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Ten Words for the Next Ten Years

by David Bryant, Nov 15, 1989

Hear my cry, O God…lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
–King David

bryant02_lIn the Spring of 1986, Robyne and I were in the mountains outside Asheville, North Carolina after leading a mission mobilizers conference.

One morning I took a long walk and asked God to give me counsel for the time ahead to help me carry out my work as the missions mobilizer He wants me to be. Little did I know that God had an unusual experience prepared for me, one that has only happened a few times in my life.

As I was walking down this little country road it seemed as if across the sky I saw ten words flash, as though printed by a celestial laser printer bam, bam, bam.

The impression was gone in a moment, but I knew that God was telling me that these ten words represented ten key concerns He wanted in my ministry in the coming years. I am even more convinced of this as we enter the last ten years of this century, and long to see the Church mobilized to fulfill the Great Commission.

Not only am I convinced that God wants these guidelines in my life, but having worked with hundreds of mission mobilizers in the Church around the world, I believe they are words that can be equally helpful to all who are called to such a crucial task.


The first word is “CHRIST.” The Lord said to me that morning “that Christ must ever and always be my all and in all” (Col. 3:11) in everything I do to mobilize Christians for mission action. He said: “Never, ever stop letting Christ be all and in all for those you seek to mobilize.”

The Lord said to me, “Pursue a fresh revelation of my Son. Pursue it, go hard after it. There are things about the Lord Jesus you have not yet seen that I want to show to you. Come after me for it. In turn, whatever I give you in new understanding of my Son, you are responsible to incorporate immediately into how you re living and ministering to others. Everything, all attention must be focused on Christ. He must be the central issue at all times.”

In the years since that morning walk, I have articulated this principle by asking Christian leaders three key questions. I call them the more questions:

–Is there more of Christ that God is ready to reveal in and through His Church than we have yet seen or experienced?
–In light of the desperate needs of the Church, do we need to seek that revelation of Christ far more than we do?
–In light of the desperate needs of the world, can we ever seek that fuller revelation of Christ too much?

A FULLER REVELATION OF CHRIST in and through His Church is at the heart of world evangelization. That is why I have battled to make that the central issue in my ministry for many years.

Often others have tried to put me in a paper bag. In the late 70s, I was labeled “Mr. World Christian,” based on my writings and conferences on that theme. But I knew that was only a bridge into seeing Christians wrap their lives more effectively around Christ and His Global Cause. In more recent years I have been known more as “Mr. Concerts of Prayer.” But believe it or not, I m fighting to get out of that misperception as well, because for me and for all of us there is something even more important than experiencing concerted prayer.

We need to leave people with a hunger for more revelation of Christ as they hope for the advance of His Kingdom. Christ must be the central issue. Whatever kind of a vision we are calling others to in the decade of the ’90s, let it all come back to Him. After all, the year 2000 is a celebration of Christ s incarnation in order to be the center piece for all creation, for all history, and all the redeemed family of God from every tongue,tribe and nation. As we call the Church toward the year 2000, let s be sure that our focus is nothing less!


The second word He gave me that morning was the word “HOPE.” That has been a growing part of my life message for years. I see a whole new work of God in revival and world evangelization just before us, that I firmly believe I will witness before I die. The hope of spiritual awakening that God has put inside me has sustained me in all these years of ministry. Some call it a prophetic vision. Maybe so. In any case, I can t escape the fact that it must be deep, driving, and lasting in my efforts to mobilize others.

What God told me that morning is that this “message of Hope” is a special “prism” by which He helps me to see Christ and speak of His glory in order to inspire others to missions. He told me that morning: stay with it. It is the greatest single ingredient for igniting and sustaining a movement of people committed to the evangelization of the world. This vision of Hope must be at the forefront of our leadership in whatever we do for world evangelization.

In other words, all of us as leaders must help people get their attention focused on the things that are unseen, the things that are eternal–the works of God that are just before us, but holy dependent upon God’s initiatives toward us. When we talk about the statistics of the unreached world or hand out information that describes the tremendous challenges ahead of us, it s so easy for people to be overwhelmed by the immensity, the complexity, and the urgency of the task–so that Hope is the last thing they see.

