I n n e r ~ V i e w s #013
NPPN Facilitator Phil Miglioratti Interviews David Bryant
What would it take to see Christian leaders revitalized in their hope and passion toward Christ? What would happen if leaders in your community met weekly to equip one another to bring their churches into a fresh awakening to Christ for all that He is?
Is there a deeper message about Christ that Christians need to start sharing with other Christians in order to ignite a greater movement of unity and prayer within the churches and among the churches in your community? How would this larger vision of God’s Son and His Kingdom’s advance transform the way Christians in your city worked toward the transformation of your city?
What is the spiritual awakening we are praying for, and how will we know it when it comes? Until it comes, what is the greatest crisis we face in the evangelical movement? How can we effectively confront it and cure it? How can doing so lead to a fuller revelation of God’s power and glory in Jesus to our communities and within our nation?
That’s a lot of questions! But getting at the answers is what a newly launched “National Campaign Of Hope” is all about.
In the fall of 2003, two unprecedented events unfolded to signal the beginnings of this campaign. Under the leadership of a ministry called PROCLAIM HOPE!, something happened in Terre Haute, Indiana, and Seattle, Washington, that holds out tremendous possibilities for what a National Campaign of Hope could do within your own community. Would you like to know more?
Recently, Phil Miglioratti—founder of the National Pastors Prayer Network (NPPN) and director of the National Association Of Local Church Prayer Leaders (NALCPL)—explored some practical dimensions of the National Campaign of Hope by putting a series of questions before David Bryant (founder of PROCLAIM HOPE!) and Steve Hall (Washington State representative for International Renewal Ministries). What Phil discovered may inspire you to pursue a similar initiative where you live.
The Interview - - -
PHIL: David, give us a brief synopsis of these two events last fall.
DAVID: The first, in Indiana, was a regional conference called A CHRIST AWAKENING, co-sponsored by a number of organizations and churches. Leaders from as far away as Phoenix attended to spend extended time under my teaching on what a local, as well as a national, awakening to the supremacy of Christ might look like. We also explored how they could become strategically involved, in very meaningful ways, promoting this vision back in their own communities and churches. I conducted similar Christ Awakenings in other communities in 2003, such as Seattle, Bismarck and even in the country of Norway.
The second set of events, held six different times across greater Seattle, was called CHRIST ROUNDTABLES. Each gathering was limited to about 50 leaders, convening for over three hours, to discuss the need for an awakening to God’s Son and all that He is throughout our churches and in our nation. Whereas the Christ Awakening conference consisted primarily of plenaries—four total, lasting 75 minutes each, plus practical training—the Christ Roundtables involved leaders in additional discussion and interaction, both with me and with each other. Christ Roundtables take the issues proclaimed at a Christ Awakening event to a much deeper level, simply because participants have more time to process the vision for themselves.
PHIL: But there’s more to your “National Campaign of Hope”, right?
DAVID: Definitely. In PROCLAIM HOPE! we have developed a Seven-fold Strategy for unleashing city-wide renewal movement toward God’s Son. This Strategy includes:
… CHRIST AWAKENINGS—teaching/preaching that delivers a whole new vision of God’s Son and its implications for believers. All the messages encourage a “re-conversion” of God’s people back to Christ for ALL that He is.
… CHRIST ROUNDTABLES—half-day gatherings with leaders—clergy and lay—to explore the greatest crisis facing the Church today and how to confront and cure it. A primary focus is on the “crisis of supremacy”—which is really a “crisis of Christology”.
… CHRIST SUMMITS—two to three day leadership retreats for training in how to become agents of change—what I call Messengers of Hope, Prisoners of Hope and Vanguards of Hope—and how to disciple others in the same direction. We develop practical approaches to confronting and curing the crisis of supremacy in our congregations and communities.
… CHRIST HUDDLES—short-term weekly small groups where leaders can dig more deeply into a revitalized Christology, and learn together how to integrate it into their lives and ministries. PROCLAIM HOPE! has developed some core curricula to help them get started.
In addition, our ministry provides a daily stream of vision through our national broadcast, HOPE FOR AMERICA heard on over 300 stations from coast to coast (with other stations coming on line soon); through a website with free support materials, designed for leaders especially (www.davidbryantdirect.com); and through our work with strategic alliances that can collaborate with us in this National Campaign of Hope. These alliances involve not only coalitions like Mission America and the National Prayer Committee, but also individual ministries such as those who joined with us this past fall—Harvest Prayer Ministries, International Renewal Ministries and PRAY! Magazine—plus any number of endorsing churches.
