“ . . . You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you. And you will be My witnesses, first here in Jerusalem, then beyond to Judea and Samaria, and finally to the farthest places on earth.” (Acts 1:8, The Voice).
“As the Holy Spirit empowers . . . them” (Acts 2:4, The Voice).
“ . . . the gift of the Holy Spirit will be yours. For the promise of the Holy Spirit is for you, for your children, for all people—even those considered outsiders and outcasts . . .” (Acts 2:38-39, The Voice).
Americans are passionate about equality, equal opportunity, and justice for all, and rightfully so. That is what Jesus had in mind when He promised and gave the Holy Spirit.
When Jesus was ready to turn over the role of making more disciples throughout the world, He could have given the disciples anything to help support their role. With every possible resource at His fingertips, Jesus chose to give them the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Now this Holy Spirit wasn’t just for them but for everyone who would believe, repent, and participate in being His witnesses.
Do you see the equality in this? The empowerment of the Holy Spirit, the key resource to help believers who participate in the Great Commission, is available for everyone—for the 12 disciples, the emerging disciples, their parents, their children, the outsiders, and the outcasts.
The Holy Spirit creates equal opportunity for all servants of God. Whether you’re a business person in the marketplace or a farmer in the fields, a rich person or a poor person, a man or a woman, a citizen or a refugee, educated or street smart, the Holy Spirit is equally accessible to all as the source of power for our Acts-type work on earth. There isn’t one power source for wealthy Christians and one power source for poor Christians or one power source for American Christians and another power source for non-American Christians. If one turns the pages of the book of Acts, he or she will see the Holy Spirit show up as the main character, again and again. Yet, it is rare to find money, riches, and material goods as a source behind the disciples’ fruitfulness.
But Western missionaries (or should I say affluent missionaries) struggle to model this equality. Our culture has told us over and over that our power comes from buildings, business, and bands. Then we go to the so-called majority world and model this dependency on wealth, status, and material goods. So they conclude that they are insufficient to participate in God’s kingdom life and work because they do not have easy access to those things or they must depend on us as “Mission Jireh.” But it is Jesus who said “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you. And you will be My witnesses.”
This begs the question: Where do we place our trust and energy the most? In the Holy Spirit or in our own strength, power, status, and money? Do we even know how to model the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to the rest of the world?
As for me, I know how to rely on the Holy Spirit much more in theory than in practice. This is because my Westernized Christian-worldview tells me over and over to rely on science, materialism, money, and status 80 percent of the time and the Holy Spirit after the fact—20 percent of the time. I must work hard to reverse this equation, and hard I will work.
The biblical worldview reveals that the power behind our Great Commission work is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is available every day, every second, and everywhere for everybody. If we want to promote and spread equal opportunity in gospel work, disciple-making, and meeting as a church, we must learn how to model dependence on the equally accessible Holy Spirit, rather than on external resources that are not readily available for the people we serve unless they become dependent on us.
If you broke down your mission strategy based on the 80/20 principle, what would be your percentages? How do you spend most of your time: Relying on the Holy Spirit or managing buildings, business, and bands? Where do you draw your empowerment from the most?
Let’s strive to model equal access to our power source, the Holy Spirit, rather than model dependency on buildings, business, and bands that are elusive for the majority of the world.
Thanks for joining us for this “80/20 Mission Principle” blog series! Behind? Check out the previous blog:
The 80/20 Mission Principle: Introduction
The 80/20 Mission Principle: Constantly Speak of the Kingdom of God