For many years, people believed running a mile in less than four minutes was impossible. Many doctors warned it was dangerous, even fatal, as medical research claimed a person’s heart could explode.
That opinion changed on May 6, 1954, when Roger Banister, a young medical student from England, broke the four-minute mile. His monumental feat shocked the world.
That day, Roger Banister did much more than shatter a 50-year-old myth; he shattered barriers in people’s minds about how far they could push their bodies. He challenged the world to keep going—to keep pushing. And sure enough, it only took 46 days for someone else to break that legendary barrier. The following year, two more runners broke it again. And today, scores of runners, including at least a dozen high school students, have smashed the four-minute mile.
This story reminded me of a conversation I had recently with Dave Van Patten, creator and leader of our evangelism and discipleship programme, The Prisoner’s Journey®. Though the program started less than three years ago, it is on track to share the Gospel with more than 1 million prisoners in 60 countries by 2020.
When I asked Dave what the key breakthrough was, his answer was simple. “Faith.”
He explained the programme exploded when Connie Wehrmann and Benson Iwuagwu, Executive Directors of Prison FellowshipSouth Africa and Prison Fellowship Nigeria, believed that with God’s help it was possible to saturate all the prisons in their country with The Prisoner’s Journey®. They weren’t constrained by what others before them had done—they have faith in our mighty God, and confidence in His provision, for this new programme. They have atotally different mindset about how to share the Good News with prisoners in their countries.
In the past, small, incremental outreach was proven and reliable. And God used our work. But now He is providing the people, tools, and resources for us to break barriers for His glory through our programmes and activities. This year, 18 national ministries will be running The Prisoner’s Journey®. And by the end of 2016, more than 150,000 inmates will have had the opportunity to hear the Gospel.
It’s time for us to lace up our shoes and start breaking down barriers—for God’s glory! With Him, all things are possible (Matthew 19:26, NIV).
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Hebrews 12:1a, NIV).