I’m currently reading ‘Risk Takers’ by Malcolm Duncan*. In chapter 7 he writes this about the early church as described in the book of Acts.
“The early church was completely dependant in the Holy Spirit. He guided, filled, inspired and protected them. He pushed them into new territory. He took their lives and expanded the possibilities in them. What he did with the early church, He does today with the lives of those who follow Christ – if we let him”.
The early church of Acts was led by God the Holy Spirit.
I wonder what that was like? Did the early church leaders have strategies and thoughts about how the church would grow and develop? Probably. Did God follow these? No. God led them. Were they surprised at how things developed and where? Yes. Were they always able to see how the Holy Spirit was working in and through them? No – only when they looked back.
Malcolm Duncan reminds us that the Church’s journey in Acts was ‘unpredictable, risky and full of life’. They sought to be led by God. Their journey was fuelled by prayer, littered with mistakes, full of unexpected turns and very fruitful. Acts shows that it is good to have plans, they encourage us to set out on the journey but it reminds us that we need to remain open to the wind of the Holy Spirit and be flexible to follow that. The purposes of God were worked out through them as the Church said ‘Yes’ to His leading.
Our church vision Sunday on the 19th May is an opportunity for us to gather together and seek the direction of the Holy Spirit so that we too may be God led. Who knows where the wind of the Spirit will blow? Our job is to be prepared to catch that wind and journey into our future with God. The direction of that is unknown. But we do know that we can trust God who has taken us this far and whose hand we can see at work as we look back. As we prepare for that day please do pray that we might hear the voice of God for our next steps and perhaps read through Acts – if you dare!
*Risk Takers by Malcolm Duncan Published by Monarch 2013