Sitting in my hotel room Wednesday evening, my cell phone rang just after 8:00. The caller ID showed a pastor who is taking his church through Reaching the Summit. In fact, I had been with his team just two nights prior. Reaching the Summit is a year-long process where I meet once a month with the pastor and a team from his church, looking at various principles and practices of reversing declining trends in the church. Included is a Vigorous Face to Face Summit with Reality. This church (as many do) realized their need to get into the community and be the hands and feet of Jesus.
On Monday evening we had discussed the church’s discovery of their perceived strengths – what they are godly-gifted at doing as a body of believers. The pastor had led the church members to determine and list these in the previous month. The church had also reached out to school administrators and the local Sheriff’s office asking for their opinion on the greatest needs in the community. These are two parts of a four quadrant matrix in helping the church in determining that one thing it can do better than anyone else in the community.
Knowing the pastor was to address the church on this particular evening with the results of their community assessment (sheriff’s office & school report), I presumed he might be calling for clarification about something that had been brought up in the church meeting. I was wrong.
Instead, the pastor, with controlled delight in his voice said, “I wanted to tell you what happened tonight.” He went on to tell me that as they were discussing the findings in their community assessment, which included helping the poor in the community and praying for individuals in the community, a lady unknown to anyone in the church and of a distinguishingly different ethnic background walked into the church meeting.
“She came in, walked towards the front of the room, and I asked her if I could help her.” The pastor shared.
Her reply was, “Yes, I need you to pray for me and I need $94 for rent.”
The pastor said he froze for a moment. He realized immediately, this was God. His actual words to me were, “George, this was a test from God on the very night we were discussing what we could do for the community.” My reply was, “It was not a test. It was an opportunity.”
On the very night they were speaking as a church family about becoming God’s witness to the community by relieving some of the true needs of the community, God sent this lady into their midst to give the church an opportunity to join God in His work.
The pastor stopped his presentation and discussion, prayed for the lady. The church then took up a collection for her and collected $146.
I do not think it will be difficult for this church to find their way to serving God in the next few months.
What a blessing! God will give us the desires of our heart when we seek Him. And His desire is for us to join Him in His work. How about your church? Are you seeking to truly join God in His work to the people around you and your church?
To learn more about Reaching the Summit: Avoiding & Reversing Decline in the Church contact George Yates and visit SonC.A.R.E. Ministries.