Multiplying Young Leaders in the River
Recorded in Ezekiel 47 is that prophet’s vision of the River of God flowing from God’s throne to the nations. At first Ezekiel sees only the river, but after he’s been in the river for a while, he sees that the river is lined with trees. These trees produce fruit every month and their leaves are for the healing of the nations. When the river flows, it brings life – and so the river of God will always be accompanied by living structures that bear much fruit, fruit that will last.
Here in the TACF Youth and Young Adult Network we love being in the River! We’ve never had so much fun or been so fruitful with souls. We love walking with the Holy Spirit and seeing God pour His River into society through us. We have found that when youth and young adults are secure in their Heavenly Daddy’s love, they can hear His voice and walk in His love with hearts that have been healed from life’s hurts, then they become powerful pipes of His presence and power that begin to bear fruit that lasts.
God is showing us the importance of the trees that grow on the banks of the River.
Without trees, there is no fruit. Without fruit, there are no more trees. One fruit has the potential to create one tree, but that tree will produce fruit that can populate the world. This is the power of the seed, but a seed needs to be planted and cared for so that it will become a tree. Here at TACF we place a high value on implementing this vision of raising and developing leaders through what we call the Vision of Multiplication.
The Vision of Multiplication turns the “pyramid” paradigm of the church on its side. In a pyramid the only way to get more opportunity is to climb up higher on the ladder so that more people are under you. The sad consequence of this is that there are many in the bottom layer of each church who just watch the pastors do the work of the Kingdom but never do it themselves. You see, there are three problems with pyramids. They are only found in dry deserts, they don’t go anywhere, and worst of all, they are full of dead men’s bones! Most of the new generation’s youth and young adults are not content with being dusty spectators or participants in other people’s pyramids. They long to be champions, and they will follow champions.
They no longer cry out “feed me” but they say “let me try it” and “show me how to do it”. The church has for decades been realising this and sending youth on short term mission trips to try their wings; however, when they return home these youth often find their wings clipped.
The Vision of Multiplication, however, makes room for people to fly within the local church! In the Vision of Multiplication, the structure of leadership now forms an arrowhead. Each leader is a pioneer, making room behind them for their cell members to become just as successful as their leaders in the mission of the Kingdom of Heaven.
As the pastors of the Youth and Young Adult Network at TACF, we only have direct leadership with a few people through our small group called a “cell”. We focus on these few, pouring our lives into them and mentoring them closely. Through these relationships we can confidently let them lead their own cells just as we lead ours. We teach them to do the same and as they empower those in their cells we find that multiplication occurs.
With the Lord’s enabling grace, as spiritual fathers and mothers we have raised up sons and daughters, empowered and trained them so that they in turn became fathers and mothers in their own right, as they continued to be led by us. Some of those in our cell now have youth in their cells who lead their own cells! In this way we have grown from 20 – 30 youth and young adults 18 months ago, to over 170 who are meeting in cells today. This is just the beginning!
Having raised our sons and daughters to become leaders, we restrain ourselves from having hands-on leadership with any of their spiritual sons or daughters. Just like in the natural world, grandparents must take a back seat role when it comes to hands on everyday parenting of their grandchildren, so also in the Vision of Multiplication; we take a back seat in the lives of our spiritual grandchildren, thereby allowing our sons and daughters to become all that we are and more.
We teach our leaders that there are at least three essential ingredients to raising and developing successful leaders. Firstly, individuals must be taught to develop intimacy with God in the secret place learning to become lovers of God in the River. Secondly, they must be in a healthy mentoring relationship, and thirdly, they must be given plenty of opportunity to do the very things that the mature leaders do in ministry.
We are convinced that everyone is born to lead, but they must be taught leadership to become a leader.
This is why every new believer in our church is encouraged right from the beginning to go through our leadership training pathway. They must go from being seeds to becoming strong fruit trees and ultimately orchards.
