Oct 26, 2022
The Christian movement has always faced headwinds. We need to accept this as a prevailing condition of our calling. Let’s remember that our founder faced continual pressure; it even culminated with a riotous crowd screaming for the release of a murderer and the execution of the Messiah-miracle-worker. What? Even Pilate was mystified by this level of injustice? But he gave into the crowd and ordered Barabbas to be free’d and Jesus to be crucified. (Mark 15:15). From that time to the present, Jesus’ followers have faced headwinds.
Over the years I’ve watched these winds often arise when mission-minded leaders start talking about opening up a Dinner Church congregation. Reaching isolated people should feel ‘noble’ to Christians, but oft-times it seems to threaten the insiders somehow, and headwinds begin to blow: “But we are the givers, are they?” “Will the leadership have time for us?”, “We have a limited budget you know!” Yes, insider winds will blow. There are outsider winds too. Once our New Passovers become effective and we start populating heaven again, the strongman will react. After all, Jesus Tables naturally start breaking oppressions off of people and plundering the strongman house. These headwinds can be extra blustery, as they are inspired by the uprising kingdom of darkness. Know this: any group using a Jesus Table will find themselves on the frontlines of the gospel, reaching isolated people, populating heaven, and plundering the strongman’s house. Given that, you might want to increase the fervor of your prayer life.
In our Seattle story, after opening eight Dinner Churches with significant effectiveness, we watched a dark wind blow against us that we were not prepared for. We had outlasted the internal headwinds, we had adjusted for the organizational headwinds, but we simply were not ready for the dark headwinds that “whipped up the crowd” and leveled unjust charges, courts, and government offices against us. That year we learned how powerful dark winds can be. We also learned how powerful bold and expectant prayers can be when practiced by Jesus’ people. What was intended for evil, Jesus used it for good. And what was intended to shut us down, Jesus boomeranged it to increase our influence. Amazing. I wouldn’t trade 2017 for anything. That was the year we learned how to do more than Jesus Tables, we learned how to pray with bold expectancy and similar to Acts 15:28 spread all-the-more through our city.
Are you facing some headwinds? I expect they will soon transform into your greatest influence. That is just what Jesus does with things that bluster against his kingdom.
Blessings & Boldness,
PS: In our book: “A Trowel and a Sword”, Episcopal Priest Jon Davis and myself (a pentecostal) delve into the topic of spiritual warfare in real time. This is a very practical approach approach to readiness for the front lines. In it I share our Seattle meltdown, and the boomerang Jesus piloted for us. (available on this website)
Dr. Verlon and Melodee Fosner have led a multi-site Assemblies of God Dinner Church in Seattle, Washington since 1999 (www.CommunityDinners.com). In this decade when more churches in the U.S. are declining than thriving, and when ninety-six churches a week are closing, Verlon and Melodee sensed that a different way of doing church was needed for their 100-year old Seattle congregation. It soon became obvious that they were not the only ones in need of a different path. They joined the FX team in 2016 and founded the Dinner Church Collective. And then in 2019 founded the Dinner Church School of Leadership. There is a lot to be gained when church leaders begin to see open doors in the American landscape that they had previously overlooked. Therein lies the journey for those who will forge a new future for the American Church.