What we really need to do is help them look to the coming Kingdom. We need to help them understand that the Church is truly at the threshold of a whole new work of God, if we will diligently seek it from Him together. And the work He is preparing to do in us is not for our sakes alone, but for the sake of many, many others–right to the ends of the earth.

If people can see something that large and that compelling, they can then be helped to believe God for the place that they have individually and corporately in the fulfillment of His plan. I often paraphrase what is sometimes known as the “first law” in the “Four Spiritual Laws” booklet, by saying it this way, “God has a wonderful plan for the nations, and He loves you and me enough to give us a place in it.” That hopeful vision will stir people to the obedience of faith as nothing else will.

One area in which I have seen this to be true is my work with pastors in cities around the world. In almost all cases, pastors are usually too busy to give much thought to a one time inter-denominational city-wide prayer gathering, let alone to actively support an ongoing movement of concerted prayer–unless the effort is fragrant with a clear purpose and direction based upon God’s Kingdom initiative.

Once spiritual leaders sense that there is the hope of divine intervention that will have direct relevance to the revival in their own churches, and to fulfilling their dreams for ministry within their own city, they are much more motivated to call their people together into a movement of seekers that pursue nothing less than a global mission.

Over the years I have learned to frame this vision of Hope for local leaders into two questions:
–If Christ and His Kingdom were to become the focus of attention in your city in answer to a movement of united prayer, what would be the impact of that work of God?
–How would it impact the daily walk of individual Christians, the corporate life in and among local churches, the many needs and opportunities within the city at large, and ultimately the nations and peoples of the world?

AS THEY BEGIN TO ANSWER THESE PROBINGS, the Spirit of God paints a vision of Hope before them that compels them to pray, to call others to come with them, and to do nothing less than seek the full mobilization of the Church for the Great Commission.


The third word God gave me that morning was the word “PRAISE.” Praise does not come naturally for me. I’m very analytical, always observing what is going on.

I constantly evaluate the desperate paralysis within the Church and the dark prospects that seem to lurk within our cities and the nations. Sometimes this attempt to uncover “reality” robs me of praise. Often I feel that there are so many problems and obstacles to spiritual awakening, that there is no way under the circumstances  we could ever expect a fresh new work of revival that has worldwide repercussions. But then I remember the statement which Howard Hendricks made to the person who felt dismayed under the circumstances, when he said, “Well, what are you doing down under there to begin with?”

So that morning, God told me: “I want you to sing more, I want you to have more spiritual melodies in your heart. I want you to praise me as a way of life. I want you to rejoice in the hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:3).

As Ephesians 5 says, I must be filled with the Holy Spirit by speaking to myself in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. I m to be filled with the Spirit as I push back the clutter in my life and focus my praise on the Lord, exclusively. When I expand my horizons in praise, then the Spirit has something to fill.

Like me, many mobilizers are goal oriented and often workaholics. If praise is to get out of our lives and into the courts of heaven, we must be intentional to make it happen. We must work equally hard to make sure others are infected with the same spirit of praise. If we share this call to world evangelization with a strong note of praise to the God of the whole earth, praise that filters through everything we say and do in the mobilizing effort, then people will begin to see the work for world evangelization as genuinely an act of worship.

That is why we must lead people into the work of united prayer for this coming Decade of Evangelization. If, as many of us sense, God is preparing to accelerate the work of missions beyond anything we have ever known, then these next ten years are a time of celebration, both in victories that have already been won and in victories about to take place as God fulfills the Global Cause of Christ. Only a people united in prayer and praise can be transformed into a people mobilized together to fulfill the Great Commission with one heart and one voice.


“SEEKING” was the fourth word put before me by the celestial laser printer. I knew exactly what God meant. I must become a person who is constantly pursuing Christ and His advancing Kingdom. Again the issue is of Christ. I must expect to find, receive and obey more of Christ than I ever have before. God has so much more to give–not only for me, but for the whole church and the whole world. The fact of the matter is, the secret of the Kingdom of God remains seekers. Because ultimately the seekers become the receivers.

