The fire raged, quickly consuming their family home. They thought the family had escaped intact until they realized one child was missing. Returning to the burning home, they found six-year-old John at a second-floor window, surrounded by flames, crying for help. The heroic and swift initiative of neighbors saved the day. They made a human latter and pulled the boy from the flames literally seconds before the roof caved in. That is the story of John Wesley, “a brand plucked from the fire” as he used to say. Saved from certain death, six-year-old John grew up to become the leader of the evangelical revival that changed an entire nation. Today, more than seventy million Christians consider themselves Wesley’s “spiritual children.” I am proud to be one of them.
Mass Movements of Visionary Leadership?
Author and Christian leader Richard Ellsworth Day made the bold statement below:
“It would be no surprise, if a study of secret causes were undertaken, to find that every golden era in human history proceeds from the devotion and passion of one single individual...there are no bona fide mass movements, it just looks that way! At the center column there is always one man who knows God, and knows where He is going!" - Richard Ellsworth Day
If we look at Scripture, we will see how God always changes history by using a man or woman who is willing to do His bidding and act on His Behalf. Moses, Joshua, Ruth, David, Esther, Peter, Paul, and so many others are God’s men and women “at the center column” of History’s mass transformational moments.
Four Elements that Trigger God’s Movements
If we look more closely at these movements, we will see four elements that are always present.
The Sovereignty of God. Of course, every real transformational, whether personal change or national Spiritual revival are initiated by the Spirit of God. He is the one who sows the seed in our hearts and creates the conditions for the other three elements.
One person willing to let God has His way. Martin Luther, John Wesley, Mother Teresa, and others did just that. The vision they had and the movements they led were the result of total surrender.
A community of faith willing to follow the lead and own the vision. Without “the people called Methodists,” John would not have changed history. Without men and women willing to stand up to the racist aggressors with Dr. Martin Luther King, there would be no Civil Rights Movement.
The Right Circumstances. Jesus said “the fields are ripe for harvest.” The God of the universe incarnated and lived among us at the right time in history. Paul stated that:
…When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son (Galatians 4:4).
I often wonder when and where I will witness the next transformational movement of God. Whether a revival on a global scale or changing the history of my city, I know the Spirit of God is working. I also know there are men and women today, who are like “brands plucked from the fire” with a special purpose; to become visionary leaders at the center of the column of God’s transformational mass movements.
Could you be one of those? Do you see the signs of it in your life?