I’ve only been pastoring for six years. Just when I get comfortable, ministry, people and my Lord remind me that I haven’t quite arrived. Being a church planter has been the most difficult yet rewarding thing I’ve ever done. I spent 26 years as a US Army officer (which included several deployments after 9/11), yet planting a church has been the most challenging.
About 6 months ago, I stood outside of our church (located on a commercial street in Philadelphia) and observed so much brokenness. I asked myself if we were making a difference in our community. At that moment, I felt the Holy Spirit remind me that His presence can bring the transformation I longed for in a way that our strategies/planning could never achieve. Those are essential in order to execute the mission, but without His presence they are incomplete. Immediately, I felt compelled to research past revivals. I was led to the Hebrides Revival (Scotland) in 1949. This revival included a powerful presence of God’s in response to the prayer of two elderly ladies (ages 84 & 82) and seven men who earnestly prayed for a move of God. The initial question to their pastor which led to intense prayer was “Can we try God?”
Before the revival, not a single young person attended their services. Afterwards, the church was bursting with young people. Bars and dance halls closed! God’s presence moved throughout the community and brought immediate transformation. This church, like many of ours, had conducted conferences and had grand church growth ideas, but hadn’t prayed fervently as the Word urges us to. His presence made all of the difference. I’m all about church growth strategies/conferences, but we won’t experience the entirety of what God wants if we don’t face the question, “Can we try God?”