Have you ever counted yourself out of ministry or leadership or sharing the gospel? "I'm not brave enough. I wouldn't know what to say. My story isn't exciting enough." This one verse addresses all of those very common worries.
Peter and John had been anxious and fearful, hiding behind locked doors in case anyone did to them what they had done to their leader. They didn't have great learning or training in rhetoric or debate, they didn’t have power or influence or international networks. But they had one thing going for them: they had been with Jesus.
When the Holy Spirit came upon them, he gave them everything they lacked: boldness, eloquence and opportunity. All they had to add was their obedience. Our story is the same. We may be ordinary men, women and children, but we too have been with Jesus. And we too have the same Spirit living in us. Will we have the courage to listen to his promptings and take up the opportunities he gives us?
God has given us exciting dreams for our family in this next season, many of which we spoke into at the COURAGE conference in 2018: 20,000 people praying across the world; new leaders raised up and existing ones equipped; churches planted into every nation of Europe. The resources from the conference are available for you to watch or download as a reminder of what we learned. But we are called to be not just hearers of the Word but doers, too.
So we are launching a new initiative called Acts of Courage. We want to see people across our family being released into all that God has for them. Individuals growing in courage; listening, stepping out, growing in faith. Through this, like a pebble dropped into a calm pond, the ripples spread far and wide. They touch, speak to and encourage the community around us.
Our initial milestone is to reach 1,000 acts of courage across our family of churches…but will you join us so that our acts become too many to count?
You may associate courage with knightly heroism - bravely riding off into the world to do daring deeds. We’ve got great news for those of you discounting yourselves because you don’t have an iron suit. For this mission we just need you, walking through life, where you are.
The dictionary defines courage as “The ability to do something that frightens one.” This means acts of courage are accessible to everyone. What frightens you might not be the least bit scary to me, but what frightens Mike Betts might be a walk in the park for you. You don’t need to compare yourself to the courageous deeds of others. All you need to do is to listen out for God.
Don’t discount yourself again! We’re all on a journey, so if you’ve never listened for or heard from God before then that’s your starting block. If you don’t know how to do it, this seminar by Mike Bollinger at Newday 2018 has some really practical tips and exercises you can try alone or with friends.
What do you do when you hear that whisper or that inner voice, when you feel that nudge or that thumping heart? Stepping out, speaking up, praying, acting, whatever you do next, that takes courage, that right there is your act of courage. Speaking to a stranger, offering to pray for a friend, giving someone a seemingly random but God-prompted gift.
We have made two videos showing how Acts of Courage link in with some of the different ‘chapters’ in our Way of Life book. You’ll find them to the right of the page (or scroll down if you’re reading on a phone or other device). Find out what Acts of Courage have looked like in the lives of some of our family, and think about what they might look like for you.
Mike Betts also preached on the topic at Lowestoft Community Church in February 2019. You can listen to the podcast of that and get some more ideas and inspiration.
We want God to be glorified in our lives and our churches. It is he who gives us the courage to act, so he should get the credit when we do. So why not share your #ActsofCourage story with us?
Send us an email, fill in this form, send a tweet, post on Facebook…anything! In your churches you will soon be receiving packs of response cards, so you can write your story on the back and add them to you church’s ‘Acts of Courage jar’ (don’t worry, it will all make sense soon). But don’t wait - start sending your stories now, to encourage and inspire others.
Great night out with @FavershamChurch joining @beaconchurchhb and praying for their town.inspired by our prayer walk @RMchurches courage conference last year#christianblogger #shetheroar #awakenyourmore #lovefromlou #cultivatewhatmatters #prayerwalk #prayer #rmchurches #RMcourage #ActsofCourage pic.twitter.com/uThnGIQMUZ— Arrow & Pen (@loufunnell) January 29, 2019