THE SUN WAS ALREADY heating up the morning air, drying
the dew on the clipped grass at the sixth hole of the Winston
Estates Country Club golf course. Two men in their mid-thirties
were reveling in the beauty of the day and the pure
enjoyment of playing the sport they loved. For one of them,
this was usually the highlight of the week.
With his head down and his eyes focused on the ball, David
slowly swung his two-wood back and forth behind the
tiny white sphere nestled on the tee. He then took a full
swing and launched the puckered ball a good 250 yards down
the middle of the fairway. Grinning with competitive confidence,
he turned to his companion and challenged him.
"Beat that, Mr. Long Ball!"
Michael grinned and brushed past his friend, jammed a
gold-plated tee into the turf, and placed his ball atop the tiny
holder. Taking a few moments to get lined up and ready, he
sprang into his swing, smacking the ball as hard as he could.
Both men stood silent for a few seconds, watching as the
miniscule white speck sliced through the air, getting smaller 1
and smaller before it hit the ground and rolled to a stop just a
few feet from David's ball-a few feet past it.
Looking David in the eye, Michael pursed his lips and
quietly replied, "Challenge accepted. Mission accomplished."
He playfully shoved David out of his path as they
retreated to the edge of the fairway to retrieve their golf
bags. Both men laughed as they shouldered their bags and
trekked across the manicured lawn toward their next swing.
The duo had known each other for more than a decade,
initially meeting at a church barbecue. There were many
similarities in their lives: each had two daughters (who were
roughly the same age), each was the CEO of a midsized corporation
experiencing solid growth, each got married to a
loving and supportive wife soon after graduating from college,
and both were born-again Christians who had eliminated
church life from their busy schedules, albeit with very
different subsequent paths.
Initially they took identical steps of disengagement.
Driven out of their longtime church by boredom and the inability
to serve in ways that made use of their considerable
skills and knowledge, each man spent some time exploring
other churches. After months of honest effort, neither found
a ministry that was sufficiently stimulating and having an impact
on the surrounding community. David, entrepreneurial
to a fault, decided to develop his own regimen of spiritual
practices and activities in order to retain a vibrant spiritual
life. Michael, disheartened by his unfulfilled quest, chose to
call a truce with God and simply get on with life, sans
The businessmen unexpectedly reconnected some time
later at a business function. Upon discovering their similar
frustrations in trying to find a satisfying spiritual home, they
sought an opportunity to get together and continue their
conversation. That task revealed that the only overlapping
gap in their schedules was Sunday mornings. And thus the
"Church on the Green," as they jokingly referred to their
biweekly rendezvous, was born.
David and Michael thought of themselves as "deeply
spiritual" people. Their irregular attendance at church
services-each attended on occasion with their families, who
remained more or less regulars at a nearby church-failed to
dampen their enthusiasm for God. They believed that the
Bible is God's true and reliable Word for life. They each gave
money generously to causes they felt were trustworthy and
significantly helped people. They prayed before meals and
had shared a number of stories with each other about how
pastors and other Christians had chastised them for their
failure to be involved in church life.
Although both men thought of themselves as Christians
and were considered by those who knew them best to be ethical
and decent human beings, their spiritual trajectories
were far from identical.
"Look at those mountains over there," David entreated
his friend as they marched toward their next spot on the fairway.
"They are absolutely stunning, don't you think?" He
stopped for a moment and wistfully stared at the evergreen-covered
landmass rising high above the course. "Awesome,"
he exclaimed loudly, hurrying to catch up with his
determined compatriot. "Every time I see them my batteries get
recharged. God's handiwork gets to me every time. Aren't
they something?" Michael grunted a sign of agreement but
seemed more intent upon adding up their scores through the
first half-dozen holes. His indifference did not deter David.
"Hey, remember I was telling you a couple of weeks ago
about that short-term missions trip I signed up our family
for, the one in Central America scheduled for this fall? Well,
I called the lady running the event and talked to her about
the needs of the people we'd be serving down there. She had
all kinds of great ideas, and I decided to see if I could get the
prayer group at work to fund a pallet of clothes we could
send in advance of our arrival." David was talking faster now,
excited about the project he was describing. "It doesn't cost
that much, and it'd make a huge difference in their lives, especially
the kids down there. I wanted to give the others at
work a chance to participate in it, so we're pooling some
money to cover the costs. I've got a couple of people supervising
the purchasing and shipping. You want in on this?"
Michael glanced at his longtime friend, shook his head
with a grin, and said, "Yup, that's you, Mr.
You-Got-Problems-I-Got-Solutions. Sure, why not, put me down for
whatever you think makes sense. You still slinging hash in
the serving line down at the homeless shelter every week?"
David nodded his affirmation and added, "It's part of my
someday-to-be-ex-CEO social reentry plan. I want to be sure
that when the board fires me I have alternatives lined up."
