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Earl Marshall

How to Clear The Room of a Group of Pastors

Last week I had the privilege of hanging out with a group of pastors for the better part of a day.  I love these opportunities and I get so much benefit from these times.  I always learn something.

One of the things I learned last week was how to clear the room of a group of pastors.  I have been for some time interested in knowing of churches in Canada that people perceive God is working in, communities of faith that are making disciples (new and growing) who love God completely and others sacrificially with great effectiveness.  So during our lunch break I asked, "anyone know where God is really at work?"  I confess that this is a loaded question and worthy of exegetical push back but the lack of response and the subsequent evacuation of the room seems to indicate that not many of us involved in vocational ministry are willing to nominate our churches or are aware of many other churches that fit the answer to that question.

So do any of you know where God is really at work?  If so name it and tell us why you think this is the case!


  1. Thanks, Earl, for clearing the room like that!
    I really don’t know of many places where God is at work in a really powerful way in southern Ontario. Not to say that there aren’t churches doing well, just that it doesn’t seem to be the type of growth and impact you read about in Acts or in some of the other historical accounts.

  2. I would say that when God is allowed to work in a powerful way it is very uncomfortable. People do not like change or anything out of the norm. As long as we keep God in our nice little boxes, show up at church just so we can go out to lunch after then he can only do what we allow him to do in the constraints we place.
    Why do we hear reports of places in Africa where people are being raised from the dead or violence stopping in villages all because a bunch of kids prayed yet here in Canada we limit what God can do.
    Is it just the fact of it being uncomfortable or are we in a culture were we have control over everything and so we do not let God have the freedom in our lives to do what he wants to do in us.
    I know I struggle with this as well but it also comes down to a life style. We cannot go about our daily lives 6 days a week and barely give God the time of day then show up at Church for an hour on Sunday morning and say ” OK God, do something big”

  3. I’ve been doing some historical reading lately. People like Whitefield and Edwards did not try to explain revival other than God willed it – the wind blows where it will, etc. People like Finney taught that we could arrange circumstances in such a way that, through the right means, revival would come.
    I think the NA church tends to follow Finney more here. We are focused on right techniques to get to right results. I guess I wonder if we’re too focused on techniques and therefore only getting the results that techniques will get us.

  4. In general I agree with your assessment. I don’t think we should be wrapped up with results and I do think the NA church tends to be driven more by technique. When you are stuck in the middle the “antidote” is not all that simple. Some are trying to be subversive week by week delivering God’s message and modeling dependency on God. Faithfulness is, of course, our calling but it is harsh on the longing of the heart to see people run to God with open arms.

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