By Sean Connolly and Chris Meehan
Kevin Ranaghan and Louis Grams are developing a practical way to equip brothers and sisters to spread baptism in the Holy Spirit from person to person, wherever they are. It is a one-hour presentation that aims to help community members to “Spread the Fire,” as they call it.
Over the years, as Kevin and Louis note in their presentation, “Community members have prayed with people on street corners, in grocery stores, on airplanes, at scenic overlooks and in their homes. . . . If we are alert to the movement of the Holy Spirit in our own hearts and in conversations we have with others, we may well find many more opportunities to pray with others for baptism in the Spirit than we might imagine.”
Louis researched and wrote “Spread the Fire” in 2012. Kevin has presented a preliminary version of the material in six branches so far. He says the final version may be used during the annual visits that he and other members of the branch relations council make to branches.
The presentation, peppered with stories and examples from community members, explains how to recognize opportunities to pray with a person and how to ask important preparatory questions. It outlines four steps involved in prayer for baptism in the Spirit and describes how to follow-up afterwards. The presentation includes a hand out summarizing the material and a small card, designed to fit inside a wallet, that can be used to recall quickly the four steps to follow and the preparatory questions.
The inspiration for the presentation came after Kevin noticed conversations that had sprouted up in several branches about the work God is calling the community to do. Kevin says these conversations began gathering steam after brothers and sisters watched The Roots of the People of Praise video as part of their celebrations of the community’s 40th anniversary. “Many people noticed how, in the video, Paul DeCelles said that it is perhaps now, after 40 years, that we are finally ready to do the work the Father has called us to do.”
One possible response to Paul’s statement, Kevin says, is to turn to the first section of the Spirit and Purpose, which describes our commitment as a community “to strive to lead all people into fullness of baptism in the Spirit.”
"The ‘Spread the Fire’ presentation is about some simple ways we can act on this commitment,” he says.
The presentation is already bearing fruit. A week after Kevin gave it in Colorado Springs, branch member Phil Ehemann had already put it to work in the Air Force Academy gym where he regularly works out. He prayed with two people for baptism in the Spirit in the weightlifting room, and then he prayed with the supervisor of the lifeguards at the pool. The next weekend, Phil and his wife, Carol, prayed with a couple they had invited over for a Lord’s Day meal. On a recent vacation, Phil prayed with eight more friends and family members. He says that hearing the presentation helped him to be bolder than he has been in the past.
“Our life together as a community is sustained and driven by the power of the Holy Spirit,” Kevin and Louis say in the presentation. “Why would we not want to share with others the deep well of life and power that we drink from?”