What Faith Really Looks Like
“It is impossible to please God without faith…” the writer of Hebrews says. Faith is an interesting word, in which I believe that most people have attributed to intellectual ascension in a deity and their existence. The problem with that is it isn’t at all what the Bible means by faith. Many people say, “I believe in God,” but their declaration means little without application.
James, the half brother of Jesus, wrote in his letter: “Faith without works is dead…” He also expressed that belief in God alone is useless, because even the demons believe in God, but are not submitted to His lordship. Belief by itself is not enough; faith is when belief and trust collide! Your belief exercised is when you trust God at His word, and live accordingly.
My family and I moved to Morgan Hill, California last fall, as I took a pastoral job at Morgan Hill Bible Church. I was very eager to work under and with Pastor Dave Whitaker, as he has been a mentor and friend for a few years. The role started off well while we were both attempting to figure out how I best fit into the church leadership. After a few months, my role started to shift a little as the church body started to grow numerically, and we inevitably needed to hire more staff to help manage the increase in people.
As time went on, it became clear to both Dave and I that my gifts and passions are not at all in managing and administration—which is often what is required of most associate pastor roles. Dave did all that he could to help make it work for me and my family, but there was an underlying discontent I had as an evangelist working in a pastoral role.
Pastors are shepherds of people, who equip the people in the church body to care for one another while overseeing their spiritual growth. An evangelist’s two main functions are: the proclamation of the Gospel (Jesus lived the life we couldn’t live, died the death we deserved to die because of our sin, physically rose from the dead, defeating sin and death, and those who would trust in Jesus alone would have eternal life) and equipping others to share this same news in their sphere of influence.
This is what I have done for many years now, and have had great success. Many call themselves “Evangelists” because they talk about Jesus, but talking about Jesus doesn’t make you an evangelist, it just proves you are a Christian!
Since 2011, I have been equipping others specifically in regards to how to share Jesus in the Bay Area, in a way that people can understand. Evangelism is not a bad word, but has been hijacked by people who think vomiting Jesus on others gets them a gold star next to their name in the Book of Life. He alone is good news. Who He is, what He has done, and what can happen if you put your faith in Him. But, we have overcomplicated this fact by thinking we have to clean someone up, or get him/her to manage his/her sin. Our job as Christians has never been to convert or accost, but to simply share and trust God for the results.
The Birth of Compelled
In 2012, I had the honor of walking alongside and leading/teaching about 30 young adults all that I knew about evangelism. It was a very good 6 months for a lot of reasons, but very difficult at the same time, as I was a very young leader who was doing many things by trial and error. Those 6 months were very fruitful, very transformative, and increasingly sanctifying for all of us. God used that team of people to help prune the teaching of evangelism which we now call Compelled.
Compelled is 4 specific teachings on evangelism, that consists of 2-hour seminar style, fill in the blank, connect and talk with one another type of teaching. Its aim is to engage, empower, and equip to share the hope that we have in a relational, relatable, and non-awkward way.
Since August of ’12, when we taught Compelled at Trinity Church of Sunnyvale, we have had the honor of equipping over 3,100 people through the curriculum of Compelled, in person, and hundreds more through the online resources as well. The goal is to equip 10,000 people in the Bay Area to share the hope that they have in their sphere of influence, and see what God does with a large group of followers of Jesus who are equipped and empowered to make disciples in the Bay Area.
God has impressed upon my family and I that this specific ministry plays a part in what He is doing in the Bay Area, and through trusted mentors and friends, God was leading us towards truly stepping out in faith, on a level that we had not experienced before. This meant trusting God at His Word, that He would provide for us if we were willing to trust His leading and gifting in our lives.
So, while meeting with Dave, my lead pastor, he asked what we thought God was leading us to do. And, as we talked, it became abundantly clear that the current role and context was not conducive to the Lord’s leading in our lives. Dave affirmed my gifts and passions, and allowed for me to be relieved of any responsibilities on staff at Morgan Hill Bible Church, while still supporting us for a season (very, very grateful for this!).
So, now what? That’s a great question. I am so used to having a plan and knowing the next steps before I make any decisions… but the Lord has led us in a season of truly stepping out in faith—which we did, and we trust that God will show up and show off, just as He did throughout the scriptures!
We have 3 Compelled trainings planned, starting in January at Hillside Church, Home of Christ in Cupertino, and Valley Church (where Erin and I got married) in Cupertino in February. I am actively pursuing other churches and colleges where we can teach Compelled, so if you know of any churches/colleges or are interested in hosting a training, PLEASE let us know.
I also have a vision to create Compelled Evangelism teams at different churches, using those who have been through the Compelled equipping and are really “activated” by the teaching and want to start applying and replicating what they have learned. My hope is to find 15 to 20 people in the South Bay Area, to walk alongside, disciple, mentor, and further equip them to be evangelistic team leaders at their respective churches.
I am currently working on an apologetic book aimed at college students to help them understand what Christians believe—and why. With all of the opportunities that God has provided on college campuses lately, plus the affinity I feel for college ministry (I came to Christ in college), I know He has allowed me to have a voice in that generation specifically. I feel as if this book is very timely and needs to be in the hands of college students today as much as ever.
We have had multiple opportunities in evangelism (Compelled) and college ministry especially: San Jose State, Santa Clara University, and Stanford in particular. There are opportunities to mentor campus ministers, disciple students and leaders, and be a resource to meet with students who are asking about Jesus. One of my hopes is to work towards being a resource to as many campus ministries in the state as possible. I would like to do this by either being an encourager to the campus leaders, providing Compelled resources, and speaking wherever invited to share the Gospel.
How You Can Be Involved
I LOVE the local church, and want to be as much of a resource as possible. We are currently praying about staying in Morgan Hill or moving closer to the heart of the silicon valley and possibly finding another church to be a part of and be under their spiritual authority. For now we are under the care and accountability of the elders of Morgan Hill Bible and are very grateful for their support and leadership. I am talking through different ways that I can be a resource to multiple churches in the Bay Area. Through providing Compelled trainings, consulting for evangelism and discipleship, and helping develop and disciple leaders.
So, our “BIG ASK” is this: Could you please pray for the Reillys? Pray that we trust God throughout this entire process—that we don’t get ahead of Him, and attempt to force anything. That we would be humbled by this process of being more dependent on God than we ever have been before.
Let others know about this blog by sharing it. You can tell others about the Compelled ministry by pointing them towards the website: compelled.org and letting them know about the Compelled fan page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/iamcompelled
Encouraging notes/messages/texts/emails are a huge blessing, too. I got a text yesterday from a young man who my family and I had spent a lot of time with over the past few years. He has since gone off to a Christian college, and texted me to let me know that what God had taught him through me was benefitting a lot of people who he is now getting to invest in.
Lastly, financial support is always welcome. If you have been blessed by our ministry, and God has put it on your heart to help financially, above and beyond your tithe to your local church, we would love if you would support us either by a one time gift or monthly gifts.
You can do so electronically or by sending a tax-deductible check by following this link: http://www.compelled.org/support/
We so appreciate your support in any way, and thank you for partnering with us as we attempt to share and equip as many people as possible with the good news of Jesus!