Archive for April, 2010

Worldwide Day of Prayer

Monday, April 19th, 2010 | Uncategorized

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Dear fellow staff member,

Our theme for the April 27th Worldwide Day of Prayer (WDOP) is “Extreme Dependence on God.” If those words sound familiar, you may ask next, “Wasn’t ‘Dependence on God’ the theme of last October’s WDOP? Why extreme?

As we go about launching movements of evangelism and discipleship, we must learn to rely more and more on His power rather than our own. For us the norm needs to be taking faith risks and asking God in faith, “What do You want us to believe You for now?” The alternative is simply go after whatever we imagine we can accomplish in our own efforts.

Several years ago I met with some of our U.S. leadership in Philadelphia. They gathered around and asked how best to pray as I prepared to assume my new role as president. I asked them to pray that I would always lead in line with what God wants. A few days ago I was studying Proverbs 16 and considered afresh verses 1 and 9:

To man belong the plans of the heart, but from the LORD comes the reply of the tongue. . . . In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.

My point is this: When we gather for a WDOP—humbly acknowledging His sovereignty—we are in line with God’s heart. As one family around the world, we express our dependence on Him in united prayer. Only then are we ready to take the next step and examine our fruitfulness. Then we can ask, “Lord is there something we need to do better?”

God is calling us to a renewed posture of extreme dependence on Him and His Word. I have started to fast one meal a day to begin to prepare my own heart for all that might mean. It may mean going where we have not gone before—rediscovering that God supernaturally empowers those whose hearts are completely His.

As you prepare for the 27th, look again at Proverbs 16 and meditate on our theme verse for this WDOP, Matthew 19:26 (NLT) “ . . . with God everything is possible.” Ask God what He is saying to you.

Yours in Christ,

Steve Douglass

P.S. In a few days new lists of prayer points will begin to be posted by area at and updated until April 27. At any time throughout the year your team can submit praise items and requests by e-mail to

Thursday, April 8th, 2010 | Uncategorized

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In the mid 1970s, I attended an international leadership meeting I’ll never forget. We were discussing how to accelerate our ministries on the campus and in the community. We talked about ways to improve what we were doing. But Bill Bright was not satisfied. He sensed we needed to go way beyond what we had been doing. For years he had sensed an impression from the Lord that there needed to be a new film on the life of Christ, which could spread the gospel into more places faster.

During the meeting we actually watched some of the old films about Christ, including one silent movie. Most of us thought we were wasting our time. But within a few years the JESUS film was produced, and God gave us what has been one of the most widely adopted and used tools for evangelism and church planting in the history of missions.

Why did Bill lead us to develop a very different strategy?  It was because there was a compelling, guiding principle, which God used to drive him toward a new and better way.

Bill knew that God had called us to help accomplish the full scope of the Great Commission. What we were doing, by itself, would not get us there. So he encouraged us to be open to something better.

Profound principles can deeply influence individuals and even whole organizations. That is why we have sought to determine a handful of profound principles which God can use to shape our thinking, decision-making and even our organizational culture.  We will not make our best contribution toward movements everywhere if we don’t change some things.

Five elements of our desired culture have been featured in recent communications.  They do not replace initiative evangelism, spiritual multiplication, the Spirit-filled life and other crucial elements of who we are. The five we are talking about mainly seek to improve how we function organizationally. They are consistent with the other principles, which have been so useful through the years.

You can read more about these five key organizational cultural elements by visiting But, in case you haven’t had a chance yet to read and think about them, let me highlight a few concepts from the document.


1.  Faith — To go where we have not gone before requires risk-taking faith.

2.  Growth — We want to be on fire for Christ, growing in our dependence on Him and in conformity to His will, honorable vessels available for His use.

3.  Fruitfulness — We desire to bear much fruit. We want to offer the gospel to people in culturally relevant ways. We want to use simple, transferable methods of equipping.

Local Ownership

The key to fulfilling the mission is people at the grass-roots level, who love Christ first and who align themselves to this purpose “to seek and to save the lost.” What is the problem? Often we are. With the best of intentions, we often take on too much personal responsibility for the ministry. We can lose sight of the objective of fostering involvement by others.

Kingdom Perspective

Only together can we fulfill the Great Commission. Our calling should involve us in equipping and sending millions of lifetime laborers. To do that, we cannot limit our partnering efforts by asking other Christian organizations to join only our agenda. Paul McKaughan, former director of the Evangelical Fellowship of Missions Agencies, put it this way, “Partnership means we are willing to listen and support the dreams and aspirations God has given to others.”

Learning Environment

Breakthroughs in missions have always come from people who were willing to look at the Great Commission from a different angle. Our own movement was born out of a different way of looking at the Great Commission. Bill and Vonette Bright chose to go to the university, an innovation in itself. Staff members came to staff training and reported what they had tried that was working. The ministry grew as best practices became common practices and spread throughout the ministry. To fulfill our mission, we must continue to foster this kind of learning that has been a part of our history.

Shared Leadership

The Great Commission will only be fulfilled when there are enough true followers of Jesus in every corner of the earth who own the fulfillment of the Great Commission, who establish movements of spiritual multiplication and who spread the gospel to everyone within their reach. It is a simple plan; but at the center of it are groups of highly committed leaders, who internalize the vision and are prepared to sacrifice to achieve it.

I hope this helps you begin to understand and apply these key, profound principles. There will be much more on this in the months to come.

It is a joy for Judy and me to serve the Lord together with you.