This weekend finds me reading, relaxing, remembering and writing. I just finished an intriguing, interesting, inspiring, informative, innovative book entitled Movements that Change the World by Steve Addison. The subtitle is even more captivating “Five Keys to Spreading the Gospel.” Even at thirty-five or is it fifty-three (?) I’m still desperate to see the Gospel spread like wildfire throughout the globe. I remain convinced my destiny and yours, with God’s enablement, is to change the world.
The author unveils the essential elements required of any movement desiring to impact their world. There are only five. I will share them briefly with you. These dynamics apply in whatever setting you find yourself: a local church, church planting, or our global missions’ endeavors anywhere and everywhere.
1. White-hot faith. A saint on fire for God provides the energy and fuel to spread the Gospel. Like Jeremiah professed: It’s like fire shut up in our bones. It’s got to get out before it burns out. Changed people, change others. Practicing spiritual disciplines keep us red-hot or white-hot—whichever—I’m talking about being on fire for God. The fire fell at Pentecost, became our heritage, and the smoking embers need to be stirred up daily. It started in the midst of prayer, is fueled by prayer, and spreads through prayer.
2. Commitment to a cause. Movement emerges when people commit to a cause. It dies; ceases to exist when people don’t care anymore. To inspire commitment; embody commitment. You are reproducible. Care. Be committed! There is no greater cause or commission on the face of the planet that exceeds the call to take the Word to the world.
3. Contagious relationships. At the very beginning of this chapter in the book I wrote in enormous letters: CONNECT. Don’t forget it. We need to connect, first with God, and next to others. Ministers, missionaries, and members make connections when they meet with people asking them to be partners. That continues as we go to the field and endeavor to connect with the team on location, the indigenous churches, and those we reach and teach. Like a virus the Gospel spreads through close relationships. Steve Addison claims, “the most reliable predictor of conversion is relationships, especially pre-existing positive relationships.” To grow we must develop relationships with outsiders. March into the social world around you! Be a cross-cultural connector; a relationship builder. My pastor said recently, “We connect people to God and God to people.” So true!
4. Rapid mobilization. Mentor others. Mobilize members to become involved in the mission. Grow leaders and you grow the organization. There is no time to waste when we are about the King’s business.
5. Adaptive methods. We don’t have to be carbon copies of each other. We can pursue our mission with methods that are diverse, effective, flexible, and reproducible. The mission commission has a threefold reality. There is the message, the messenger, and the methods. The message remains the same. Methods vary. And you are the messenger. Yes. You! We continue to give a clear and certain sound concerning our unchanging message and mission while constantly changing methods to fit the need and culture.
I remember our beloved Brother Kenneth Haney once reminded us we need to pay the price for revival. He called us back to the preaching and way of the cross. Self-denial is the way to the heart of this world. He told a story of a communist boy, standing on a street corner, with tattered clothes, propagating communism. Someone walked by and said, “You’re paying a big price for communism!” The boy responded, “When you’re changing the world, no cost is too great.” It’s worth the challenge and cost of spreading the Gospel globally.
You are changing the world!