God is up to something in Somerset, KY. Last year, a group of students from the Pulaski County High School FCA begin to meet on Sunday evenings to pray for their friends–that Christ might transform their lives. This same small group of students decided to have a “youth rally” last Wednesday. This youth rally has now turned into what would seem to be a real Spirit-led revival as hundreds of students from their school, neighboring schools (Somerset and Southwest Pulaski High Schools), and adults from the community have continued to show up every night since. They have even had to change venues to accommodate the people. Nearly 1300 came to 1st Baptist Church last night to meet with Jesus and hear stories from students with a hunger to follow Christ. “Every night more and more people keep showing up. We’ve seen tons of kids surrender their lives to Christ.” Says Greg Gover, the FCA Director for South Central Kentucky. One local principal shared with the FCA staff that, “the revival is changing my school.”
God taught me a great lesson when I worked with FCA. Since FCA must be “student led and student initiated,” pastors and even teachers and coaches are not allowed to lead ministry efforts on public school campuses. Adults involved have to step back and empower students to step up. God then works through students who see themselves as ministers and believe in His power to bring about “revival.” This dynamic helped me to see how giving permission to others to do ministry could not only transform entire communities, but follows the model Jesus and the apostles gave. Jesus knew that if the world was going to be redeemed it would be through normal folks who were convinced that He could move mountains through them. He knew that ordinary people would have to believe that, regardless of their title, education, or position in their religious organization and culture, that they could be a “minister.”
In reflecting on my life and the stories of others, it seems that while campus ministry can be great at highlighting this important aspect of gospel multiplication, something seems to happen when we graduate from college and get involved in a local church. It can often seem (even when not actually the case) that ministry becomes more about a congregation empowering the staff to live out the dreams and vision they have for reaching the world for Christ than the staff empowering others to do the work of the ministry. This is usually unintentional, but happens none-the-less. Pleas from church leaders for others to volunteer for their programs, events, and services seem louder than the call to make disciples of all the nations. Rather than calling people to change the world, we end up only asking them to pass out bulletins. While some eventually grow content with passing out bulletins, many eventually loose interest in the local churches programs and leave or become a frustrated spectator.
What would happen if every adult believer became like children again? What would happen if leaders in the Body looked to empower all believers to believe that God can really use them to see their city changed? What might happen if we had a self-imposed rule for leaders that prevented us from doing the ministry? How would “church” function differently? Would we know how to empower the Body from the background? How might this look? How might this redefine “leadership?”
For me, years of wrestling with these questions and others have led me to this journey we call “simple church.” I thank God for the childlike faith and the audacity of these students to believe that God can use them to reach their friends and community with the Good News. May God grant us all the same childlike faith and may we too believe that we can advance be apart of seeing our friends and town changed by Christ!
Greg has asked for prayer for the students: That they would hear clearly from the Lord about how He wants this to proceed. As you might imagine, the students are beginning to face some very real persecution from the community (and from other “Christians”). To follow what is happening in Somerset, visit South Central FCA Director Greg Gover on facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/gmgover