Sometimes the things that we want to accomplish can seem really daunting. At times in my leadership of the CLC USA ministry I have been overwhelmed at the opportunities that are in front of me and wonder how God will supply the resources that we need. Jim Collins first coined the term BHAG -Big Hairy Audacious Goal – in his 1994 book, Built to Last. So many of the things that God has called CLC to do over the years fit into that category.
This week, I was reminded once again that God has often allowed us to set big goals and see them met through strategic partnerships that He has brought our way. Each year we host a VBS (Vacation Bible School) workshop for local churches in the Philadelphia and New Jersey area. This past Thursday, we had a record crowd of over 100 attendees come out to hear about the various options they could choose from. This was our second workshop of the year and the first one, held in New Jersey, also had over 100 people show up. What a blessing to partner with dozens of churches in making the gospel relevant to kids, young people and adults. VBS is one of the most strategic evangelist outreach opportunities each of these churches will engage in during the year. On our own, we could never reach that many people with the gospel all at the same time. Together, we get to multiply our impact in dramatic ways and watch God bring in the harvest through his faithful servants.
Each year, my wife and I get to attend a missions conference at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Lancaster, PA. This church sponsors an amazing children’s program called “Missions and Me” for several weeks in advance of the conference and the kids get to earn “mission dollars” to spend at the conference. We bring a huge book table and get to see God at work in these young lives. Many of the children will come and spend their mission dollars at our book table and it is such a joy to see them pick out their books – some are buying their very first book. Over the years that we have been doing this event, God has allowed us to see hundreds of kids and their parents impacted by this dynamic conference that we could never have orchestrated on our own. This year, we had the fun of introducing the kids to Woofi, the missionary puppy and watched their eyes light up once again. This puppy and the wonderful books that accompany him are the brain child of Suzanne Geiss, a woman with a big idea and and even bigger God. We are looking forward to seeing how the story of Woofi will be used to bring comfort to children all over the world and expose them to the gospel in a unique way.
Each quarter we have a team meeting that we call a “Fellowship Gathering”. This past Monday, we all gathered at First African Baptist Church in Sharon Hill to hear what God is doing through our church stores. CLC has partnerships with four large African American churches in the Philadelphia area to help them run a bookstore in their church for their congregants and the surrounding community. As we listened to the stories of God faithfulness and the creativity of the volunteers that work in these stores, I could not help but be amazed at the impact they are having. All over the city of Philadelphia, people are being brought into contact with the truths of the gospel through the printed page in these strategically placed churches. The passion and enthusiasm of these volunteers was contagious. As I face many new obstacles in the weeks to come, I pray that I will be quick to remember all that God has already done through these partners in the gospel.