No Programs, Marketing, or Censuses
As a group, as a family, you said you have been there for twenty years already, doing that kind of thing. How would you rate your growth? How are you doing with the church? Are they, your family, your set up…is it growing? Is it phenomenal? It’s a radical thing. I know, and I really believe that what you’re telling us, with all my heart, is really the correct one. But we are in the same boat when answering “why” you have to do this thing, because it’s really biblical. But sometimes we are diversified in how to do things. Diversified. So it’s really very hard because it’s a radical thing. How would you rate yourself, your group, or your… Are you growing, or is the growth very, very minimal, or what?
Well, I’d say a couple things about that. One is, when David took a census, when he tried to count his kingdom he got in a lot of trouble with God for that. And to our 21st century minds we would think there is no problem with that. But from God’s vantage point, He really didn’t want that kind of evaluation going on. He said, “This is my business, not yours, David. You’re only a pawn in my game. This is MY game. Let me worry about it.”
“ …Because you’re going to count wrong anyway.” So that’s one thing I’d say about it. We’re very careful to not try to think about it in terms of anything that’s ours, or anything that ought to be measured, or controlled, or that we should be ambitious for…
No, I really don’t mean that…
I know. I’m just trying to give the big picture.
I know it’s really radical. I have a friend in another city. And he’s really a very, very good man. He gives Bibles to Muslims, sometimes to the extent of risking his life. He’s a good man, and he’s very helpful to me. We can say our church is really struggling in the city in terms of many, many things: resources, etc…. But he’s very helpful. But his point of view is , “Why would you go to a Bible school? You would learn something that’s not good for you.” I’m asking this to your group. Are you in the same line of thinking with this friend of mine?
About telling your friend, “Why do you need to go to a Bible School?”
No, not really. Let me go back to your earlier question, and then we’ll go on. There are probably around 120 countries that we’re involved with on some level. Now, that’s with no advertising. We’ve never sold anything in twenty years. We’ve never sold a book. We’ve never tried to have any kind of marketing or television evangelism.
No name. No logo.
There’s no name of our church. There’s no logo or marketing. We don’t have a head person who makes all the decisions, a person who is in charge. There’s no “senior pastor.” We have a lot of people with the gift of shepherd, but we don’t have any hierarchy. There’s no “boss” or “bosses.” We’re brothers. Like Jesus said even to the 12 apostles of the Lamb, “I want you to be brothers amongst brothers. Don’t let people call you by titles. Don’t try to take the chief place and be greeted in the marketplace with titles. Don’t do that.” We’ve taken that seriously, too, because we only want to be brothers and love each other. But we do have different gifts. And there will be leadership gifts and other things that are very urgent to the Body of Christ. It’s not without leaders. It’s not without shepherds and teachers. But it’s without name tags, without titles, without offices and without the pyramid structure of men reporting to men. There’s none of that.
Let’s say you wanted to be involved in 120 countries in a few years. How would you do that? You’d have to let God do that in the same way He gathered 3,000 in a single day with the sound of a rushing wind, with no billboards, no calling cards, no television program. All of a sudden 3,000 people showed up, because God drew them there. That was something God did. Marketing would never have done that. Advertisements, structures, planning, programs, would never get 3,000 in one day. That’s where 120 countries came from. We had no ambition to do anything other than just love each other, but people all over the world keep finding out in ways we don’t even know about. And they’re calling us and writing us saying, “We want to live in the Life of Jesus.” And every denomination you can think of, 200 denominations, probably, have contacted us, saying, “We want the simple life of Jesus. We don’t want to be going through the motions year after year after year, like you’re on a treadmill running really hard but not going anywhere.”
There’s something biblical we’re missing. Can we work together to find out what God’s answers are? The answers have always been in the Bible. It’s like the scrolls that were found when the temple was destroyed in Josiah’s day. They found the scrolls in all the rubble of the destroyed temple. The scrolls had been there all along, they were just buried under the pile of man’s rubble. When they opened them up they said, “Wow, that’s always been here,” and they began to obey again. Well, that’s what we’re talking about. There are things that have always been in the scriptures. There’s nothing new about it. It’s just that very few people are doing it.
So, we do what God says with no other ambition than to love each other. Scott, David, Jim and I, and other brothers and sisters, are helping raise each other’s children because we don’t “see” it all by ourselves. They see something I don’t see, so they’ll let me know, “Hey brother, you’re not being a very good father in this area. You’re too busy. You’re not paying attention.” “Oh, okay.” And as we use all of our gifts every day that way, we look over your shoulder and 120 countries have contacted us without any advertising and with no desire to start a “movement,” and in fact hating the idea of a “movement.” We don’t want anything to do with any movements. What we want to do is to let Jesus be exalted to the highest place every day in everybody’s life that wears His Name, and there are a lot of people around the world that want that, too, and we’re just kind of along for the ride like you guys are.