Twenty-one years ago I prayed a prayer that has changed me more than any other. It changed my vocation, location, orientation, and just about every other “ation” in my life.The prayer?
“God, I don’t ask you for much today. I just ask that you give me your heart for lost people.”
Nineteen words. Twenty-one syllables. Seventy letters. One request.
I prayed that prayer every day for ninety days. By the end of it, I was a new man. I was no longer content to serve the church. I was compelled to serve God and his purposes in the world. At the time, I was an associate pastor in a nice, safe church in rural Colorado. I was content with that. I planned to stay there for a long, long time.
But the prayer (or, the Lord) wouldn’t let me. The prayer moved me to San Diego County, where I founded New Song Community Church, a church focused on reaching the lost. To date, just a few less than 8,000 people have received Christ through New Song’s ministries. Last year we released a movie that we believe is saving lives daily. (The movie is aptly named, “To Save A Life.”) We’ve helped start seven churches and seven parachurch ministries or outreach-focused companies, one of which has planted 104,000 churches. I am in awe of what God has done.
Here’s what I know:
1. A simple prayer really can change you.
2. God’s great desire is that all people come to know him.
3. God uses ordinary people who are willing to take extraordinary risks.
4. The community you live in will only be reached if people like you pray dangerous prayers and get about the business of building Christ’s church.
5. Churches that reach out are led by pastors who are compelled by God to reach their communities. Most of these pastors don’t see themselves as overly impressive. They’re just convicted to their core that they must mobilize people to reach out because they are convinced that this is God’s primary purpose for them, and for their people.
Hal Seed is the founding and Lead Pastor of New Song Community Church in Oceanside, CA. Hal mentors pastors to lead healthy, growing churches. He offers resources to help church leaders at www.pastormentor.com.
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