Apparently I missed Roland Allen Day (June 8) in which he is celebrated on a liturgical calendar. But this is no surprise as 1. I was traveling, and 2. I don’t follow that calendar.
But let me celebrate Roland belatedly!
As this article says so well, “Allen was one of the leading missional thinkers of the 20th century. And his influence continues well into the 21st. In fact, if any of the following applies to you, then you have felt that influence:
- you are interested in church planting movements
- you think about church multiplication
- you have strong convictions about the role of the Holy Spirit in missions
- you prefer contextualized church planting over paternalism
- you believe in raising up leaders from the harvest
- you are crazy enough to believe that the New Testament has something to say regarding how we should be doing missionary work today”
Allen’s book, The Spontaneous Expansion of the Church has had a significant impact on me and our work both overseas and here at home. It is available online for free here and for $.99 in Kindle format here.
Here are a couple of quotes from this groundbreaking book:
“Spontaneous expansion must be free: it cannot be under our control; and consequently it is utterly vain to say, as I constantly hear men say, that we desire to see spontaneous expansion, and yet must maintain our control. If we want to see spontaneous expansion we must establish native Churches free from our control.”
“The spontaneous expansion of the Church reduced to its element is a very simple thing. It asks for no elaborate organisation, no large finances, no great numbers of paid missionaries. In its beginning it may be the work of one man and that a man neither learned in the things of this world, nor rich in the wealth of this world.…What is necessary is faith. What is needed is the kind of faith which uniting a man to Christ, sets him on fire.”
“This then is what I mean by spontaneous expansion. I mean the expansion which follows the unexhorted and unorganized activity of individual members of the Church explaining to others the Gospel which they have found for themselves; I mean the expansion which follows the irresistible attraction of the Christian Church for men who see its ordered life, and are drawn to it by desire to discover the secret of a life which they instinctively desire to share…”