PHIL: Wow! You’ve got a lot going as you roll-out this ambitious initiative!
DAVID: Yes we do, Phil. God has led and blessed in such a way that the Seven Strategies fit and flow together beautifully for maximum impact at the local level.
PHIL: Steve, I’ve heard some wonderful reports on what happened in Seattle this past fall. Before you tell us some stories, let me ask you: Why did you want to sponsor CHRIST ROUNDTABLES in the first place?
STEVE: For a number of years God has been burning in my heart a deep passion for a greater vision of Christ for my personal life, as well as for my family and my church. Beyond that, serving the Body of Christ throughout my region for over 20 years now I’ve become increasingly convinced of something. If we’re to see the massive revival we’ve all been praying for—which I believe God is preparing to give us—multitudes of Christians must be “reconverted” back to all that the supremacy of Christ means for them. In a sense this must precede the full out-pouring of the Spirit for which we long.
A year ago David Bryant asked me to be one of fifteen readers for a draft of his new book (which will be out in the summer of 2004) called CHRIST IS ALL! A JOYFUL MANIFESTO ON THE SUPREMACY OF GOD’S SON—all 450 pages of it! There were nights when I simply could not put the book down. The vision God has given David for the glory of our Savior was so thrilling and so compelling. Then, David asked me if I would like to explore conducting CHRIST ROUNDTABLES in my region as a way of spreading the message captured in his book. I’ve known David for two decades and respect him as a man who is utterly devoted to Christ, as well as to prayer and revival and the uniting of God’s people for Kingdom purposes. So I eagerly took him up on his offer, and spent the better part of four months helping to prepare for David’s tour out here in late October to conduct a series of CHRIST ROUNDTABLES. I have not regretted the decision!
PHIL: So what happens in a CHRIST ROUNDTABLE?
STEVE: In Seattle we conducted six three-hour roundtables, two a day for three days. With personal conversations and travel, plus a couple of CHRIST AWAKENING type events in the evenings, David and I ended up putting in 14-hour days! But it was worth it.
At each roundtable we hosted about 50 leaders—we kept it that size for maximum participation. Even so, in three days we reached nearly 300 leaders—mostly pastors. Each roundtable was divided into three segments. We gave each segment a title: CHRIST—where David helped us see the glory and supremacy of God’s Son in whole new ways. Very challenging and refreshing! Then, CRISIS—where we discussed with David evidence of what he calls the “crisis of supremacy” among Christians and churches in America. We uncovered what the crisis is, why it is, and how it impacts our people in very disturbing ways—especially as it diminishes their hope and passion toward Christ.
Finally, the last hour focused on the CURE for the crisis. We talked about effective ways that we as leaders could go back to our churches and communities and begin to help God’s people be “reconverted” back to our Lord for all that He is, and start walking with Him in dynamic new ways.
Incidentally, we provided hand-outs to take home, to follow-up the Roundtables. We also sold pre-publication manuscripts of David’s new book, and nearly 150 were grabbed up!
PHIL: You also mentioned conducting CHRIST AWAKENINGS. How did that work?
STEVE: Well, for example, on the final night, many of the pastors returned to a central location in Seattle and brought with them some of their lay leaders—elders, deacons, teachers. That evening they heard reports of what God had done in the hearts of different leaders during a Roundtable. Then David brought a powerful message on the Supremacy of Christ, and challenged the laypeople to return to their churches to work with their pastors in spreading this vision throughout their congregations. Of course, as always David called for everything to flow out of corporate prayer. In fact, we closed that meeting by standing and singing “The Lord’s Prayer”, and as we did the room will filled with a tangible, overwhelming sense of awe about who Christ is.
PHIL: Before I ask you about some of the results, Steve, is there anything you would do differently the next time?
STEVE: Yes, probably three things: One—conduct the Roundtables in as intimate environment as possible. David had recommended we actually meet in large living rooms (which he has done elsewhere). We settled for smaller rooms in churches. This wasn’t bad. But the living room would have been even more conducive to the kind of sharing David encourages.
Two—Extend the time of a Roundtable from three to four hours in length. With breaks and times of worship, plus the powerful way David leads a Roundtable, four hours would not seem too long for concerned leaders. And you really need that much time to dig into the themes in a manner that can equip you to minister this vision of Christ to your people.
