Prior to His ascension into heaven, Jesus shared with His disciples a life-changing revelation - one that radically changed their lives and turned their world upside down.

He said, "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth
(Acts 1:8, NIV)."

I'm sure the disciples wondered how would this happen? How would they get to these foreign lands - places where some of them had never been? And where exactly are the ends of the earth? The mission seemed overwhelming at best, but Jesus was quite sure of His plans.

As history unfolded, something very miraculous took place. The gospel of Jesus Christ somehow managed to impact the entire Roman Empire (60 million people) in just 60 years! How did this happen, especially without any modern forms of travel and communications?

Two factors helped make this a reality. One was the work of the Holy Spirit who empowered the disciples and their mission. The other was the "koinonia" relationships that impacted the lives of people in every community they visited.

Although the disciples were about city-reaching, they understood the value of individual relationships - the "avenues" for effectual ministry. They quickly learned that God orchestrates personal relationships for divine purposes. People "connecting" with people; transformed lives that transformed communities - all because of the power of the Holy Spirit and the power of relationships.

City-reaching and community transformation are not new methodologies in the advancement of the Kingdom of God. They were Christ's mission for the early disciples, and they are our mission today! The same Holy Spirit is ever present to empower us as disciples, and relationships are still the "avenues" for effectual ministry.

God orchestrates
personal relationships
for divine purposes!






 

 

 






7 Steps Toward City-Reaching
and Community Transformation

 

 

 

In the 21st Century, Christians are already established in every community and every city all across America. So why has city-reaching and community transformation become so popular in literature today; and at the same time, a painstaking task? Perhaps it is not so much a problem with the Holy Spirit as it is in our ability to develop the kind of relationships, which ultimately lead to transformation.

Other factors that contribute to the success and/or failure of city-reaching and community transformation are:


·    The success in communicating a compelling vision for transformation that is urgent, relevant, and anchored.
·   The fertility of the culture's environment for the planting and growing of new paradigm, ministry models.
·   The realization in creating an accepted local coalition that guides the transformation process.
·    The ability to "connect" people in solid relationships that grow in depth and maturity.
·    The level of commitment, responsibility, and accountability of local community people to common purposes and goals.
·    The flexible and functional nature of effective organizational processes.
·    The willingness of Christians to focus on God's will and bond together in "relational synergism."



We believe the Church in the 21st Century must awaken to the reality of its present mission and embrace all of its foundational, biblical principles in contemporary form - new wineskins. Christians must recapture their "state of innocence" in trusting and obeying God. To do so means that we must be willing to allow God opportunity to bring the needed changes to our lives that foster transformation according to His design.

We believe transformation is not all about copying ministry designs, replicating formulas for success, or manipulating imbalanced attempts at growth. Transformation is all about God helping people become "originals" instead of "copycats."

This is grand opportunity for all of us to discover (or rediscover) the inherent potentials and possibilities that lay docile or "untapped" within our midst; a time to celebrate our own unique God-given lives, respecting other's differences, and then capitalizing on personal strengths and pooled resources. This is what makes transformation so inviting...exciting...and worthwhile!





Transformation is a journey into innovative thinking and creative works. It is a "process" that requires that each step be taken with enthusiasm, determination, and calculated risks. The results are always subject to God's will and our willingness to "connect" and "cooperate."

For the sake of simplicity, we believe that there are seven steps toward transformation, especially as it relates to small or large groups of people in congregations, organizations, or city-reaching initiatives. Each step in the process takes us closer to God's will for our lives and His Church.

Transformation is simply the "metamorphosis" of ordinary people into extraordinary ambassadors of Jesus Christ. Ambassadors refer to "agents" of government in foreign lands. As Christians, we are "change agents" of the Kingdom of God living in a world that is not our eternal home. We are the people of God, and we are being transformed into the image of Christ.

We have applied the seven steps toward transformation within the context of building authentic Christian community and synergistic city-reaching. Always keep in mind that the Holy Spirit is the power behind transformation, and relationships are the "avenues" for transferring transformational power.

Seven Steps Toward City-Reaching and Community Transformation:

1. Prepare Yourself for the Journey
2. Prepare Other People for the Journey
3. Build Coalition Forces that Empower Transformation
4. Develop Vision and Strategy that Map-out the Journey
5. Clear an Unobstructive, Wide Path for Transformation
6. Create Milestones and Check-points Along the Way
7. Build New Community Based Upon Transformational Values



For many years Kim and I have been involved in city-reaching and community transformation. For whatever reason, God has invested in us considerable amount of passion, education, and experience in helping people create a path toward transformation that impacts lives and communities. We also believe that what we have experienced is only "scratching the surface" as to what God will do in the days ahead.

