THINGS CHANGING FOR US IN BERLIN
When I (David) began my sales career MANY, MANY, MANY years ago in the Telecom industry, the man who hired me gave me a very timely piece of advice. He said, "Campbell, go make a mess and we will clean it up and you will learn in the process." That advice has served me well for all of these years.
When God called us to Berlin, we understood that our job was to make disciples and form them into discipleship groups/house churches. We understood that we were to go according to how Jesus commanded - with the full conviction that the harvest was huge and the workers were not enough. It did not matter if we saw it or not, the Bible said it, so we must believe it. As a result our constant prayer was that God would send more people. Boy, did He send the people! We expected Him to send people, but what we did not expect was for Him to send them to US! Every day we get at least one email asking if someone can come and minister with us. Every. Single. Day. Many days we are left scratching our heads and asking, "Ok, what are you doing God? You are obviously sending these people to work with us."
At the time of this writing we have had 92 different people stay in our house since January. We have a team from our church coming this week and then a YWAM team from Kona at the end of September. When the Kona team arrives we will officially go over the 100th person to stay with us for the year! If you know us, then you know there will have to be some sort of celebration!!
It is extremely expensive and time consuming to have teams come and yet what was evident was that God was sending them to us. Every time we get a request, we pray and ask the Lord if we should take them. With few exceptions, God has said "Yes."
So, we trust Him. We trust Him with our money. We trust Him with our time. We trust Him with our Home. We trust Him with the relationships/friendships that He has developed with the precious refugees. We trust Him with each day.
There seemed to be more though. He was, He is calling us to something more.
This year we found ourselves in Berlin with tons of people coming to work and tons of people coming to Christ. This year has been incredible! It seems that everything that we tried, we saw people come to Christ. No matter how strange or ridiculous our effort, Jesus was calling people to Himself. Praise Him!
But what do you do with the new believers? What do you do with the teams? More evangelism? How were we going to get to true discipleship? There are so many new believers and not enough of "us". We began meeting with other churches and other ministries about enlisting their help to care for and shepherd the new believers. 100% of the leaders we met with were more than willing to help in any way possible! We were so excited about this unity!!
But it seems that the relationship founded on Jesus (evangelism) was not able to broken and farmed out. It's like God was giving them to US! YIKES!
So our time was dominated by trying to primarily guide teams and disciple new believers in our "spare time." This just did not feel right. It is not right. Many of you have asked about CrossFit. Crossfit is still a major tool for us and we are in the process of that growing as we follow the LORD's lead in it. We are excited about what will come of it! We are working with the German system on making it "official" in a way that protects our teams and the ones who come to Crossfit. But as it was, we were just completely out of time. Hard workouts most every day and some days TWICE a day...and people attending and then wanting to learn more about Jesus! Men and women attending our classes were learning about Jesus and asking to meet with us to learn more. Because of the schedule, a meeting for discipleship would have to wait for two to three weeks. This just can not be. It is wonderful and amazing, we just need to be wise with our time and our efforts. Jesus literally allowed us to come to our complete end so that we would look to Him. He would show us the answer, just as He always does. We had to go through this process of a bit of chaos or we would not understand the unique-to-Berlin needs of these new believers. This was a big learning experience for us. It is hard to learn in this way. It is exhausting and if care is not taken, depression and other issues can slide in. Praise God for our team and that we are completely united under Christ! Together, we were able to work through the schemes of the enemy to get us down and stop the movement of Kingdom expansion in Berlin. The enemy is tricky, y'all...and he hates us and he hates our team. He definitely hates the work that we are doing and he will stop at nothing, no thing, to get us down! We praise Jesus that we are firm in our friendships and commitment to our family/team members and community here. It truly has been such a gift!
Recognizing the efforts of the enemy, we pressed forward and asked the LORD for a plan. For His clear direction.
So after much work and much work to come, we are retooling the way that we do ministry here in Berlin. The teams that we receive will learn to evangelize AND disciple AND be able to do what we do.
Let us clarify, discipleship is absolutely a life long process. But discipleship initiation and "pouring a foundation" can be a quicker process. This we can do. We can totally build a foundation in Christ, rooted and grounded in the Word of God that sets new believers up for success. We can totally form them into new groups and connect the groups to our wider community. We can MODEL what the Christian life is SUPPOSED to look like in a short time. We can demonstrate how meeting together, praying for one another's need, studying the Bible, listening to the Lord, worship, outreach, and fellowship are done. We can model it, assist them with it, watch them do it, and then let the teams do the same. We can identify emerging leaders and provide them with more pastoral oversight and train them in deeper ways.
BUT first we must get our process into such a simple and easily explainable format that virtually anyone can do it.
We must be able to cast the vision well.
The team that comes at the end of September will help us go through this process and begin working out the kinks. Please pray for them and us in the process. It is a small team and we think it will be ideal for us to start field testing with them. We are already praising God for the work that He will do through this group. We feel a connection and know that the LORD has prepared them for such a time as this and we are beyond thankful to God for them.
So then, by the grace of God, we are going to pray for MORE teams!
Yes, you read that correctly.
We are going to work and we are going to see God literally change the whole landscape of society in Germany because God is pouring out His grace! We are going to train every single person who will let us. We want every single person coming to work with us in Berlin to be equipped to serve here, and in whatever place God plants them long term.
So what can you pray for?
More workers for the harvest.
Better communication skills for all of us.
More money/provision to sustain us. Both for our family and our ministry. Our ministry has grown a lot since we arrived here and our monthly support has remained the same. It would be beyond helpful for others to join in committing to monthly support.
We need someone who is able to lead the Functional Fitness (i.e. CrossFit) efforts here. Please ask the Lord to send us someone who will take that as their primary ministry.
We need more housing. We cannot take everyone in our home, and it breaks our hearts to turn teams and individuals away because of the lack of space.
We are asking the Lord to help us start an Emerging Leaders School at the end of next year. With others from the States coming to join our team, this goal and vision will come to fruition and we are excited to share more with you as time allows!
Ask the Lord for Business as Missions people who are willing to come and help people form businesses and take the skills that these people are bringing to Germany and put them to use being a blessing.
We are learning, and we do not think we must "have it all figured out" before we step out. We will make a mess and the Lord will help us clean it up and we will learn in the process. We know we can make a mess, we have several times! And we know His faithfulness to help us clean it up, He has countless times!! Praise His name!
We are so honored and grateful to be in this with you. Following the Lord is not a burden, it is a tremendous BLESSING and we are grateful to get to learn as we go!