The second church I pioneered was in Tucson, Arizona. We started the church with no one, and it wasn’t surprising that at the first service no one came.
I told my wife to act like there were a hundred people there, so when our newborn son started to cry, she covered his mouth and headed out of the sanctuary. I asked, “Where are you going?” She said, “You told me to act like there were a hundred people here.” I replied, “Don’t be ridiculous, sit back down, I’m not preaching to nobody.”
Luckily soon after that Chuck and Janette Rhodes came in, they would be some of the best people I ever worked with.
Some time later we moved to Flagstaff, Arizona to pastor. Chuck and Janet went to Kansas to pioneer a new church. After a few more years we were pastoring in Denver, Colorado and Chuck and Janet move there to work with us, bringing three people with them.
They played a big part in the church’s success there. After a short time, they got stirred to pastor again and went to Brighton, Colorado. As always, they would do a good job.
Chuck was a private investigator and had made real sacrifices to stay in that small city. Unfortunately, he developed leukemia and doctors couldn’t stop the disease.
When I went to visit him at the hospital, I wanted to make sure there were no bad feelings about the sacrifices he had made.
While a great pastor he never had more than a handful of people. I told him that I was sorry if I ever pressured him to do anything that he regretted.
He had only a few hours left to live, but he set up and grabbed me, and said, “The only things I don’t regret are the things you pressured me to do for God.”
Nobody on their death bed says drive my Cadillac up to the window. We connect to what we’ve done that carries into eternity.
While I’ve helped a few people succeed in making money, I think my greatest gift has been to encourage a lot of people to partner with the wild man by the name of Jesus. The guy who walks into crowds who want to kill him, and his most common words still are. "fear not."
Return to Monday Morning November 29