The following information is simply meant to be an "overview" or first steps toward city-reaching and community transformation. This is a vision path that many have followed, some with minimal success; others with success beyond their dreams. As to how this plays out in different communities and cities across America, only God knows.

But one thing is quite certain, we as Christians can and must do our part - whatever it is...whatever it takes to align ourselves in partnership with God and His contemporary strategies in reaching people for Christ. A wise old saint once said, "Pray as if everything depends on God...work as if everything depends on you!" City-reaching and community transformation are all about both - praying and doing!
"Pray as if
EVERYTHING
depends on GOD.

Work as if
EVERYTHING
depends on YOU."

We are living in perhaps one of the greatest moments in our history. According to biblical prophecy and people's expectation around the world, Jesus Christ's imminent return is but moments away. God is doing a great and mighty work all around the world in preparation for Christ's return. He is preparing and positioning Christians and churches for the reaping of the last great harvest of souls. Many have answered the call, but many are still asleep.
The mighty Church must be awaken to its mission to reach people...reach communities...and reach cities with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Lives are at stake, and time is short.



7 Steps Toward City-Reaching
and Community Transformation



Step #1 - Prepare Yourself for the Journey

Key Challenge:

Make sure YOU are ready and committed to personal transformation (change).


We cannot be like those who say, "We need change so desperately, and let it begin in my spouse...my boss...my church." For transformation to become a reality in the lives of people, it must start somewhere with someone. The most likely candidate is probably the one who senses the greatest need. But think of it this way. Since transformation is divinely orchestrated by the Lord, the people He starts with are usually in for a great adventure and great blessings. So go ahead and seize the moment! Let the journey begin, and say "Let it start with me."

Before we can invite others to journey with you in transformation, you must be willing to walk the path first...and alone if need be for a season. Once transformation becomes a deeply entrenched passion within your heart, it then become transferable to others.

Action Steps:

·   Spend much time in personal prayer and bible-study regarding God's will for your life...mission...and family.
· Research testimonies (books, tapes, videos, etc.) of those who have made the journey.
· Discuss the realities of transformation with family and close friends - seeking their support.
· Make a solid decision to commit personal time, energy, and resources to the transformational process - a journey that could involve months or even years to travel.
· Align your conversation, attitude, and behavior with God's personal transformation for you; get ready for change, progress, and growth.





Step #2 - Prepare Other People for the Journey

Key Challenge:

Use the passionate fires of transformation that now burn within your heart to help light the way for others to follow.

Now is the time to create a real sense of urgency that inspires and motivates people to decisive action. This urgency should paint a vivid picture of current realities in contrast with God's contemporary ideals (paradigm shifts) for His Church. Issues to be dealt with are obstacles to transformation, outdated man-made traditions, trite solutions to people's problems, complacency, and resistance to change.

Action Steps:

·   Through a variety of means communicate your personal passion and research regarding transformation to potential fellow travelers.
· Invite others to view the same testimonies that inspired your passion.
· Within a wide array of relationships (family, friends, co-workers, etc.) engage conversations about the urgent need for transformation.
· Ask people for their honest opinion regarding the current state of affairs of their church or ministry.
· Depending upon the size and complexity of your transformational process, consider getting help from outside sources such as: church growth consultants, ministry facilitators, or seasoned "change-agents."

 

Every community...every city...and every nation has fully devoted disciples of Jesus Christ waiting for "marching orders." Some are active; some are inactive; and some have never acted at all. These Christians must be awakened to the reality of God's contemporary strategies in bringing people to Christ.

They must be awakened to the urgent need in reaping the last great harvest of souls before Christ's return, which is imminent upon history's horizon. Time is running out. We must act, and we must do it now! Call upon all who will pray for renewal, revival, and reformation for the Church. Along with prayer, some practical tips for awakening the Church (the
"sleeping giant") may include:

·   Developing a "communicate strategy" that casts a compelling vision for city-reaching and community transformation that motivates, challenges, and inspires people to get busy about God's business, right now! This communications strategy must be able to culturally speak language that people will listen to, contemplate, and understand. This should include facts, statistics, credible reports, and personal testimonies.

· Defining the audience who will be targeted with this communications strategy. We must ask ourselves certain questions. Who are we trying to reach? What exactly are we trying to say? How will they best receive our challenge? How to we provide opportunities for feedback? How do we deal with conflict associated with challenges to status quo?

