I Still Believe in the the Movement of the Spirit

igor-ovsyannykov-223082

I came to Christ in the midst of a spiritual revival that was sweeping through sections of the church in the mid-90’s.  I watched my mom get miraculously healed of cancer in front of my eyes and it was shortly after that I gave my life to Christ.  It was during this time that Brownsville, Toronto, and other places were experiencing moves of the Holy Spirit. We treasured that season because we were watching things that happened in the Bible regularly occur before our eyes. For us, this was what Christianity was supposed to be about.

Somewhere around the year 2000 many of those movements faded a bit and it was during this time I started feeling called to church planting.  After college I moved to Kansas City to learn church planting and how to follow the Holy Spirit like I had seen others do.  I got a bit more than I bargained for, though. Not only did I learn church planting and following the Holy Spirit, but I got introduced to the concept of house churches and my thinking about the body of Christ was turned upside down.  Shortly after this I moved back to Iowa.

Since that time, I’ve mostly given myself to starting house churches in our region and raising up disciples that will make disciples.  And even if you’ve read my blog, it’s largely focused on the idea that the church is a people who meet simply and make disciples.

Lately, though, I’ve been thinking about revival, the movement of the Spirit, and how that all functions in the context of movements and making disciples.  You could think from posts I’ve written like Awakening, Harvest, and Broken Nets Part I, II, and III that I don’t believe in revival anymore. But that’s not the case. I believe (and am asking) for a movement of the Holy Spirit in our country, I just think it looks different than what most people are expecting.

What I mean is this: revival and awakening have typically happened in the context of existing structures of church. Because of this, these movements of the Spirit seem to draw people to a location, a church building, one or more dynamic leaders, etc. Men and women are born again, miracles happen, existing believers are convicted of sin, and renewal comes to the church. But the outpouring of the Spirit is based around a place, a few places, or a few dynamic individuals. The everyday person doesn’t expect to participate, other than to help or receive from those who are leading the meetings. And when trouble or turmoil comes to the places where the Spirit is moving, the revival or awakening inevitably ends.

But even yesterday as I was reading St. Patrick’s Confession I was reminded that movements of the Spirit happen in the context of disciple making movements that change whole nations. These empower every believer, not just the anointed few, to take the gospel to every sphere of life.  This type of awakening can be passed to others with a simple version of church that allows the Gospel to spread like a virus among the lost. Instead of a few places experiencing awakening, it can move from person to person and have a much greater impact.

The Holy Spirit isn’t confined to our church meetings. He’s not just interested in elevating the spiritual intensity of the existing church for four or five years every decade. He is interested in the Gospel touching the hearts of lost men and women who don’t even know how lost they are. Imagine a movement of the Spirit that is able to invade a gang-ridden inner city that would never darken the door of your local Assembly of God or Vineyard church. He WANTS to release his power for miracles AND godliness among them as well. Holy Spirit even wants to spawn church planting movements that are filled with dreams and visions and signs and wonders and people coming to Jesus in every context!

How do I know this? Because it’s the testimony of church history. It happened with the first century church: THERE WAS BARELY A CHURCH TO REVIVE! All there was were lost people who needed this kind of movement of the Spirit. It happened again with guys like Patrick, It happened in this country with a couple of guys named Wesley. It’s been happening in China since the 1950’s. It happened in this country as recently as the late 60’s and early 70’s. We call it the Jesus People movement. And all over the world it’s currently happening in countries where you can be killed for following Christ. These are normal movements of the Spirit!

Friends, I believe God still wants to send the Holy Spirit in unprecedented ways*. But the way that that we package the outpouring will affect how far it will go and how deeply it will impact us. So let’s keep asking and keep believing for a movement of the Spirit, but let’s contend for it knowing it will not be something that shouldn’t look like a more zealous church service. It looks like a grass-roots movement of people coming to Christ, churches being formed, and missionaries being sent out.

*For example, I believe Joel 2 was fulfilled partially in Acts 2, but I don’t we’ve seen the ultimate fulfillment of “I will pour out my Spirit on all people,” yet (see Acts 2:17-21).

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

About traviskolder

Travis Kolder is a follower of Jesus, a husband, a father of five, an organic church planter, and a writer. He lives in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he serves as part of the Cedar Rapids House Church Network.

6 responses to “I Still Believe in the the Movement of the Spirit”

  1. gunnarlarmstrong says :

    Travis:

    I am so much in agreement with what you have written! I am convinced that the next movement of the Spirit will be though “unimportant people” — God has used “big names” in the past because his people weren’t ready to follow him themselves — we are all much too quick to let others lead us and to rely on the “heroes”. But I believe that God wants to move through his church — his people — all his people. And I believe that can only happen when we, the people, are hungry enough for him that we are willing to be disciples, to disciple each other, and to reach out to our neighbors.

    Gunnar

  2. melissadugan says :

    Come Lord Jesus

    Happy Connecting. Sent from my Sprint Phone.

  3. Fanning the flame says :

    Reblogged this on israelsideblog and commented:
    This is good stuff. Must read

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: