The visual image lingers in my mind almost daily. As I stood on Mars Hill in Athens, Greece, I watched Greater Los Angeles District Supervisor Tim Clark raise his hand, point to the Acropolis, and quote Paul’s words in Acts 17:24: “ ‘God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands’ ” (NKJV).
That unforgettable moment took place in September 2011. I was on the “Sent Out” tour with some 25 Foursquare leaders, following in the footsteps of the early apostles. Gary and I hosted the tour, along with Tim Clark and John Fehlen, as a vehicle for profound discipleship. We experienced the sights and sounds of biblical history together with a current contextual study of the church that was prepared by John and Tim as a means to guide the focus of the trip.
The intention was for this group to experience several of the ancient cities of the New Testament church (Athens, Corinth, Ephesus, Crete, Patmos and Rome), study what took place in the early church, and learn how it relates to today’s Western church. Study topics included Paul’s approach to evangelism and discipleship; cultural exegesis; male and female leaders in the church, and how gender wars influenced culture in and out of the church; the work of the Spirit; and the concept of the New Testament temple: God’s people.
The relationships that were built, the study and worship experiences, and visits to the historic sites all created a learning environment that was life-changing. Our hope is that those who participated will now multiply the experience by creating similar discipleship tours with many other groups.
The passion to facilitate immersion discipleship experiences in this context is shared by Pastor Jerry Dirmann of The Rock (Anaheim Foursquare Church) in Anaheim, Calif. After discerning a strong prophetic call to mobilize masses of young adults into kingdom service, The Rock prayerfully launched the maiden voyage of The Israel Impact in October 2010, when a group of 27 young adults ages 18-29, together with three leaders, prepared their hearts to meet God in Israel.
Though The Israel Impact lures young adults with exciting activities such as riding a camel, hiking Masada and sleeping in a Bedouin tent, it is hardly a vacation or a typical Israel tour. This 16-day wake-up call strategically combines soul-stirring biblical history of the land, the gravity of the current geo-political landscape, and the imminence of the fulfillment of end-time prophecy regarding Jerusalem and Armageddon. That dynamic combination results in a “king-size reality check” that exposes the foolishness of complacency and reveals an urgent mandate to immediately and permanently yield to God’s calling.
The Israel Impact #2, led by Pastors Jerry Dirmann, Ryan Oddo, Jessica Blomgren and worship leader Eric Diaz, returned to Los Angeles on November 8, 2011, having accomplished the same objectives as the first group. The 28 young adults who participated found themselves deeply cut to the heart and were moved to make lifelong commitments to fulfill their God-given destinies.
Long term, the vision of The Israel Impact is to see hundreds, and even thousands, of young adults from around the world travel to Israel and be profoundly impacted by the Holy Spirit. They will then be commissioned and sent out from Jerusalem to the uttermost parts of the earth.
Applications are now being accepted for The Israel Impact #3, set for June 18–July 3, 2012. Young adults ages 18-29 (including high school seniors who will be 18 by the date of departure)—and leaders who desire to help with the vision—are invited to participate. Visit The Israel Impact website or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
By: Tammy Dunahoo, general supervisor of The Foursquare Church