It’s true. There can be no doubt. Christ came to save sinners and I am the worst. 1 Timothy 1:15 (OGV)
New Year’s Eve 1971/1972, I professed my faith in Jesus and was baptized at Daytona Beach, Florida, in the Atlantic Ocean. Returning to Springfield a week later, the Lord told me to reach young people in my community.
I thought “reach young people” meant witnessing to my friends, then leaving to go back to Florida.
In high school, I was involved in drugs and anything other than following Jesus. I didn’t have peace. But after receiving Jesus, I had a purpose and power.
I asked friends from high school to come over to my parent’s house. They probably expected a party with new types of drugs from Florida. Instead, I asked all of them to sit on the floor and then I told them that I had received Jesus as my Lord and Savior.
When I finished my testimony, there was silence. Nobody moved. Considering this later, I understand that being “the worst of sinners” during my years in high school, everyone expected a party and not a sermon. During the silence, I asked, “Would any of you like to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior?”
There were 16 friends in the room. They all raised their hand!
I did not expect this. Hmmmhhh – 16! I continued to share my testimony and about 100 young people accepted Jesus in the three months since I returned from Florida. A friend of mine said to me, “Grant, I know that you had an obligation to share Jesus with your friends and then go back to Florida to work in the ministry where you became a Christian, but you can’t leave now. Who else will lead this group?”
I stayed. Forty-nine years later, I am still here.
Those 16 youth became 100’s and the ministry of the One Way House began. We had a small property, a large house in which we lived, and a barn for meetings. Thousands came to those meetings and thousands came to know Jesus as Lord and Savior.
I grew older. The One Way House passed its relevance. Many of us had wives and children while meeting in an old barn without a restroom. Not good! Fellowship Church began. A new season of life! Hundreds if not thousands of families, children, and young people found Jesus.
We moved to a location at 424 South Fountain, then to Upper Valley, along with Spring Hill. Through Fellowship, dozens of ministries impacting our community have originated. And through Fellowship and the community, hundreds of thousands have been impacted throughout the world.
One Indian pastor told me his church has used First Steps to disciple over 90,000 in India. The Philippines has a team of Christian leaders making plans to teach First Steps Conversations (new version 0f First Steps) to churches in the Philippines and throughout Asia.
It all began with the worst of all sinners.
Forty-nine years! My calling is over. I am no longer the pastor of those original 16 or the thousands in our community who have been impacted by the ministry of Fellowship. My friend told me 49 years ago in 1972 that I couldn’t leave, but now the Lord has told me that the original calling is complete. I am no longer the Senior Pastor of Fellowship.
2020 has been a year of change. Big change for me too. However, I’m still here.
Consider: Impacting our community, and through our community, the world. For 49 years my emphasis had been “our community” with an aside of “through our community, the world.” Now, I’m focusing on “through our community, the world.”
Today, I received a note from a Filipino businessman living in Cebu, Philippines, “Thank you for sending Interruptions. I’m learning a lot from them and they give me inspiration.”
Today, I received an e-mail from the organizational leader of Russian language TBN (Trinity Broadcasting Network). He asked, “I suggest that we make a promo video for First Steps to share on TBN throughout Russia. The cost will be $590.” My friend from TBN leads a ministry involving 400 prison ministries throughout Russia and He wants me, you, our community, to host a Zoom conference in First Steps for the leaders of these prison ministries.
When? In January!
Through years of working with the young people, the families, the older saints, many ministries, and businesses in our community, I conclude that God has more for all of us than we now think. In these end days, God asks that we participate in His Great Commission in our community, and through our community, the world.
Forty-nine years! Just the beginning for all of us to experience His amazing grace.