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The Forerunner Principle: A Multiplication Factor
By Kay Taiwo and Olu Taiwo, BSc., DPh.

 John the Baptist testifies about Jesus:

30He must increase, but I must decrease. [He must grow more prominent; I must grow less so.] John 1:30 [Amplified Bible]

This is precisely how a kingdom leader should think. Yet this way of thinking is very rare as we want to share the 'stage' with our Commander-in-Chief: the Lord Jesus. For John the Baptist, it was not the length of his life, but rather, the quality of his life, in light of his heavenly assignment that would ultimately define him.

As a result of the significance of John's assignment and the Old testament dispensation that he operated in, Jesus says the following:

28I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; but he that is inferior [to the other citizens] in the kingdom of God is greater [in incomparable privilege] than he. Luke 7:28 [Amplified Bible]

So while John understood the importance of not getting in the 'way,' Jesus recognized the significant importance of a man with a mission as John's.

Likewise, we all are forerunners. We must recognize that our assignment is not without significance for the kingdom.

1 Corinthians 12:27 [Amplified]:
Now you [collectively] are Christ's body and [individually] you are members of it, each part severally and distinct [each with his own place and function].

There are certain names that have gone down in history and are synonymous with a daring feat or outstanding accomplishment. When you mention the name Michelangelo, thoughts of outstanding paintings fill the mind. The name Beethoven stimulates thoughts of a melodious symphony. The Wright brothers conjure thoughts of defying gravity. Anywhere you go the name Albert Einstein is synonymous with sheer genius. Regardless of the field of endeavor, these individuals have left a mark that cannot be erased. They will live forever in the annals of history.

Among the many outstanding individuals that have graced the earth is a man by the name William Wilberforce. Wilberforce was a strong antagonist of the institution of slavery, and fought for many grueling years to see it abolished. Even though he suffered a number of defeats, which spanned a period of twenty years, he pressed on to see his heart's yearning realized.

In 1807 after two decades, he experienced his first success when a bill was passed to abolish the slave trade in the British West Indies. Although a step in the right direction, "this statute, however, did not change the legal position of persons enslaved before its enactment…"

Several years prior to the enactment of this statute, John Wesley had written an encouraging letter that proved to be of great help to Wilberforce:

"Unless the divine power has raised you up… I see not how you can go through your glorious enterprise in opposing that execrable villainy, which is the scandal

of religion, of England, and of human nature….O be not weary of well doing! Go on, in the name of God in the power of His might, till even American slavery (the vilest that ever saw the sun) shall vanish away before it"

Wilberforce persisted till the end. He became the forerunner to the emancipation of slaves and the abolishment of slavery. In 1834, a year after his death, 800,000 slaves, mostly in the British West Indies were set free.

Etymology or root meaning of the word 'forerunner': Prodromos, an adjective signifying "running forward, going in advance," is used as a noun, of "those who were sent before to take observations," acting as scouts, especially in military matters…In the NT it is said of Christ in Hebrews 6:20, as going in advance of His followers who are to be where He is, when He comes to receive them to Himself. In the Sept., Number 13:21, "forerunners (of the grape)"; Isa. 28:4, "an early (fig)."---(Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary).

So forerunners are "those who are sent before to take observations." This is so crucial. Why? Because 'how' they see what they see determines 'what' they report back. Literally, the forerunner is the 'animated tape player' for the one he precedes. In essence, he sets the tone!

A forerunner is also synonymous with the word foretoken. A foretoken is simply something that serves as a sign of future happenings. This means a forerunner does not provide a full picture, but is simply a glimpse of what is to come. Another related word is advertiser. Oftentimes, we see an ad before we handle the product. The forerunner is an announcer.

The forerunner is the first person one comes in contact with, and then one meets the person he precedes. He (the forerunner) sets the stage for the one to come after. From a position of timing and sequence, the forerunner appears to be more significant than the one he goes ahead of. However, when the one who emerges after him comes on the scene, the forerunner's main assignment is now over.  It is important to note: the forerunner is a part of something much greater than himself. Our fathers are like forerunners to us. The circumstances under which they have brought us into the world either impact us positively or negatively. The stage they set either makes life easier, or more difficult for us to live. Some have had it good, others not so good. The forerunner principle indicates that the forerunner's mission is to create an atmosphere conducive for the operation and multiplying impact for what will come after. So the whole idea is to create a path that makes it easier for the one who is to come: both quantitatively and qualitatively. 

At the memorial service for Archbishop Benson Idahosa held in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a young evangelist got up to speak. What brought this man to that memorial service was both a trail blazed and a legacy lived. The evangelist expressed his gratitude regarding the deceased minister's impact on his life. The young man articulated how he had been ignored when he reached out for support and encouragement from leaders he respected. He knew he had a call to ministry.

The evangelist met the Archbishop when he came to his church as a guest speaker. Taking interest in him, the Archbishop invited him to Nigeria. While there, he watched the Archbishop in crusades as miracles of salvation and healing swept across the large crowds. A passion that he did not acquire at home in America was now imparted to him abroad. At the end of that life-changing visit to Nigeria, the Archbishop turned to the evangelist and said “GO AND DO LIKEWISE!” He left Nigeria with his dream restored. Today the ministry of this evangelist has taken him to over 78 nations of the world preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Will we speak positively into people, not necessarily at the peak of their performance, but even in the valley of their self-doubt?

Provocative thought: Perhaps, you are the one who needs someone to speak into your life. While you wait, you can be speaking into the lives of others through what you already know.

I am convinced that our leaders, teachers, mentors, parents and ancestors are our forerunners. They either succeeded or failed in creating a path of life for us to tread. All things being equal, we ought to demonstrate better results than did our predecessors.

John the Baptist was the forerunner of Jesus.
Then Jesus “increased” and John “decreased” (John 3:30). 
This increase is not addition, but a multiplying effect, the result of which is the Church.

End of Part One

For Part Two: Click Here
Modified excerpt taken from Kay and Olu Taiwo's book: The Progenitor Principle (aka The Principles of Fatherhood): Why You Must Leave a Legacy Behind. For more info: Click Here
Book by Kay & Olu Taiwo

The Progenitor Principle: Why You Must Leave a Legacy Behind

Learn the principles it takes to discover greatness in you and how to unleash it in others!

ISBN 0-9676572-1-0


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