When seekers receive they never do so for their sakes alone, but for the sake of many, many others. This is one of the common threads that emerges as you look at church history, one of the repeating patterns over the course of time that has led to new thrusts of the Church in mission over the past 2,000 years.

So that morning I personally resolved to begin getting up earlier than ever in the morning to seek the Lord and His deeper work in and through my efforts as a missions mobilizer (of course, there’s nothing sacred about the time of day we do this). I’m even more convinced now that I must spend far more time in the pursuit of Christ by prayer and obedience out of prayer.

I must admit, I don’t see a strong urgency in many segments of the evangelical movement to become seekers. In my travels in this country and abroad–both among students, with churches, and in the missions arena it seems to me that there is something about the person of Jesus that isn’t getting through clearly enough to unlock people and set them in motion with a compelling hunger to seek Christ, as a way of life and a way of mission. Contrast this present day paralysis with the attitude of the nation of Israel coming out of Egypt.

Throughout the venture God taught them the priority of seeking Him. They were compelled to look toward the cloud and fire, to see what God was doing and where He was headed next. Sometimes they would wait for an entire month before these instruments of guidance would move. Yet when they did, those diligently seeking Him were ready to go.

According to Numbers 10, God called the Levites to be key mobilizers of Israel because they were the “primary” seekers. Living around the tabernacle, they were ready to blow the trumpet to gather the people for action as soon as God began to move. Certainly this principle that “seekers-are-mobilizers” is no less important in missions mobilization today.

This same potential is what excites me about the Concerts of Prayer movement today. I know historically what this has meant for missions. For example, the second great awakening of the late 1700’s was characterized as a movement of seekers (often calling their prayer bands concerts of prayer), that resulted in a church wide revival that launched the worldwide missionary advance that continues to this hour.

Today, God is accelerating another prayer movement of similar focus and desire throughout the world–from New York city to San Francisco, from Minneapolis to Los Angeles, and in Nairobi, Amsterdam, Jakarta, Capetown, and Hong Kong.

Knowing God’s character, praying people are gathering together in great anticipation of how God will change our present world and bring about a lasting spiritual awakening today. They meet in churches and offices, in homes and on campuses. Concerted prayer is growing on a scale far larger than anything we have known before. All of this signals a great promise for the full mobilization of the church in world evangelization during the next ten years.

Despite these signs, however, I carry within my heart a great concern. The greatest fear I have about the Concerts of Prayer movement today, or any other movement of similar seekers, is that the effort will end up becoming another program. This is why we must hold each other accountable never to stop the process of seeking the Lord as a way of life.

When you have people who are hungry for the things of God to be fulfilled, walking together in a movement of prayer, holding one another accountable in a day to day life that takes all that we are praying toward and makes it a part of everything we are, in daily obedience to Jesus–then you’ve got a movement that will change the world.


The fifth word is the word “LISTEN.” It’s the other side of seeking. It means to stand at attention before the One we seek and listen, with open hands and open hearts to receive.

A listening posture says: “Dear Lord, everything about this cause of world evangelization and every bit of my ministry as a mobilizer, is your initiative from beginning to end. So I want to be just like your Son. I want to say only what I hear you saying, Dear Father. In this work of mobilization, I want to do only what I see you doing (John 5). So I am listening to you.”

In the book of Revelation, John is commissioned to mobilize the seven churches of Asia toward solidarity with God as the Lamb unleashes the forces to bring history to its climax. In receiving that assignment from the Lord, however, John first had to become like a dead man at the feet of Jesus. He had nothing to say. He had only eyes and ears to receive. There was silence.

That must be true in the life of every mobilizer. I like to call it the “strategy of silence.” This is what will guarantee the effectiveness of our mobilization efforts. Only as we listen will we have assurance that our work is in step with the Spirit. Furthermore, those we mobilize must also be discipled into the strategy of silence.

As we seek God for the intensification of evangelization among all peoples of the earth, our greatest strategy is to seek and listen. In the process, we present ourselves to God to be used in answer to our prayers in whatever way He may choose. And we ask Him to fill us afresh with the Holy Spirit that we may walk daily in ways that are consistent with what we seek.

It is not without purpose that the Scriptures call such people “wait-ers.” Waiting and listening are key to world evangelization. Christ’s last command according to Luke and Acts, was not “go” but “wait”!


