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Episode Transcript:

Ben Willey: Welcome back everybody. Thanks for joining us. I’m here with pastor Mark and pastor Mike, as we’re doing a fellowship podcast and eight part series looking at the seven different DNA statements made by our church about 10 years ago, looking at what this means for us in the past, what this means for us in the present and how we believe this holds true for us as a community.

Into the future. We’re on statement number three, DNA statement, number three, labeled Spirit with the tagline we seek to keep in step with the Spirit. This is born out of a deep belief that the church is built by the power of the Spirit. And Jesus made an interesting statement in John 16:7. Where he said that there is a better situation coming for them if he goes away and the Spirit comes. JD Greer says that “it’s better with the Spirit inside of you, then Jesus, beside of you”.

And the Spirit, it also says in John 16 will guide us into all truth. So with this promise of the Spirit, with this focus on the Spirit we believe this was core to our ministry when we made this statement, and Mike, we’ll go to you first, on this vitality of ministry being focused on the Spirit, what happens when we lose the connection to the Spirit in our ministry?

Mike Candy: I think the place you have to go is that the Spirit began this church age came upon the early believers, as we just talked about, then Jesus returns to the right hand of the Father. The Spirit comes and lights these people on fire and gives them power, Acts 1, in some incredible ways. And so that’s the beginning of the church, but then I think too, to kind of just keep going with that idea that it is the Spirit that began.

If we lose that beginning foundation, we forget quickly that we are only human flesh and blood fighting against an enemy that is stronger than our best attempts. We can’t enter a spiritual war against darkness without the Spirit of Christ in us. It’s just not one thing that we, we can’t go into without the Spirit.

We will lose. Flesh and blood cannot stand against that. So there’s this other thing too, as the Spirit guides and teaches and provides wisdom. He’s the helper, the comforter. There’s just so many roles that the Spirit takes on. If we lose that, keeping in step walking with him, we will go in directions we’re not made to go. And the scriptures do give a lot of prescriptive commands things we should intentionally do or not do avoid or be part of as the church. But then there’s also these in-between moments where most of life happens, that there might not be a specific command to do or not to do in a situation. That is life with the Spirit.

We’re walking with him, knowing he will be a guide in moments when this isn’t, there’s no chapter and verse for this in the Bible, but how do I walk with him as, as guide? So we can get us into some danger zones. When we think maybe our flesh and blood are capable to do things without this.

Ben Willey: Right on. And we have this language of keeping step with the Spirit.

Mike Candy: Wait a minute. I’m supposed to ask this question to you, host. Okay.

Ben Willey: Can we just say this real quick? We have papers beside us while we’re talking, and I believe that you copied my questions and change the font. on the paper.

That is a level of high-maintenance.

Mike Candy: Okay. So question two, this keeping step bit you’ve talked about through the years, where did that language come from? Is it a catchy phrase, a Ben-ism. And why is it important to church change church growth future?

Ben Willey: Thank you for asking me. And especially in that font. The keep inspect Spirit was a invention of the apostle Paul through the holy Spirit in Galatians 5, where it talks about the fruits of the Spirit.

And then it says in that we are called to keep in step with the Spirit. The reason why that’s meant a lot to me is because it’s easy to lose pace with the Spirit and I remember hearing a story of a pastor who worked with two different churches and why the time he got done with the second ministry, he said, “I all of that ministry at the first church in the second church without Jesus”. Wow. And it was just a scary thought because we, you can produce things and they might not be lasting, but you can pull off programs and those kinds of things without the Spirit of God, They’re not, as Mike said, effective things long-term are, or maybe are by the grace of God, but ultimately by being a Spirit centered place, you want to be in step.

Rushing ahead of the pace of Spirit not falling or lagging behind out of fear. We see this in the early church is just an explosive, accelerated thousands are being added in the first season of church growth. It is this explosive, exciting church ministry. We see that in the book of Acts, but by the end of Paul’s ministry, we see it much slower paced.

And actually a lot of people have fallen away or abandoned. And you see his connection to the rhythm of the Spirit, both in when the Spirit accelerates and in time when the Spirit slows. And so keeping in that pace helps us to do ministry on his terms and timing and not our own.

Mike Candy: It’s interesting to think about keeping that rhythm because it’s, it’s fun to know the rhythm and then play along with the rhythm.

