In many expressions of Christianity in the West, the Holy Spirit has rightly been described as “the forgotten member of the Trinity.” In others, emphasis on the “manifestations” of the Holy Spirit plays an almost exclusive role in the lives of congregations. Meanwhile, the Holy Spirit seems to be playing a major role in the rapid growth of the Church in the global South and East.
As the North American Church seeks to navigate its way into an unfamiliar and unclear future, perhaps one of our greatest needs is to revisit our understanding of the Holy Spirit and what submitting ourselves to the Spirit’s work and leading might mean, personally, congregationally, and corporately, for a more faithful engagement in God’s mission in the world?
While there is a certain sense in which Christ-followers ought to have missiological plans, hopes, and visions, just as often the people of God find themselves on mission according to the unpredictable thrusts of the Spirit. Missional reorientation and the renewal of our imagination occurs when we live in the Spirit as much as if not more than through explicit planning and forecasting. The book of Acts provides an excellent point of reference for reflecting on the nexus of mission and Spirit as we seek such a reorientation and renewal.