GospelFriendships Non-Profit Organization
Jesus-followers becoming more like Jesus. WARNING: The stuff I share with Pray-ers seems not-so-helpful to believers with relatively easy circumstances, but sometimes really helpful to those facing rugged. As the Spirit works.
To nurture a volunteer, grassroots movement of thank-ers to God that we believers are so needy for being changed so we have something seculars want.
Proclaiming the Gospel today, requires a different approach than in Paul’s day. Seems to me. Why? Two thousand years of people all over the world, hearing about Christians and Christianity, with many negative opinions formed about us, most with justification. What worked for Paul, doesn’t work today, with most audiences. If Paul were here today, I think he would understand his audience of seculars, just like he did in Athens.
Proclaiming the Gospel today in a skeptical world, needs to be done in the context of individual relationships, so seculars can hear from a believer they have come to know and trust, how Jesus is impacting the life of the believer, setting the believer free, from the worst aspect of the human condition: the notion that independency is desirable, and dependency, anathema.
But if believers are not experiencing Jesus-dependency, what do we really have to say to seculars? What hope can we give them? We are resounding gongs, clanging cymbals. So our biggest need, is a changed us. Our message will flow naturally, effortlessly, from a changed us. The hindrance to seculars embracing Jesus, has more to do with us, than them. And most seculars don’t know us that well: don’t know our struggles to rest in Jesus, our failures in following Him. And frequently, it’s because we don’t know ourselves very well, living in denial of how pathetic we really are, ashamed to admit to ourselves, much less other believers, much less seculars, the truth about ourselves. He who has a sense of having been forgiven only a little, loves Jesus and others, only a little.
The nicest, sweetest, kindest thing He ever does for us, is to freshly convict us of our sin, especially the sin of independence, so we are undone afresh, dead to our idols/agendas afresh, in love with Jesus afresh, experiencing afresh the peace that is superior to understanding, and a joy unspeakable, so we are in a position to love others, especially the hard to love: those with values most different from our own.
GospelFriendships is trying to maximize the secular experience: the experience that a secular has with a believer. The goal is that every secular have a wow experience in his/her friendship with a believer. How can this happen, unless God overhauls the believer, so the believer is full of Jesus-humility and Jesus-love, another way of describing supernatural humility and supernatural love? How can a believer be changed in this way?
He who has a fresh sense of having been forgiven much, is freshly wowed by Jesus, and this wow is contagious.
When the Spirit freshly convicts the believer of the sin of independence/strength/confidence/pride, the believer is freshly undone, contrite, unconcerned about performance/reputation/feeling-good-about-self, and able to engage seculars from a place of weakness/humility/meekness/freedom/joy/peace/fun, so the pre-believer is wowed and wants what the believer has.
The weakest links, the people who need to be changed the most, are us believers, not the seculars. No matter how much we’ve been changed by God, we are still the weakest links, the ones most needy of further overhaul. When we think we’re the together ones, we are the most uncompelling, unfruitful, especially with the turned-off, including the antagonistic.
THE PROBLEM: 80% of people who become born-again Christians, do so before age 21, according to The Barna Group. Conclusion: the Church’s approach to adult evangelism isn’t working, especially for the turned off, including the antagonistic. The adult watching world is mostly turned off to the Church, seeing It as impotent, irrelevant, arrogant and hypocritical. Seculars in America feel like the cultural enemy of believers. GospelFriendships was formed to try and influence believers to relate differently to seculars: a) with more Jesus-power, and less human power, and b) to form long-term, intimate friendships, rather than bringing up the Gospel so early in a relationship (unless God leads).
OPERATING WITH MORE JESUS-POWER. Supernatural humility and supernatural love, are required to reach the turned-off, and these qualities don’t come from mere cleverness and charm, discipline and tenacity, cognitive understanding, but from the overhauling work of God’s Spirit in the believer who desires to be more fruitful with seculars. GospelFriendships encourages a believer to keep recruiting prayer from other believers, for ongoing overhaul by God: so that more and more, we are freshly convicted/contrite/undone in an Isaiah-6-sort-of way, full of the love of Jesus for even the impossible to love: those most different from myself, especially in the area of values.
