Since I was eleven years old I’ve known that God was calling me to professional ministry of some sort (I say “professional” because I believe anyone who does any job for the glory of God is every bit as much in ministry as Billy Graham or their very own pastors!) And ever since I preached my very first sermon (age 12) I knew that my ministry would have preaching the Word of God as it’s epicenter.
So in 1991 we started Dare 2 Share under the original name of Warriors for Christ (I know. I know. We might as well have called it Jihad for Jesus. I meant well but wondered why the Amish wouldn’t come to our events.) My goal was to preach to thousands and train them to share their faith.
After the Columbine massacre in 1999 I resigned from the church I was pastoring and pursued Dare 2 Share full time. The lost teen lives on April 20th, 1999 convinced me that it was time to focus full time on reaching a generation through a generation of teenaged evangelists. The training conferences grew from training a few hundred to a few thousand. Now, through lots of prayer, duct tape and hard work, the conferences are averaging close to 5,000 in attendance in each city that we go to.
But something strange happened on the way to reaching the world for Jesus…we grew. Our staff has, by God’s grace, grown from a handful of us in 1999 to about 47 or so now. Because we don’t have a “raise your own support” model of staffing the need for fundraising has grown as well. I spend about almost half of my time in the average day raising money for the ministry.
Over the last few years as the number of staff has exploded and the number of meetings, spreadsheets, cash flow reports, etc have increased I have become increasingly more intimidated at the thought of continuing on as the President of this organization. Why? Because I’m first and foremost a preacher. I glaze over at the sight of spreadsheets. I get twitchy in meetings.
But over the last several weeks I’m beginning to realize a few things (finally!). One of the truths that God is revealing to me is that if I want to equip millions of teenagers to share their faith then we have to build an organization that can sustain the rough waters of ministry ahead. God has also been revealing to me that the 47 staff members God has granted us are his gifts to make this happen. They are members in this body of believers at Dare 2 Share that need nurtured and cultivated and equipped as they nurture, cultivate and equip the youth leaders they deal with and pray for everyday.
Of course my job is not to do all this cultivation and equipping myself (I’m better at the equipping part and God, with the help of my wife, is enabling me to get better at the cultivation part.). My job is to set the pace with the leaders at Dare 2 Share and let that trickle down.
I guess that’s why I’ve become more and more picky about which speaking events I’ll take. It’s going to take a maximum ministry impact opportunity to drag me away from my own family and the ministry family of Dare 2 Share staff that God has surrounded me with. After all I get to “preach” to them almost every week during our weekly staff chapel meetings (we call the podcasts Dare 2 Share Uncensored…do watch them…we launched them so that I can make a maximum ministry impact without even getting on an airplane!) And I truly believe the more we can work on Dare 2 Share the more God will do through Dare 2 Share!
I thank God for the prophets he has brought into my life to help me come to these decisions (you know who you are). Although I didn’t like hearing their piercing words at the time they have helped me do some serious prayerful, self evaluation and pondering.
My ultimate goal is to reach the world through an army of teenagers. My prayer is that along the way God would raise up hundreds of thousands of adults who are modeling what it means to be Great Commission Christians, providing role models to millions of teenagers who are seeking to live it out on their campuses and in their communities.
But to do that Dare 2 Share must be healthy, prayerful, vision-infused and strong.
Someday I may hand over the reigns for someone else to lead Dare 2 Share. Maybe then I’ll become Dare 2 Share’s mouthpiece and take every speaking gig I can get anywhere I can get it. But right now I’m focusing on building Dare 2 Share, engineering the ultimate training conferences, writing books, fundraising and taking speaking opportunities that make a maximum dent in the kingdom of darkness.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still first and foremost a preacher. But my pulpit is going to be in meetings, chapel services, Dare 2 Share conferences and a handful of strategic speaking opportunities. I’m going to say “no” more and more so that I can say “yes” to what God has called me to do.
Please pray for me to have wisdom in this quest. Leading Dare 2 Share feels in many ways beyond my capacities. But God has surrounded me with a crack executive team and strong leadership team. Although I don’t feel naturally wired for this daunting task, in the words of the apostle Paul, our competency comes from God.
Pray that God guides and provides as we seek to build a ministry that equips teenagers, youth leaders and entire churches to incarnate the Great Commission in world shaking ways.
Pray for me as I embark on this scary, exciting, crazy journey with the team God has blessed us with.