In the process of coming up with our new name, Novo (read more about it here), we began by looking back at our history. In the process, we discovered a few distinctives that we feel help to define Novo staff. The first of those is that we are disciples; deeply committed to knowing and following Jesus.
The second is that we are fire-starters; multiplying our impact by equipping, empowering, and collaborating with others. Here is how Doralicia Gonzales, Ethne staff in Málaga, Spain, sees Novo’s calling as fire-starters:
I love to build a fire and sit around it during winter here in Málaga. I’m not sure that I’m really good at building fires, but I can tell you that I don’t give up easily—even when my husband tells me that the wood may be wet! I keep adding kindling and fanning it until one of the chips catches a spark. Then I try to stay nearby to care for it until I see that the flames are strong enough that they won’t go out. Once the fire is going, all I need to do is keep adding logs and they’ll be engulfed in the blazing fire easily. I love the warmth that the fire provides as we all gather around the fireplace to enjoy the benefits.
In Novo, we are working to fan the fire of the gospel—a fire that pushes the darkness away and draws people into relationship with God. We, and many others in Spain, Europe and around the world, are trying to fan the flames for bigger and greater movements of the gospel, starting fires that can spread the goodness of Jesus across our world.
What does it take to build a fire? The basic equation involves fuel, oxygen and heat (a spark!).
Prayer has historically been fuel for the fire, and so we pray and pray some more! We pray for the land and the people of the land, we pray for friends and neighborhoods. We prayer walk and speak blessings as we engage locations and persons.
We also pay attention and ask God where he is already working. What populations and places is God opening up for an encounter with him? How is he moving so we can move with him, to be instruments of his grace and redemption?
People who will join us in the work of gospel movement are the oxygen and wind that cause the fire to expand, creating more fires around the land. We pray and make intentional relationships with strategic persons and leaders that can join in, increasing the impact and creating multiplication.
But anyone who has tried to start a fire knows this truth: you can have all the fuel and oxygen in the world, but without the initial flame, there will be no blaze. And so a key aspect in all of this is to be able to care for the fire within us; this is highly important! We have to be able to move in dependence with the Holy Spirit, to abide in him, because apart from him we cannot do anything. The Holy Spirit is the flame. As I have learned over the years, I can do many things and keep myself pretty busy, but if what I desire is growth and fruitfulness, abiding is essential.
We feed the inner fire so it can burn what is not needed inside of ourselves, so we can live and minister in the freedom and transformation that God bought for us. The inner fire will keep transforming us into living testimonies of Jesus, so that we can inspire others to follow our loving Christ. We tend to the fire within us in order that the Holy Spirit can inhabit more of us. His fire awakens in us the purpose and courage that we carry inside, and we seek to do the same in others.
When my family moved to Spain eight years ago, God began opening doors with emerging leaders and people on the periphery of church. These are people who felt they didn’t fit because of their own personal struggles, wounding, distorted perspectives of God and doubts. But as we’ve continued to invest in them—by healing prayer, mentoring, calling them into a deeper relationship with God, and helping them to discover their calling—we’ve seen how God is equipping them to walk alongside others with life struggles and entangled concepts of God and spirituality. The flame that has grown in them is drawing others in.
In the last few years this group has taken in a few people who are not believers but are intrigued with spirituality, some from a church background, others with traces of New Age and a diverse set of beliefs. They are enjoying the safety of the group and are becoming more vulnerable with their own struggles, as they deepen in relationship with us and walk a path toward getting to know Jesus. A few have already opened their hearts to Christ, while others are still in process. We pray for more.
I’m not an expert in building fires, but I know that things can change in a moment; a spark can catch and become a blaze instantly. God has made us fire-starters. Sometimes the fires start and spread rapidly; sometimes it takes a lot of perseverance and care to fan the spark. But I’m convinced that as we and many others around the world continue to pray, disciple, and train, more fires will be started and God’s Kingdom will keep advancing! That is our prayer and our hope!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Doralicia Gonzales lives in Málaga, Spain with her husband Randy and their two daughters. Her ministry includes healing prayer, spiritual direction and mentoring, and walking alongside others who are searching for more of what God has for them with the goal of seeing more Kingdom movement in the region.