A GOSPELFRIENDSHIP is an intimate, long-term relationship with a believer and a secular, where the goal, is for the secular to eventually be curious about the believer’s relationship with Jesus. Friendship first, and friendship last. Friendship is the agenda, not evangelism, where they tend to feel like a project. As God continues to overhaul me, as I’m secure enough in my identity in Christ, I’m able to invite seculars into the closet of my soul, to see how messed up I really am, what a failure I am at following Him, and to see what a working relationship with Jesus actually looks like, up close and personal. They know I’m no walk-on-water, model believer, and when life no longer works for them, because of some unsettling event, they know of a safe, equally-flawed person in whom they can confide, ask questions: their best friend, the person who loves them better than anyone loves them, and who just so happens to be a believer, and has a healthy indifference to what they do with Jesus. Needed: supernatural humility and supernatural love. Miracle need. That’s why prayer needs to be recruited for God to keep working deeply in us. We are the weakest links, and though God may have overhauled us plenty, we are still the ones most needy of more overhaul in the future, if we are to be fruitful with seculars. And influence fellow believers, to relate differently to seculars. That’s my premise.
MISSION: To nurture a volunteer, grassroots movement of believers asking Jesus to change us us believers so we’re fruitful with seculars. It’s the height of presumption for me to try and provide leadership for something like this. Who am I to attempt to change the Church as we know It? But as presumptuous as it sounds, and is, it’s a burden that I believe DaddyJesusSpirit has laid on my heart.
VISION: A changed USA, because of a changed Church, a humble Church, operating with Jesus-power, not political power. A land no longer plagued by the various crises our society now faces. A Church no longer dismissed as irrelevant, arrogant, but a humble Church that wows. And a changed USA, a humble USA, compelling to the nations of the world, loved by the nations of the world. Seculars wanting what we believers have, and today, we ain’t got much they want, seems to me. And I don’t blame them.
TIMELINE: 100-200 years. Change won’t likely happen overnight. If it happens at all, it’ll be a God-thing and not a Dave-thing. But that’s how I’m asking folks to pray.
PROGRESS: GospelFriendships was incorporated in February 1999, and I became its only employee in October 1999. I spent the previous 13 years working for Serge (formerly World Harvest Mission) in various capacities. Today there are 400 households who receive my Tuesday Updates, and about a hundred of those I’m in various forms of mentoring relationships with, and not a small number are presently influential leaders, while all have the potential to be.
I’m a fruit coach: I mentor believers to be fruitful with seculars, while I’m mentoring them in asking Jesus for His power on life and ministry. Sometimes the ridiculousness of what we’re attempting, makes me want to throw in the towel, and just have a normal ministry. So far, He’s not let me.
From 1985 until recently, I mentored Serge (World Harvest) missionaries while they itinerated, raising their initial support, before departing for the field, because they are influencers of many believers in the USA. I’ve retired from this, to devote myself fully to the ministry of GospelFriendships. I have also been developing many personal friendships with seculars, including the turned-off, and even the antagonistic.
HISTORY: I didn’t start out to be a fruit coach, though mentoring believers to be fruitful with seculars has always been part of the agenda of GospelFriendships. It is now the primary strategy of GospelFriendships, for changing the Church to change America, and beyond, to the world. I began with a burden to see urban America transformed, but have ended up with a vision that includes that, and more. I’m the kind of guy who typically makes a plan, and THEN asks God to bless it, rather than first ASKing God to shape the plan. In January of 1998, after seeing the movie AMISTAD, I began recruiting prayer for God to lead me regarding the burden I had for the problems of racism, poverty and crime in urban America, because I didn’t want to plan first, and ask God to bless my plan. But it has been very scary for this control freak, to turn loose of the steering wheel and get in the back seat, and leave the driving to Jesus. I have been humiliated and embarrassed that my original articulation/plans about GospelFriendships have been changed, by Jesus, at several junctures, into being what it is today, but what I got, was exactly what I asked for: it’s just been very scary for this control freak. If I’da known what I was in for, I would never have come down this road. I’m not that spiritual to be so far outside my comfort zone. Part of me wants to be about Jesus’ business, not Dave’s. Part of me wants this to be Jesus’ ministry, not Dave’s. The other part of me is a glory hog.
Janet and I are 75, have six kids, twenty-three grandkids and seven great-grandkids. We became believers in 1966, but it’s been since 1981, when we first began attending New Life Church in Jenkintown PA that we began to experience the love and power of Jesus, in life-changing ways. We don’t practice what we preach, but we keep on proclaiming it to others, because WE need to hear it, over and over and over, and are the weakest links in the believers we’re trying to influence: the one’s most needy of further overhaul, no matter how much we’ve been overhauled to date.
Dave McCarty (A.K.A. WeakDave) GospelFriendships, 13 East Broad St, Hatfield PA 19440 Phone 267-645-9393