- I remember the first time I heard Tony Campolo speak. He changed the way I thought about my faith and the acceptable parameters for preaching.
- Early in my adult life Calvin Miller, the Christian author, effected me with his writing. The Singer Trilogy was a good introduction, but then as I read some of his non-fiction work on ministry and leadership I began to grow in my calling.
- Gene Edwards is another author who has influenced me greatly. A Tale of Three Kings is still the most formative book I have read on leadership. I re-read it every few years just to remind myself of all the tricky relationships and perspectives of leadership.
- Recently, Brian McLaren is wrecking my life. The way he pushes me to think about the Christian faith is liberating, freeing, refreshing, scary and intimidating all at the same time.
- Jack Hayford reminds me that Christians do not have to be idiots. We can read and write in thoughtful ways. We can use our brains to discuss issues in the Christian faith. Not only that, we never have to be embarrassed about what we believe.
- Finally, Tommy Barnett has taught me that every person is important and deserves to receive the ministry of Jesus Christ. No one is too insignificant, too sinful, too lost or too much trouble to hear the message of the gospel.
Barnett has a philosophy that says, "Find a need a fill it; Find a hurt and heal it." Bill Wilson, a former disciple of Tommy Barnett adapts that to say, "The need is the call."
That is powerful. When I see a need in the world, that is God calling me to work on meeting that need. There are needs everywhere. In fact, every person should be able to look around them and find several things that need attention. Whether Christian or not, you can see people hurting, systems that need to be changed, problems that need attention. I believe that when you notice the needs, God is calling you to work on the needs.
Now think about this: What would happen if every person decided that they were going to work toward meeting one need? What if each of us decided to devote our time and energy to solving one problem? Wouldn't this be a different world?
God put you here for a reason. You can make a difference. That complaint you have about that thing that bothers you so much... That is God calling you to change it.