And as soon as you think you’ve nailed the rhythm of the Spirit, he may slow or speed up. And we aren’t even on track anymore, but we’d like to play by that beat that maybe he’s done this way before. He’ll just keep doing the exact same thing, which might not be the case. And with that, I relinquished my host privileges there back to you then.

So you can continue asking the questions

Ben Willey: Back to the appropriate font. We are going to go back to pastor Mark and asked and ask. We ask them a lot of the history questions because he’s very historical in his age, pastor Mark, how has the Spirit asked us to do things that felt difficult or were different than we would have thought we should do?

Basically our thinking in the Spirits thinking didn’t immediately connect. And so what are some examples where that happened?

Mark Willey: Yeah, I would say the two most obvious advanced examples would be the calling of you two guys.

Ben Willey: Wow. That’s pretty good.

Mark Willey: I am impressed that it took us till the fourth podcast for an age barb to be put in

Mike Candy: it sounds like you’ve been struggling to figure out how to come back from that. Yeah,

Mark Willey: the yeah, this is a couple of things that I think in terms of when the Spirit asks you to do difficult things. I really believe that all growth is change. Anytime something grows, there’s changes taking place and change is hard, but the Spirit we really believe we are, we are called to give the Spirit permission, by our we’ll have our lives, to be the leader in ministry. He starts ministries every ministry that, that has started here, we believe the Spirit has led and prompted. On the other side, the Spirit has to be given the permission to stop ministries and every ministry really does have an expiration date.

And so I would say some of the hardest moments are when you’re starting to feel the Lord is leading a direct, a different direction to accomplish the same goals and objectives, but it’s doing it in a different way. And we’ve, we’ve made some major formative changes in how we do ministry over the years, even the weekly structures of our ministries.

And, but if, if we’re keeping in step with the Spirit, we have to allow him the freedom to lead. I also think there’s been, there’ve been moments when we have been called to exercise church discipline, and the Spirit really prompted us in obedience to the scripture to do that. And so I would, those would be some of the biggest without giving specific ministries or so forth.

I just think following the Spirit when he puts things to death because you look at a history that was beautiful and God used it. But then God says, well, now I’m going to use a different methodology to do that.

Ben Willey: Hmm. Thinking of the Spirit, I’m just having him centric in the ministry. It also helps us from not having, as you said, ministry, certain ministries be the center.

Cause they come and go, but to have him be the center and it reminds me that we’re what we’re a part of is yes, building his church, but it’s not just about Fellowship and I think what can happen in churches and it can happen in ours too, is we can become all about the mission of God that exists just here.

That exists. That is just happening. And so what seems to be the thing that we’re relying on or the energy behind it is the advancement of our church. When really, we’re a part of something that existed before we got here and we’ll be a part of, and there’s something that will exist after we’re gone. If Jesus doesn’t come and that is the work of the Spirit.

And so we look to join him in what he is doing, as opposed to try to strong arm the Spirit into advancing just our narrative or small story that we have in our local bodies.

Mike Candy: Could that be like DNA point 3B or 3.5? That whole idea that it is not about our specific church, but the Spirit leading all churches, all believers in his name.

I love that. Just focus off of us

Ben Willey: It’s beautiful. Although you were rewriting the DNA statements live on podcasts, and it does give me a little pause, but…

Mike Candy: Whatever you say, host, whatever you say.

Ben Willey: Anything else? We have a last question here, but want to be sensitive to time, but anything else that you wanted to mention as an example of where the Spirit of slowed us or the Spirit expedites us in ministry?

Mike Candy: I don’t think we can finish this podcast without acknowledging what the season of COVID was like so many moments where God accelerated things we weren’t expecting. A pause things that again, we weren’t expecting, and there was this collective, everybody in their own way, that also was a corporate way of walking through this season where things are up in the air that I felt our church came back a little more schooled in the Spirit because we had to keep walking without really plans ahead that we knew of. But the Spirit was guiding and leading things that he paused intentionally that we were either trying to push ahead or wanted to in that moment. And it just became a backseat to some rest that maybe a culture needed in some ways.

Ben Willey: All right, that’s a wrap. Thank you again so much for listening. This was DNA statement, number three, focusing on the Spirit, and saying we seek to keep in step with the Spirit. Thanks all, see you next time.