Prime Mover

By: V. Arlen Guidroz

The energy behind this Christian endeavors, the United Pentecostal Church, having its source in God’s power, is formidable.

“The earth shook, the heavens also dropped at the presence of God: even Sinai itself was moved at the presence of God, the God of Israel.” (Psalm 68:8)

Consider the strength and power which is expanded through the Holy Ghost. Add ingenuity, burden, enthusiasm and vigor to that incalculable spiritual force. Together with the Spirit of God, this is a great mass of endeavor.

Our source of power is in the Spirit, equally available to each of us from the same river. But it is evident that not everyone has utilized the available power to the same degree of success.

Some people become a source of energy themselves, fueling many endeavors with a fire and fervor, igniting large teams of people to do great exploits. They are called “the guiding light” of a movement. A few of them possess an elusive quality called “charisma,” something unpossessed and not needed by most of us. These prime movers get things done.

Each of us in our attempts to do the work of God, have encountered obstacles which have threatened to abort a project or task which we feel is important. Even in the simple things of church endeavor such as putting together a team, enlisting workers, notifying people of an action, beginning a project, producing a program, and many other of the myriad of organizational activities, we discover that some people cando no more than others. Given the same list, assignment or opportunity one person would make a success but another would be much less successful.

It is said of some, “They will manage some way or another to get it done.” About others it is commented, “They never seem to get going,” or “They quit at the first crossroads.” The person who can “manage” to make a living in hard times will probably be rich in good times. Some men “manage” to move when others are sitting still. They “manage” to get through when others are sidetracked.

Let’s consider ourselves compared to the power available to us, the task we face and the success we have accomplished. Am I a “Prime Mover?”


“The manager is more than a problem solver. He is a goal-setter, Without waiting for people to ask him, he envisions things that should happen and thinks through some possible paths by which the goal can be reached. At this stage, he has few, if any, people who would agree with him that the goal is possible. Because he is active in deed as well as thought, however, he converts them into action in his plan and enlists their talents toward reaching the goal he dreamed up. Before long he has a full scale movement afoot and people become ego-involved in his goal, just as if they themselves had thought of it. During the struggle to accomplish it, the battle to overcome opposition and failure and other problems in the way, he’s there to help. He keeps them pointed toward the objective and suggests and sets examples of how it can be reached.”*

A definition of a few of the words in this paragraph, though simple words, will give deeper meaning to this study.

ACTION — “The process of producing an effect or performing a function, The doing of something. It implies a process which takes time, and involves more than one step. (An ‘act is a single accomplishment, complete in itself.)”

MOVE — “To set in motion, to stir, to actuate. To change the position of. To rouse by appeal of the mind or desires, To influence.”

MOVEMENT — “A series of acts and events tending toward a specific end; as a religious movement.”

PRIME MOVER — “(a) A natural agency applied by man to the production of power, such as muscular force; (b) An engine or machine which receives and modifies force and motion as supplied by some natural source, thereby driving other machinery, as a water wheel, or turbine; (c) Figuratively speaking, the original or the most effective force in any undertaking.”


In the operation of a movement, the difference in a manager and an administrator becomes quite evident rather soon. Some men are able to get a job done in a forthright way without too many delays or detours. They perhaps do not know system or technology as well as another, but they have additional dimension in their vision which quickly pierces through red tape, tangles and obstacles.

*(Quoted from Parker Publishing Company, “M.D.C.”)

“The important variation isn’t their methods used, and we shouldn’t from this example conclude that good administration and procedures are foolish. In fact, all managers use good methods well. The only point here is that there is a difference between management and administration. The big difference is that the manager makes things happen by whatever means are required, while the administrator follows certain procedures mechanically.

“The administrator follows a stereotype pattern whether it applies in his situation or not. The manager sizes up the situation as it exists and decides to do those things which will make things happen whether they fit into the text or not, It’s perfectly true that these administrative techniques may be just the ticket in some situations. In such circumstances the manager follows them, as long as they continue to produce results. When they cease doing that, the manager does something different until he finds the techniques that produce the desired results.”