· Deciding what forms of communications are needed, at what frequency, and for how long. This will require a substantial amount of planning, coupled with a flexible process that must be customized to the geographical location and culture. We must be prepared to experiment with various means of communication (print, media, public speaking, etc.)


Once a customized communications strategy has been defined, now is the time to "connect" people who have already been stirred in their hearts by the Lord about change.

This is the first stage in the development of coalition forces that will guide transformation.

Remember, relationships require a considerable amount of invested time and trust-building. Never shortcut this effort or hurry the process by forsaking people for the sake of the program. Also keep in mind that the Lord orchestrates personal relationships for divine purposes. Never underestimate any relationship.


There are several ways of "connecting" relationships such as:

·   Personal visits by passionate "change-agents" to certain people who will provide a list of promising coalition candidates. Reinforce these visits with periodic phone calls, cards, and letters.

·   Small group gatherings should be orchestrated to present the vision for transformation. These small gatherings should flow together along different parallels such as: small gatherings for youth, parents, singles, older adults, special interest groups, etc. These gatherings could be breakfast, lunch, or dinner gatherings. They may be guest speaker engagements at certain formal or informal gatherings. They may be simple impromptu meetings in coffee shops, local parks, or shopping malls.

· If you are involved in city-reaching, small gathering should be scheduled where pastors are present and small gatherings where church leaders are present. Other small group gatherings might include Christian business leaders; other gatherings may be for civic leaders. Do not limit these gatherings just for church-attenders. Many "displaced" Christians are among the ranks of people in the community. Many of these "displaced" Christians are disillusioned with static, traditional church structures and are anxiously awaiting opportunities to serve viable missions.

·   The goal in all of this is to "connect" people with others who are passionate about community transformation and/or city-reaching . Eventually, out of all these intentional, relationship-building efforts, will emerge a coalition of people who will lead and manage the transformation process.





Step #3 - Build Coalition Forces that Empower Transformation

Key Challenge:

Identify and align the right people with enough power and influence to lead and manage the transformational process.

Coalition forces are needed to build consensus, credibility, and synergistic results.
This is a very important step in the success of implanting and anchoring transformation paradigms within the community. This will require much prayer concerning who will be part of the initial phases of coalition development.

The ultimate goal is to build "relational synergism" - people working together for greater purposes realized only through concerted efforts.



Action Steps:

·   Establish the coalition with Christians who people trust and have confidence in. Look for those who are extremely passionate about serving the Lord and people's needs.

· Find those who have lots of time and energy to invest in promoting the cause for community transformation. And don't be surprised where these Christians might come from. Some might be very visible church or community leaders; other may be waiting in the wings for just the right moment to serve. Some may be pastors; others may be business leaders. Some will be men; others will be women. Some will be young; others old. If possible, find the Christian "statesmen" in the church or community; those who can "champion the cause" and communicate vision in clear, compelling ways.

· Build team(s) of influential people who can go the distance in the transformational process and can encourage other people to do the same. As to the size of the coalition, keep it small (no more than 12-15 individuals) enough to serve opportunity for relational building. If more people wish to participate, then initiate more small groups; and then, network them together. Coalition forces may be established all across the city in different geographic locations. There will be times to "rally" all of these forces for strategic planning and celebration.

·   Once coalition allies have been identified, now is the time to formalize their commitments. Written covenants or pledges are an excellent way to establish public commitments; but we all know, words without deeds will paralyze needed actions. Perhaps the strongest way to formalize commitment is to regularly pray together and intentionally build solid relationships with other coalition members. This will be the glue that holds the transformation process together.

· Remember, the purpose of this coalition is not focused on leadership status or roles, but upon team tasks, high performance, and synergistic results. There will be much "talking" at first, but don't let rhetoric rule the day. "Doing" is the bottom line.

· A word of wisdom. Don't be surprised by "early adopters" who eventually fall out of ranks over time. This is not unusual and may be the Lord's way of positioning and displacing certain individuals. Also don't be surprised if initial advocates latter become skeptical critics. The enemy will most assuredly attempt to destroy relationships and bring conflict; however, don't treat all conflict as enemy-inspired. Oftentimes, conflict is a "red flag" brought about by misunderstanding or bad communications. Staying close to people in relationships will soothe conflict in many cases.




Step #4 - Develop Vision and Strategy that Map-out the Journey

Key Challenge:

Create a clear, comprehensive, and compelling picture of the future that most people will desire and immediately work towards.

