(Today's guest post comes from Robert Reach, a long time missionary, movement catalyst, and author of Impacting Eternity.)
Victor John helped initiate one of the largest and earliest movements in India. He shared with me how over eleven million people were baptized through his networks since he began this work in the late 1990s. He expressed a sense of awe and wonder about how God has moved far beyond what could be controlled, counted, or organized. He said to me,
“This is a work of God, but I often find that people come to me and want to copy my strategy without any real commitment to walking in the life of the Spirit.”
We are experiencing today what the resurrected Jesus promised to his disciples,
“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
I am a witness to the fact that God has been at work in our movements in Southeast Asia and West Africa. Without the outpouring of the Spirit, we would not have experienced the huge numbers of transformed lives that we’ve seen. I am humbled to play a part.
What's the Best of the Best Practices?
Of the seven leadership “best practices” that Impacting Eternity introduces, “Depend upon the Presence and Power of the Spirit” is the most central. You might be tempted to offer a quick “Amen” and then move on to organizational issues. But to do so misses the point.
This best practice is not just central because the Bible claims it to be so. It is central because it lies at the center of the other six best practices. To put it another way, the Spirit’s work Spirit shapes how the other six best practices operate. Consider the following diagram.
The work of the Spirit is the “operating system” running in the background of our lives and of a movement.
Like a good computer OS, it’s often silent and not easily observed, but it impacts every action and result. Without the Spirit as ourOS, we mere humans try to do God’s work with human energy and effort. Human effort alone fails contextualize the gospel faithfully and sustain long-term disciple-making and leadership development.
If our disciple-making does not daily focus on this first best practice, the reach and life of our movements will be shortened. This is not simply a topic that we acknowledge theologically and then move on to practical leadership issues. It has practical implications.
Do you want to be a part of a movement?
Then you must realize that it is about seeing what God is doing and getting involved with that. This depends upon your willingness to invest in discerning and resting in God’s presence. We cannot forget this simple, biblical principle. All other “best practices” depend on it.
Photo Credit: CC. 2.0 Ajay Verma, Reuters, NTB scanpix