The Incredible Story of One Church That Turned around In 30 Days

0
58

On the one hand, I am hesitant to share this information. Our team works with several denominational leaders to implement The Hope Initiative. We get reports of God’s work every week. My concern is that I might imply that The Hope Initiative is a silver bullet. It is not. But God is using it. 

I also want to be careful to suggest that a 30-day turnaround means that the church is okay with a quick fix, and they are done. They are not. Such is the reason we often refer to The Hope Initiative as a “jump start.”

On the other hand, we are currently seeing so much fruit from this initiative that I don’t want to keep it quiet. I continue to be amazed at God’s work in these churches.

You will be amazed at the following story.

The Background

This particular African Methodist Church (AME) denominational leader asked us to work with 25 churches in his state to implement The Hope Initiative. In essence, three of our team members (including me) provided them with training, encouragement, and accountability for three months via Zoom.

What we found with this group, like most congregations, is that the churches that put the effort into The Hope Initiative are highly likely to see fruit. No, it’s not because this ministry is the silver bullet to which I alluded earlier. Instead, it is a 30-day culture shift to move hearts toward prayer and reaching the community evangelistically. Its simplicity overcomes most perceived hurdles.

Of course, I could share many stories. I thought this one would be encouraging for you church leaders.

The Church

The AME church pastor took our admonitions to heart. He and his wife found a few willing participants to go through The Hope Initiative. Brad Waggoner on our team provided one-on-one coaching between our Zoom sessions with all 25 churches. We waited as each church went through the 30-day jumpstart. Then we heard the stories.

Rather than create a narrative about this church, I took Brad’s bullet-point notes to share with you. Brad said they are very close to verbatim quotes from the pastor.

  • We already completed the first 30 days.
  • Visitors have been coming.
  • Energy is higher.
  • We might need a bigger church building!
  • Members are starting to pray about the Great Commission.
  • It is spilling over. People are hearing about the book (Pray & Go) and are saying they want a copy. 
  • I am now focused on evangelism and outreach every day.
  • Our people are praying in one accord.
  • The Holy Spirit is present and moving. 
  • Now, we want to get our young people involved. 
  • Some people not involved in The Hope Initiative are inviting others to church as well. 
  • My wife and I are doing more outreach than ever.
  • It feels like now all of us are doing outreach and not just the pastors. 
  • The combination of praying, reading the book, and relying on the Holy Spirit has caused much fruit.
  • One lady was driving around praying for houses and noticed her son was praying also. She was really blessed to see this happen with her son. 
  • It has been like throwing seeds everywhere. 
  • We haven’t heard of any violence in the community since we started doing The Hope Initiative.
  • This has been a prosperous 30 days.
  • This has been like Superman getting his power. 
  • We will also start a group with people in the 25-35 age bracket.
  • This has been like when people first saw electric lights. Everyone wants in on it. 
  • Initially, some people had to get past the perception that The Hope Initiative would be like schoolwork. 
  • They did The Hope Initiative during the Lent season while many members were fasting. It gave our people something to do during Lent. It boosted everything to another level.
The Principles

Though The Hope Initiative is not yet a year old, we have sufficient feedback to report. It is the most significant evangelism and prayer initiative I have participated in. Indeed, we are hearing that same sentiment from many people. Here are some key principles we have learned thus far:

  • God honors the obedience of His people: We cannot presume upon God. We cannot control God’s responses. However, we can say that when His people earnestly pray and seek to share their faith, He honors their obedience. God commanded us to go into His fields where the harvest is plentiful (Luke 10:2-3).
  • Simplicity works. As we began the beta tests of The Hope Initiative last year, we saw church members respond readily to the simplicity of the approach. They read a challenge a day for 30 consecutive days and respond accordingly. Each challenge is clear and simple.
  • A few people can initiate significant positive change in a church. Though we get reports of a large number of people participating in The Hope Initiative, most of them begin with a few members invited by the pastor. There does not have to be a burden of recruiting many people. Note the verbatim in this article. When members who were not participating in The Hope Initiative saw the response of those who were, they wanted to be a part of this movement.
  • The emphasis can be ongoing. In every church we have consulted or church leaders we coached, those evangelistic churches had one common action. They had some type of evangelistic effort in the church at least once a quarter. Many church leaders decided to use The Hope Initiative on an ongoing basis. Though there are countless ways to lead evangelism in the church, the congregation can use this approach multiple times a year.
  • Typically, the most eager participants in The Hope Initiative were those who had participated before. This effort does not have to be one-and-done. Next month, I will participate in my church’s introduction of The Hope Initiative. It will be my fourth time. The blessings I see increase with each round of my participation.

I do not presume upon God’s future for The Hope Initiative. But I am grateful to Him for what He has done thus far. People have been saved. Prayer has increased in churches. Churches are unified. And the power of God is evident.

“Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to Him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and forever! Amen” (Ephesians 3:20-21, NLT).