By following a line of action back to its source, we discover which parts are reactive and what is the source or prime cause. In a car, start from the tires and wheels, through the rear end, axle,
transmission, clutch, motor, carburetor and ignition to the fuel tank. This takes us back to the source. Even in the reciprocal engine itself, each part reacts because of that which another part does, But the prime source of energy is in the man who turns the ignition, presses the accelerator and activates the mechanism. Very often, when the engine will not start easily, he must “manage” to get it going.

It is foolish for a man to keep the starter continually grinding while the battery is being depleted of power. The prime mover will get things going, however, some way or another. It’s a familiar story to all of us.

The real power of the engine or automobile is in the man who runs it. And its effectiveness is determined by the same man. The machine is a reactor, the driver is the initiator.

We’ve heard of counteracting, doing something after another has acted.

Our government conducts “counter-intelligence,” to discover the knowledge another government has amassed through its initiative.

However, very few of us are initiators, introducing by “first act” or beginning. Energy or aptitude displayed in the initiation of action is a self-reliant enterprise called “initiative.”

We need men who are able to perceive a vision, set a goal, initiate action, develop programs and see them through to completion.


A. Nehemiah’s Vision was to rebuild Jerusalem’s walls. The vision glowed in his eyes, and at times blocked them with tears. His every waking thought was, “How can I get there?” When given permission and provision by the king, he applied himself to inspiring others to go with him. After the trip began and immediately upon arrival in the city he diligently pursued the thought, “What will I do to keep us moving?”

These are the thoughts of a man who is a first cause or source of energy:

1. Where do I want to go?
2. How can I get there?
3. Who will go with me?
4. What will I do to keep us moving?

Despite all odds Nehemiah rebuilt the walls, through vision and cooperation. He managed!

B. Jesus, at times, considered the question “What to do, IF?” In Matthew 21:3, in giving his disciples instructions about obtaining animals for the triumphal entry, Jesus said, “If any man say ought unto you, Ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them, and straightway he will send them.”

Contingency planning is part of the manager’s vocabulary. The first plan may not work. He may have to “go at it” another way. But the manager will not be stopped. He is a prime mover.

C. How do you get out of town when the gate is shut? Ask Paul! He went over the wall in a basket.

How do you get inside a building packed with people listening to Jesus, when there is not more room for the sick man you want to bring to him? You climb onto the roof, pull the tile away piece by piece and carry the man to the top of the roof to be lowered into His presence.

How do you get bread from a sleepy neighbor for your midnight visitor? You manage to keep knocking until the neighbor opens the door.

How do you make an unjust judge do what you want without giving him a bribe? You ask “Everyday!” You stir him, you move him to action.

How do you find leaders? How do you get them moving in your direction? How do you stir preachers? The prime mover may not know how but he does it.


The innovator cannot be stopped. He is kin to the pioneer, the revolutionary, the hero, the resourceful and the dreamer.

A. The Pioneer, and there are many who live today, hacks out an existence to pave the way for others. Others come, communities are formed, growth takes place. Then, inevitably it seems, the originator is forgotten and the original reason for existence is obscured. When the founder dies, or moves, most forget him. The character of the community then tends to charge. But someone must remember the “Prime Mover.”

B. The Revolutionary is often a genius. By genius, I do not mean a prodigy nor one with a high I.Q. Genius must not be confused with general leadership or talent.

“Genius is a revelation of a man’s creative nature, of his calling to creativity. It is incompatible with a safe and sound worldly attitude. Genius cannot yield to the demands of the world and his life tends to be one of sacrifice and heroism. The Genius is usually in tragic disharmony with the world.”

Talent is more functional and adaptable to the demands of contemporary culture. Talent is moderate. Genius is measureless. The nature of the genius is revolutionary…Genius acts in ends and beginnings and knows no bounds. Talent is obedience; genius is daring.

C. The Hero – “His vision, his strength, his courage come from his own spirit. A man’s spirit, however, is his self…It is the whole secret of his power — that he was self-sufficient, self-motivated, self-generated.

“The leader is a first cause, a fount of energy, a life force, a Prime Mover. He served nothing and no one – He lived for himself. And only be living for himself was he able to achievement.” (Ayn Rand).

The above is true, as it relates to the human leader. But in reality, the vision, strength and courage of the Christian leader comes from God. He serves others — redemptively.

