A Billion Moms and a Billion Dads for a Billion Babies
Are you ready for the harvest?
Ché Ahn, the senior pastor of Hrock church, tells the story of when he went to visit Bob Jones in the final weeks of Bob's life...
Bob was so weak he could not rise from his Chair. Pastor Ché leaned over to give Bob a hug. Before he could wrap his arms around Bob, the old man wound up and slugged Pastor Ché in the leg.
That got the Pastor's attention!
Bob Jones then asked a question... "Are you ready for the harvest boy?"
The question was important to Bob...
In 1975 the Lord had spoken to Bob, telling him to "Prepare the people, for I am going to bring a billion souls in one great harvest."
For the next 39 years, Bob did his best to make sure the church was aware of the coming great harvest. And his efforts have certainly paid off. The expectations of millions of believers, across denominations, have been impacted due to Bob's faithfulness to this message. Those new expectations have led believers to initiate evangelistic outreaches, conferences, concerts, networks, prayer clinics, new social groups within the church and new spiritual language. Let's call this locomotion the 'Billion Souls Movement'.
When Bob punched Ché in the leg, it was NOT to inform him of the harvest to come. That much Ché already knew. Nevertheless, the question caught Pastor Ché off guard and the answer that slipped out of his mouth possibly surprised even him.
He said "No".
It is difficult to imagine that a pastor could ever think of himself as not being ready for harvest. Especially Past Che, who oversees a network of over ten thousands churches worldwide.
That he said "no" was significant for us all. And so was the question itself.
Bob and Ché were both making an important point... Preparation for the harvest is not yet complete.
Perhaps this was a Caiaphas moment, when the Lord chose to sovereignly speak through those who carry great authority in order to make a broader statement for the benefit of many.
In any case, the last time I heard Pastor Ché tell this story, I was amused as I usually am. He tells it in a funny way. But later on, after I went to bed, sleep was fitful. I woke up frequently throughout the night. Sometimes I would sleep for an hour before waking. Often less.
Each time I awoke I had the question on my mind "Are you ready for harvest?" and each time, there was an answer with a specific strategy as to how we as a church must ready ourselves.
When I awoke in the morning for the final time, I saw that there was a clear thread that tied the strategies together into a nice little package. I won't take the time now to discuss the individual strategies. But I will disclose the theme.
Here is the theme...
A billion new souls in the kingdom is a billion new babies to care for. And there is one thing that babies need more than anything else; Mothers and Fathers!
That might sound overly obvious, but before you hang up the phone, just wait until you hear the rest...
Over the past decades we have been the beneficiaries of a beautiful slice of revelation on the theme of becoming sons and daughters. We have disarmed the orphan spirit and done our best to make sure our identities as God's children is secure. We have learned that God doesn't merely love us with a theoretical love, he actually likes us. He gets great joy from our presence and our antics. What a wonderful idea and a much needed identity for us all!
This powerful concept should now be a fixture in every new believers class.
However; it must come at no surprise that the sons and daughters of the family were never meant to raise the other kids. If you have ever visited a poor nation, such as Mozambique, maybe you have seen this for yourself. The parents are either sick, dead or too busy, so older kids end up raising the younger kids. It's a great baby sitting tactic, and perhaps the only solution available, but it's no replacement for mom and dad.
Babies need moms and dads more than any other relationship in the world.
Brothers and sisters can teach their siblings the protocols of life, but they don't have the capacity to love and care with the same ferocity as mom or dad.
The Apostle Paul makes the distinction in 1 Cor 4:15 "For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers".
Here's how The Message phrases it:
There are a lot of people around who can’t wait to tell you what you’ve done wrong, but there aren’t many fathers willing to take the time and effort to help you grow up.
Paul takes it a step further in the next verse where he wrote “I became your father through the Gospel, therefore be imitators of me'. There it is. We are not to stop at becoming good sons and daughters. We must mature and build on that foundation.
Here's the good news; the transformation from sons and daughters into moms and dads isn't a complex process. We just need to be willing to take on the responsibility.
Perhaps the most transformative element of all is how we think about ourselves. Rather than just 'sons and daughters', we must come to see ourselves as 'moms and dads'. This identify shift creates a container for God to fill with his love.
I believe the grace for a greater love is now accessible for those willing to embrace their identities as moms and dads to the many.
I don't think I am over simplifying it when I say...
...becoming a mom or dad is all about increasing our capacity to love.
And the first step in that transformation is the acceptance that this transformation is necessary. We must acknowledge that some things must change. This truth is inescapable for new parents. And it is true for us now.
And since the transformation must begin in our minds, we must intentionally change our thoughts if we are to succeed. My friend Henry J Schmidt always says "Identity Releases Destiny". I'm not sure if he was the first person to say it, but I like it.
Let's get practical...
The identity shift from sons and daughters to moms and dads will require intentional and ongoing effort by church leaders to create the necessary mindset. By using the teaching tools at our disposal, and frequent repetition, our identities will mature and we will grow up into him, finding greater love for one another than ever before.
Pastors and leaders must devise creative ways to help the church see herself through the unconditional love-lens of a selfless parent. This must not be a one-off message. It must be repeated many, many times over the coming months and years.
If we include the many branches of our faith, there are now more than two billion Christians in the world. I propose that every single one of us not stop at simply becoming a good son or daughter...
We must embrace the call to become great moms and dads.
If we do so, we'll have a billion doting moms and a billion devoted dads ready and waiting for the coming great harvest.
Wouldn't it be great if the first faces to greet the new babies were that of loving moms and dads?
The transformation of identity from sons and daughters to moms and dads will result in a reformation of love like the church has never seen.
I believe this is one of the most important messages Bob Jones left us with. It may not be sexy. But it is the reformation we need if we are to be ready for harvest.
If you do not currently see yourself as a spiritual mom or dad, and if you decide to follow the advice written here, you'll by surprised how dramatically your perspective changes once you take on this new identity. You will see your capacity for mercy and generosity grow like bamboo, faster than you can imagine. Your ability to forgive will soar and your willingness to bear with all manner of absurdities and bad behavior will take on new levels of grace. Hey, just like a real parent!
If you are ready to take up this challenge of becoming a spiritual mom or dad, then say this out loud:
"I've been a good son (or daughter). Now I'm going to be a great dad (or mom)".
Repeat that declaration to yourself over and over for the next month and watch in amazement as your attitude makes adjustments all on its own. Write that declaration down on a piece of paper and hang it on your bathroom mirror or on your fridge.
Repeat it to yourself each morning and every night and very soon you will begin to see everyone (even your enemies) through the gracious lens of a mom or dad.
If you are young, you may not feel ready. If you struggle with sin, you may not feel worthy. If you lack compassion for others, you may not feel qualified. But nothing qualifies you to be a mom or dad more than love. And that, dependable believer, is only a decision.
If you are willing to be mom or dad to many, (or at least willing to be willing), then pray this...
"Father, I offer myself up to be a mom (or dad) to those around me and I am willing to see your people with new eyes. I ask you to do a miracle now and impart your great love into my heart so I can see others the way you see them, and care for them like you do. Make me a spiritual mother (or father) to many and I will be faithful to love them".
I hope you prayed that prayer! This concept has been revolutionary in my own heart, and Carmen's too! It has changed us for the better and I believe it will do the same for you.
We've been good sons and daughters. Now let us be great moms and dads, because harvest is coming!