When people can see it; they can be it. The real power behind vision is unleashed when others catch a glimpse of the future and are willing to do whatever it takes to get there. If you give people opportunity to participate in paving the way for transformation, they will gain "ownership" in the project and invite others to participate as well. This is a powerful motivating factor in getting people involved.

Action Steps:

·   Have coalition forces and supporting groups spend much time in prayer concerning God's specific desires for transformation within your church, ministry, or city-reaching initiative.

· Gather rich intelligence. Before stepping foot on any foreign soils, armies gather rich intelligence about the people in the land. This includes: geography, culture, politics, centers of influence, power sources, etc. In similar manner you must gather rich intelligence about your people, their needs, and their communities. Don't hurry this important effort. Take time to gather all the information that you need. Ask the Lord to open specific doors to specific information.

· If you are involved in a city-reaching initiative, gather information about the number of churches in the city, the denominational and non-denominational presence; the size of certain churches; the influence of certain churches in the community. Other information would include the specific ministries (churches and parachurches) involved in community outreach. What about already established city-reaching associations? You would need to identify the established prayer networks and prayer leaders. You need to identify potential allies for community transformation. You would also need to gather information about secular organizations that minister to the needs of people. Many of these organizations have Christians on board. Find certain Christian business and civic leaders who are passionate about community outreach.

·   Several ways of gathering information can be used such as: telephone surveys, research from census data and information directories, personal visits to people's homes, places of employment, schools, etc. Once data is collected, then it must be put into printed form for others to view and analyze.

Now that a coalition has been established and rich intelligence gathered, it is now time to empower the team that will "plan the work."

Use team-based leadership to help formulate plans. You should consider spending a few hours educating people in team-building and the power of synergism. This team-building process must not be haphazard, but specifically designed to produce high performance teams geared toward broad-based action and synergistic results.

For an excellent resource on team-building, see Pat MacMillan's book entitled "The Performance Factor, Unlocking the Secrets of Teamwork." Planning must be done by teams characterized by common purpose, crystal clear roles, accepted leadership, effective processes, solid relationships, and excellent communications.

The ten key principles of synergistic team development are:

· Teams and team development are about results.
·   Know what you are trying to build.
· Team development is an ongoing process, not an event.
· Just in time is the best time for training.
·   Development must be a felt need of the team.
·   Team development demands a safe environment.
·   Use the work of the team to build the team.
·   There are no short cuts to team effectiveness.
·   Willingness precedes skill.
·   Team leaders need a head start.

When it comes time to actually plan, be succinct in answering the seven (7) basic questions in the "planning process." Don't minimize this process. Shortcuts will eventually sabotage your long-term efforts.

1. What do we want to be?
This is our vision, which helps us see where we are going.

2. What is our purpose?
Vision helps us to see; unity of purpose helps us to do!

3. Where are we at now?
This will clearly define our strengths/weaknesses, our available resources, and open and shut doors of opportunity. In terms of resources, don't get dismayed. It's not the amount of resources you have, but how resourceful you are.

4. Where are we going?
This is our goals/objectives. Make sure to develop s.m.a.r.t. (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely) goals. This will help things flow smoothly, efficiently, and with successful outcomes.

5. How will we get there?
This is your "effective processes" which balance individual responsibility with team developmental tasks and mutual accountability that says, "This is my part of our job."

6. How long will it take?
This is the time frame for goals and objectives. Be realistic!

7. How will we know we've arrived?
This is the much needed evaluation that provides opportunity to sharpen our abilities and better serve people.



Step #5 - Clear an Unobstructive, Wide Path for Transformation

Key Challenge:

Empower leaders and broad-based actions that keep the transformational process in forward progress.

Clearing this path requires a great amount of wisdom and courage. Blazing a new path is not easy. You must be ready to face certain challenges and obstacles brought on by people's fears, resistance to change, and spiritual warfare. Take heart, because you do not step out alone. You go in the strength and power of God's Holy Spirit; in addition, you go out in strong, interdependent relationships with other comrades in the Lord.

Once you have "planned your work," now is the time to "work the plan."

This is where the "rubber hits the road" or where "feet hit the path." For some people this will be an awesome adventure; for others a great "wilderness experience." Some people will thrive in this process; others will approach it with cautious optimism. Some will be full speed ahead; others will lag behind. But don't get discouraged and don't lose your focus. The ends will most certainly justify the means. Effective ministry does not happen without hard work and sometimes much pain. When we step out on the playing field of the advancement of the Kingdom of God, we do so as a mighty army ready for battle.

