But when Terry posted this interview between him and Mark I felt this would be a good place to start. Many know I have a deep love for the interview format. I think you can learn far more from interviews than many lectures or sermons because you are capturing the man of God or woman of God in a spontaneous conversation. Here's the transcript I typed up - the video is below;
Mark Driscoll (M.D): Thinking of leaders, particularly younger leaders and emerging leaders - people who are starting in ministry voluntarily or vocationally, what would you say about the ministry of the Holy Spirit to lead the leader? In the classic sense so much of Christian teaching on leadership really borrows from secular practices on how to be a good leader. And there are some good things to be learned in God's common grace. But very little is written about being "led" by the Holy Spirit so you are then able to lead God's people in the things of God. Could you talk a little bit about what it means to be a "Spirit-filled leader" or a "Spirit-led" leader?
Terry Virgo (T.V): I would put together the grace emphasis I guess with the enjoyment of God's love. So for myself I have always tried to engage with the Spirit.
M.D: What does that look like in real life? You know for the average Bible college guy who's up in his head. What does that look like?
T.V: Yes I can only illustrate that from my own experience. I am in the Word each day - I am saying "Lord this is Your Word - I want You to speak to me". So I am looking to feed on the Word. At the moment I am using the Murray M'Cheyne reading plan - that is a recent thing for me over the last 3 years. I think it's good to switch around from the way you read the Bible. But then I am looking to Him to fellowship with Him and talk to Him. I sing to Him - I enjoy fellowshipping with Him so I am looking to sing to Him. I sing songs, I sing in tongues, I sing expecting and enjoying God being with me. It's out of that celebration of His kindness and His love that very often leads me to the Cross again and the wonder of who He is and the phenomenal thing that He has done for us.
Then I find myself beginning to ask and pray for things. So I felt from an early age, Lloyd-Jones's emphasis on prayer really influenced me - and other guys - so yes, praying with the energy of the Spirit. Paul says; "Praying in the Spirit" and sometimes you are praying about something. And I read Don Carson once said; "Pray yourself into prayer" - it is a Puritan quote actually and sometimes you are praying and your brain is going everywhere and then other times you find a caring that you didn't know - and you find yourself going; "Hey - there's more in me" and I believe it is the Holy Spirit making you care more about something and that stirs my faith! I think "Hey - God cares about this more than I do".
You want to fellowship with the energy - you feel God is kicking in, in your heart. I find other times fellowshipping in the Spirit can be more in the corporate group. Sometimes there have been visions, prophecies and things that we feel God has been sharing and they have influenced decisions we've made. Rather like Paul who wanted to go north and the Spirit forbade him, he wanted to go another way and then there was that Macedonian call. It seems to me that the Spirit was showing him which way to go. Over the years as a movement we have gathered guys to pray a lot. Three times a year in the UK we gather all our leaders for two days of prayer and fasting.
M.D: So many people for two days of prayer and fasting!
T.V: Well the first time we did it, there was about 20. And last time 750. So three times a year it has just grown and it is all because I mis-read a Scripture that says; "Three times a year you shall gather your men" and it says; "They shall not come empty-handed". And I read; "You shall come empty-handed". And I thought; "What's empty-handed? No agenda. No food". And some guys have never forgiven me! So we gather for two days and we fast and we pray for two hours and break for an hour and pray for two hours and break for an hour and pray for two hours and break for an hour. These days we hire a big church and all go out to different hotels and then come back again the next morning and again we pray and break and we worship. We pray for different things we are doing - maybe there's a crisis in a nation, we pray for India or we may pray for famine in Kenya. So we corporately pray. Sometimes small numbers and sometimes "Korean-style" in big numbers as we think of it.
Sometimes someone will come and lead us from the front and sometimes we will pray in twos or threes. So over many years now we have prayed together corporately. Then that goes back out into the churches and church plants - teach your people to pray. Believe for buildings, believe for new elders to be raised up. So prayer has been quite a big emphasis in my life probably from my early pastor and my early influences. And when I felt led to put down secular work - I actually felt the call was to have more time to pray. So prayer has always been a personal emphasis in my life. But at the beginning it was a bit condemnation-driven and I felt God released me from that and now I enjoy it and still feel I want to pray.
M.D: Yes when I was talking with Joel and said; "So what do you remember about growing up with your dad when he took over the church in Brighton?". He said; "I remember often my dad sitting in the other room singing and praying". He said; "My dad sings and prays through everything!". That stuck with him. Then I was talking to one of the younger worship leaders and I said; "What's your favourite part of being in that Newfrontiers church?" and he said; "Oh the mid-week prayer meeting! That is the best thing of all because we just sing and pray and sing and pray. That's where we hear God speak to us and guide us and where He's leading us. You don't want to miss the prayer meeting".
In the States that's something quite frankly you wouldn't hear a lot - I am a Reformed, Bible-teaching evangelical who says; "In the Holy Spirit" in my prayer times but that's about it. Why do you think those two don't come together as often as they should?
T.V: I guess it's been who we have been for a long time and I guess it's easy to be impressed by management skills and I don't despise planning - but I think you can put all your eggs in that basket. I want to be confident in God and I know the big breakthroughs have been faith issues. There have been times when we have been refused - "No you cannot have this building - no you can't do this or that" and there's no way that you can plan through that. You have to believe God and pray though it - and it's been exciting to be honest over decades to see God do amazing things for us through prayer. I think we have a heritage in the UK when reading men like Hudson-Taylor who said; "I want to move men to God through prayer alone" and you read these biographies of great men. I used to commute to London an hour every day and I used to devour biographies - especially praying missionary guys. A man called J O Fraser who worked in China and his exploits through prayer. He said; "I want to be like a businessman who has found a line that really works" and he said; "Prayer really works" - and that really grabbed me and I thought; "I want to be like that".
M.D: Do you "like" God?
T.V: I love God! I love worship! It sounds awfully pious when you are asked; "What do you enjoy?" but it is true - I enjoy being with God. I enjoy being with the saints when worshipping. I love the Lord!
M.D: Do you think that's the key to prayer? If you like God and enjoy God then prayer is what happens?
T.V: Yes I suppose I don't think of prayer as much in that way but when I am trying to engage with God.
M.D: When I have worshipped with you and your people, they like God. A lot of places I go to - they believe in God but I'm not sure they "like" Him. They can get a little stiff and unhappy and dull but when there is a people who like God and believe in Him then there is a joy there and a unity and the people tend not to gravitate towards legalism and the leaders don't need to become heavy-handed because that is not the spirit.
T.V: A combination of believing the grace of God - for me, when I really believed that I was accepted and saved - I then learned that I was free but you had to do this and had to do that and pray more and I thought "Am I accepted or am I accepted if I do all these things?" and then it dawned on me; "I am accepted!" and it was like getting born again! They said after the resurrection; "They could not believe for joy" - and that was the way it was with me - I thought this is amazing! That has transformed my life to know grace is so free!
The Holy Spirit and enjoyment of the Presence of God and you combine those two and it is electric! It gives us purpose on a world mission to glorify Jesus - Lord we want to glorify You - we are about a serious work and I find that is a really dynamic mixture!".