Enjoy this classic article by John Wimber on flowing in the Spirit.
What’s ahead in the near future for the believer who wants to move in the Spirit? Take a look at what’s happening across the Body of Christ right now: Christians are seeking to move in the power ministries-and that’s actually nothing new. Power ministry is in fact profoundly biblical because it was practiced in the First-Century church. And it is also well represented throughout the developing nations today.
In this century we have seen the most rapid expanse of the church in all of history. Certainly the influence of the Pentecostal, the charismatic and also the “third wave” movements have been powerful in the earth. As statisticians and researchers have demonstrated, nearly 277 million people worldwide now identify with one of those three groups. All of these have great theological similarities in that they believe that God can and will intervene in the circumstances and situations of people. They have found that the Cessationist’s viewpoint held by many in the conservative church-that is, the insistence that miracles ceased after the apostles-is simply not valid. Though the practice of the power ministries is certainly biblical, it seems to me that when we commit ourselves to following the Lord in that area, we run into two different risks:
First is the risk of not obeying the Spirit. People sometimes ask me, “Are you just experimenting on the body of Christ?” I respond, “Of course not, I’m attempting to obey the leadings of the Holy Spirit.” The Spirit has spoken to me on numerous occasions through the Scripture and has given me specific leading for ministry. He has also called me to account for not following his leading in an exact manner. So even though my desire is to follow the Spirit’s lead, it’s possible to disobey and thus quench the Spirit.
The second risk is being misunderstood. On many occasions, as I’ve attempted to work out what I’ve seen in the New Testament, I’ve actually been accused of believing or doing strange things.
The risks are great when we try to move with the Spirit, but I think the rewards outweigh the risks. I see great rewards in the advancement of the kingdom as the church commits to moving with the Spirit.
First, we need to commit to the arena of healing. In an area sometimes called inner healing, some of the attitudes to integrate psychology have been abysmal and not at all helpful. On the other hand, I think those who haven’t taken a proper look at advances in psychology and have attempted to divorce themselves from it in its entirety have left us with an approach that’s less than functional. So I see a need for continuing our commitment to the inner healing ministry. Another aspect of healing is deliverance. I think there has been some great progress over the last decades in regards to this area, and I’m delighted to see that many pastors are now effectively involved with bringing people through the process of deliverance so they can be freed from the demonic.
Another major advance I see in the mission of the church is in the arena of prayer, especially the importance of personal meditation. I believe that before we go much further, we must go deeper into the heart of God. I also believe that what we are able to do in public ministry is directly related to our personal time of prayer before God. Another area of prayer that will become widespread across the churches of the nation is corporate intercession for revival. I see intercessory prayer collective’s trans-denominational trends such as city prayer groups meeting throughout this decade with the result that great things will come for the church.
The last and certainly the most important arena where I can see growth is the ministry of evangelism. I thank God for the efforts in this century of many para-church groups who have tried to equip the saints in the local church for the purpose of evangelism. At the same time I am also excited about the dynamic of evangelism that I think will result from the development of these other three arenas within the local church. With a new and clear purpose brought to the church by the prophetic, with new skills and tools brought by the healing ministry, and with the empowering of the church resulting from intercessory prayer. I believe we will have a new foundation for evangelism that will impact this culture in an incredible way in this next decade.
In summary, what I am saying is this: The risks are great when we try to move with the Spirit, but if we can truly keep in step with the Spirit, the rewards will also be great.
By the turn of the century I think we will see a praying church, a prophetic church, a church that will be able to heal and cast out demons, ministering as the New Testament church did.
Consequently, the church will have an evangelistic thrust that impacts the community in ways we’ve not seen yet.