Monday, February 28, 2011

Rhode Island: Seeking a Larger Vision

The Journey of David Gadoury and the Love Rhode Island Movement

In 1994, after 19 years in pastoral ministry, David Gadoury was in a pit.  A growing sense of spiritual struggle was compounded by conflicts in close relationships in the church. Then, within a period of weeks, came the unexpected deaths of his father and step-father.  Finally, in a twist that is reminiscent of Job, David began having migraine headaches for the first time in his life.

In the midst of a Monday morning migraine, David was sitting in his church office looking at his invitation to the 3rd annual New England Pastor’s prayer summit.  He decided to go.

In spite of his discomfort with the unfamiliar and the diversity and exuberance of some of the worship, he remained focused on seeking God and was personally and dramatically renewed.  On returning, other people were quick to pick up on the change and began asking him, “what happened to you—you’re different?”  The summit experience flooded into his personal times with God; hope had been rekindled.
Over the next several years, the New England Pastor’s Summits became a regular discipline.

Theological Transformation

In the years previous to the Summit, David had read the book One Lord, One Faith—A Theology of Cross-Denominational Renewal with a group of other pastors and church elders.  The central thesis of this book is this: Jesus has only one church in any geographical location.  What we call “churches” today are essentially overgrown house-churches.  Pastors of churches in a city are really just the eldership of the church in that city.  From God’s perspective, there is only one church in any given place.  For that reason, those pastors who are really the “city-wide elders” should, at the very least, be meeting together for prayer. 

David found himself persuaded by this vision of Church.  His experience at the prayer summit was undergirded by his theological understanding of what the Church actually is—the Church is the people of God, and it should be divided by geography, not by denominations.

Over the next several years, he worked on inviting pastors from Rhode Island to the Summit, praying that together they could catch the vision of a united church advancing God’s Kingdom together in Rhode Island. 

The Rhode Island Prayer Summits: 2004-Present

In 2003, David’s passion for drawing Rhode Islanders to the New England Summit took on a new dimension: what if the Summit model could be more localized and be duplicated specifically for Rhode Island pastors?  He and others were gripped by this vision.  At the Summit in 2003, he and fellow RI pastor John Gibson shared with the entire group their burden to have a group focused on the RI area.  With the blessing of those at the Summit, John and David began writing letters: the RI Pastor’s Prayer Summit was born in 2004 with 32 pastors attending. 

A servant leadership team was formed to plan the Summit as well as 2 or 3 follow up events during the rest of the year.  Many people would come to the follow-up prayer breakfasts that had not come to the Summit.  Since 2004, 65 different pastors have attended at least one of the gatherings including a strong committed core. 

Changing Summit Dynamics

At first, the focus of the RI Summits was on getting to know one another and soaking in God’s presence.  Early Summits were punctuated by cathartic moments of repentance and deep, personal sharing.  As the Summits matured, the deep sharing has moved to smaller groups and there has been a greater focus on intercession for the state of Rhode Island.  As pastors were renewed and became spiritually healthy, they began to ask “what is God telling us that we should be doing together to advance his kingdom?”

The Genesis of Love RI: 2010

 “We’ve deliberately avoided any temptation to hatch plans…we’ve just waited on God.  The Love RI focus…emerged out of the Prayer Summit organically—it just came to us.”—David Gadoury

Enter “Love Rhode Island”.  Love RI is a missional partnership among RI churches.  Their catch-phrase is “Prayer, Care, Share”.  Love RI partners are committed to “praying for people in need of Jesus, Caring for people and communities in practical ways with love and justice, and Sharing the good news of Jesus lovingly and compellingly.”  So far this partnership includes about 30 RI churches.  Love RI is associated with the “Mission America Coalition”. It’s a way for the Body of Christ in Rhode Island to be united in mission.
In February of 2010, about 70 pastors were presented with the idea of forming the Love RI partnership.  Pastors were given 6 weeks to decide.  On the last Sunday in March, 30 churches decided they wanted to be involved.  Initially, the plan was to start with prayer, then move to a pulpit exchange in June with a city outreach in the fall.  However, before the initial April meeting could happen, the heavens were opened and much of the state was flooded!  Samaritans Purse, a Christian aid organization, wanted to come up and serve.
Seizing the Moment

In the first Love RI meeting, an official partnership with Samaritans Purse was formed on the spot— within one week’s time 385 volunteers from 15 churches were at work mudding out houses.  15 or 20 people from different churches would show up at a work-site.  The volunteers didn’t know one another, but would quickly get acquainted through partnering in the work.  Often, there was an opening to pray for people in their homes.
Since then, there has been a pulpit exchange as well as a one-day festival in October, once again, with several hundred volunteers serving the community. 

