In the upcoming weeks leading to the “Growing the Church” conference in Black Mountain, NC, we are going to be featuring a series of posts related to growing the Church in the power of the Holy Spirit.  This series will feature many guest bloggers either describing their experiences of cooperating with the Holy Spirit in their congregations or elaborating on some of the teaching that is featured in the book “Growing the Church In the Power of the Holy Spirit.”  Our first article of this series is written by the Academic Dean of the Dunamis Institute and co-author of the book, the Rev. Paul Stokes.

The Church is God’s brilliant idea!  Right now I’m at one of Europe’s largest Christian conferences, Spring Harvest, enjoying worship and teaching which is exploring the theology, history, reality and purpose of the Church.  How refreshing to be reminded that “it is not the Church of God that has a mission, but the mission of God that has a Church”!

The topic for yesterday was “Give Them Power” – recognising the importance the Holy Spirit’s role in the life of Jesus’ Church.  The printed teaching materials for this event are good.  The special sub-stream for Church leaders focussed on nurturing our own spiritual integrity and relationship with Jesus …but it omitted a crucial practical question:
“How can leaders help the Churches discover how to cooperate with the Holy Spirit day by day?”

I believe this is the single most crucial question for the Church today.  If only we can recover our identity as a community indwelt and guided by the Holy Spirit, then our mission, ministries, worship and personal lives can be lived according to God’s agenda, characterised by His grace and empowered by His Spirit.  Everything else flows from this.

That’s why Brad, Cindy and I wrote the book “Growing the Church in the Power of the Holy Spirit.”  Our desire is to help equip churches and leaders for this crucial task of cooperating with the Holy Spirit, keeping in step with His work in the world.  Like many other pastors, we never received any teaching about this in our theological training, leaving us under-equipped for the task.  Now, through this book and through the equipping event at the Community of the Cross, we are redressing the imbalance and re-orientating ministry so that Jesus, through the agency of the Holy Spirit, stands at the centre of it all.  Do join us as we explore the theology and practice of allowing Jesus’ Church to be led by the Holy Spirit, just as He intended.

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