That morning He also gave me the word “HUMILITY.” We must clothe ourselves with humility. That is something every leader really has to work at. I say that from years of failing to do so.

Mobilizers are from top to bottom, servants. Thus, we have to learn to count others more important than ourselves. We need to be persistent in blessing others. We must never despise others or slander them, simply because they don t initially respond to our efforts. We must always show respect, whether or not they currently want to be missions minded or take on certain activities we advocate. Bearing, enduring, believing, hoping all things–those are the chief characteristics of love and of those who mobilize others to love the world.

I need to be honest here. At times it is my tendency to withdraw when I’m around people whom I perceive aren’t ready to move with me. I withdraw from them and immediately go off to find somebody else who will respond. Yet over the years I’m learning that if I’ll be faithful to keep pressing on with the ones who did not initially respond, God will sometimes give me other ministries to them, that in the end will set them free enough to respond to the larger challenge of world evangelization.

Once people do respond to our efforts, we need also to wear a mantle of humility that prevents us from ever “using them” to accomplish our own goals and objectives in ministry. A mobilized people never belongs to us. They belong exclusively to the Lord who stirred their hearts from the beginning to offer themselves to Him.


That morning the Lord told me he wants me to pursue Him, as I have never pursued him before, for the power of the Holy Spirit. I was to do so not simply for me to be full of a deeper experience of the Holy Spirit, but in order to be empowered to mobilize others.

Why? Because just as is true in salvation, those who are “reconverted” to a Great Commission Christian mentality, can only be brought to that level of faith and obedience when the Spirit brings the Word to them with such conviction that their faith is in the power and wisdom of God (1 Cor. 2:1-5).

For after all, what is the power of the Holy Spirit? It certainly entails, at its heart, a visitation of the Lord Jesus himself toward those who hear and believe. The Spirit opens their eyes and the Lord manifests himself to them, so they are willing as never before to do business with Him.

A lot is said today about “power” in evangelism and missions. Having read all the literature, I still must confess this fact: as I look back over the years and see all the places I’ve been, all the people I’ve spoken to, all the mobilization efforts I have sought to carry out, I know for certain that there is a dimension of the power of God in calling forth commitment to world evangelization into which I have not yet entered. I am ashamed, and I put myself before the Lord with a sense of great desperation.

It seems that something is still blocking in my life. God knows. Some day He’ll deal with it. I am praying that it will be very soon. But without question, my heart’s desire is to search for the power of the Spirit in mobilizing the Church to action, until that power is given.

I know I am not just talking about some extraordinary experience with the Holy Spirit. To me, God has given the promise that the day will come when, through no righteousness of my own, it will be possible for me to share the things of Christ and of His heart for the world in such a way that God will arrest the lives of many of His children.

He will create in them a “second conversion.” Just as they were converted out of the world into Christ, they will give themselves equally to be “converted” with Christ back into the world. That is what a world Christian is all about.

I believe God wants this for all mission mobilizers. He wants us all to be empowered by the Holy Spirit, in a way that overthrows the status quo in our own ministries and among the two billion unreached. Within organizations or within churches, we must see things powerfully altered under the blessing of God to cause us to become a blessing to the families of the earth.


“SIMPLICITY”– here is what I wrote down that morning: “I need to be far more simple in what I give myself to do–in what I desire to accomplish in the lives of others.” I need simplicity in how I relate to other people. I need simplicity in how I actually do the work of ministry whether I am in my  office, or on the road. I need to be sure I am leading others despite the tremendous complexities in the task before us into a simplicity of focus and desire that forever remains “undistracted devotion” (1 Cor. 7).

This is not how the evangelical church often looks or feels either to its own or the world that watches us. I see this over and over again in my travels in North America. Not long ago, I saw it during a month-long trip in Asia. I remember how naively I went forth, expecting to find a Church that was far more reflective (as Eastern culture often is) and less activist-oriented than the evangelical churches in the West. Instead, in many cases, I found that leaders in Asia were saying the same thing

I have heard leaders say in the United States: “We’re so busy, so over committed, so programmed, we don’t have time to pray, we don’t have time to work together to reach our cities, we don’t have energy to do anything even if we decide to work together. We’re weary, we’re tired, we re exhausted. And we see no escape from this horrendous menagerie we have created for ourselves.”

