The sights, sounds and congestion of NYC are amazing. While I was heading to the subway to make my way back to Newark after a recent meeting with a church planter and an overload of coffee, something caught my attention. Trapped in the middle of congested traffic was an ambulance with its lights and sirens blaring. I don’t know whether the driver was heading to a life or death situation or taking someone to the hospital. All I knew was he couldn’t go forward. He was trapped. It was as if no one honored the critical nature of the situation. Cars didn’t even attempt to nudge their way to the side to allow the ambulance to inch its way to freedom. It was crazy. All I kept thinking about was, “Don’t people realize that someone’s life is hanging in the balance? Time is of the utmost importance!” If everyone just moved over a little this skilled driver could have sped ahead.
The Apostle Paul, Church Planter to the Gentiles, wrote a request to the Thessalonians that parallels this story, “Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you.” He knew that there was only one hope for life and that was the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It so engulfed Paul that he knew the enemy would do all he could to hinder, thwart, and congest this Good News of salvation and freedom in Christ, that he compelled the Thessalonian Church to pray that this Word would speed ahead and be honored. It must move forward rapidly. Life is hanging in the balance.
This is the core of Evangel School of Urban Church Planting and the Evangel Dean School. These Evangel initiatives are an outflow of our vision to identify, equip and release indigenous leaders to plant churches and facilitate church planting movements from and for the urban poor. We identify, equip and release these urban leaders to be the drivers of the “spiritual ambulance,” who head to the lost and dying in the hardest and most violent areas of our inner cities to evangelize – herald good news – and bring souls to the “spiritual hospital” (the church) where there is freedom, wholeness and justice.
All of life is hanging in the balance and the only hope is that the Gospel. Join in the Apostle Paul’s request, to pray. Pray that the Spirit would go before these “spiritual ambulance” drivers so that they would be honored and not be congested by the one who hates the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Pray that the Spirit would lead thousands to be equipped and released to speed ahead with Good News of life in this world and the world to come.