Action Steps:

·   Do an honest assessment of all present structures, programs, activities, etc. as to their alignment with future vision and strategies. Will they help you move forward, backwards, or off the path?

· Remove any obstacles that undermine the transformational process and develop effective conflict management.

· Using good communications and education, initiate strategic "transitions" that help people deal with the loss of certain sacred traditions that hinder God's plan and the transformational process. Treat every move as an experiment in change, progress, and growth. This will help to not back people into a corner, forcing them to react instead of responding. Move at a steady pace that everyone can possibly follow.

·   Empower people and structures that are aligned with the new vision and transformation. Giving people important responsibilities without the power to act will stop transformation.

· Bathe all aspects of the action plan in both private and public intercessory prayer.
t

Working the plan is all a matter of staying connected in viable relationship with God, His divine purposes, and the people He teams together. Doing this moves you forward in many strategic battles and victories.

Please keep in mind that no matter whether you are working with paid staff or volunteers, all people involved will work according to a strategic "alignment."

This alignment is a crucial part of team development and is obtained one person at a time through the context of trust-building relationships. A team is much more than a "fellowship" or a "committee." A team is a group of people who voluntarily commit to common purpose; who choose to cooperate in order to achieve synergistic results.

Synergism is a dynamic process in which the output is much greater than the sum of all inputs. This happens only when the team reaches their highest level of cooperation, which is a choice made by each individual team member.

This alignment is based upon five criteria:


1. Clear (I see it).
The benefits of moving forward with transformation must be clear and understandable by all who are involved.

2. Relevant (I want it).
Forward progress is a self-motivated action by individuals with self-interests, needs, and desires.

3. Significant (It's worth it).
The price to be paid for transformation must be worth people's time, energy, and personal investments.

4. Achievable (I believe it).
Transformation must become a personal passion and desire of all workers or it will simply become rhetoric.

5. Urgent (I want it,...now!)
Without question, transformation must be seen as a powerful process that will bring people closer to God and people - a process that is non-negotiable and cannot wait until some later time. It must happen now, or people will suffer consequences sooner or later.

As to some important items in "working the plan,"


·   Pay particular attention to proper recruitment, interviewing, and placement of ministry personnel. Tools are available to help with this process.
· Make sure people are properly prepared and positioned for specific assignments. Training may be essential for certain tasks.
· Prayerfully and directly deal with any misunderstandings or conflicts. Don't let them go unnoticed for periods of time. This may cause dissension in the ranks and open a door for the enemy to muster opposition.
·   Don't allow people to forsake family relationships and responsibilities for the sake of the cause. Use flexibility in job assignments and remember to delegate responsibilities as needed. It is o.k. to raise levels of expectations in performance, but allow for mishaps and failures. People will rise to levels of expectations, but only in a caring environment - a place where failure is not fatal; a place where relationships are built on trust; a place where people are free to be themselves.




Step #6 - Create Milestones and Check-points Along the Way

Key Challenge:

Erect milestones (successes) along the long path of transformation that validate change and celebrate the contribution of workers.

Milestones and check-points are a vital part of planning success. They serve as "short-term wins" and times for much needed evaluation. These important elements provide evidence that the sacrifices made were worth it. They also help to "fine-tune" strategies and keep goals on track. They are great at undermining cynics and change resisters. Milestones and checkpoints help build momentum for next steps in the transformation process.

Action Steps:

·   Create realistic goals that can be obtained within the first 12-18 months. This will prevent most people from becoming disillusioned or side-tracked with the process.

· Journal all progress and communicate short-term successes to all people involved. Publish progress reports so people can see the results of transformation.

· Plan events that recognize and reward the contribution of workers.

·   Treat changes as "experiments" in progress and growth and not as "do or die" actions. Communicate these as "new chapters" in the church's or organization's biography, and not as opportunities to tear-out old pages in their significant history.

·   Use check-points as opportunities to check the progress of changes; and if need be, change course direction, go back to the drawing board, or make adjustments according to God's will for transformation.

Evaluation is an extremely important aspect in strategic planning. It helps us to avoid huge "pot-holes" in the path towards transformation. Planning the work; working the plan always requires that we stop…look…and listen at all times to how well we are doing. Take time to realistically evaluate plans - their successes and failures. There may be times to tenaciously move forward…put on the breaks…wait until a latter time, or simply scrap the efforts in favor of new ones. Always remain obedient to the Lord's guidance and stay flexible in your planning process to make changes, detours, or blaze new paths at any moment.



