"Their emphasis on a personal faith,
in combination with their ecclesiocentrism
and their strong eschatology
led the early Anabaptists to launch
a vigorous, evangelistic church planting movement"
Church Planting in the Secular West
M and I have been privileged to be part of around 5 "visitations".
I know, the word allows for much conjecture. Should we use the word "revival" or "renewal" or "restoration" or "reformation" or... I love the idea of visitation. The notion that Jesus visits with us, by his Spirit in a unique and manifest way, is rather compelling. Our cry is "Lord please don't leave us out of your next visit. We want to be part of the next key and strategic coming".
But what happens when this visitation takes place?
As I look back over the years, certain consistencies seem to occur -
- Theological revealing - it seems like the Father chooses to reveal something about himself that had been forgotten, ignored or was simply not known. For the Charismatic renewal, we discovered the simple wonder of the person, power and presence of the Holy Spirit. This "Forgotten God" was magnificently and majestically restored to the church. We were amazed that we could be empowered not just by the Father's sovereignty nor by the Son's redemption but by the overwhelming privilege of being invited in to partner with the Spirit. I do wonder what part of the Godhead will receive focus this next time. Will we be OK with that?
- Ecclesiological unfolding - Jesus teaches so clearly that we cannot have new wine and old wineskins. That is why the most recent spiritual front runners are most aggressively resistant to the new. Most often they had been teaching that they had the "right model". Therefore to imply that the Father will use a different way would mean we have to admit we need to change. That is brutal if we have believed we have gotten it right. ("History repeats itself, has to, no-one listens"Steve Turner - English poet.)
- Missiological emphasis - in humility we all know we haven't got the "whole enchiladas". We are very aware that there is still so much that the church needs to discover, to do - especially as we enter the uncertain adventure of ministering in a post-christian, post - christendom, post-modern, pre-pagan world. I remember the sheer beauty and compelling nature of discovering the weight of church planting in the 80's. Wow, that was worth giving our lives for, this robust brand on kingdom advancement. But we also protested and marched against racism and apartheid in the 90's. Both were clear missiological assignments at key God moments. What will it be this next visit? It will demand our all and cost us everything! It did before.
- Leadership evidence - this is a very interesting one. I got saved in the 70's to a robust leadership model. Then we went through applauding an alpha male leadership idea, that was very culturally forged, for sure. Of course we called it biblical but its cultural component was very evidenced - (for example loyalty was highly esteemed, and yet was never a high biblical virtue ). We needed a very powerful leadership model to fulfill our mandate to plant churches around the world in what British theologians called the Restoration Movement. So much one could write around that, but I am curious about church future. I sneakily suspect it will be a very different leader that the Father will promote. Do you mind if I have a guess? Could it be that Jesus the lamb will be the key, elevated leader? When I look at some of the key emerging young global leaders, I am seeing humility, meekness, vulnerability, weakness, brokenness, honesty, transparency, collaborative...and so on. The Old guard will definitely struggle with the new order.