27 Days to Israel! - Charlie, Baptized Three Years Ago, Beomces A Minister! - A Powerful Story of Redemption

Yesterday I was filled with joy as one of our good friends, Kelly Weatherford, posted that her husband, Charlie Weatherford, was just hired to be an ASSOCIATE MINISTER at the Sunset Church of Christ in Carlsbad, New Mexico. Praise God!

So how does this relate to the Story of Redemption? Well, Charlie went through the Story of Redemption in a seeker small group with his wife and other seekers and some loving Christians. At the end of the study, he was baptized into Christ, which was incredible. In fact, Charlie was one of NINE people who were part of this small group that made this decision over more than a year's time. Charlie Weatherford, Marti Byers, Kurt Tegge, Armando Moncada, Cyndi Moncada, AJ, Moncada, Lindsey Gill, and yes, my own daughter, Gina Nored. 

As I think back on this, I have to say, tears come to my eyes. I can remember talking with Kelly out on a back porch in McKinney about people in her life that she wanted to share Christ with, including her husband and a friend of hers who was struggling with some issues. Who knew that a few years later, her husband would not only be baptized and lead her family spiritually, but also make the decision to go from being an auto body shop worker, to go to preaching school and become a minister. Wow--what a true Story of Redemption!

The above video tells the story of Charlie's conversion--a video which Kelly reposted today. We need to update this story now, don't we, as the story just keeps going on and on and getting better and better. Hopefully that is true for all of our lives too, despite the ups and downs and challenges.

Looking back on Charlie's study, here are some key elements that I think go into a SUCCESSFUL SEEKER BIBLE STUDY--all confirmed by Charlie's wife, Kelly, in the video above:

  1. Prayer - Kelly had been praying for her husband for years. We prayed together in each study. Throughout the study, the Christians in the group were praying for Charlie and the seekers in the group--including leading up to the last lesson on the resurrection, baptism, and the new life in Christ.
  2. A Good Mix of Seekers and Christians -  Getting the mix right in a seeker study is important. Ideally, you want somewhere between 1/3 to 1/2 of the group to be seekers. Having a group where 7-8 are long time Christians and only one person is a seeker is a sure way to make sure that that person does not say anything, feel comfortable, or want to come back!

    It is helpful for the seekers in the group to know that they are not the only ones who are new to the Bible or the Christian faith. This also means that the Christians in the study need to be sensitive to where the seekers are in the study. They should not try to answer every question, reference parts of the Bible that are unfamiliar to seekers, or assume knowledge. 
  3. Much Love and Involvement in One Another's Lives (Experiencing Christian Community) - I used to do a lot of evangelistic studies one on one, and I still do that, and it can be effective. But in a seeker small group, their is an experience of Christian community that is powerful, attractive, and helps in people wanting to make a decision to follow Christ. This is not an added bonus of Christianity, it is a fundamental part, for God is communal and the Christian faith and salvation is fundamentally communal.

    Many seekers have never experience the love that exists in a Christian community, and when they do, it can impact them profoundly. We had some of the most incredible, loving Christians I have ever been around in this study and small group who truly took an interest in these seekers' lives. People like Sandy and Cindy Detherage, Mike and Lisa Shuttlesworth, as well as Bart and Jenny Cleland, Ron and Diane O'Neal, and many others, These loving, mature Christians went to the soccer games of those in the group, shared meals with them, called them, visited them, and prayed with them. This was fundamental to Charlie and others in the group coming to faith.

And obviously, it is very helpful to have a Bible study series that is designed to help intentionally build faith and lead people to want to follow Jesus, which is what the Story of Redemption is. It is actually God's story, and when actually told by loving Christians who live out the truths that are found within it--well, that is powerful.

I am excited about filming the Story of Redemption in Israel. It should be a fantastic experience, of course. But most especially, I am excited about creating the video version of this study, which can help lead even more people to faith and build up the faith of long time Christians.

Here are our prayer requests:

  • Please pray for me in the PREPARATION for the Israel trip on March 1-18. There is a ton of planning for sites, teaching sections, logistics, film permits, etc. leading up to the trip. 

  • Please pray for the FINANCIAL SUPPORT that we are raising for this trip and ministry (which is all coming through monthly support from individuals who believe in this ministry and want to help support us in this work). We are looking for friends, supporters, and people who want to partner with us in this ministry.

  • Please pray for SAFETY, GOOD WEATHER, AND SMOOTH SAILING in our travels and filming in Israel

  • Please pray for GOD TO USE THE STORY OF REDEMPTION TOOL -hopefully one among many that we will produce--to build up the kingdom and lead others to Christ.

Charlie, we could not be more proud of you. Praise God for all that he is doing and will do through his people!

What inspires you in Charlie's story? What have you learned about sharing faith and leading others to Christ?

To download FREE copies of the .pdfs of the Story of Redemption, watch other conversion stories, and see some of the initial videos of the Story of Redemption, go to www.StoryofRedemption.com.

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