Three—I would plan on having a Christ Awakening take place each evening, to climax each day. It should be held in a larger venue, of course, but still geographically near where that day’s Roundtables were conducted. This would make it so much easier for pastors to come back with their church leaders each night, to let David cast his vision of Christ for them and motivate them to be renewal agents with their pastors in the coming months.
PHIL: Let me ask both of you this: How does a NATIONAL CAMPAIGN OF HOPE—involving city-wide or region-wide combinations of Christ Awakenings and Christ Roundtables—relate to what is already going on at the local level—in a city or community? In some places, there are already vital prayer and transformation movements. What new dimensions will this campaign add?
DAVID: Let me speak to that quickly, Phil. As you know, I’ve been serving the national and international prayer movement for nearly 25 years—including my leadership of Concerts of Prayer International as well as my last few years chairing America’s National Prayer Committee. This whole movement has been focused, from day one, on a spiritual awakening to the glory of Christ throughout our churches, and beyond.
Furthermore, 13 years ago I moved to New York City to help serve the urban prayer and transformation movement there (just as I had done the previous ten years in Madison, Wisconsin). I was convinced that God was unfolding in NYC the most significant city movement anywhere, and that it could be a model to city prayer/transformation movements around the world. I’ve not been disappointed.
In other words, PROCLAIM HOPE! grew out of years of working with Kingdom-vision leaders in cities and communities around the globe. That’s why I see our National Campaign of Hope to be the most strategic step we can take together. With its thrust to reawaken God’s people to the full extent of Christ’s supremacy, it can confront and cure the most sobering crisis facing every city movement today, the crisis of supremacy. Healing the crisis is the only way to insure that our city-wide prayer/transformation movements ultimately reach their objectives. Thus, things like Christ Awakenings and Christ Roundtables (and all the other things I’m encouraging) are simply ways to “deliver” on the cure for the crisis.
STEVE: From my perspective, Phil—as one working in the grassroots year after year—I have rejoiced in the multitude of small groups of pastors and ministry leaders God has drawn together. Increasingly, they have evidenced a passion and hunger for revival and unity and evangelism and transformation in our region. But our vision and hope, much of which has sprung up as we’ve prayed together, has become so massive in its scope—and our desperation for it has become such a heart burden—that we have finally concluded we are incapable of fulfilling it.
Certainly, we can’t do it standing alone. But more and more we realize we can’t do it standing together either! God has convinced us that our only enduring hope is to be found in a fresh encounter with the Hope—Christ Jesus our Lord. Unless we and our people experience in a whole new way the fullness of God’s Son, we will never see the transformation of our communities we long to see. Something must happen inside our churches, and inside the lives of our people. The full supremacy of Christ must once again dominate all we are and do as the Church. The message David is proclaiming (and helping all of us to proclaim) is the most needed and most powerful message for the hour in which we live.
PHIL: That sure makes sense. Let me be clear again: Who should attend a Christ Roundtable?
STEVE: Pastors, ministry leaders, even key lay leaders.
PHIL: Any practical suggestions for someone reading this interview who might want to try the same thing in their community or region?
STEVE: Well, first of all, I know that David is quite willing to assist through his offices. I’m also happy to take questions. Just drop me an email at Stevehall_irm@msn.com, or call me at 206-595-5109.
I need to say that if you want to do it right, you must start promoting and planning months ahead of time. But be sure to plan big! David’s endurance is amazing. Conducting two Christ Roundtables a day plus hosting a larger Christ Awakening meeting worked very well for us. This allowed David to have maximum impact over the three-day period he was with us.
Phil: Any other hints?
STEVE: Even though we had a registration process, we did not charge attendees a fee (and the turnout was even more than we had anticipated). We suggested a free-will offering once they came, but there was no pressure. Instead, I sought special funding from interested churches and local donors to help underwrite the expenses. People love to support a localized mission of this kind. Of course, we used brochures to promote the campaign.
Also, we brought David in about three months before his tour was scheduled, so that he could meet for a day with about 50 key leaders from all over the region. This really motivated them to get involved. It really helped them “own” the campaign with me, to partner with me in urging and recruiting other leaders for the Roundtables.
