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Bill Johnson, Senior Leader of Bethel Church, is a reformer. Following this leadership call has led to millions of lives being touched with the Good News of the Gospel worldwide.

In line with our upcoming Business of Reformation Conference, Andy Mason interviewed Bill on his journey of knowing his calling and being a reformer. This abbreviated transcript of that interview where Bill shares insights into staying humble, childlike and in awe of God and how that leads to reformation that brings Heaven on Earth.

What is Your Calling?

Andy: One of my heroes is William Wilberforce. He has these two great… He calls them these two great objects or two great callings. One is the abolition of slavery which we’re familiar with in the movie Amazing Grace, and the book by Eric Metaxas, but also the second one, which is to ‘make goodness fashionable or the Reformation of Manners’. Do you have a sense of a particular calling like that, or that God has called you to reform anything?

A Calling to Reform How We Think About God

Bill: It’s a long list, but it starts with: we live from our understanding of the nature of God. So, everything that we do somehow reveals who we think He is. What we think He’s like, how He thinks, how He values us. And from there, we discover purpose. And so, discovering the nature of God, the character of God, His purpose for me, His assignment for me… all of that comes out of that initial relationship. So if I were to have a reformer’s assignment, which I believe I do, it begins with how people think. It’s a transformation of the mind. If I can somehow help to champion a revival in how we see God being for us. And then out of that, what His purpose for humanity is, what His purpose for me as an individual is.

For me, starting there, obviously it involves purity, integrity, character. It involves excellence. It involves creativity. It involves all those things. Those are the words that, for me, illustrate the nature of wisdom… So, the more we illustrate purity, excellence, and creativity, the more we’re illustrating the nature of the Father. …whether it’s business life or church life, there really isn’t a different assignment; there’s a different application, but the assignment is the same. Those are the three things that I feel especially called to give attention to.

What is a Reformer?

Andy: What is a reformer? Who is called to be reformer? And how do we step into that?
Bill: Not everything happens because we’re strategic. When you say yes to God and you become what He’s called you to be, you will reform your environment. Being strategic is worthwhile when God has given us insight as to where we’re going and what we’re supposed to do….
I love when the Lord gives us an insight. We plan, we put things together, we see steps one, two, three lead to step four, and the great breakthrough. Those are beautiful moments, and the Lord, in His mercy, allows us to taste of those now and then.

And I do believe in God-given strategy. You look through Scripture and you can see where that’s taken place. But for the most part, I want to be strongest in my dependency, not on my insights. I love insight. I love wisdom. I love knowledge. I love all those things. And those are the things that I pursue; I’m constantly trying to unravel the mystery of God’s nature, His purpose, His plan on the earth, my role, your role. That’s my quest, just to understand all of that. But I don’t ever want my insights to promote me from being a child who’s dependent on a Father.

How do you stay dependent on God when you have become excellent and successful in your calling?

Andy: So you are saying, it really is simple – don’t overthink it. Trust, serve, obey, stay childlike, and the other thing is that you repeatedly say is to stay hungry and humble. How then, do you stay hungry and humble in the midst of that journey as you mature and even get clearer and clearer and clearer on what you’re doing?

Bill: I owe it to myself and to the people around me to stay involved in things where I don’t know what I’m doing. Otherwise, I will become the expert, and if I become the expert, I’ll become static, I’ll become stationary. So I owe it to myself to keep that front edge of my life pursuing things where I simply don’t know what I’m doing. I’m the novice….

…the way you stay hungry is to keep exposed to what’s possible. The only time we settle for the inferior is when we have lost sight of the ultimate. And so keeping exposed, whether it’s in Church history, whether it’s in the testimony of people around us that are having greater breakthroughs than we are, or whether the Lord speaks to you out of a passage of Scripture.

Summary:

You may or may not have a moment in time when you had some great revelation of your calling. However, the more connected you become with God the more His life is represented around you. It is therefore impossible for the world around you to stay unaffected. YOU become a reformer.

As you excel in your calling and become an expert, there is a danger that your successful strategies replace your dependence on God. ‘What you know can keep you from what you need to know unless you remain a novice.” You remain a novice by immersing yourself in the awe and wonder of God. You can do this through worship, reading revival history, remembering testimony and surrounding yourself with people who are doing things bigger or different to you. You can also do this by continually stepping into opportunities that make you uncomfortable…. you are then forced to depend on a God who makes the impossible logical.

Bill Johnson, with his wife Beni, are the Senior Leaders of Bethel Church in Redding, California. Bill lives his life with the core values that God is good, nothing is impossible, the blood of Jesus paid for everything, and we are significant. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging believers to bring the kingdom of heaven into their world and sphere of influence. Bill is also the author of a number of bestselling books including When Heaven Invades Earth and Hosting the Presence.

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