By Jeff Patton

I heard it again today.  Dramatic turnaround in congregations occurs about two weeks after you have decided to throw in the towel.  Two weeks.  Two weeks.

I remember years ago when that was true for me.  I was stymied by the controllers who were hindering every new project, each new idea being ground to death in the cogs of the committee structure.  My resignation was on my desk on that Monday afternoon.  I was leading a training session of the small group leaders that night.  I would do what I could and then if there were no changes in the next two weeks I would send my “request for a new appointment” to my supervisor.

That night we were talking about prayer.  One person said, “I think God wants to answer prayer even more than we think God will,” so we prayed and we were told to write down the answer we heard from God.  So I did.

The next morning there was a frantic phone call from one of the women in that group who said she had to talk to me immediately.  When she arrived at my office she went right to heart.  That previous night the light in her bedroom awakened her around two in the morning.  The light woke her, and her husband asked why she turned the light on.  She replied she thought he did.  He managed to return to sleep. She laid awake, praying.  And she got this message, “tell Jeff he is to ‘stay and build and I will pour down the blessings so deep the walls will not contain it.'”  I went to my note pad from the previous night.  They were the exact words I had written.  My next sentence on the page was, “forgive me Lord, but I need you to confirm this.  I can’t do this just on what I hear.  I need to know it is you.”

I stayed.  We built.  We grew.

Two weeks.  Two weeks.