Thus, whatever we do to mobilize others for the coming Decade of World Evangelization, both in how we do it and in what we lead them to do we need to keep this design in clear focus: before the Lord we must help people find deliverance from forces at work inside the evangelical movement that cause us to be a people overfed, overworked, overprogrammed, overcommitted and oversold.

People are encumbered. Many are on the verge of collapse. The year 2000 is summoning us to set God’s people free, so they can be genuinely mobilized for the essentials in the years ahead.

Again, three questions can help us, as we seek the Lord to bring us into solid simplicity:
–Of all that we are doing, what goes? (Repentence is called for.)
–Of all that we are doing stays? (Recommitment takes place.)
–What new things is God ready to do in us and through us if we will diligently seek Him for it? (God is calling the shots as we move ahead.)


This ninth word is actually two words that are often seen together, “CALL FORTH” or summons.

The Lord said to me that morning: “I’m creating something new in your generation. As a mobilizer here’s what I ask you to do: call it forth. I created it, but you and others can help call it forth.” What does that mean?

First, we need to identify what God is establishing before us, state it clearly, show its biblical roots, explain its relevancy to the current situation, and declare with confidence our conviction that it is indeed what God is putting together.

Secondly, after we state the new things that God is preparing to do in and through His Church for the sake of the nations, we need to help others frame an appropriate response to that vision. In other words we have to enable people to respond to God’s promises so they can begin to embody the promises themselves. We must encourage the responders to step forth, and then we must help them succeed in what they have stepped forth to do.

Part of this will involve facilitating a network, locally or globally, of those the Spirit is “calling forth” to respond to their God-given destiny in the fulfillment of the Great Commission. The more effectively we help them work together, the more effective will be their obedience to the vision. Our task is to bring them together and let them team up–in creative new ways, so they can employ their gifts and calling.

Sometimes it may seem to us that there is only a remnant of people who carry the burden of Christ’s Global Cause. But, on the other hand, if we could see all those remnants put together, it would actually be a great throng (Micah 2:12-13).

But since the remnant is scattered throughout the Body, one of the most important things mobilizers can do is to call forth that which God has already created in His Body–those who are ready to take sacrificial action, both as senders and goers to fulfill the Great Commission. In the end, we would be surprised to see how many tens of millions of Christians are ready to be called forth to world Christian discipleship, to bring the gospel among the nations.

Our ministry as mobilizers is to give definition to who they are, and then present them the opportunity to say so publically. As we do this work we can do so with great confidence. We are simply calling forth others who are already there, already called into being by the Lord. We don t make them, we call them forth. Someday, this “secret” work developing within the bowels of the Church will become manifest. It will be a new day for missions. When that day comes, we will know that we ourselves have had a significant part in the process.


The final word God gave me was the word “TOGETHER.” The Lord told me that Robyne and I must give obedience “together” to the first nine words he showed me that morning, which we have determined to do ever since. We need each other. Ours is a reciprocal relationship. We are not duplicating one another. God’s vision for our life as husband and wife can only be fulfilled as we pursue it and obey it together–if we do the work of mobilization as a team.

I see this in so many other relationships as well. We need to keep an open life and heart toward the many others who have become a part of our extended team.

For me that means the people I work with in the Concerts of Prayer movements in cities around the world, or with the National Prayer Committee in the U.S., or with the many friends in the Lausanne movement.

I need to let God blend my life together with other key mission mobilizers, and let Him create a synthesis of our ministries that allows none of us to be the same, but presents a model of unity in ministry that we know must become the experience of all whom we eventually mobilize.

Over the years this has been one of the chief concerns of our effort at united prayer mobilization. We have seen hundreds of thousands of people challenged to become world Christians, drawn into Concerts of Prayer, and trained to serve united prayer movements within their communities.

Frequently this has happened as people have become convinced of this basic premise: God’s whole vision for a whole city (or a whole church, or a whole denomination, or a whole generation) can only be fulfilled through the whole body of Christ (whether it be the congregation, the church within a city, or a network of Christian ministries worldwide).

