Through the years, I have heard that “greatness is measured in decades”. Of course, I understand the meaning, but I can honestly say that in the past decade of my life, I have personally seen the greatness of God through the ministry of Reformers Unanimous. I have watched as God transforms lives on a continual basis. This is something that once you see, you never forget! These lives – once destroyed, decayed, desolate, and often discarded – are rescued, recovered, rebuilt, and restored!
The dictionary defines these words as such:
- Rescue – To set free, as from danger or imprisonment
- Recover- to cover again or anew
- Rebuild – To build again; to remodel or make extensive changes in
- Restore – To bring back into existence or use
The prophet Joel wrote about this type of transformation, “And I [God] will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten…” Through the years I have seen multitudes of people, both men and women, whose lives were completely and miraculously changed through the power of Christ. I often refer to Jesus as “the best beauty cream EVER; exceeding Mary Kay, Clinique, Pond’s and Botox by far!” This is because I have seen women come to us who LOOK like they have been eaten by locusts as a result of the years of sin, addiction, turmoil, and misery; but when these women turn their hearts to Jesus, He makes all things new and they literally become beautiful!
Unfortunate but true, many Christians do not get to see this type of transformation on a regular basis. There are many contributing factors to this, but in many cases it is because they aren’t willing to invest in those who have been cast out. But the prophet Jeremiah reminds us of how God sees them in Jeremiah 30:17: “For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the LORD; because they called thee an Outcast, saying, This is Zion, whom no man seeketh after.”
Thankfully, there are churches, Christians, and ministries such as Reformers Unanimous who follow the admonition given in 2 Timothy 2:24-26, “…the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.”
However, Satan makes this very hard for churches, Christians, and ministries. In fact, many begin to reach out to people in an effort to rescue, recover, rebuild, and restore only to give up after circumstances seem too hard to overcome. Over the past several months, the National Department of Reformers Unanimous has completed extensive work on the current status of each Reformers Unanimous chapter. We find many that are vibrant beacons of light in their communities, enjoying the miracles of transformed lives! However, there are some that gave up; closed the doors; threw in the towel; or just plain quit.
Here are some of the reasons they gave:
- Director quit about a year ago. Pastor wants to reopen but has not yet found the right director.
- May reopen in the future. Program on hold – did well for a while but had trouble retaining visitors.
- Have not had RU for 2 years and do not want to be ‘By Appt Only’. Pastor said there was a change of leadership and that they may go back to running the program in the future
- Not enough workers during the summer; will start back up in the fall
- Pastor left the church
- Pastor moved away
- Pastor shut down chapter (info from former director – no reason given)
- Supporting other missionaries and taking a different emphasis this year. No longer supporting RU, no longer have a chapter in their church. Will continue to pray for RU.
- Said they had called about a year ago to let us know they were no longer doing RU. Had a person who nearly died and it put bias in some of the members toward the RU curriculum, so they will no longer use it.
- Pastor said “chapter has been closed for quite some time. It’s sad to say this, but the personnel working with that ministry weren’t getting a lot accomplished.” Decided not to invest in a local chapter any longer.
- Stopped meeting a few months ago. There are a lot of other addiction programs in their town so interest/attendance at RU had significantly dwindled.
- No longer operating chapter because no one was coming.
- Pastor has been at the church since August 2012. Had to stop RU in Oct 2012. Only 2 guys were meeting on Fridays for Bible study and it wasn’t really RU. Spent time in prayer regarding this decision. Felt like he needs to devote time growing/discipling the current church members so that they will have a heart to be involved in ministries like RU down the road. Lack of desire in congregation right now.
- Director’s wife said they have not had an RU for 1 ½ years. People in their area generally have no interest/”need” for church. Bus ministry is not a feasible option due to this apathy and church being in a rural area.
- No longer have an RU program. “We’ve had some challenges, including my RU director who walked out on his family.”
- Church not large enough to sustain ministry
- Church in a transition; may reopen in the future
- No director or finances
The closing of each chapter above weighs heavy on my heart. These people cared enough to “start” reaching people in their communities, but circumstances led them to close the doors to the addicted of their community. Of course, I cannot blame anyone, nor do I claim to know the “whole story”. However, I do know that Satan is real and there are people in those communities that he has bound in a snare from which they cannot escape without the power of God and servants of the Lord!
For those of you who are reading this article who have a Reformers Unanimous program, I want to thank you and encourage you. Keep it up! Don’t quit! The battle is still on! Here are some words of encouragement from students…not of our Men’s and Women’s Schools of Discipleship, but from local community RU students from all over the country.
They completed this statement:
- If it weren’t for my local RU chapter…
- I wouldn’t know what “REAL” love is. (Pennsylvania)
- I wouldn’t have the godly support that is so vital to my victory. I also wouldn’t have the opportunity to help so many others find their victory in Christ during their suffering! (Colorado)
- I wouldn’t have the godly leadership or the accountability that I need. I would not know anything about this victorious Christian Life I am living! (Ohio)
- I’d never have found my way back into church and God. Also it has helped me through some of the hardest times in my life. (California)
- I wouldn’t have my husband and my marriage back. (Michigan)
- I would never have surrendered to preach. Instead I’d be wasting my substance, and cries would be filling my speech! (Michigan)
- I’d not be able to keep the final admonition from Pastor Kingsbury, and I quote: “no bad friends”, quite as easily. Those who do not love the Lord will not help us serve the Lord. (Washington)
- I’d still think living a pathetic apathetic Christian life was as good as it gets. I’d be living a ‘good’ life in church instead of the godly life I’ve found in Christ. (Florida)
- I’d be lost, probably still incarcerated or dead. I would not have three beautiful children. (Illinois)
- I would not know the Lord like I know Him now. I wouldn’t be in church. I would not be in God’s Divine path for my life. I would have never even found the true path! RU has healed me of emotional problems that I had suffered since I was a little girl and I am a 45 year old lady. I had been to psychiatrists, countless counselors, taken all kinds of medications, antidepressants, anxiety medications and now although, I am a work in process, I am finally being set free from the captivity of the devil, and truly can say, I am being cured by the Word! (Ohio)
- I’d never have known how to have a personal relationship with Jesus. I never would have memorized the Bible verses that I refer to now on a daily basis. (Mississippi)
- I’d never have the courage to preach Jesus in front of a class as an RU director. (Florida)
- I’d have ended up in jail, an institution, or possibly dead. Instead I went to Bible College to train for the ministry. (North Carolina)
- I’d be in jail, facing felonies, or dead. I wouldn’t have a wonderful relationship with my family. My parents wouldn’t be in church every Sunday. I wouldn’t have the Godly friends I have today. (Tennessee)
- I would not have the wonderful relationship I have with my son and loving daughter-in-law. I also gained an adopted son because of what RU teaches. There is so much that has happened in our family because of Reformers Unanimous and the work they do in people’s lives. I am a very blessed mother is so many ways. Thank you. (Illinois)
- I’d still be wandering in sin’s black night without any way of making my wrongs right. Thank God for His shed blood and for RU. (Florida)
- I’d still have a critical spirit instead of a heart of compassion for the lost, addicted, and incarcerated! I love how the Lord works through this ministry! (Idaho)
- I’d be a single mom. I’m so thankful for RU & the countless number of people who have prayed for my family! God is so good. (Indiana)
Don’t give up. I know that to see rescue, recovery, rebuilding, and restoration takes hard work, time, energy, money, inconveniences, and sacrifice….but in the words of Reformers Unanimous founder, Steve Curington, “It’s real!” And this “servant of the Lord” wants to watch as Jesus does it again and again and again…