Without a doubt, it takes some work to line up six venues, located geographically for maximum accessibility for busy leaders. We purposely scheduled one in inner city Seattle, for example; and another in a rural setting about an hour outside Seattle. But it all came together wonderfully, and the returns-on-investment made it worth the sacrifice.
DAVID: Let me add that I would be happy to have a local committee contact us at BRYANTDIRECT@aol.com or at 908-771-0146. Also, you can read much more about the National Campaign of Hope by going to our website at www.davidbryantdirect.com. Eventually, with Steve’s help and others, we intend to produce a small planning tool to help local leaders work with us to effectively develop one of these campaigns locally. We’re quickly learning how to make the effort so much easier for others to do.
PHIL: David, what does it cost to bring you in for a three-day tour like this?
DAVID: I think Steve set up a budget for about $10,000 and raised it all before we did it. Part of those funds covered my expenses; part of it covered his; part of it was for promotion and materials.
STEVE: I think it is important to commit to helping with David’s on-going ministry needs, too.
DAVID: Well, all those things can be worked out with each situation when people contact me. Actually, my Board of Directors has required for some time that every request requires the completion of a very brief Ministry Questionnaire we will send them, before PROCLAIM HOPE! can process an invitation.
PHIL: Finally, Steve—since last fall, what have you seen God do in the Seattle region that you know is a direct result of the Christ Awakenings and Christ Roundtables that David Bryant conducted.
STEVE: That’s easy to answer, Phil! I’ve got lots of stories to tell.
First, in my travels to visit with pastors, clergy prayer groups, ministeria and Pastor Prayer Summits (which IRM sponsors), I am very encouraged that leader after leader who joined us last fall has told me that he or she was deeply impacted and permanently transformed as a result. This has been true across both denominations and ethnicities, all across the region.
Another development is this: A number of these leaders have actually changed the way they now sign letters and emails, using the phrase “CHRIST IS ALL” to close (a phrase they got from David). Can you believe that?
Or think about this: In one city (Tacoma) 20 pastors recently conducted a pulpit exchange among their 20 churches. They all committed to preach on the supremacy of Christ using the key verses in Colossians 1 which David went over with us—that’s how excited they were about getting this vision before all of God’s people in their city.
In addition, I’ve attended several city-transformation planning events where the themes they are promoting have drawn from what David brought to us. One recently, for example, was “More in 2004”—meaning a greater revelation of Christ to their churches and in their city.
In recent Pastor Prayer Summits the focus and substance of the praying has been significantly altered—addressing the crisis of supremacy and praying much more that the glory of Christ might powerfully break through.
Some pastors are using David’s new book, CHRIST IS ALL!, as the foundation text for their preaching throughout 2004. I’ve been amazed to see this happening even with pastors of multi-ethnic congregations. Other groups of pastors are working through the preliminary draft of David’s book purchased last fall, using the study guide David has embedded throughout the document.
Finally, David has been invited back into Seattle already for 2004 and 2005, to conduct additional facets of the Campaign of Hope, including CHRIST SUMMITS. For two days this fall, many of the pastors who were in our Roundtables will meet with David in a Christ Summit to explore in much greater depth a Biblical vision of Christ’s supremacy, as well as to receive David’s training around three key strategies for a local Campaign of Hope—using the themes of Messengers of Hope, Prisoners of Hope and Vanguards of Hope.
PHIL: Steve, how do all these developments make you feel?
STEVE: It is such a fulfillment of my own dreams and prayers these past years! Like never before, I anticipate imminent possibilities for God-given revival in our churches along with the Kingdom-style transformation of our cities. Furthermore, right now I’m watching pastors whom I dearly love coming alive to the things of Christ, and begin to preach the glory of Christ in some pretty extraordinary ways. Truly, the grace of God was poured out on us last fall. Therefore, the campaign continues to unfold!
DAVID: Phil, I think Steve has just given us very tangible, very exciting illustrations of the mission for which God created PROCLAIM HOPE! Listen to our mission statement:
“The mission of PROCLAIM HOPE!
is to awaken throughout the Church
fresh hope, passion, prayer and mission
—centered on the Lord Jesus Christ—
by proclaiming the full extent of His supremacy,
and by empowering others to do the same.”
PHIL: That’s a great way to close! Thanks to both of you for taking time to answer my questions. For anyone who wants to contact David Bryant about a Campaign of Hope in your city, visit http://www.davidbryantdirect.com or by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling his offices in New Providence, New Jersey at 908-771-0146.
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