You would like to think that every church is led by prayer, faith, and the Holy Spirit. They are not! The opposite of being led by prayer, faith, and the Holy Spirit is being led by human wisdom, intellect, ability, and power. Both of these approaches led to very different outcomes.
When you look at the very first church described in the New Testament, you see a church that prayed before they did anything else. In Acts 1:14, the disciples were in the upper room praying together. Before the first sermon was preached, the first miracle was performed, the first small group was held, the first mission trip was taken, or the first church was planted the church in Jerusalem prayed. There is no question that the first church relied on prayer, faith, and the Holy Spirit over human ability and power all day long.
As you study the growth and development of the church, you quickly realize that those prayers were followed by faith and following the Holy Spirit. The church in Acts can only be explained by God. The spread of the church and the impact it had was a direct result of the way they were being led. As the church grew, the disciples devoted themselves to prayer and the ministry of the word. The more the church grew, the more the leaders depended upon God.
I’m not convinced that today’s church is as dependent upon God as the church in Acts was. I think our business models, marketing plans, and leadership training might be prioritized more than they did two thousand years ago. Sometimes, I think the Korean pastor visiting the US got it right. When asked what impressed him most about the church in America, his response was… “What impresses me most about the church in the US is how much you’ve accomplished without God.” Wow! What a sad commentary on the church in America.
The church where I am pastor is trying to live by the value of prayer, faith, and the Holy Spirit. We begin every ministry year with a Week of Prayer. We set aside morning and evening for an entire week to do nothing else but pray. Only God knows the results of that annual priority in the life of our church. We also seek to make decisions based on what makes sense and what God’s Word says. The Children of Israel spent forty years in the desert because of a lack of faith among leaders. Finally, we believe the Holy Spirit still speaks and guides his church through leaders and a church body that is surrendered and yielded to him. We seek to keep ourselves in a posture of listening to the Holy Spirit’s leading.
We know we cannot do ministry in our strength and power. In John 15:5, Jesus said, “…you can do nothing apart from me.” That means we need Jesus to be successful in the mission of making disciples. If we try to do it on our own, we will fail, but if we seek him, trust him, and follow him, we will succeed.
Impact Discipleship Ministries exists to help you and your church become a movement of multiplying disciples. Please get in touch with us if we can help you with training, resources, or consulting. We can be reached at impactdisciples.com.