The more I think about it, the more I’m taken aback and humbled by the man I met on Sunday. He dressed simply and spoke in a straight-forward, gentle, kindly manner. There was nothing about his appearance or demeanour that particularly gave him away. He’s the kind of man you’d pass on the street without thinking he was anyone special, and yet according to the bible, you’d have just passed one of the greatest people who’s ever lived. The man is KP Yohannan.
Some of the local church leaders in York had tea with him in the afternoon at Ambiance cafe on Gillygate. (Great cafe by the way, with a lovely vibe and wonderful scones!) And then I had the privilege of leading the two evening congregations at The Belfrey where he spoke.
Why do I think he is a great man? Two reasons.
First is the fruit of his life. Now here the statistics are phenomenal. Through him – through people he has led to Christ who have also multiplied and led others, who’ve led others, etc – some 2,400,000 people have been baptised as committed followers of Jesus. 2.4 million! At present Gospel for Asia – the mission organisation he founded and leads – has 12,000 missionary workers in Asia showing and telling the good news of Christ. At present 17 new churches are being planted each day. Seventeen. Every day!!! That means he is one of the most productive and influential Christian leaders who has ever lived! So, there’s much fruit from Brother KP’s life.
But second, and perhaps most important is his character. The bible says that the main qualification for leadership is character (see 1 Timothy 3:1-13). And Jesus said that the true mark of greatness is being servant-like (Matthew 23:11-12). Giving up your life for Christ and others. Brother KP has done that day by day for many years and it has developed him into a very Christ-like person. I have no doubt he is far from perfect, but as he has stood the test of time, been faithful to Christ and lived a life of devotion, prayer and discipleship, so the love of Christ has shone through and had a massive impact.
KP Yohannan spoke very simply to us on Sunday. At the end of The 7 there was a simple call to two groups of people. First to those who knew that God was calling them to pray like they’ve never prayed before. To intercede and fast for God’s Spirit to be poured out afresh in our generation. The second was to those who were willing to die to themselves and give up their lives for Christ – whatever the cost, where-ever he might lead, even if that meant suffering and persecution.
Maybe God is speaking to you today about being sold out for Christ – in prayer and with your life. If so, I encourage you to respond. Kneel down now and surrender yourself to him and his ways. As you give yourself to him he will guide you and lead you as you listen to his word and Spirit.
Jesus said ‘those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted’ (Matthew 23:12).