Since we are not a philosophical society but ”A God-raised, Spirit-filled Army” it should be an outcome of our nature that we do not dwell on words but are ready to go into action. The theme Measuring Impact gives the idea of spirit-filled people being agents for God, changing lives, making an impact that is visible. So, the Bible passage for Thursday’s theme at the International Conference of Leaders was interesting. We read from Luke 4:16-30, when Jesus, at the beginning of his three year mission, stands in Nazareth’s Synagogue and reads from the prophet Isaiah.
The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
That was words. No one saw anything of that happening in front of them. Yet he said “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
The conclusion for me is that Jesus makes visions into a reality before we see them actually happen. Because he is who he is. His Kingdom has come, although not fully realized. And that way of linking the future to the present is his gift to us.
The next theme in the conference was to hear many good words about what Impact Measurement is. We were not too sure about the meaning of it all after the presentation. But then stories were shared about children from many parts of the world whose lives had been changed. Because some steps of actions and involvement by Spirit-filled people had brought good news and freedom into their lives or turned a theory of hope into a reality of hope.
I will not dwell more on explanations and questions that were frequent but take to my heart that it is good to constantly learn and re-examine what we do and its effect – not just “serving but also solving”. It was said that “this is not a Programme based tool but People focused”. Which gave me the idea that we perhaps shall change the title of the Programme Secretary to the Secretary for Transformation of People!?
Friday’s theme was Accountability. Not difficult to find Bible references there. The parable of the Ten Minas in Luke 19:12-27 has many lessons to tell but the main point here being that Jesus entrusts us with responsibility. And nine out of ten people actually do well – although results are different.
The presentation talked about being accountable for people, for programmes and for money and assets. In groups we discussed about the characteristics of an accountable leader.
Many words again. We can’t do without them. But, learning from the parable from the morning I understand that Jesus wants us to go into action. There shall not be a culture of fear for doing mistakes and keeping our “mina”, our talent unused in a safe place. The culture of a Spirit-filled Army is to enjoy the freedom to dare, to do and seeing it as natural to be accountable to our Lord. If Jesus is happy, people will also be happy with our effort. Although I can’t deny we need some human systems in place too.
I think this blog-post turned a bit philosophical. And even that can be part of a Spirit-filled Army. We have the good example of our founder William Booth. The Impact measurement day started with looking at his map of Darkest England and the way out. It was based on hard facts but described a clear vision of the impact he felt called to make and the “Social Campaign” to get there.