Compendium (part nine)
Leadership Courage Series # 43
Notice how little risk-taking the Church does today? Other than making a bold “leap of faith” to finance a 400-seat sanctuary for the comfort and convenience of their own people, when did any church you’re aware of attempt anything great for anyone?
For what greatness are we admired in society today?
As a young believer, the Signs & Wonders and Church Growth video series by John Wimber inspired me. It challenged me to believe that God would “confirm his word by the signs that accompanied it.” [Mk 16:20] when sharing Christ with those outside the Church.
Wide-eyed, I watched people receive prayer and several being healed of various medical maladies. Soon after, Annie and I signed up to be trained in “Power Evangelism” … the adventure was on!
Within weeks of the training, several of us were in Times Square chatting with pedestrians and offering to pray with them. I’d never done anything like it before. Many entrusted themselves to Christ and even more were miraculously healed: a punctured lung, alcohol addiction, paralysis, and other conditions were remedied before my astonished eyes. What an adventure.
Returning home, fearing we might’ve left behind the ability to minister God’s power, we threw ourselves into caring for the poor in our town—bringing groceries and offering to pray for anyone about anything. People began experiencing forgiveness, freedom, restoration, and healing. Uncontrollable hemorrhaging, severe infections, cancers, spinal meningitis was healed. Each encounter was a new adventure. We were walking in brand new territory. Biblical, but new.
Someone suggested we throw a Christmas Day banquet for the homeless, the poor, and those with no place to go. Without the time or resources, we leapt at the chance. People from all over town donated turkeys, hats, coats, and mittens, the use of a commercial kitchen, and a community center to hold it in. Adventures like this invigorate everyone. It’s now an annual event—where thousands are fed, clothed, and loved.
A couple years ago, somebody decided to “blow up” Vacation Bible School– realizing that by having it at a church almost all who attended were churched kids. That first year, against all odds, “VBS” happened in almost 30 locations off the church campus in parks, garages, driveways, community centers, and back yards across Orange County.
Of the nine hundred kids who took part, more than 70% were unchurched.
Adventures like this aren’t easy, comfortable, or predictable. When you are trusting God and taking leaps for the benefit of others—especially those who are not Christian—you are “living as Jesus lived” [I Jn 2:6] Jesus, in his humanity, got to trust the Father as he took risks—with the woman at the well, Lazarus, the Gadarene, etc, etc. He lived the adventurous life.
What about you?