If you have ever engaged in any type of game then you have already been exposed to the phrase “I got next”. Whether it be a one on one basketball game, a chess match or a video game. “I got next” is the unwritten universal code for ‘whenever you’re done with this current game, I am calling my spot in the player’s seat’. Let’s face it, watching others play the game can be fun and even motivational, but there really is nothing like sitting in the player’s seat and engaging in the fight for first place yourself. The fans of the players never get to stand in the winners box, they never receive a ribbon and they never will able to know what it feels like to lose at the hand of an opponent or taste the sweet savor of victory. It takes a brave soul to stand up and call out “I Got Next”! This phrase separates you from the fans and moves you into position of player. When you call your position in the players seat, your entire perspective of the current game changes. You are no longer observing the players as entertainment, but rather, you are planning your own strategy for success. The phrase “I Got Next” moves you into the mode of student rather than spectator. You begin to study every move, your blood pressure rises as the adrenaline begins to flow. You know that eventually the current game will end and then the position, that you called, will be open and the game will be ON!
I do realize that there are no big “I’s” and little “U’s” in Pentecost. However, there can be no argument that there are some among us that have preached to us, taught us, motivated and inspired us. Either by their preaching or a seminar or even a text book. Some of these great men of influence are Jimmy Toney, Todd Gaddy, David K Bernard, Wayne Huntley and Anthony Mangun. What do all of these great leaders of our fellowship have in common? They are all church planters. They have stood at the edge of the court of church planting and called out in the Spirit “I Got Next”.
The text from the book of Hebrews comes to mind when in chapter 11 we are reminded of all of the great leaders of our faith. The list of men and women of influence that have gone before us and have labored in the field have brought us to a time such as this. The writer moves into chapter 12 as if to say….”I said all of that to say this…” …since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, NKJV. What the writer of this scripture is challenging his reader is to lay aside every hindrance, to set aside every reservation and call out with certainty and determination “I GOT NEXT”. I am ready to join the others that have labored in faith, I am ready to be called faithful, I am ready to enter the race and move from the bleachers to the center stage. He is calling his reader to determine within their spirit to never be satisfied with being a spectator of the sport of faith, but rather, to become a player on the field. Willing to be counted among the leaders, and willing to endure all the hardships associated with playing the game. You may fall and skin your knee, you may feel defeated at times, and you may even feel like giving up. But since these others have made it, know that you can make it also. All you have to do is call out your position in the next game.
Two years ago I stood in the middle of Buffalo Texas and recorded a video. I posted that video and asked that the Texas District please pray that the Lord would call someone to plant a church in Buffalo. At that time, there was no Apostolic Church in Buffalo or even in all of Leon County. In fact, the NAM Department of the Texas District had received a phone call from a local school teacher asking us to send a family to plant an Apostolic church in Buffalo. In her desperate cry for her city, she explained that Buffalo was ready for Apostolic truth. In other words…the game table was open. All that the people of Buffalo needed was a family that would say “I Got Next”. That family was none other than Bro and Sis Matt Travis who approached their Pastor Bro. W.E Shiflet and began to discuss the possibility of planting a daughter work in Buffalo. On May 5 of this year, Bro and Sis Travis held their first church service in a large outdoor tent meeting in Buffalo. I stood among the congregation that night as people began to move toward the front for prayer. The power of God was strong from the onset of the service. Visitors came forward for prayer and began to crumble under the anointing of the Holy Ghost. Sis Travis explained to me that God was opening so many doors for them in Buffalo and the excitement about a new church in town was spreading like wildfire. Thank God for a family that will stand in the line of such a great cloud of witnesses and proclaim “I Got Next”.
In conclusion, let me simply say that we all know that there are no winners and loser in the game of church planting. There are only those who chose to play and those who choose to watch others play. I am asking the Texas District…who is willing to call “I GOT NEXT!”?