Dr. Charles Revis, Executive Minister, ABC of the Northwest
I came to the ABC of the Northwest six years ago today. I'm taking just a few moments to say thank you to all the pastors, churches, lay-leaders and the Region Board for the opportunity to serve in this capacity. And, most importantly I thank my God for bringing me to this particular duty station. It is a privilege and an honor to serve the pastors and churches of this great Region.
I was asked today what my vision is for the coming years. My answer was quick in coming, and simple. I believe that God wants our association and work together to yield more and more churches that are healthy, mission-focused and increasing in their ability to multiply disciples of Jesus Christ. I hope that sounds familiar to your ears. We have made significant progress in reaching our vision, but we have many more miles to go. This is not a time to switch visions. Rather, it is a time to increase our intensity in pursuing this vision.
At the same time, as we pursue this vision, I believe that God is calling us to a renewed emphasis on Word and Spirit. The Word is both the Living Word, Jesus Christ, and the inscripturated word of the Bible. The Spirit is the living breath of God that causes the Word to come alive in our hearts. When we study the Word, proclaim the Word, and apply the Word through the Spirit's power, lives are transformed.
Word without Spirit leads to aridity; a mechanical, functional form of Christianity. Spirit without Word results in a chaos of mysticism, individualism, and wide-eyed fanaticism. Spirit and Word are needed in equal measure. Both are found together in Scripture. Jesus preached the Word and ministered through the power of the Spirit. Both are inseparable for effective, life-transforming dynamic ministry.
Paul wrote, "For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction." (1 Thess 1:3,4)
Baptists, who hold to a high view of Scripture, are more comfortable with a Word-centered ministry. We would be wise to balance that important emphasis with an equal appreciation for the work of the Holy Spirit. We need the renewing, empowering movement of the Spirit in equal proportion to our knowledge, understanding and application of Scripture. Would it not be a great thing to redouble our study and application of Scripture? And, simultaneously invite the Holy Spirit to use the Word powerfully in our lives to transform us, to renew us, to empower us. Not so that we would be puffed up with right knowledge, but that we would become more like Jesus. And, that we would be more effective in serving and blessing a lost world with the love and grace of our God.
What would happen if we diligently prayed for a fresh moving of the Holy Spirit in our churches? What would happen if in these same churches there transpired a great devotion to the preaching, teaching and application of God's Word? Picture the result of that wedding for a few moments, and pray that it would become a major part of our future together. What an exciting future that would be!
2009 © Dr. Charles Revis, ABC Northwest
[This article is from Dr. Revis’ blog, www.missionnorthwest.blogspot.com]