Dave Gibbons at Exponential last week said that the nomenclature in the church world has shifted over the last 20 years from megachurch to multisite to movement. Good observation, although I would add that many of us shifted over to “movement in the mid 1990’s thanks to teachers like John Robb, Thom Wolf and David Garrison. Glad to see the American mainstream church is catching up.
Dave says we need to focus on movements of the Holy Spirit, rather than people and numbers. I agree. Its God’s church and its God’s movement and God is building up his body in His way and in His time. I want to humbly offer a little addition to Dave’s message.
Question: How do you know the Holy Spirit is at work and not just your own adrenaline, or the timely implentation of your ministry plan.
In a word, a miracle.
Dr Thom Wolf told us about a church planing movement in the Philippines, possibly related to Met Castillo of “The Church in Thy House”, where they refused to start a new church unless there was some miracle, some significant healing, or exorcism or supernatural demonstration of God’s power that created a tongue-wagging gossip about the gospel situation in that town. Before that miracle happened, they would pray and share the good news of Jesus and lead the new believers into maturity . . BUT . . they would not start a new community until God made it clear that the timing was right. And he would do so through a public demonstation that was obvious to all.
In my experience, the most successful church plants could all point to a moment in time when something beyond the church planter’s control happened – a miracle of sorts – and that gave them the confidence that God was at work, that what they were building was part of a Holy Spirit movement, and more than just a great idea.