There are few things more wonderful for me than meeting people who have loved and followed Jesus for many decades. Whenever this happens, I'm reminded of Barnabas's reaction to the church in Antioch, where "he saw the grace of God [and] was glad" (Acts 11:23). I had that experience the other week when hearing Sandy Millar speak to a small group of student leaders in Edinburgh. His humility, love, confidence in God and obedience to Him were beautiful to behold.
Andrew Wilson describes Holy Trinity Brompton, the church which Millar led when the Alpha Course was launched, as the new centre of British evangelicalism. With millions having heard the good news of Jesus through Alpha, and an Alpha convert now Archbishop of Canterbury, it seems certain that Millar's name will be prominent in any account of the history of Christianity in the UK for this period. Not that he would see it that way: he repeatedly emphasised to us, "We're just running to keep up with God." Here are some of my highlights from what he said:
Explaining the success of Alpha: "God decided to have mercy." (Just dwell on that for a few moments!)
The church in England owes more to John Wimber than to anyone else since John Wesley. He gave us a model we didn't have.
When making a decision he knew would have massive repurcussions, he felt God say to him that he didn't have to be radical, just obedient. Just do the next thing God puts before you.
Everything good that's happened (and will happen) has been a ministry of the Holy Spirit. "That's vital." We can't tell how it's going to happen, and only God will get the credit. All we have to do is stay close to Him.
Team loyalty is a God-given thing, is godly, and is essential. Anyone can be disloyal, it's not a great achievement.
For younger, possibly frustrated leaders: when older leaders know where you're coming from, they relax and are more open to you. Explain what you're thinking, ask for help, speak well of them, pray for them and love them. It's worth a go.
He mentioned and encouraged using supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit as if it was the most normal thing in the world - something I rarely see, even among people who love them.UPDATE: Here's the recording of what he said: