This is a story of one of those times.
It’s a story that might upset some people, because it airs some of our dirty laundry. (If the title hasn’t ticked you off already, that is.)
But it’s also a personal confession. It puts my dirty laundry out there, too.
This is how some good people in my church taught their pastor an important lesson about what the kingdom of God is really all about.
What Cooperation Can Do
Years ago, our church signed up to cooperate with a huge evangelistic event that came to a nearby baseball stadium. We put up their posters, invited our people and sent volunteers to be trained as prayer counselors.
One of the benefits of being a participating church was that we would be entrusted with following up on some of the new believers who would fill out decision cards.
Their system worked great. Two of our leaders went through their follow-up class, giving them a level of training on discipling new converts that our Small Church wasn’t equipped to offer on our own.
Those who had been trained for prayer and counseling (including me) were told how to be available near the stage when people responded to the salvation call. The volunteers who had been trained in long-term follow-up would be led to a back room as soon as the altar call started. The cards of those who made salvation commitments would be brought to that room to be distributed according to where the new converts lived. The churches closest to them would be the ones to do the follow-up.
When Competition Gets In the Way
Being in the crowd around the stage as people came forward to make commitments to Christ was wonderful. It was a thrill beyond description to be among hundreds of people as we prayed, cried and rejoiced with people being born into new life in Christ.
Afterwards, the small group of prayer volunteers from our church gathered in the parking lot. We excitedly shared our experiences with each other. We couldn’t wait to get our hands on cards from new converts who lived near our church, so we could call them and start discipling them.
Then our follow-up volunteers arrived. And they weren’t happy. They were angry.