Therefore the whole Body must pursue that vision together somehow. And if they don’t pursue it together in a movement of united prayer they will not be able to pursue God’s vision in any other way, ultimately.

But that morning the Lord also spoke to me about another side of togetherness–that is, what to do with yourself when you find yourself alone. As missions mobilizers we will often minister together with many, many others, but we may still feel alone.

Often as leaders, we have led a charge only to look back and see that no one is following! Or, we experience an aloneness when we know that people do not understand the burden and vision we seek to impart. Sometimes people are afraid of what we represent, we are a threat to their security. At other times they may be jealous of our zeal for the things of God, but unwilling to actually imitate our faith.

When those times come, remember, you are never alone. You are linked inseparably with the chief Mobilizer! Spirit to spirit you are united with Him who is the apostle (pioneer) and high priest (constant intercessor) of the faith we confess, and the mission we obey (Hebrews 3).


This brings me to one more word, which might even be termed an eleventh word for those of us who are working in the eleventh hour of this century. It is the word “apostle.” What does it mean to be an apostle?

Laying aside more technical definitions, to be an apostle means to be a trailblazer, to be a pacesetter, to be a way-maker. God is calling mission mobilizers to take up the previous ten words, and in so doing, pioneer new horizons, and break open the way for many, many others to follow. These ten words are the portfolio of an apostle.

Our Savior broke open the way so now we come into the holy of holies and stand before the throne of grace. You and I join Him in a similiar ministry. We are apostles  in the sense that we are trailblazers  for God s mission into the 21st century; opening the way for many others to follow–taking them first to the throne of grace.

So, whatever else God calls us to do in the years to come, remember we are one Spirit with Him who is the master Mobilizer. He desires to live out that ministry through us to His greater glory among the nations.

DEAR FATHER, TEN WORDS, FIFTY WORDS. Truly, your words give life! You give us so much so that we will be adequate to the task in Christ.

When you come to us and share your heart with us then we are refreshed and renewed by you, not by ourselves. Oh thank you, Father.

So here we are before you, weary with fatigue, and yet I know we all sense there is something very sacred about the primary calling we have from you. Oh Father, I pray for my brothers and sisters that you would consecrate them. Do that by making them, above everything else, seekers themselves. Mobilize every one of us into a constant desire in motion after you and the things of your Kingdom.

Then we will be whom you need us to be for the rest of the task. Oh Father, I ask you that you will give the gift of a seeking heart to every one of us. Lead us into the ensuing consecration that makes us mobilizers by who we are, not just by what we say.

We cry out boldly for the empowering of the Holy Spirit on our ministry of mobilization, because we see how little wm your heart yearns and Christ died. For their sakes and your glory, we consecrate ourselves.

Now Father, we also rejoice in every way we are called to suffer for our brothers and sisters. We rejoice that you are willing to fill up in our flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, the Church (Colossians 1:24). Father, for the glory of your Son, we’re willing to become servants to your people.

Even as you might choose to commission us to present to them your Word in all of its fullness that mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to your saints. How glorious it is: Christ is in the midst of your Church to lead us on to all the glorious things to come, and all of this for the sake of the nations (Colossians 1:25-27).

We are willing to proclaim Christ, admonishing everyone and teaching everyone with all the wisdom you give us so that we might present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end we will labor. And we will struggle on in this work of missions mobilization for the next ten years and beyond with all the energy that you powerfully work within us (Colossians 1:28 29). Through Christ our Lord. AMEN.


1. Personally speaking, what was the most meaningful statement in this essay? Why?

2. In your opinion, what is God calling His Church to do as we enter the Decade of World Evangelization and look towards the year 2000?

3. If this vision of Hope as described by Bryant were to become the focus of attention in your city or your denomination in answer to a movement of prayer, what would be the impact of that work of God?

4. Bryant describes our role as seekers. If others were to pray for you in one specific way toward this end, what would that request be?

This article is based on an address that David Bryant originally gave on August 30, 1986 at Mt. Hermon, Massachusetts to a national group of student ministry workers. For more on the Proclaim Hope ministry of David Bryant, see

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