The duo laughed at David's self-effacing comment before
he continued. "By the way, Michael, remind me to give
you a book I have in the car that I've been saving for you. It's
been really helpful to me, and I thought about you when I
read it. It's about biblical principles on leadership. It challenged
me, so I know it'll be a challenge to you."
Again, both men playfully slapped at each other before
Michael drew a four-iron from his bag, tossed the case on the
ground at his partner's feet, and lightly threw down the
gauntlet as well. "Now, tell me, you don't honestly think
you're gonna take me on this hole, do you?"
Two minutes later, after hitting their approach shots, the
pair strode toward the green to get in their final strokes on
the hole. En route, David picked up the conversation.
"You read anything revealing in the Bible lately?"
Michael glanced at his partner and sighed. "Man, with
the merger and that big board meeting coming up, I've been
lucky to eat, much less read the Book. How about you?"
David's face took on a ponderous look. "Oh, you know
how it is, there's so much. I think this past week the big insight
for me was in Romans 11, the part that says we have
nothing to lose by living in flagrant opposition to the world.
It can strip us of our stuff, but it can never remove God's
anointing and blessings. We can only lose His favor
willfully-by choosing to turn our back on God and His Kingdom
and pursuing other outcomes besides those He calls us
to. I guess I felt a new sense of release to passionately seek
holiness amidst the opposition of the world, remembering
that I can lose only if I abandon my focus on God. It's also affected
my relationship with Bill, that guy in shipping whom I
befriended after his wife and kids left him. He really needs
Jesus, but he's been hurt by the church before, so I've been
trying to take things slowly with him. As always," he summarized,
"God seems to know just what I need when I need it,
and studying Romans has been so helpful for me."
Michael acknowledged the importance of David's words
but seemed distracted. Challenged by David, the younger of
the two believers admitted, "You know, I focus on my faith as
much as I can, but it's a struggle, you know that. All the
pressures-the office, home, community responsibilities, my
health-man, I marvel that you find time to squeeze in some
Bible and all the outreach stuff you do. No matter what I've
said about you publicly, you're really a pretty decent guy."
David mockingly smacked his peer across the head, disturbing
the perfect alignment of his hair. "You meathead,
your faith needs to be a priority, not an add-on. That's what
you never seem to get. It's not about trying to shoehorn God
into your packed schedule; it's about building your schedule
around Him. That's a whole different perspective, my man, a
whole different perspective."
Michael appeared to be reflecting on those words when
David changed the subject. "Hey, I almost forgot. The wife
wanted me to invite you and your clan over next week to celebrate
Jenny's birthday. We're having friends over, but
you're welcome, too. During one of our family prayer times
last week, Joelle felt as if the Lord wanted us to have you guys
join the festivities. Must be a sign from the Lord that He still
loves you, you unremorseful backslider." David jumped back
just as Michael teasingly swung his club at the taller man's
"Birthday party?" yelled Michael in mock astonishment.
"That's something the heathens do. How the mighty have
fallen, O holy one of God. But sure. Free food and drink?
Count us in." He looked over the fairway, took a deep breath
of the clean morning air, and flashed a toothy grin at his
buddy. "Now, get ready to pay homage to the true king of the
fairway. This baby's rollin' to center cup. Move over, amateur,
and take notes on how it's done."
* * *
You probably know people like David and Michael. You
might even be like one of them. David, you see, is a Revolutionary
Christian. His life reflects the very ideals and principles
that characterized the life and purpose of Jesus Christ
and that advance the Kingdom of God-despite the fact that
David rarely attends church services. He is typical of a new
breed of disciples of Jesus Christ. They are not willing to
play religious games and aren't interested in being part of a
religious community that is not intentionally and aggressively
advancing God's Kingdom. They are people who want
more of God-much more-in their lives. And they are doing
whatever it takes to get it.
Michael, for all his good qualities and wonderful intentions,
is a "backsliding" Christian-a believer who is losing
touch with God, the Bible, the community of faith, and his
spiritual responsibilities. That's easy to do in our society: so
many distractions and alternatives confront us every day, it's
miraculous that anyone even remembers God. But Michael's
frustration with life can ultimately be traced to his willingness
to become a spiritual victim rather than a spiritual warrior.
He loves God, has prayed that Jesus Christ would save
him from his sins, and believes many biblical doctrines. But
Michael's life is more about living for Michael than it is
about living for God.
The United States is home to an increasing number of
Revolutionaries. These people are devout followers of Jesus
Christ who are serious about their faith, who are constantly
worshipping and interacting with God, and whose lives are
centered on their belief in Christ. Some of them are aligned
with a congregational church, but many of them are not.
The key to understanding Revolutionaries is not what
church they attend, or even if they attend. Instead, it's their
complete dedication to being thoroughly Christian by viewing
every moment of life through a spiritual lens and making
every decision in light of biblical principles. These are individuals
who are determined to glorify God every day
through every thought, word, and deed in their lives.
This book is about the new breed of Christian Revolutionaries
emerging in America and the spiritual Revolution
they are bringing with them.