by Lynn Green, February 1, 2005
A couple of years ago I had just accepted the request of the Global Leadership Team to become the International Chairman of YWAM. I had been thinking and praying about the new role with its responsibilities and, as I opened to door to leave my room, Loren Cunningham emerged from his room on the opposite side of the corridor. Instead of the usual warm greeting, he just said, “You know this is about your dream, don’t you?” His words stated exactly what I had been praying and thinking about.
The dream had occurred about ten years earlier. In it, I was with my family and we were guests at opening celebrations of the new headquarters of a Christian ministry. The buildings and their grounds were larger and grander than any I had ever seen. It seemed like all my friends, including YWAMers from all over the world, were there with their families.
The centerpiece of this magnificent campus was a set of three very large buildings. The middle one was the tallest, at about 40 or 50 stories, and was flanked by a building of about 15 stories on either side. They were due to open at dusk, with the main celebrations being held at the top of the tallest building that evening.
Throughout the day, my family and I strolled around the beautiful grounds, greeting friends, taking in concerts from Christian artists, and visiting exhibitions. At one point, as we walked alongside the buildings, a small piece of masonry, the size of a postage stamp, fell on my shoulder. At that very moment in my dream I felt God spoke to me. That still, small voice seemed to be saying, “The buildings are not safe.”
I was immediately plunged into turmoil. What should I do about this “word from God?” Was it really the Lord, or just my imagination? If I went to the leaders of the organization they would think I was crazy. What weight would my words have compared to the engineers and architects who had designed and built the facilities?
If I began to shout warnings to the crowd, I would appear to be an idiot. And…if I did warn others so they did not go up then the building would probably stand up to the smaller load of people. That would make me a false prophet in everybody’s eyes.
In the end, I did the cowardly thing and kept quiet. When dusk came and people began to take the large, express elevators to the top, I told my wife and children that I did not think it was safe so we would watch from a distance. We walked a couple of hundred meters away and waited to see what would happen.
As the last load of people were lifted to the top of the tallest building, it appeared to shudder, crack and then it collapsed in exactly the same way we all watched the World Trade Center implode nearly a decade later. It was obvious that everyone had died. Then I woke up.
Within moments, I knew exactly what the dream meant: in all that we do, including Christian ministry, we tend to want to look good. The campus in my dream was supremely impressive, but the builders had scrimped on the steel in the buildings. Through the dream God was making a powerful impression on me that I should concentrate on the hidden things that will make us strong. God will take care of what people think of us. We should build for strength and godliness. He will be in charge of our reputation.
In YWAM, our plumb line, the steel in what we build, is the Word of the Lord to us. Our foundational values represent our best attempt to recount what God has said to us through the years. We must focus on becoming like Jesus, living holy lives. Our call is to cultivate our relationship with Him and to keep clear and harmonious relationships with others—as much as it lies within our ability. We are a discipleship movement. YWAM began to grow at a rapid rate when Loren and Dar began the first training schools where we all lived together and learned together. As we pursued holiness and the God of revival power, He put his anointing on us and we have become immeasurably larger and more influential than people would have predicted.
Now that God has blessed so much, let us not lose sight of the fact that His blessing is essential. As we pursue the hidden qualities of Christ-like character, the Lord wants to continue to multiply our impact for his kingdom and that means much more growth and fruitfulness. But let’s focus on the steel, not on the impressive appearance of this movement.