I shared this with the Global Legacy family a few months back, and now I want to share it with you:
A pastor in England recently spoke to a leader who was once involved in a church that facilitated revival and attracted worldwide visitors. The pastor asked the leader whether he thought the revival could have continued, and if it had continued, how he, as a leader, would steward it.
The leader’s reply is profound, yet simple.
He was convinced that revival could have gone on for many more years and he said, “The mistake we made was that everyone was coming to us from all over the world and asking questions. We became too self-conscious and shouldn’t have answered all the questions we were asked.”
This reminds me of a reply that Bill once gave when asked a question. He talked about how in local church leadership, he does not want people to depend on him for answers to everything. He said that at times, even if he does know or have an answer, he will withhold it.
There are two major benefits to this: first, that people learn to find revelation for themselves; and second, that there is value in living in mystery.
In response to the same question, Bill went so far as to say that when people become dependent on you for an answer, it could lead to the temptation of creating a reply when you don’t have one.
Our passion and desire is to see revival not just continue, but increase.
Mystery is an essential component to revival. The ability to live in mystery is actually fundamental to a relationship with an all-knowing, all-seeing, and omnipresent God. If, as Bill says, we have no mystery in our Christian life, we will reduce our God to our level of understanding. And I believe that in doing this, we will worship ourselves and our opinion. That self-worship will elevate us to the position of a ‘god’, and we will assume superior positions in our own minds and create an elitist mindset.
The desire to remove mystery can therefore result in false doctrine or unnecessary divisions. Mystery will create tension. But therein, I believe, is one of the other great challenges of maintaining revival: protecting relational connections in the midst of areas of disagreement. In other words, learning to live in tension.
We do need to protect our tribal or family distinctive and not impose it on others. And all the while, we need to remain in relationship, if possible, with those with whom we disagree.
Can we achieve this? I believe we not only can, but also we must. After all, Jesus said that we would be famous for loving each other and that we would be perfected in unity.
Let’s not even try to have an answer for everything or everyone, but instead, as Paul wrote to the Philippians “…Make my joy complete” (Phl 2:2).