Twenty years ago, Every Nation Churches and Ministries serendipitously started in my home when a couple of old friends had a layover in Manila. The date was March 4.
The time of day was late, close to midnight. The place was my house in Pasig, Philippines. Our fledgling ministry had no legal documents, no headquarters, no budget, no plan and no logo, but we had a clear call from God and a sense of stewardship for the university campuses of the world.
Hereâ€™s how I described that night in my book, 100 Years From Now:
"Six years after the demise of the ministry and mission agency that sent us to the Philippines, I received a call from Rice Broocks that would change our lives. Every decade or so, I get a call like that from him. Rice called to ask if he and an old friend, Phil Bonasso, could crash at my house in Manila for a couple of nights on their way to Singapore and Malaysia. Rice and Philâ€™s Asian adventure was a response to a 'Macedonian call' from a friend of a friend asking them to consider assisting two new church-planting opportunities in Asia.
"Iâ€™ll never forget that late night in my house in Manila. Rice and Phil were talking about the open doors in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, and then one of them said, 'We need to plant churches in those cities.' I responded, 'Who is "we"? There is no "we." There is only you, and you, and me.' In 1989, when Maranatha Campus Ministries ended and we all went our separate ways, any semblance of 'we' had abruptly ended. I canâ€™t remember the whole conversation, but by the time Rice and Phil left my house, there was a 'we' that the three of us agreed to call Morning Star International. God had connected us together for the purpose of 'church planting, campus ministry, and world missions.' Phil and I agreed to join our ministries together if Rice would take the lead. We never imagined anyone would want to join with us. We simply wanted to plant new churches, not gather existing churches. To our surprise, as soon as Rice and Phil landed in the USA a week later, old friends started calling to ask if they could join our little church-planting group. A few years later, we changed our name to Every Nation, but we never changed our commitment to church planting, campus ministry, and world missions.
"When God reconnected Rice, Phil, and me that night in Manila, it was not because we were all struggling and failing. Quite the contraryâ€”all three of us were leading what most people would consider growing and successful ministries. Every Nation came about because the three of us believed we could accomplish more together than apart. We believed we could be better together."
Thatâ€™s how we started. It has been quite a ride these past 20 years. Together we have made a lot of disciples, a lot of mistakes and a lot of great memories. I thank God for allowing me to preach the gospel, make disciples and plant churches with good friends all over the world.
By His grace, eventually we will reach every nation with the gospel.
Steve and Deborah Murrell went to the Philippines in 1984 for a one-month summer mission trip that never ended. They are the founding pastors of Victory Manila, one church that meets in 14 locations in Metro Manila and has planted churches in 60 Philippine cities and 20 nations. Currently, Victory has more than 6,000 discipleship groups that meet in coffee shops, offices, dormitories and homes in Metro Manila. Steve is co-founder and president of Every Nation Churches and Ministries, a family of churches focused on church planting, campus ministry and world missions.
For the original article, visit stevemurrell.com.