The process that we use to do this leadership training is firstly for the new church member to go through an Encounter. An Encounter is a life changing weekend retreat where they meet God powerfully and personally and are pumped with our core values such as the Father’s love, the Cross of Christ, the importance of forgiveness, healing of life’s hurts, repentance from sin, deliverance, and of course, we make sure they get
"The Vision of Multiplication, however, makes room for people to thoroughly drink in the river of God and get filled with the Holy Spirit and with vision for the future."
After they have completed an encounter retreat, we take them through the basic foundations of our faith for 5 weeks before asking them as soon as possible to take our leadership training school which is 3 levels of 10 weeks each. In this school they become the flesh and blood manifestation of who their leaders are as passionate and radical lovers of God. We teach them strong practical leadership principles so that they can lead in the anointing and power of the Holy Spirit, the grace of Jesus and the love of the Father.
The awesome part is that this vision creates so much opportunity.
All our leaders and even many of their leaders are incredibly busy preaching and teaching every weekend. We have well over 200 hours of teaching and preaching to fill, without including Sunday mornings, more than enough for us all! This multiplication of opportunity is not only in preaching, but in evangelism, pastoring and apostolic and prophetic areas, too, as they begin doing the things of the Kingdom through their cell ministries.
THE FRUIT OF THIS VISION
We are so thrilled to watch this Vision working right before our eyes. Our youth and young adults are rising up to be awesome leaders in the Kingdom of Heaven. Through this vision, we are raising up an army of passionate pursuers of God, who are very capable and anointed in all aspects of ministry and are
“The River of God is about to become a mighty raging torrent in the city of beginning to co-labor with Jesus to take Toronto. The River of God is about to become a mighty raging torrent in the city of Toronto!
At our annual Freshwind youth conference last Easter, we had the time of our lives together as we watched our spiritual sons and daughters host the conference of between 5,000 and 6,000. Likewise at our annual summer camp in August, Camp Tsunami, our leaders were responsible for the entire camp. It was fantastic to witness the Lord perform tremendous supernatural healings, signs and wonders.
The Lord came so powerfully in the meetings each day and particularly in the fire tunnels that many had to be carried home to their cabins. One young man was set free from his crack addiction, and after dramatic deliverance in the fire tunnels, he lay on the ground for the longest time until finally he was taken to his cabin. However the Glory of God was so heavy on him that it took seven young guys to pick him up. It was astonishing.
We have been very excited to see that God is moving powerfully in our leaders and their ministries are growing in influence beyond Toronto. Many of them are travelling frequently to different parts of the world, taking the glory of God with them.
They can do it because they are doing it every week here at home.
One of the highlights came during the month of July when we were able to lead a team to the UK with three of our leaders, and they, in turn, brought some of their cell members. We did two full weekend conferences for the whole church in two different parts of the country and ministered for two nights mid weekin a church. During these meetings we saw an incredible number of miracles and lives that were transformed by the Father's Love.
One of our team, Tim Fenney, commanded healin for a 16-year-old young man that was blind in his right One of the highlights came during the month of July when we were able to lead a team to the UK with three of our leaders, and they, in turn, brought some of their cell members. We did two full weekend conferences for the whole church in two different parts of the country and ministered for two nights mid week in a church. During these meetings we saw an incredible number of miracles and lives that were transformed by the Father's Love.
One of our team, Tim Fenney, commanded healing for a 16-year-old young man that was blind in his right eye. He was instantaneously healed by Jesus and could see perfectly through that previously blind eye. We also saw Jesus completely heal two virtually deaf people.
RELEASE THE NEXT GENERATION
We are releasing the next generation. The Father is anointing them with His power and leading them by his spirit. We are giving them the freedom to be who God has created them to be the church in the next generation by resisting at all costs the impulse to work it all out for them.
We strongly encourage leaders and pastors today to raise up new leaders and begin to believe God to give you the next generation in the cities where you live. Doing this will mean getting out of the box that we’ve always known and moving out of our comfort zones, but it will make room for our sons and daughters and we will see the greatest revival our cities have ever known and the River of God, together with its fruit tress and their leaves will truly bring healing to the nations.