Outlook for the Future: “Together over time”

David and others involved in the Prayer Summits and Love Rhode Island are motivated by a hope that the Church in RI can be united in prayer and in mission.  However, they are quick to acknowledge that there is a long way to go: “We recognize that this is a long and up-hill climb…we’re taking it one step at a time and feeling our way along.  This is not about events, but about developing a different way of doing ministry and service together over time.  It’s not an organization, it’s a movement and will not go anywhere apart from the leading of the Holy Spirit.”

From an interview with David Gadoury—By Jonathan Friz

David Gadoury is the Pastor of Cranston Christian Fellowship in Cranston, RI.  He has been one of the leaders in the RI Pastor’s Prayer Summit and Love RI movements that are working to build friendship and partnership in the Church in Rhode Island.

February 60.12 Update: "Covenant Parameters"

Dear Friends,

I feel that almost every time I write one of these updates, I feel like saying "our last meeting was the best we've ever had".  This last gathering was no exception, and I guess that is a good problem to have.  The bottom line is that the presence of God that comes through the communion of the saints is a deeply satisfying thing.  When we come together and God shows Himself among us and through us, there's nothing else like it.

"Through the Roof"

Our prayer time seemed to build steadily over the course of two hours.  Starting with worship, prayer began to flow into different themes as a sense of God's presence began to build.  We spent a good deal of time praying specifically on the issue of abortion as well as other justice matters in the New England states.  We continued in a time of "Korean style" prayer (everyone praying at once), declaring the promises of God over the entire New England region and moving our focus to praying for the people of God--as we did this, the sense of God's presence really went through the roof!   Our guests from California requested prayer and seemed to be super blessed as God spoke and ministered to them through the gathered believers.


Some of the most valuable happenings at these gatherings occur during the "down" time of lunch.  I love seeing the Lord knit lives together over a meal!  The result is that relationships of trust and love are formed, we learn from one another and stretch one another. Often strategic connections and introductions are made that will enhance our effectiveness in ministry for years down the road.  

Covenant "Parameters"

During our prayer time, Jason Arroyo (CT) shared a word that the Lord had spoken to him on his drive.  The central message he articulated through prayer was this: "God is saying there are covenant parameters that we need to come into agreement with in the upcoming revival in New England".  As I heard Jason share from God's heart on "Covenant Parameters", I felt very strongly that these "parameters" related very closely to the message that Gaylord Enns was bringing.  For those of you who were not there, I want to summarize a bit of the teaching for you. 

Gaylord's message to us on Tuesday was about "rightly dividing the word of truth", specifically about clearly distinguishing between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. 

Many of us have, without realizing it, have been living with one foot in the Old and one foot in the New.  A clear example of this is in how we think about the "Great Commandments" to "Love the Lord your God..." and "Love your neighbor as yourself".  For years, most of us have believed these statements summarized the heart of what it means to live as Christians.  However, as Gaylord pointed out, these two statements are actually the greatest commandments "of the Law and the Prophets."  In other words, these commandments properly belong to the Old Covenant, along with the 10 commandments and all 613 provisions of the law.  So, what is the essence of the New Covenant?  How can we describe what is unique and "New" about the Covenant we have in Jesus.

New Covenant/New Commandment

Gaylord shared a bit of his personal journey through a breakdown/burnout experience in 2001 after 35 years of pastoral ministry.  As he was recovering from burnout, God opened his eyes in a new way to see Jesus' New Commandment: "Love one another as I have loved you."  When he saw the significance of Jesus' Commandment for the first time, he assumed that he was the only one who had missed this command, but that all his friends and certainly Church theologians throughout the centuries had seen it.  Part of his journey has been researching church history searching for Jesus' Commandment and the sad discovery that since the first century, by and large we as the Church have missed Jesus' commandment.  As he said, "when I discovered that fact, all of a sudden, Church history began to make sense for the first time."

Although Jesus' Command not been well understood, The New Covenant and the New Commandment are inextricably linked.  Jesus initiated both of them on the night he was betrayed.  Both of them were called "New".  In fact, Jesus' Command is so central to the New Covenant that it is actually our mark of authenticity as followers of Jesus: "By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:35) 

Summing Up the New Covenant

 Is it possible to summarize the "New Covenant" as Jesus summarized the "Old Covenant", with two major commands?  Amazingly, 1 John 3:23 does exactly that: "And this is His [Father God's]commandment: that we believe in the name of His son Jesus and love one another, just as He [Jesus] commanded us."  At the center of the New Covenant we find these two commandments: 

1) Faith in Jesus Christ--this is the Father's Commandment (John 3:16)
2) Love for one another as Jesus Loved us--This is Jesus' Commandment (John 13:34)

I find it fascinating that Jesus Christ Himself is actually right at the middle of each of these commandments.

