My wife and I were frightened by the site of the young man who entered our small church building, asking for money and a place to sleep.
He was a “hippy,” living on the road—with enough body odor and greasy hair to prove it. We gave him money but couldn’t offer him a place for the night. We lived 45 miles away and didn’t think the church building was for sacking out.
But he also caused us fear. Fresh out of a Bible college and a short internship, we had no idea what to do with people like him. We liked him, but he seemed to threaten all we stood for.
But, we prayed that we could reach people like him.
Little did we know that people like him would make up the central focus of our steadily growing congregation once it got off the ground.
Nor did we know that we would soon look like the church in Corinth. Substitute Ron, Virgil, Rich, and Ralph for Paul, Apollos, Peter, and Jesus, and you’ll get the picture.
We were a fractured church. But after prayer, we decided our best shot was to simply pastor Virgil, Rich, Ron, and the handful of people who thought I was their pastor. It worked—well. Rich went on to plant the first of 700 churches to come out of our original 12 people.
For five years, we lived with a mild sense of fright. But it was that fright that drove us to our knees. The ultimate result was always innovation.
We learned to do things in new and different ways as we took our fears to the Lord. Many years later, we are in the midst of succession. A younger crew is slowly assuming leadership, and our congregation is growing. But these, too, are frightful days—we’ve never passed this way before.
Thank God we are frightened just enough to keep on our knees. The result is ongoing innovation and the kind of growth we knew at the beginning.