Blackaby's "Experiencing God": 15 years of Seeing God Work
- Monday, May 23, 2005
ATLANTA — “Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God” has a simple – but challenging – message: Find out where God is at work and join Him there.
Fifteen years after its release, the workbook by Henry Blackaby and Claude King continues to change lives. Published by LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, it has sold more than 4 million copies and has been licensed in 62 languages, from Chinese and Mongolian to Hebrew and Arabic.
A Canadian, Blackaby was pastor at Faith Baptist Church in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, for 12 years and then served as director of missions in Vancouver for two years before moving to the United States to become director of prayer and spiritual awakening at the North American Mission Board. He later served as special assistant to the presidents of NAMB, the International Mission Board and LifeWay. Since his retirement, he has devoted his time to Blackaby Ministries International, based in suburban Atlanta.
“Experiencing God is my life’s message,” Blackaby said. “It’s how I had always understood and walked with God. This is how I pastored and led God’s people.”
The message of Experiencing God is built upon what Blackaby calls the “Seven Realities”:
1. God is always at work around you.
2. God pursues a continuing love relationship with you that is real and personal.
3. God invites you to become involved with Him in His work.
4. God speaks by the Holy Spirit through the Bible, prayer, circumstances and the church to reveal Himself, His purposes and His ways.
5. God’s invitation for you to work with Him always leads you to a crisis of belief that requires faith and action.
6. You must make major adjustments in your life to join God in what He is doing.
7. You come to know God by experience as you obey Him and He accomplishes His work through you.
King, who at that time was an editor at LifeWay, constructed the workbook and authored its learning activities, based on Blackaby’s conference presentations. King currently an editor in chief in the leadership and adult publishing area.
“'Experiencing God' set a new model for workbooks,” King said. “We videotaped Henry as he spoke to groups at Glorieta, then transcribed the tapes and compiled it all as a first-person narrative and added the learning activities.”
King said Experiencing God was different from what Southern Baptists were accustomed to studying. It was not a program, but an experience. “As people began responding to the message in the workbook, we saw lives changed,” he said.
Blackaby’s life has changed considerably since the workbook’s release. “One of the best parts is now, everywhere we go, Marilynn [his wife] and I hear the most wonderful stories from people,” he said. “We hear how their lives have been changed.”
Blackaby gets more than 2,000 invitations a year to speak and lead conferences around the world based on the "Experiencing God" message. Accepting all those is humanly impossible, so how does he choose?
“I have to make certain I have a discerning spirit,” he said. “The size or location of an event is not important. I look and determine if God is already at work. And I won’t do an event if I feel like I have been invited just because my presence will draw a crowd.”
"Experiencing God" has proved to be an important LifeWay resource for reaching into other cultures.
“'Experiencing God' is one of those resources that has translated well to the needs of our overseas churches,” said Luis Lopez of LifeWay’s international department. “It’s been on the market for 15 years and people have become very familiar with it.
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