“A relationship with the Almighty built on a tidbit of time here and a Sunday morning there does not lend itself to knowing Christ in the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings.”
As part of our 2020 Initiative, we have developed three clear statements of vision that explain what we mean when we talk of spiritual, theological and missional vitality. They describe what we believe is needed in order to see our 1,120 churches, and the 236,000 followers of Jesus who attend them, become 1,500 disciple-making communities with 350,000 spiritually alive Christ followers empowered to share God’s grace and truth. Consider with me these three statements of vision.
1. To experience Spiritual Vitality in an ongoing manner, we envision churches and leaders who:
- Know intimacy with God through prayer and engagement with His Word
- Are actively engaged in Spirit-empowered, Christ-honouring living
- Demonstrate the necessity of Spirit baptism and the adventure of living “naturally supernatural”
Mentor others in a Spirit-filled life.
2. To be a people of Theological Vitality, we envision churches and leaders who:
- Fulfil our mission to glorify God by making disciples who love God and others
- Engage the Word of God in a living, active way
- Know how to interpret the Scripture in a manner that is sound, both doctrinally and in lifestyle
Are liberated by the truth of God’s Word and able to share those truths by example and speech in the contexts of their daily lives.
3. For ongoing Missional Vitality, we envision churches and leaders who:
- Personally engage those who do not know Jesus in substantive relationships
- Have local, regional, national and international expressions of mission occurring in their lives
- See the multiplying DNA of the kingdom at work in their life and church
- Passionately intercede for lost people
Generously give of their lives and resources.
As we move into a fresh season of personal and church ministry, let’s commit ourselves to know the Lord more intimately and trust Him to spiritually renew us. What does that mean practically? The majority of us recognize that the pace of life and the placement of our priorities are not conducive to deeply engaging our Lord in prayer and His Word. A relationship with the Almighty built on a tidbit of time here and a Sunday morning there does not lend itself to knowing Christ in the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings.
A new reality beckons us, one where Christ is formed in us and His Spirit empowers us daily. Quite honestly, writing these thoughts challenges me to describe how I personally have experienced intimacy with God and have been able to know firsthand the Spirit’s presence and power every day. I am drawn to 2 Peter 1:3-8. Peter tells us that by interacting with the Lord’s power and knowledge, we have everything we need for a godly life. God has given us His great and precious promises that allow us to participate in the divine nature.
This is where the theological and philosophical become practical reality. God calls us to be holy like He is, and He achieves that in us by His Spirit, by letting us tangibly experience His heart, His presence, and His thoughts. One-on-one and in community we grasp what it looks like to be like Him. His purity becomes mine; a merciful God creates mercy within me. It is more than knowledge in a classroom—it is transformation of my life by being heart to heart and mind to mind with the Almighty.
The Holy Spirit is our companion on this journey of transformation. I am so grateful for the times when the Spirit has made God’s Word, His presence, love, holiness and grace real to me, shaping my character by His impact. The gift of the Spirit’s baptism allows me to worship and intercede in other languages, deepening God’s impact on my life and, hopefully, on the lives of others.
This life of personal and corporate transformation by God’s presence and Word is the expected norm. It is our birthright to passionately seek God, hunger to know Christ, and be transformed by the Spirit’s impact. Simply stated, we must reprioritize our personal, family and church lives to ensure that “first things” remain first. Those who follow us need to see that this is the normal way to live.
Lord, we humbly ask You to forgive us for valuing so many other things more than You. We recognize Your call to a fresh spiritual vitality, both individually and as a Pentecostal family. Come, Holy Spirit. Teach us to participate in the divine nature of our God and transform us into the image of Jesus. For Your glory. Amen.