Step #7 - Build New Community Based Upon Transformational Values  
 

Key Challenge:

Create a cultural environment that anchors new transformational values and paves the way for future paradigm shifts.

For transformation to be successful, a new community must be established that reflects the testimony of God's transformational process. The greatest cries among people today are their longing to fellowship with genuine Christians and be part of authentic Christian community. Transformation can help make this a reality.

Action Steps:

·   Solidify the benefits of change with public testimonies on a regular basis.

· Anchor new cultural values by modeling transformation through changed attitudes, behaviors, and actions.

· Celebrate transformation with planned activities and events that reinforce the benefits of change.

·   Never...ever let your guard down against the forces that seek to undermine transformation such as: complacency, apathy, and discord.

· Once transformation has had able time to take shape, keep pressing on. Keep praying and keep doing!

· Stay focused upon God's will and stay open to new paradigm shifts in the transformation process that impacts the lives of all people within your community.




When Working with People:  

Christian transformation is all about people and relationships.

There will be times when working with people proves to be a tremendous challenge, but keep in mind the following tips:


·   People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered - love them anyway!
· If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives - do good anyway!
· If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies - succeed anyway!
·   The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow - do good anyway!
· Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable - be honest and frank anyway!
·  The biggest people with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest people with the smallest minds - think big anyway!
· People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs - fight for some underdogs anyway!
· What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight - build anyway!
·   Give the world the best you've got, and you'll get kicked in the teeth - give the world the best you've got anyway!

These things may sound negative, but they are really quite scriptural. Why are we so surprised? The Scriptures and Jesus forewarned us that these things would indeed happen. I'm not suggesting that we should be negative; but in fact, be positive. Jesus encourages us to move full speed ahead in our journey called "life" - knowing that these things will happen. Not acting surprised, but acting in obedience to love, doing good, succeeding, being honest and frank (yet not biting).

Think big!
We serve a BIG GOD! Fight for some underdogs (been there), build, give the world the best you've got, because Jesus died for the world...for you...and me.


One of the greatest attributes of God is the ability (power) to LOVE and not get it in RETURN. It seems that most of us can LOVE if we get it in return. But the true mark of being a Christian is LOVING ANYWAY. Look at the very core of our destruction (sin) that tears our lives apart and you will see our problems with dysfunctional relationships. They are crumbling. Help us God!

The whole foundation of the cross is the redemption of relationships. The cross is the path paved to stop the vicious cycle of retaliation - "You hurt me; I hurt you." The buck stops here - "You hurt me; I love you." This is not easy stuff...but we have help. Jesus...the Holy Spirit...and God. I don't want these to be just words and ideas but actions and reality in my own life. I'm very sure that most Christians do too.

When it comes to building relationships towards city-reaching and community transformation, be sure to maintain a sane estimate of yourself and your abilities. Don't overburden yourself or comrades with unrealistic expectations or stress. Remember the Great Commission, "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age (Matthew 28:19-20, NIV)."

We do not approach the mission of ministry alone. Jesus said that He would never leave or forsake us. "For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them (Matthew 18:20, NIV)." We must hold fast to Jesus…no matter what.
For those of you who decide to invest your efforts in city-reaching and community transformation, I pray that the Lord will truly empower your efforts, open many relational doors, and bind many Christians together in love, passion, and purpose.



Final Remarks :  

Whether you are considering transformation or blazing a path, we strongly encourage you to not wait for certain things to happen.

Don't wait until "the great and wonderful revival that will change our lives" (as promises by many preachers) hits your life or church. God births revival first and foremost in the heart of an individual believer, who catches on fire and ignites others.

Don't wait until you have all the resources that you believe are needed to move forward in transformation. Perhaps the greatest resource that God uses in any transformation process is a "willing heart." Make sure you have plenty of this and transformation will certainly happen.

And don't wait until someone else you know walks the path first, especially a spouse, a friend, or a respected leader. If you sense in any way that God is tugging at the strings of your heart to follow Him in the journey towards transformation, go for it! You'll never be the same, but you will if you don't.

When opportunity for transformation knocks, be ready, be resourceful, and be responsive. Be like the famous Christian scientist, George Washington Carver, who once said, "Use what you got...to the best of your ability...and do it now." This pretty much sums it all up.
Do it, now!

May the Lord richly bless you in your journey towards transformation.

Mike and Kim Simon
The Powerlife Project





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