My dear friend, Rev. Dale Schlafer, is the director of the Center for World Revival and Awakening, based in Bradenton, Florida. Dale has encouraged me and taught me a great deal for many years. We have served together on a number of projects. Dale directed the well-known Promise Keepers gathering on the Washington Mall many years ago but left PK to pursue prayer and teaching for revival as widely as possible. He is one of God’s choice servants, a man in whom there is no guile and a brother who loves the kingdom of God and will do anything he can to extend that kingdom and to promote the unity of Christ’s people in prayer and awakening.
Dale is also the author of a wonderful small book that is one of the finest studies of true revival you will ever read, Revival 101. I recommend this booklet very highly and urge Christians who pray for revival to read it and teach it.
About two months ago Dale was planning on doing a Global Day of Prayer service much as he had done the last four years in Bradenton. He tells me that he got into leading the GDOP as a way to Velcro churches together, since biblical unity did not exist among the churches in his area. The GDOP service in the Bradenton area was a three-hour prayer meeting and was generally well received. About 2100 folks attended the annual meeting. The service lasted from 4-7 PM after morning worship services in the area churches.
At a meeting in late February a pastor shared with Dale that he had cut a public service announcement for radio and was “waiting till he got enough guts to air it.” Dale writes that all the leaders asked him, “What was it about?” He shared that it was about his sin, and that of his church, with regard to the sin of sectarianism. He was convicted about marketing his church as though everyone else was far below them in ministry and vision. Later in our meeting it was brought up that seven years ago they had done a joint meeting on a Sunday morning. The churches all shut down in the morning in order to meet together. Dale says that he left the meeting with two thoughts moving in his heart. In God’s providence Dale, and his wife Liz, had scheduled this pastor, who repented for his sectarian spirit, for dinner. At the time of that meal he asked him if it wasn’t possible that God had set him up to lead a time of repentance for the sin of schism which was so strong in their area. Since the GDOP had already rented the Convention Center what would happened if they held a morning service and then ran the GDOP meeting right after that service? This pastor agreed to pray about it and one week later agreed to lead this effort. But in the meantime had the though that if they did all this repenting in the morning, and that was a big part of GDOP, that they ought to just merge the two services into one. The pastor agreed and that has now brought many leaders and churches to where they are today. If you go to their web site www.gdopmanasota.org you will find the letter this pastor wrote which has gone out to all the pastors in Manatee & Sarasota counties. You can also see how many churches have signed up to participate.
In preparation for this meeting Dale then drafted a statement of repentance that will come in the context of this joint service. He wrote the statement and the commitment that is found at the bottom of the repentance section. Over the last few weeks the leaders have been in the process of sending this to each pastor who signs up, so there is no “ambush” on May 23rd. Dale believes that when all the pastors participating in the service repent publicly together, in front of God & their people, there will be a punching of a hole in the awful cloud of sectarianism and the religious spirit which rules over this region. He says, “Then the light of the truth of God’s word in John 17 will then begin to be released. Of course this is just a first step, but I believe a very important one.”
A Statement of Confession & Repentance for a Lack of Kingdom Thinking & Living
Pastor’s Public Confession & Repentance
“I acknowledge that when Jesus Christ commanded his disciples to pray “Your kingdom come, “and to “seek first the Kingdom of God” in everyday matters, He expected it to have both a motivating influence in His followers and a profound influence in their society.
Therefore I confess and repent that…..
1. Through ignorance, laziness, and fear I have, in the past, ignored the complete message of the kingdom of God in Jesus’ teaching.
2. I have limited the expression of Christ’s Kingdom within society to the institutional church, and sometimes to the church I pastor, alone.
3. I have treated other churches, denominations and church leaders with common courtesy, but have often viewed them as the competition.
4. I have not sought to live nor direct my people by Jesus words in John 17 that “they may be one Father.”
5. I have emphasized the individual and personal aspects of the Kingdom of God and tended to negate the corporate and communal aspects of His Kingdom.
6. I have neglected the physical and material implications of the Kingdom of God and often concentrated more on the moral and the spiritual implications.
7. I have tended, in more instances then I would like, to divide my life and activities into secular and sacred categories.
8. I have failed to follow Jesus Christ’s agenda for bringing His Kingdom and have prayed “Your Kingdom come” and ignored His demand to always, “seek it first” in my personal, church, and lifestyle.
9. I confess my preoccupation with myself, my wants and my individual ministry and I confess I am shocked at how little I care about Christ’s teaching on the Kingdom of God or unity in His Body.”
Pastor’s Statement of Commitment to Biblical Unity
“I have asked the Father for forgiveness for the sin of sectarianism and a diminishing of the Kingdom by my life and attitude, and forgiveness is mine because of Jesus. By His grace I commit myself to doing whatever it costs to bring the Kingdom of God to our region and seeing the death of sectarianism. It is my stated desire to live & work in such Biblical Unity that the non-believing worl
d of Manasota will be confro
nted with Jesus Christ. This is my pledge before God and you my fellow pastors. I will not hold myself from you, nor retreat to isolation, but shall seek to pray & work together with you to see His Kingdom come. This is my pledge: One Lord-One Faith-One Church-One Mission.”