John Stumbo Video Blog No. 36
July 12, 2016
John shares his excitement about the energy and passion witnessed at LIFE 2016 in Kansas City among the 5,000 students and volunteers attending. Hundreds made decisions to follow Christ. John challenges Alliance leaders to make a way for these young people to launch into ministry. The video concludes with a montage of scenes from LIFE.
Hey team, the largest gathering of the Christ-centered, Acts 1:8 family is LIFE Conference. I am in Kansas City—over 5,000 students and volunteers are here to participate in this event. It has to have been probably the funnest week of my whole three years as president so far. Rarely have I been so proud to be the president of The Christian and Missionary Alliance—seeing the level of engagement, watching the passion of the youth, delighting in the way that the Word of God has been held with deep respect, watching volunteers who have given up a week of vacation to invest in the lives of their students, seeing the solid behavior of the students . . . I even got hugged by one of the security staff from the convention center, because of just how much she appreciated what was taking place here.
Yes, there has been a trip or two to an urgent care center, or something like that, but by and large this has been a fabulous week. If you have students who are here, you are going to hear story after story of how God has worked. If you don’t, well you begin to plan now. Please plan now! Plan now for July 2019, when we gather again for this event in Orlando, Florida. This is worthy of a great level of energy from your leadership team to make sure that you get students here.
If you are curious about numbers . . . we had over 5,000 present serving them 38,400 meals, 14,000 hours of volunteer service at 43 different projects around the city, 1,500 are signed up for tomorrow’s 5K that I will be participating in, and a couple thousand t-shirts have sold. The colleges have been really well represented—all four of them fully engaging. And the best statistic is that hundreds of decisions have been made to follow Jesus, including 77 first-time decisions so far. Well, the week is not over yet, as God’s Spirit has been at work in this generation. I absolutely love it!
For those of you that are aware of Council, you may remember that one of our delegates, after the Board of Directors’ election, asked for a special privilege. It was Steve Elliot from Lexington, Kentucky, in fact, who said, “I notice as we just elected a new board, that it’s not getting any younger . . . ,” and he made an appeal to us to get serious about investing in the next generation. I took that seriously, personally. And it called for five regional events of young leaders this last year, where district superintendents picked some young leaders for me to ask questions of for 24 hours. I didn’t preach; we didn’t worship. It was just them talking for 24 hours. I will report on that in a later video blog.
I said, “Yes” to going to a district youth conference. I came here, as I am spending the entire week here at LIFE, because I want to feel more, I want to experience more, I want to understand more of this generation, and I want to be the kind of leader who makes a way for them. The priority that I’ve emphasized least of my ‘Love,’ ‘Proclaim,’ ‘Reach,’ ‘Launch’ call . . . the priority I have emphasized least so far is ‘Launch.’ But I am taking this opportunity to say that, “Church leader . . . would we be the kind of leaders who are giving opportunity for the next generation to be fully engaged in the church? To articulate the gospel for themselves? To be able to fully be involved in who we are becoming as The Christian and Missionary Alliance?”
I don’t know what that should look like in your local level. I am not trying to tell you how to do it. But we as the current leaders need to be lead blockers and way makers for women in ministry, the ethnics arising in ministry, and the young adults who are coming up among us. May we be the kind of leaders who open doors, who see potential, who create opportunities, who don’t cling to everything for ourselves, but who are the kind of leaders who see the next generation just the way somebody saw us, and gave us a chance. So, I close this video blog by allowing you the privilege and joy of experiencing some of what I have experienced in this place this week, with the hope that we would launch this next generation.
[Video montage: The Moment of Transformation . . . Between Broken and Beautiful]
John Stumbo: LIFE 2016, meet LIFE 2030. There is another generation behind you—it matters if we get this right.
Micah Bournes: Every single last one of you is capable of being great in the Kingdom of God. Be great by serving people. Be great by seeing those who no one else pays attention to.
Micah Bournes: Here is one special thing as you are looking out in a crowd of this size; this many faces … is that you see so many potential opportunities for people to worship God in their many unique ways. It’s not just people singing songs on this stage, or giving sermons on this stage, but you also see poets walk on this stage and speak, and ideas that we come up with to show that there is fun, that God created fun, that we can have fun and jump around. So I encourage each student in this room to say, “Hey, I don’t know what God has placed in your heart, and I don’t know the gifts He’s placed in your hands, but don’t limit yourself. Because whatever it is, whatever gift, whatever it is that’s going on in your head, it can be used for the glory of God, and you can bless God with the gifts He has given you.”
Sojourner: We will have 20 shots to hit this piñata that is lowering right now over your head! Do you understand? You can get to the edge of the stage . . . oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh . . . wait a minute! Yeah!
Micah Bournes: The way Jesus defines greatness, every single last one of you is capable of being great in the Kingdom of God. And when you die, God is not going to be impressed with what you had on your life’s to-do list . . . “Jesus, I was about to do something really cool . . . ”
Francis Chan: I mean you are going to hear one of two things . . . “Well done, good faithful servant, my son!” . . . or, “Depart from me—I never knew you!”
Tim Meier: God is more gracious to you than you have ever been to yourself, or anyone around you.
Jefferson Bethke: Doing a bunch of religious, Christian, churchy stuff, without a relationship with Jesus, looks dumb! There has got to be intimacy with Christ at the center; there has got to be. And then all that stuff comes to life. All that stuff is beautiful!
John Stumbo: Stay in community. Here is the simple reason why, when your faith is down to a tiny little thread, there is somebody who is believing for you, whose faith is strong. It’s okay. It’s legal to hang on to somebody else’s faith when yours is down to a little thread!
Justin Warner: God designed us to invite people into our story. God designed us to desire community; to take these moments that we felt here together, and turn them into a movement; turn them into momentum, and allow them to live on past tonight, or past tomorrow night, because you are living out these things together.
LIFE participant: Walking into that room, like . . . I’m shaking. It’s indescribable. Just so many emotions . . . not even just like you can feel God there, but like the support of everyone around you—who wants to help you on this journey, to grow in your hope and your faith in this godly journey—is just unbelievable!
LIFE participant: Despite the doubt that most likely will always be there, God will always, always meet you where you are and find a way to really bring you back to Him.
John Stumbo: How you doing?
Tim: I just want to thank you again . . . your testimony last night . . . and I went and saw your seminar; it’s just . . . this whole week I’ve been feeling God calling on my heart to . . . He wants me to serve. I don’t know what yet, but I know it. And, you are . . . just everything, I’ve seen all your stuff, and it’s just . . . it was a great inspiration for me, and I want to thank you again. It’s awesome. Thank you very much.
John Stumbo: Bless you . . . and your name is?
John Stumbo: From?
Tim: Dover Alliance.
John Stumbo: Dover?
John Stumbo: You said that before. Tim, that’s encouraging. Keep pursuing. Keep pursuing.
Tim: I will. Thank you.
John Stumbo: Amen. Bless you.
John Stumbo: So has there been a memorable moment this week? Like, something you will be talking about for the next year?
LIFE participants: Music
John Stumbo: The music? A lot of it . . .
LIFE participants: The green beans.
John Stumbo: The green beans!?
LIFE participants: They were so good!
John Stumbo: I love it! I love it! Thank you for what you have said.