Catch the Wind of the Spirit and Move
By Todd Proctor
Excerpt from Empowered: Pastoral Perspectives on Life & Leadership in the Spirit by Josh Harrison and Todd Proctor
Reactions to an empowered life and leadership are likely all over the map. Excitement. Skepticism. Curiosity. And perhaps confirmation, good or bad, of your own past experiences.
For some, this is familiar territory. For others, this is foreign ground waiting to be cautiously explored. This is not only a pastoral journey but a personal one as well, rarely marked by straight paths or level ground. The invitation to embrace more dependence on and empowerment of the Spirit is a call to off-road adventure. We can assume unexpected twists, turns, and forks in the road that inevitably lead us far beyond our own comfort and capacity.
But the hope is that one conviction becomes crystal clear: there is more.
A cry first captured in song by British church planter and renowned worship leader Tim Hughes decades ago is now ours to claim:
“There must be more than this, oh breath of God come breathe within. There must be more than this, Spirit of God we wait for you. Fill us anew we pray. Fill us anew we pray.”
“Fill us anew.” Yes! As we navigate the complex, compounding challenges of this time, we need to be filled with whatever confidence, clarity, and authority God has to give. Our best is simply not enough. For far too long, the Western church has drifted deeper and deeper into an identity crisis—forgetting and forsaking our intended design and directive.
We act as if we’re on a cruise ship. I’m old enough to remember an 80s TV series called The Love Boat. Each week we were invited onboard the Pacific Princess to watch a new group of passengers gathered, welcomed, and entertained by an attentive, winsome, casually-cool crew with feathered hair and short shorts.
Plot points varied slightly with each episode, but the backdrop rarely changed. Same boat. Same amenities. Same meals. Same stops. Same bright smile from the charismatic, celebrity captain who was impeccably uniformed but rarely called to do more than stroll the decks, shake hands, and offer inspiring toasts on cue.
The goal of the Pacific Princess—or any cruise ship for that matter—seemed to be to project the illusion of high seas adventure while ensuring a reality of safety, comfort, and constant customer satisfaction.
In sad but true fashion, it’s easy to recognize some of these same plot markers in the evolution of what millions have come to know as “doing church.” Gatherings are filled with unstated expectations of comfort, convenience, entertainment, and inspiration—all designed to approximate a sense of life-changing adventure. But in reality, this becomes an all too predictable route that drops us off right where—and as—we began.
The church incubated and ignited in the book of Acts bears little resemblance to this picture. If we stick with the water vessel metaphor, it seems like a Pirates of the Caribbean– type galleon would be a far better comparison. Those ships are not designed for consumeristic comfortability. They are built for navigating high seas with the assumption of weathering storms. Passengers are usually expected to become crew and serve in specific roles for the good of the whole. And the voyage itself is not one of circuitous sightseeing but one of risk-taking adventure. Destinations are often unknown, but new frontiers await discovery and stewardship.
Such a vessel is dead in the water without the wind. A sailboat of any size is utterly dependent on the gust that fills its sails to propel it forward. And amidst many unique assignments, the collective responsibility of the crew is to be prepared and positioned to catch the wind well. They can’t create the wind. They can’t control the wind. But the ability to catch the wind is essential to getting to wherever “there” is.
We live and lead in a moment when catching the wind of the Spirit has never seemed more important to the Church moving forward. We can discover through dependence that adventure awaits! You may feel tossed by the waves or even stuck in a dead calm. But for those who charted the course of the Church in her earliest moments, their best (and only) option was to wait for “the Wind.”
The instructions of Jesus were clear:
“What comes next is very important: I am sending what my Father promised to you, so stay here in the city until he arrives, until you’re equipped with power from on high.” (Luke 24:49 MSG)
In this time of division and disorientation, what comes next is very important—too important to navigate without the empowerment of the One who was promised and sent. From the outset, the Church was designed and destined to fail unless He showed up.
So let’s catch the wind together for the sake of the future, and give voice for a new generation to the prayer that has echoed across two millennia:
“Come, Holy Spirit. Empower us to more.”
Empowered: Moving with the Spirit is Exponential’s theme throughout 2022. You’re invited to join the journey as we seek his presence together.
Exponential kicks off Empowered in Orlando March 7-10, 2022 with 150+ speakers, 200 workshops, 15+ pre-conference intensives, and 75+ networks and denominations in sunny Florida. For more information and to register for Exponential 2022, go to exponential.org/2022.