Posted by: Rowland | December 6, 2007

Missional spirit, missional church

Soon after my conversion I was given F. B. Meyer’s book, ‘Abraham – Friend of God. I don’t think that I read much of it at the time (as far as I remember, for this was around 1962!) but the early chapter headings at least made a lasting impression. Chapter 2 was headed with Genesis 12: 1-2 “Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto the land that I will show thee…” and chapter 3 quoted Hebrews 11: 8 “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed.” I knew then that I had to live like that. Years later, at another strategic point in my life, someone said that God wanted me to say “Yes”, before He told me the bottom line!

6 years later when I proposed to Vicki she wanted to make sure that she was making the right decision and in her inimitable way asked God for guidance. Her attention was drawn to two passages of scripture. The first was Genesis 12: 1-2! She was made to understand that if she married me she would need to be prepared for a somewhat nomadic lifestyle. The second – well that can wait for another time!

I still have the book. The pages now have a wonderful musty, aged aroma and as ‘exhibit A’ was passed around the YWAM teaching room everybody sniffed the pages – confirming that it was genuine! Certain suggestions were made by these young folk that I might be as old as Abraham too, but I had to clarify that (!) – even if Andrew Jones had told me he was inspired by the neolithic history of Orkney: “people walked these islands when Abraham was alive!” But I do suggest today is a time when that same adventurous spirit is required – he went out, not knowing, looking…

In the days of the ‘charismatic movement’ I was once asked to speak on the topic – ‘What kind of Church?” with the expectation that I would verbally destroy most inadequate old wineskin models of church! Stephen the martyr reminds us that God asks the same question, “What kind of house will you build for me?” in Isaiah 66 and the passage reveals that really there is a prior question. The AV implies that God asks, “What kind of person?” – “but to this man I will look”… the humble, the contrite, who trembles at what God has to say! At the time I was accused of side-stepping the issue but frankly I’m still convinced that the far more important issue is whether, like Abraham, we have the right spirit and heart attitude to be the kind of people that God can look to. And our response today will need to be adventurous, not always knowing the way but eagerly listening for God’s direction. And it will involve relinquishing the familiar as we move forward on our quest.


  1. I tried to comment on yesterday’s post, and the brilliance of what was revealed in the comment was lost. However, I hope this one goes through. I agree with every word in the last paragraph. It is very challenging for young believers (not length of faith walk, but age) to fully let go and let God, why? I can say only from what I have experienced myself. When God speaks and you “actually” listen and hear it, and it is not what others around you would relate to or even understand, when you do make a move of faith, your very faith is questioned. After the questioning of your faith, then you are told you should have more faith. It to me just get too complicated when there is too much talk and little action about what God really said.

  2. Thanks Diosa. I’m sorry we missed the ‘brilliance’ of your original thoughts! I’m reminded of my wife urgently looking for a pen lest she forget her latest ‘revelation’ – I always thought revelation was lasting insight. We have laughed about that many times.
    So if you can recall your original thoughts they would be welcome.

    Sounds like the advice you were receiving truly was complicated. A friend often used to say “Doing it, is doing it!”

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