The Year Of The Decision
“Expectation Without Agenda”. These are words that Doug Balzer spoke at a Holy Spirit Encounter that rung true to me in that moment and have stuck with me ever since. Not only did the truth of these words permeate into my mind, but became a reality in my everyday walk with God and church context, here at Gateway Alliance Church (in Edmonton). It wasn’t that God wasn’t working before, quite the opposite, He had been showing up in amazing ways, but it gave words to the experiences I was having and gave a concise and clear understanding of God’s role and my role. It is a phrase I use with all our teams to remind them that we need to continue to grow with an ever increasing expectation for God to move, but to hold our ‘agenda’ very loosely, or better, to leave it to the side. Of course, we plan and do things with excellence but, when we allow our agenda and planning to rule, we can easily miss out on an even greater thing that God wishes to do in our midst.
I titled this article, ‘The Year of the Decision”, because our church has seen God move in amazing ways as a result of us intentionally making space for people to respond to Him and, in turn, make a decision to take action. We made the conscious decision to move the components of prayer, Pentecost and praying for the filling of the Spirit, Baptism, Membership (or as we call it Partnership), healing, etc. to the forefront of our services. These things were always key parts of our ministry, however, we wanted to take it a step further and dedicate an entire service to one of these things. Over this last season, we’ve dreamed big and prayed hard, and God dreamed bigger.
At Gateway, we wished to teach, disciple and lead our people in all of these components, so every aspect of the service would build upon, lead up to or point to the idea/component we were focusing on. Each service had a clear message, teaching, an expectation and call to action, and of course, expectation for God to move. In every occurrence God blew our expectation out of the water, because though we planned, we had no agenda and gave loads of room for God to move.
For example, in our Baptism service, we had 30 people who chose to get baptized (and the last time we had 50 people)! Even more amazing is that ¾ of each of those groups were spontaneous baptisms! We gave a clear opportunity for people to make a decision to follow Jesus and many responded by deciding, right there and then, to get baptized alongside that decision of faith. In our most recent Baptism service, we had two brothers (young adults) on the roster to get baptized and through the movement of the Spirit, their other two siblings made a decision to stand beside them and get baptized as well. We got to see all four of them get into the tank, at the same time, and be baptized as a family while their parents watched.
It has been a wild journey and the movement of God has spilled over into other ministries, with Him blowing our expectations! We are seeing people from differing spiritual backgrounds, including Hindu, New Age, Muslim, Unchurched, Dechurched come to faith, receiving the Spirit, being healed, and getting baptized. God is moving and we are simply continuing to have a posture of Expectation without Agenda and an ever growing expectation in this next season.
Check out a service at Gateway Alliance Church (in Edmonton) every Sunday at 10:00am.