Spreading the Fire Book Review

Pentecostal expression for the modern day

by David Reneau / September 29, 2017

Many churches have changed over the last 20 years because our culture has changed. Many people don’t want to stand at the altar for 30 minutes anymore. Sunday nights are now time spent with family instead of being at church. Services are scheduled down to the minute.

I’ll admit, I liked this way. I was tired of being afraid of what was going to happen in service. I wouldn’t invite my friends to church for fear of what would happen. Then Scott Wilson came to speak at our district council, and told me the same story I just told you. But he had changed. He had a moment with God that challenged him to his core. He took the challenge to his staff, then to his congregation, and everything changed.

In Spreading the Fire, Scott Wilson and John Bates lay out a plan to have our Pentecostal expression for the modern day. They show the reader how to be “naturally supernatural” when manifesting the more charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit. It’s still deeply spiritual, rooted in Scripture, and undeniably Pentecostal.

As I pored over the pages, about halfway through the book, I had to ask myself, “What do I do now? How can I use this in my children’s ministry?”  Several years ago, our children’s ministry moved away from the Sunday School model and added small groups, making it a 75-minute service. Everything was planned to the minute with very little margin. I didn’t know how to reintroduce my kids to the Holy Spirit without drastically changing the entire form and structure of my service. Thankfully, in chapter 5, Wilson lays out the answer. He says:

“The leeway is to make room for the Spirit to speak to us in any way He chooses, but cultural sensitivity requires us to have a reasonable and predictable time to end the service. This, of course, doesn’t mean we plan on 15 minutes of dead time during the service. We simply allow this interval to consist of a song that is particularly meaningful, to invite someone to give a prophetic word, an expression of tongues with interpretation, or to be silent and listen to the Lord’s whisper. The 15 minutes is “planned spiritual flexibility and responsiveness.’”

Wilson further instructs the reader to prepare for the Spirit to move before service, in the planning stages. He says to allow the Spirit to guide you as you plan each part and listen to His prompting.

Since our church started employing these strategies last June, we’ve seen significant spiritual awakening in our congregation, and we are more aware of the Spirit moving throughout our services regardless of the age group.

I still have a long journey, but Spreading the Fire, and its companion book Clear the Stage, give me the roadmap to Pentecostal expression that is culturally relevant and life changing to kids and adults alike. If you don’t know how to let the Holy Spirit flow in your services, or even lead someone to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit, I highly recommend this book and pray that God moves in your ministry more than ever before.