The Greatest Givers I Know
When Spread The Fire asked me to contribute an article on those who “have been greatly touched by God through the renewal and are responding by giving in extraordinary ways,” I had no difficulty identifying subjects. Rather I wondered if it would publish the story because the people I want to tell you about are such humble servants that they would far prefer that thanks be expressed to others as they go on giving.
However, on behalf of thousands whose lives have been changed, I want to thank three groups of people who have poured themselves out in selfless service to the body of Christ throughout this great move of God.
THANKS JOHN, CAROL AND TACF
First, thank you John and Carol Arnott. Thank you, pastors, staff, ministry team and people of TACF. Your motto, “That we may walk in God’s love and then give it away,” describes exactly what you have been doing over the past three and a half years. The whole world has received your love! Every nation on earth has sent representatives to TACF to find a fresh touch of the Holy Spirit there. All of us who have done “carpet time” on your floor can testify of the gentle, loving ministry you so generously share. You have given often late into the night, day after day, week after week, and month after month often until one or two in the morning during the first years of the renewal when prayer team members were few and visitors many. Then you drove home, sometimes long distances, caught a few hours of sleep, and rose early to go to work the next morning.
Your small, friendly church was invaded by a flood of visitors to whose needs you gave precedence. You gave of your leaders, who were away far more than they were at home. You cleaned, cooked, sang, played, ran equipment, organized, typed, answered phones, served and sought God for us. Those of you on staff struggled financially while giving many, many extra hours of unpaid labour each week.
People sometimes question me about the validity of what is happening at TACF. I tell them, “Go and see for yourself what God has done in that church! Forget the manifestations. Go see the humility, love and servant hood of that congregation. I’ve never seen anything like it!” If a tenth of the visitors, who converged on TACF, with a fraction of the expectations and needs, came to the average church, how long would that congregation survive?
We came to you with our sin, selfishness and carnality and received your love and humble service. In my 19 visits to TACF I have never heard impatient or unkind words from anyone in spite of some very difficult situations. Rather, I have observed incredible patience and kindness toward visitors who were sometimes unreasonable, uncooperative and just plain demanding. Your Christ-like character is infallible proof that God is in your midst. Thank you, TACF. You not only bless us, you inspire us.
THANK YOU RANDY CLARK
Randy Clark, I also want to thank you and DeAnne, your children, staff and church. Because of your obedience, God was able to spread His fire to Toronto on January 20, 1994, after you “caught” it from Rodney Howard-Browne. You have a reputation as a pastor whose gentle, humble spirit inspires hope in us all. We feel encouraged when you say, “If God can use lil’ ol’ me, He can use lil’ ol’ you!”
Randy, you have been too modest to think of yourself as anyone special, but you are very special to me and many like me all over the world. The first time I met you at “Catch the Fire ’94”, you, John, Carol and Ian Ross prayed God’s fire down on my head. That fire enabled the devastated little 8-year-old inside me to forgive my dad for breaking up our home and in the process, breaking my heart 40 years ago.
You’re a giver. When God started using you to spread revival all over the world, you gave up your pastoral salary and chose to live by faith because your ministry took you away from your church for long periods of time. DeAnne and the children gave up basic necessities as well as comforts. They gave you to the nations enduring many long, lonely weeks without you.
People don’t realize that you travel frequently to impoverished nations and churches covering your own expenses. I remember once visiting a church where you and your team were ministering for over a month. I naively asked the church staff in which hotel you were staying. I found out you and your staff were sleeping on the floor of that inner city church right here in the USA in order to spare the church the expense of putting you up in a hotel and in order to avoid inconveniencing members of the congregation who offered you hospitality. Someone told me that your team fasted or ate food from a cooler that was occasionally replenished by benevolent souls while you were ministering into the wee hours of the morning.
You’ve also given generously to support conferences in Russia and to buy computer equipment for the New Wine newsgroup on the Internet. Thank you, Randy and DeAnne for giving more than most of us do in a lifetime.
THANK YOU NEW WINE
New Wine administrators, in my estimation, your giving is also outstanding. Thanks Jon Reid, Jennie Baier, Michael Enos, Brad Donison and Jennifer Snell. Even though many don’t know your names because you don’t speak at conferences or sell tapes and books, I believe few have given as much of their time as you have. You don’t charge a penny for your services, but you keep the computers up and running so we can read accounts of what God is doing through renewal all over the world via the Internet.
You manage the list, keep it friendly, and provide encouragement to thousands of “New Winos.” You have fasted often over the past three and a half years, because finances were too tight to buy food. You have done so without complaining or saying a word, even when list members, who pay you nothing for your ministry, discuss topics such as the justification for making generous contributions to bolster ministries with already lavish incomes. Thank you, New Wine administrators, for showing me what it means to go the second mile and to rejoice when others are given what you have earned, but not received. You are true servants of the Lord Jesus Christ.
These are the greatest givers I know. I thank the Lord for an opportunity to thank them and recognize their giving publicly. I pray that their example will be as much a blessing to Spread The Fire readers as it has been to me.