In January 2016, I was invited to be with a group of disciple-making leaders from around the country for a four-day summit. This gathering occurred in a place I had never been, with countless people I had never met before.

On the first day of the gathering, I was provided an envelope that contained an index card. On the card was the name of one person who was present at the summit.  After receiving the card, we were invited to pray for the person whose name was on the card and invited to jot down words of encouragement, scripture passages, or pictures that came to mind related to this person. At the end of our time together, the cards were returned and given to the person whose name was written on the card.

A Picture of the Journey

The card that was returned to me at the end of the summit shared the following:

“It’s been a joy to hear some of your story. I’m proud of you! I got a picture of you coming to a trailhead climbing a mountain. You went left while others went right. Your trail was narrow, and few walked on it. It was harder and longer but the views were far superior. You saw no one climbing or returning. But when you got back to where the trail split, people were looking at you. They had lots of questions on what it was like and what you saw. Most wouldn’t go after hearing about it, but some would go if you lead them.”

The words written on this index card in 2016 clarified in a single moment the journey that I had been on with God over the recent years … and the journey that God had in store for me in the years ahead. The way forward was going to be one of walking alongside others as a Barnabas-like encourager.

God’s Presence and Direction

As I read these words today, I hear God’s voice and feel God’s presence, God’s love, and the abundance of God’s grace demonstrated to me through formative years of my journey of discovery and transformation.  While I can recall sleepless nights, and times of both wondering and wandering – I also recognize God’s presence with me every step of the way.  I realize that God not only was with me, but God was also shaping and molding me (as if on a potter’s wheel) for the journey that was yet ahead. 

God was preparing me for a future direction of being a Barnabas-like encourager for others.

To connect with Jeff Allen, or to learn more about resources for discipleship and being a Small church on a BIG Mission – go to www.smallchurchbigmission.org or email Jeff at: pjallen@faithctr.org