D. The Resourceful Person has a deep well from which to draw. Mordecai did not wince at the reluctance of Esther when she indicated she would not go before the king to plead the cause of the Jews under Haman’s curse. His answer drew from deep resources of imagination and feeling. He saw a vision she could not see, he remembered a history Esther had perhaps forgotten. Oh how he got through to her, and ultimately to the King, when he said, “Think not within thyself that thou shalt escape in the king’s house, more than all the Jews. For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another peace; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:13,14).

E. The Dreamer, Joseph, dared to dream aloud. Few of us do! We usually say, after someone else has preached a sermon or delivered a great thought, “I was thinking of that the other day!” Or we lament, “I wish I had thought of that.”

Consider the results of his revolutionary dream.

1. He received the scorn of others at the revelation of the dream.
2. He endured the pit in the open field and was sold into slavery,
3. He kept his integrity through it all.
4. He waited patiently through imprisonment.
5. He maintained a spiritual vision, though alone.
6. He preserved an empire.
7. He made a place for a great nation to be born — in the cradle of a foreign land.
8. He was more than an administrator. He was a manager.


By stating our vision in clear terms we can then compare the adequacy of our methods. In Home Missions, we want to declare our vision and, through Apostolic methods, get our job done. It is not a dual purpose, one spiritual and the other personal. The “single eye” will be our manner.

Let me state the vision I see and then let us move toward that together.

A. ACTION – APOSTOLIC ACTION – All activities of the General Home Missions Division, including the selection and training of missionaries and leaders and the conduct of meetings and seminars, should include a consideration of the Apostolic Ministry.

It is imperative that we not have a generation of leaders and missionaries who are not practicers of Apostolic methods. The term “Apostolic Ministry” applied to administrative procedure simply means, “To manage things through spiritual action in the Apostolic manner.”

B. A MOVEMENT PERPETUATED – I believe we need to maintain this church as a “movement” and to perpetuate this movement as a revolution. If it deteriorates into a club, or an institution, all is lost. If we revere officialdom more than we do the frontline soldier, or the pioneer and revolutionary, then we degenerate into another exclusive society doting on petty desires of little men who rise to positions of honor.

David Moberg studied church growth and made the following conclusion. Quoted in America’s Fastest Growing Churches by Elmer Towns “A cult originates, develops into a sect, then changes into a denomination, and finally emerges into a church.” He saw the following cycle of deterioration because he declares, in time, all denominations become liberal and lose their original purpose. They forget their prime cause.


1. Sect
2. Institution
3. Denomination
4. Deterioration

This example is not perfect, but a Fidel Castro knows the value of dungarees in the palace. It is the symbol of the revolutionary, that a “prime mover” is in control. When such men as George Washington, Paul Revere and Patrick Henry die, a nation expands beyond their memory. The “revolution” then becomes an “experiment” and later the experiment becomes classified as an “error” by the fainthearted who would “rather be Red than dead.”

Our Missions Divisions have a unique responsibility to maintain the revolution of Pentecost as a movement. Our men still suffer. They blaze trails. They light their candle in dark places rather than in the light, shielding its flicker from high winds. Courage is their midnight partner while Faith raises the curtain at the dawn of each new day on the field. These Pioneers, these Dreamers, stir our complacency by their sacrifice and keep us all marching to the staccato rhythm of their volleys. Blood is still being shed for Jesus’ Name. Theirs is not a single “act,” at a high moment when all are watching, but a series of acts tending toward a specific end, World Evangelism.

We will manage to keep it that way. We are not embalmers! Nor gravediggers!.

Could it be said of us that we actually moved the world? Why not? Who is to tell us that we cannot? Or should not? Or that we won’t do it?

It is our vision to saturate North America with United Pentecostal Churches. We intend to invade the untouched territory of Ethnic Evangelism. We will push our righteous cause from border to border and coast to coast, from Mexico to the top of Canada. We intend to upset entire denominations and plot their capture. We will become the dominant spiritual force for good in America. We will make our presence felt in the halls of government. We will take cities for God as a mighty army.

We will manage to do this because we are a revolution using and being the original and most effective force in this undertaking.

(The above material was given to the GENERAL HOME MISSIONS BOARD In Session, January 4, 1974.)

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