But so far, the dream has been slow to come about. I have continually had to beat the drum, emphasize our vision, and try to keep the ship on course...In the meantime, I've been asked a number of times "how is your strategy of house churches and evangelistic Bible studies going?" with a sympathetic shake of the head indicating that it won't work and that I'll come around someday...In three weeks of canvassing the neighborhood, our core group had a grand total of one study scheduled. I showed up yesterday to go out visiting and to do the study and discovered that the couple had moved...Did anyone ever mention that church planting would be so hard? Why is Jeff's description so typical of many of us? Are we missing something?
Yesterday in our monthly English-speaking missionary prayer get-together, we too shared about our sense of powerlessness in ministry. It seems most of what we do is just that--what WE can do. What we long for is what GOD would do in and through us. While all of us believe in the Trinity, it was admitted that we know in practice and experience very little about the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. We are almost AFRAID to even talk about the Holy Spirit, sensing someone will tag us as Charismatics or Pentecostals.
With these thoughts spinning around in my head, when I got home last night I read an interesting comment on Ken Sorrell's blog by Bruce Carlton.
...The whole issue of best practices is one that think needs to be addressed. Best practices can easily slip into pragmatism to the neglect of the role of the Holy Spirit. Over the past two years as I have worked on my dissertation, I have come to believe that many evangelicals are trinitarian in their theology, but not trinitarian in their missiology. We tend to favor pragmatism over the Holy Spirit. Within Southern Baptist circles, perhaps it is because of the charismatic issues that keep arising. Whatever the reason, a return to Biblical missions demands that we be trinitarian in our missiology and missiological practices...
Why are we so hesitant to speak about the Holy Spirit and His involvement (or non-involvement) in our work and ministry? Some of the questions that came up in yesterday's prayer gathering and in my own heart and mind were:
- are we afraid of being filled with the Holy Spirit?
- is "Baptism of the Holy Spirit" really a no-no, or is it something to seek?
- are we too controlling (pragmatic) and thus "grieve the Spirit?"
- are not the real issues spiritual in nature and not so much strategic?
- what would happen to us if we did have some kind of experience with the Holy Spirit and were filled, maybe even speaking in tongues?
- do we fear the IMB more than we fear the Spirit of God?
- does He truly have the freedom to do in our lives what He would desire to do, or do we limit the Spirit by our own prejudices?
Are we indeed trinitarian in our theology but not in our missiology?