It is a long time since the Church encountered an individual with fiery, burning vision like Wesley, Whitfield, Knox and Edwards.
The radical and passionate cry of John Hyde “O God! Give me souls or I die” has long since been registered as one of the ‘brave-heart’ cry of leaders from another century, another time. Significantly, the Pentecostal revival movement began in 1902, out of a similar passion for more power and a greater outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
The revivalists of those days, and earlier, were men and women who not only were people of prayer, but they were focused on their vision for God and His great purposes. 2015 throws down a heavy gauntlet of challenge, history stands watching and waiting to see who will respond.
We come to such challenge as individuals and as a people on a mission together.
God uses us as individuals as well as the Church collectively. We have responsibility as individuals to follow after Christ with all our hearts, and collectively to look out for one anothers’ interest and walk with God, guarding, protecting and encouraging each other.
It is easy to say that in the past that God used individuals, but now days He is looking to involve the church working together in teams. I agree – but what you do have to ask is, when was the cut off date for when that all came into place? The Welsh revival? The Pentecostal revival? The pentecostal church Elim and the Assemblies of God in the early 1920’s had two brothers (Stephen and George Jeffries) who towered above other characters involved in the revival. Certainly both Steve Hill in the Pensacola revival and Todd Bentley in the Lakeland revival were used mightily by God (despite the controversy).
The answer is that God uses both individuals and the Church as a whole – something demonstrated in both the bible and in Church history.
Something however, is missing.
Much of what we do can sometimes be left in the hands of Church leaders, who to be honest, have sometimes not been the most visionary, fiery and burning lights for the gospel. Dull preaching makes for dry hearts. Even charismatic preaching at times can be frothy, having a sense of fun and energy about it, but it delivers little in the hearts of men. A leader must have a mission. Nothing produces mission and vision better than the gospel; scripture-honouring, Christ-exalting and God-glorifying preaching in the power of the Spirit, which is not always about loudness or charisma . . .
We do need to spur each other one with the vision of seeing the supremacy of Christ in all things. The call is a simple one for us, to be like the sons of Issachar, men who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do, (1 Chron 12:32) We get to that place by sitting together and finding out what God wants us to do, how we are going to do it and then committing our work to the LORD, so that in His providence, our plans will be established. (Proverbs 16:3) For some, just the act of sitting together to plan starts with relationship, friendship and new understanding about the call of God on each other.
Nothing works like collegiate relationship. Eating together, planning together and working together over bold, wild, and faith-inspired audacious plans.
See yourself in the photo above answering the hard questions about your vision, your ministry, your teaching, your preaching (What are you actually doing to improve your preaching ability?) your outreach – and then committing yourself to doing what it takes to resolve what you have seen, heard, read or discovered.
All things are possible – but it starts with faith, action and planning – not by accident.