You’ve heard the phrase, I’m sure, “He was a man before his time.” This phrase usually refers to someone who was able to write or speak about topics that their contemporaries might not have valued, but that others, later, came to appreciate. One such example was Roland Allen. J.D. Payne wrote a great intro to Allen’s life. You can view or download it here (thanks for Dr. Payne’s willingness to share his research with the world).
As you’ll see in the article, Allen wrote documents in the 1920’s that weren’t greatly appreciated until the 1970’s. But the strange thing is, his concepts haven’t been largely put into practice until literally this decade, when kingdom movements are now springing up all over the globe — 100 years after his teachings. Buy a Kindle copy of his keystone book here…
Dr. George Patterson is another such visionary. He wrote “Obedience Oriented Education and Evangelism in 1974. It was privately published as a little green booklet. I remember reading it as a Bible college student in the late 1970’s, thinking — “what a simple, yet revolutionary principle.” Yet the truth is, his concepts weren’t largely put into practice until the last 10 years. Now, he seems like a genius. Then, his little booklet had to be privately published.
What makes a visionary? What goes into building a life like Allen or Patterson? In my opinion, there are several converging factors that have to be in place. First, the “man before his time” usually stumbles onto a series of approaches or tactics that start working well. In Patterson’s case, he managed to see a Kingdom movement develop in Honduras that went four generations deep and was four streams wide in just 3 years, between the years 1970 to 1973. During those 3 years, the movement he launched gained such momentum that there were 760 believers participating in 29 groups. Before the decade was out, God had raised up over 2000 new disciples in those 4 streams.
Next, a “man before his time” needs the courage to speak up. He becomes an evangelist for his ideas — and he’s not afraid to speak up about it. Even if people don’t listen, the “man before his time” doesn’t stop writing or testifying about “the better way” that he has discovered.
Lastly, to create a “man before his time,” the final ingredient is a passive, apathetic generation of “sheep” who won’t hear, refusing to consider new ideas. And because they don’t — or won’t — the “man before his time” is sometimes ignored for decades or more.
Thankfully, Patterson and others are now being heard. In fact, you can tune in to a webinar that will feature George Patterson on April 27th at noon Eastern Time. To learn more and/or register for this free webinar, just go to…