengeance! 
  • Sport and Recreation – Transgenders (especially males who have chosen to identify with being a female) are now taking over women’s sports, able to use women’s lockers and showers. There is such a mocking, anti-Christ spirit behind this movement causing great discouragement, confusion, and anger among actual female athletes. 

Nigeria 

KGMP (Kelvingreat Akpo) of Amazing Grace Christian Church – Asaba, Delta State, Nigeria, West Africa 

Challenges faced in people’s lives in Nigeria 

  • Family: In Nigeria, we are born into polygamous homes which affects most children not to be able to achieve progress. In most cases, divorce homes affect mostly first born and only male child amongst female children in the family. 
  • Church (Ecclesia): Nigeria churches don’t render assistant to the gifted talented and experienced ones. They are after their own personal gains enriching and empowering only their own siblings. 
  • Government and the Military: Nigerian government is same as Nigerian churches. They only empower the secular world mostly if they stand to gain from you. No security to poor citizens. 
  • Trade and Finance (Business): No fund at all given to the less fortunate. It’s the wealthy ones in the system that are being granted more favours. 
  • Law and Justice: Only the rich get favoured but the poor and needy gets humiliated. 
  • Religion and Philosophy: There is so much fight here against Christianity. It’s a war between Christians and Muslims as well as tribalism. 
  • Arts: Applicable to Trade and Finance. 
  • Education: Only the rich and wealthy has opportunity more of better education with good school and facilities. 
  • Health and Science: To the poor and needy no opportunity of such given to them. 
  • Media and Entertainment: No assistance no empowerment no sponsorship to the poor and needy who carries talent and potentials in them. If you aren’t a rich man son, the media and entertainment isn’t for you. I’m also deeply affected here. 
  • Sport and Recreation: only for the rich and wealthy. 

Liberia 

Rev. Kortu Brown 

  • Family – Poverty, hunger, domestic violence, illicit drugs, etc. 
  • Church (Ecclesia) – disunity amongst many churches, economic challenges, less evangelism, etc. 
  • Government and the Military – Poor governance, fiscal mismanagement, upsurge in Muslim contests, etc. 
  • Trade and Finance (Business) – COVID and poor financing hampering trade. 
  • Law and Justice – Mysterious disappearances, ritualistic killings, poor enforcement of law, delay investigations. 
  • Religion and Philosophy – Too outward, lacking substance, need for strategic impact. 
  • Arts – focus on entertainment and not transformation. 
  • Education – need to promote quality education; writing, reading comprehension; vocational education. 
  • Charity and Not for Profit Welfare – limited in post-civil-war while people are suffering; 70% of people live on less than US$1.00 a day; churches – 85% of population could do a lot of help; need empowerment. 
  • Health and Science – very challenging; no medical supplies, laboratories, etc. 
  • Media and Entertainment – poor and negative reporting. 
  • Sport and Recreation – could be a catalyst in empowerment but lack structural support, etc. 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.