It's interesting that "faith in Jesus Christ" was actually the issue at the heart of the Reformation that began just over 490 years ago.  Faith in Jesus Christ is absolutely at the center of the gospel, but somehow for years a fog remained over this clear fact of Scripture.  In a similar way, Gaylord shared his sense that God is removing the fog off of Jesus' New Command in our days--the Holy Spirit is helping us to rediscover and reclaim this central aspect of our faith.  I think it's important to note also that in the New Covenant we fulfill the Old--we don't get rid of it.  That's why we still have two "Testaments" in our Bibles.  I want to emphasize that as we live out of the New we will be fulfilling the commands of the Old as never before.

Meditate on this teaching

Finally, I want to state in the clearest possible language my conviction that if authentic unity and revival is to be possible, we need to be firmly established in this foundational teaching on loving each other.  I would venture to say that all of us need heart-level repentance around this issue, and it is essential for us to be grounded here if we are to walk into the promises of God as a region.  You can order the book by Gaylord Enns, Love Revolution on Amazon--get it and read it. Please see the heart-felt note from Brandt Gillespie (below)

60.12 Comes to an End

Our final 60.12 gathering will be on Tuesday, March 22 in Boston at Park Street Church.  We hope you can join us for this final gathering.  Mark your calendar now and more information will follow in the upcoming days.

Yours in Christ,

Jonathan Friz

A Message from Brandt Gillespie

Without exaggeration, I have recorded thousands of messages across the length and breadth of the US over the past eleven years. I have been in, around and involved with ministry for over forty years. I now consider the messages delivered by Gaylord Enns at the recent Perfect Love - Conference in New England to be the single most important word to us as the body of Christ that I have ever had the privilege of hearing. 

Gaylord's comprehensive explanation of how from the time of the early church fathers we lost sight of the single command Jesus gave is a critical understanding to grapple with as to why the Church has falling so far below our original calling to demonstrate the Father's love in the earth.

Without apology, I implore you to order a copy of these DVDs or CDs. Immerse yourself in the teaching. Share them with your friends. And practice what you are hearing in this word. This could very well be the rebirth of the "Revolution" that Christ has been longing to see accomplished through His Body.

If you find yourself without resource to pay for these DVDs or CDs, please contact me directly at and let me know your situation. I will do my best to get these recordings to you. We must use all means to get these messages into the hands of everyone we can. 
This word is that important!

Please request them today at

Brandt Gillespie, President PrayTV.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

"Perfect Love" This Weekend

It's amazing how one revelation from the word of God, in the right setting, can lead to drastic change.  A little more than 490 years ago, Martin Luther stumbled onto something that had been hiding in plain sight--We are saved by grace through faith, and not by our works. This insight was the turning point in Luther's spiritual life and led to an entire period of reformation in the church.

I believe we are in a period of history similar to that of the reformation where we are beginning to see rapid change in the church and surrounding culture.  There are two revelations right now at work in the church--once again, basic scriptural facts that have been hidden in plain sight--that I believe have the potential to bring about a similar season of transformation and transition.  

Kingdom Power "Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven."  We are beginning to realize that God desires the normal reality of heaven to be the normal reality of earth.  The Kingdom of heaven is near, in fact, it is within us.  Our assignment is to release the power and glory of God that is in us through the Holy Spirit, bringing the Kingdom of Heaven to earth as Jesus did in his earthly ministry.  Miracles begin to be common as we realize that God desires to have things his way on earth, just as he does in heaven.  Indeed, already at a world-wide level, we are seeing unprecedented levels of miraculous and supernatural activity.

Christ-like Love: "Love one another as I have loved you".  At face value, the call to love seems almost unremarkable and obvious.  However, hidden within this is a mind-blowing revelation of the depths of God's love for us.  When we are able to receive His love, we are then free to release love to others "as we have been loved. 

This next "reformation" is not going to be about further dividing up the church--these things may have been necessary for a season, although many were avoidable.  It is going to be about learning to receive and give the love of Jesus to one another within God's family "that the world may see that you sent me, and have loved them just as you loved me." (John 17:23)

Perfect Love

When Kingdom Power and Christ-like love come together in the Church, it is going to be dynamic.  This weekend, we'll be focusing on the "Love" side of things, taking our time and laying firm foundations so that we can begin to live in Christ-like love for one another.  Hope to see you there!

Location: 9 Dane St., Beverly MA (Parking in the church lot and on the streets)
Times: Friday, 7-9pm  Saturday Sessions from 9:30-1pm, 2pm-5pm, and 7-9pm
Video: We will be streaming live at