One of the greatest experiences of being a father is being able to watch the same movie or cartoon many times with my children. I have always enjoyed spending time with them, watching the creativity in the animations. In the movie Despicable Me, the character Vector uses the following catch phrase to describe himself, “I go by the name of Vector. It’s a mathematical term, represented by an arrow with both direction and magnitude”.
Advance Groups have these same characteristics, starting even with its name, ‘Advance’ – there is a clear ascendent movement with a direction and magnitude. One of the amazing things about Advance is its clarity: Evangelism. This clear desire of Advance Groups is part of its intensity (or magnitude), to equip and inspire people for the simple and powerful task of sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. And because this is intrinsic to the movement, it means it is agile, contextualised and growing.
Magnitude is the mathematic concept of the distance between two points. It is important to understand that the opportunities and challenges that are part of Advance Groups all point to the eternal direction and destination of Jesus. Any other destination is small when compared with the great encounter of God’s love through Jesus Christ. This helps us to experience and understand on a practical level the words of the apostle Paul that reveals God’s intention to “unite all things in Him” (Ephesians 1:10). That is when it all makes sense, when all the elements match and the ideas connect to each other and it all becomes based on the solid rock that is Christ.
Advance Groups promote a revitalisation in our evangelism. After many decades as a Christian leader I can become immune to many “new things” and “new movements” that happen in the church. However, I got amazed with the simplicity and clarity of Advance. Its result and impact is an invitation to renew the passion for evangelism in a pure and simple way.
As an example, in one of my Advance Groups there is a couple who felt ready to go into the mission field. However, since joining the group God has really spoken to them, inspiring them and fanning into flame their passion for evangelism. I’ve been listening to pastors who have been in ministry for many years, who are now rediscovering their passion and feeling refreshed through being part of an Advance Group. And all of it is put together into a natural and easy format that avoids the mass production marketing idea of some movements and ministries.
The impact of active evangelism in the world, alongside the big evangelistic movements and crusades, all come together and create opportunities for others to be encouraged to share the gospel with millions of people around the globe. And when this happens, the results are eternal.
If there is one thing that can transform the world, and at the same time can change every person, it is the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. Advance Groups are placed in the opportune time to offer this opportunity to all those who want to experience and share the good news.
Written by Rev. Flavio Artigas. Flavio is a pastor in Brazil and the Director of the Methodist Centre of training and mission. Alongside this he also works as an Advance Ambassador for Brazil, helping launch and support groups across the country.