In case you previously missed it, this is a great article from the content library archive, first published here October 15, 2016.
HOUSTON, TX (ANS – September 8, 2016) — There is a lot of talk these days about inequality and the need for more fairness and equality. People often get the idea that their worth or value is based on their salary, possessions, title or position in an organization or society. However, God’s Kingdom principles are very different. Some of the most highly paid, notable and highly esteemed individuals in today’s society may not be making a positive impact on the world, and perhaps will not receive the greatest rewards in heaven.
In my experience over the years in conducting Orality Training in various parts of the world, I have observed how some of the least educated and less privileged people become fruitful and productive followers of Jesus and agents of change. While I observe much inequality in the world today, it is comforting to realize that God is an equal opportunity employer. He is no respecter of persons, and He uses any and all of those who come to Him and believe on Him. In fact, Jesus has promised that when we do so, out of our hearts, (innermost beings) will flow rivers of Living Water. Of course, He is referring to the work of the Holy Spirit and His redemptive activity.
Throughout biblical and church history, we see how God often uses weak, flawed and (humanly speaking) lowly individuals. Samuel Chadwick, late principal, Cliff College in England, has said, “It is this mystery that has filled the history of the Church with anomalies. Inadequate men (and women) are always doing impossible things, and ordinary men achieve extraordinary results. God’s biggest things seem to be done by the most unlikely people.”
In the modern Orality Movement, we know of very significant impact in advancing the Kingdom by men and women who have very little formal education. When women, children and men of all ages hear, understand and respond to the spoken Word of God (stories), they are born of the Spirit of God and have great passion to share it with others. The Gospel (Good Story or News) of Jesus really is the power of God unto salvation to all who believe, when it is delivered in the form that people can comprehend.
While getting as much education as we can is important, it is liberating to realize that God often uses common people with little formal education in great ways. One of my former pastors, the late Dr. Adrian Rogers, used to preach a message titled, “God’s Hall of Faith.” He pointed out that throughout history, those who were greatly used of God were not necessarily the most educated, but were quite ordinary, and sometimes seemingly disadvantaged.
I was recently back in a West African country and heard reports and testimonies from those who had received Orality Training three years earlier. Those trained were now training others. It was a confirmation of the reproducing life of Jesus Christ in and through the redeemed humanity of common, ordinary followers of Jesus. What a joy to know that we all can be containers of the very life of the Living God and communicate Him to the world around us. Orality concepts, methods and practices really do level the playing field and give ordinary followers of Jesus confidence that the Holy Spirit will work through each of us.
Another important lesson I learned from Adrian Rogers was that, “God is not as concerned about our scholarship, as He is about our relationship. And, it’s not so much about our ability, as it is about our availability.” One of the amazing benefits we are seeing in the Orality Movement is a demonstration of the power of simplicity and reproducibility. It’s getting back to the roots of the Church and the Kingdom principles we learn from the life, Spirit and teachings of Jesus. When we think of movements that have had significant impact throughout history, we realize the power of small, simple, reproducible systems and structures. These features have been part of revolutionary change and transformational movements.
One of the important topics addressed in our Orality Training is that of worth and value. When learning a set of stories from the Word of God, we observe how Jesus reached out and related to various classes of individuals. In the training sessions, we ask questions like, “Are women important to God?”, “Do children have value to Him?”, “Are demon possessed people important?”, “Are blind or crippled people important?”, and “Who has value in the Kingdom of God?”
When learning the right stories and asking the appropriate questions (pre- and post-story discussion and dialogue), trainees come to the conclusion that all people are important to God, that all people have value and worth in the Kingdom of God. There is the recognition that our worth and value is not based on our performance, our ability, our possessions or position in life. Our true value, from a Kingdom perspective, is based on the price that was paid for us, the very life of the Lord Jesus. That means we are all very important persons (VIPs) in God’s sight.
Therefore, we all have the capacity to be agents of change and transformation, not because of what we can do on our own, but because we are indwelt by Christ Himself and empowered by the Holy Spirit. For those of us who are privileged to have Scripture in our heart language and the ability to read it with comprehension, certainly we should read it, reflect upon it, meditate and apply it to our lives. Yet today, the majority of the people in the world do not have that opportunity. Most people, in the global context, are coming to the Lord by hearing the Good News of Jesus, and then passing it on in the same way. These are indeed the most exciting times to be a part of God’s redemptive activity and be on mission with Him.
Photo captions: 1) Jerry Wiles teaching Orality Training for Trainers (OT4T) in West Africa. 2) Learning a little, practicing a lot, and implementing immediately makes the message. 3) Dr. Adrian Rogers. 4) A community of learning and practice. 5) Jerry Wiles.
About the writer: Jerry Wiles is President Emeritus of Living Water International and serves on the advisory council and leadership team of the International Orality Network. He can be reached at: [email protected].