Honoring the Past to Propel the Future

Photo courtesy of the Church of God Archives and Dixon Pentecostal Research Center

Photo courtesy of the Church of God Archives and Dixon Pentecostal Research Center

Last week I went to our state camp meeting but this post is not about that. Friday night when I got home the Lord began speaking to me (because apparently, sleep is not important). He said in order to move forward there must be honor for the past.

A few weeks ago I posted about one of my former Pastor’s who passed away. I wanted to honor him and how he impacted my life.

Dictionary.com defines honor as “high respect, public esteem, and the privilege of being associated with or receiving a favor from a respected group or organization”.

At times there can be tension between the past and present. There are some who want to hold on to the glory days and some who want to throw out anything associated with the past. Both positions are wrong and cause great harm to progress in the Church.

When we honor men and women who have led in the past, when we honor moves of God that puts us in position to stand on the shoulders of past outpourings. On the flip side, if we stay back in the 1950’s healing revival or the awesome period of any given denomination it will stunt all forward progress.

I believe we honor our past by knowing our history, learning both from victories and mistakes, and following the example of their faith. Paul said follow me as I follow Christ. Many leaders of the past kept journals or have biographies written about them. When we read these books I believe we can learn from how they walked.

We don’t honor the past by being a carbon copy, we honor those before us by applying what they taught in our day and moving forward in their vision.

Being part of the Church of God, the best way for me to help grow the movement is to be part of my local church, pray over events in my state and for our General Assembly. Each day I pray for my Pastors, state and national leaders. But if I really want to see the Church grow I need to understand where we came from, I need to know our history. Each generation builds on the previous, we don’t start over. We can’t build and move forward if we aren’t acquainted with our past.

It’s easy for the young generation to get frustrated with the older generation when things don’t seem to be moving forward. It’s easy for the older generation to be frustrated with the young people coming in because they feel like we want to change everything. The truth is both generations need each other. I can get frustarted at times but then Holy Spirit reminds me, those before me built the Church of God from nothing and that is a huge accomplishment. Men and women before me have seen mighty moves of God because they were willing to pay the price of ridicule and much more.

Let’s do our generation and the next generation a favor, get to know our past, honor the men and women before us. Honor what they have set in place. Us young guys need to get under good pastors and learn from them, seasoned pastors need to take young leaders and mentor them. This is how things continue to grow.


Getting acquainted with the past:

2000 Years of Charismatic Christianity by Eddie L. Hyatt

Theological Roots of Pentecostalism by Donald W. Dayton

Like A Mighty Army (History of the Church of God) by Charles W. Conn


Moving forward in the present:

Issues in Contemporary Pentecostalism (various contributors)

Comeback Churches by Ed Stetzer and Mike Dodson

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