What Would Be Left If

What would be left in the Book of the Acts of the Apostles if you removed the Holy Spirit?

I never contemplated that question before.

There would be nothing much left. Certainly nothing of consequence.

I’ve heard for years about “Acts 2 churches.” These are churches that are filled with the spirit (not necessarily in a pentacostal way) and reach out to their neighbors to include them as part of the spiritual family. Much like the churches described in Acts attracted people because they really did live differently.

Willow Creek Community Church was founded as an Acts 2 church 42 years ago. I heard about it some 30 years ago or more and studied its model. I attend there when I’m in the South Barrington, IL area. It is a large church—the auditorium seats 7x the population of the town where I grew up. It now has eight campuses. It has a tremendous ministry.

The founding pastor, Bill Hybels is closing in on retirement. That is a serious point in time for an organization. Hybels has written on leadership, and I’d expect him to tackle the transition intelligently and with the Spirit. I thought about the pending transition for the past year or so (because I think about things like that) and figured the best solution for that church was to promote the Executive Pastor to Senior Pastor and promote the Teaching Pastor to Senior Teaching Pastor—sort of a team leadership where they divide an impossibly large responsibility. It’ll work if neither has a big ego and the board is strong.

So last Sunday that’s exactly what they announced as the new leadership. The senior pastor of one of the largest congregations in the country will be a woman. 

Actually although we’ve never met, I respect Heather Larson. Several years ago I accepted a position leading the missions activity for my church (at the time about 600 Sunday attendance, much fewer now I think). I wrote to a number of missions leaders asking for advice. The person down the road in the same denomination failed to even respond to my request to buy coffee or lunch and learn how they are organized. No one else responded either. 

Except, that is, for Larson. She contacted me, apologized profusely for taking a couple of weeks to respond. It seems she just changed offices and was catching up on correspondence. She sent a wealth of ideas and sources of information. Then I learned that she had been promoted from leader of the missions ministry to Executive Pastor. Of a huge church. I am still impressed. What a lesson in leadership and service.

Back to the Spirit. Another question.

What would be left in our lives if you removed the Holy Spirit?

2 Responses to “What Would Be Left If”

  1. Eoin Ó Riain Says:

    Thanks for this reminder Gary…the following quotation is apt I think on the work of the Holy Spirit…”…the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything. He will remind you of everything that I have ever told you.” (John 14;26) Alas, So many of us forget to listen to the helper…I know I do forget…

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