Growing up in a Pentecostal tradition, as a teenager, I enjoyed debating theology with Baptist friends. We had long, somewhat heated discussions, about what it meant to be “Spirit-filled.” Looking back at our arguments with the wisdom of years, I see we were both right. This is not an either/or issue, nor is that question worth fighting about. These kinds of debates take our focus off the lost. Instead, let us simply agree that all Disciple Making Movement leaders must learn to move in the power of God’s Spirit.
Like New Testament apostles, movement leaders; cast out demons, heal the sick, and rely on the supernatural power of God. God’s miraculous intervention is a norm in DMMs. This is not to say that every person prayed for is healed. Nor do these leaders look for demons under every bush.
They do, however, embrace a New Testament understanding of signs and wonders. They believe that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are exercised today. There may be one or two out there, but I know of no present-day Disciple Making Movement, nor one from history, where this is not true.
Applying a Luke 10 mandate, movement leaders do what Jesus instructed His disciples to do. They find Persons of Peace, cast out demons (as needed), heal the sick, and proclaim the Kingdom of God.
There is a boldness in these leaders to ask God for big things, and believe He will supernaturally answer their prayers.
I’ve been writing lately about twelve important characteristics of the kinds of leaders God uses to launch movements. Movement leaders exercise and rely on the power of the Spirit to move the movement forward. They are aware of their spiritual gifts and help the leaders they train to discover and use their gifts as well.
The Example of Jesus
In Luke 3:21-22, we read of Jesus being filled with the Holy Spirit. At His baptism, the Father spoke the words “This is my beloved son…” The dove rested on Him (representing the Spirit of God.) It then says in chapter four, “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness.” (Luke 4:1NIV.)
Our model for movements and leadership starts with Christ Himself.
Jesus was filled with the Spirit of God. He was led by the Spirit of God. He moved in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Shouldn’t we strive to follow that example?
We see the same in the lives of the leaders in the book of Acts. Of Barnabas, Paul’s coach and mentor, it says he was full of the Holy Spirit and faith.
What Must A Movement Leader/Catalyst Do?
Knowing these things about Jesus, Barnabas, Paul, Peter, and so many others as we look through history prompts the question. What about me? What must I do to grow in this area?
1. Develop Your relationship with the Holy Spirit.
Depending on your denominational background, you may or may not, have invested much time getting to know the Holy Spirit. He is a person, part of the Trinity. Study Him in the gospels and Acts.
- What is He like?
- What did He do?
Pray and ask Him to reveal Himself to you further. Let Him know that you long to grow in your relationship with Him, and have Him work through you more fully.
Perhaps you are from a church tradition that emphasized the gifts of the Spirit more than the person of the Spirit. Let Holy Spirit know you are seeking Him, not only the gifts He will give you.
2. Invite the Holy Spirit to fill and re-fill you with His presence and power.
The Holy Spirit is a gentleman. He isn’t pushy, but waits to be invited. Simple pray, “Holy Spirit I want to know you more. Come and reveal yourself to me. I want to be filled with you.”
Then, expect that to happen!
Perhaps you had supernatural encounters with God’s power or Spirit in the past. Have those things have grown cold? Ask Him to fill you once again.
You may or may not experience something unusual when you do this. In faith, believe that He is filling you. We can expect that the Holy Spirit will be given us if we ask (Matt 7:8-10).
3. Ask God to use you to show His Kingdom to the world.
After affirming your desire to develop a relationship with God’s Spirit, also ask Him to release His gifts through you. Gifts of healing, signs and wonders, miracles, exorcism, etc. are signs for unbelievers that God is real. Particularly when we are working among unreached peoples, these are important. Demonstrations of His power go a long way in convincing people from Hindu, Buddhist or Muslim backgrounds that your message is true.
4. Step out in faith and be willing to take risks.
Faith can be spelled, R-I-S-K. If you say you believe, but aren’t willing to take risks of faith, you will be unlikely to see miracles happen.
It can feel scary to offer to pray for someone in a wheelchair or to command an evil spirit to leave. This is especially true if you have never seen this modelled. Begin to experiment and try new things, asking God to teach you. You may not get it right every time, but you will learn by doing and God will be pleased that you are taking steps of faith.
Study the book of Acts and the many times the disciples prayed for the sick or saw miracles happen.
Find someone who moves in these gifts more than you and spend time with them. Ask questions. Go with them and watch and learn. Some of their faith may rub off on you! If you put yourself around people who doubt miracles can happen, you will not see many. If you spend time with those who see them often, it’s likely you will too!
5. Determine to give Him glory for the results.
God deserves the glory for any good things that happen through our lives. This is true of spiritual gifts. Even if they are not what we call “power gifts,” other gifts like hospitality, administration, teaching, or service – give Him glory for the results. It is easy to become proud or take glory to ourselves. He is the One who is worthy.
Determine from the start that when He uses you, you will make sure everyone knows it was Him and not you who did the work.
What do you feel challenged to do as a result of this article?
Let me know in the comments below or on the DMMs Frontier Missions Facebook page.