The Bridgeport Story

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The Bridgeport Story

 

Immediately after 10 Days, I shared briefly about what happened in Bridgeport, CT. 
 
There was truly an amazing move of God in that city during 10 Days as about 40 congregations in the city made an intentional effort to host the presence of God in their city together.  Here are some of the highlights from Bridgeport:

  • They sustained 24-7 prayer in a central tent for 10 Days and had evening meetings with evangelistic preaching.They averaged around 500 attendees per night
  • Around 40 local congregations were committed to the entire vision, not just to hosting one night
  • Many made professions of faith in Jesus Christ and were baptized
  • Local congregations canceled regular activities in order to pray together as a city
  • A spirit of prayer, repentance, and conviction was evident
  • Relationships between pastors in the city were transformed
  • Some secular city leaders took notice of the significant prayer and unity among Christians in Bridgeport

 
I think Bridgeport will serve as a model for different cities to build on, so I want to highlight three key things I noticed that contributed to seeing this powerful move of God in their city.
 
Key 1: Vacation Days for God
 
Pastor Luis Burgos, who was the catalyst for 10 Days in Bridgeport, first heard about 10 Days this June at an Impact CT meeting.  I shared the vision in 10 minute form, including the aspect of the original 10 Days vision where a city “stopped everything” for 10 Days to seek God. 
 
Luis sensed God calling him to do this in Bridgeport, to call the city to “stop everything” for 10 Days and have 24/7 prayer in his church.  He also sensed that God wanted him to invite his staff, whose income is made outside the church, to take vacation time.  This was the aspect of the vision that challenged him the most—how could he ask his team to make that kind of sacrifice?
 
After sharing the basic vision with them for 10 Days of city-wide 24/7 prayer, Luis was shocked when his team volunteered, “we’re going to need to get vacation days to do this.”  He saw this as a confirmation and encouragement from the Lord.
 
The commitment to not only host a few nights of prayer, but to set-apart the entire 10 Days for seeking God, even taking time off of work, clearly was a powerful aspect of what happened in Bridgeport. 

Pastor Luis Burgos preaching at 10 Days of Prayer.

 

Key 2: Hearing the Vision Together
 
In September, Luis invited Gregg Healey and me to share vision for 10 Days with a group of about 50 pastors.  We ate a delicious meal together.  I was initially anticipating that I’d share for just a few minutes on 10 Days.  However, Luis encouraged me to share more at length. I was able to go into detail on the vision of 10 Days and hammer home the main points and what we could expect God to do if we humbled ourselves for 10 Days to seek Him.  It was clear that taking this extra time with the vision was helping people understand why and how to do 10 Days in a whole new way.
 
A week later, Luis called me back: “Can you come back next week and do the same thing—we want to get even more pastors here!”  I was moved by His faith and persistence, and of course, came back to share again.  I was surprised to see even more people there the second time, including mostly new faces.  All told, 110 separate pastors in Bridgeport got to hear the 10 Days vision together, at length, and over dinner.
 
Something happened in this exchange that helped to bring this group together on the same page.
 
It may sound very simple, “you need to hear the vision together to work together”, but it was actually a new experience for me and I think it’s something other cities can build on in future years.

Eating together and hearing the vision together as city-wide leaders are major keys to successful city-wide partnership.
 
Key 3: The God Factor—Faith-filled, Last Minute Surprises
 
Everything was moving forward in Bridgeport—10 Days would be hosted in a single local church with 24/7 prayer.  Then, out of nowhere God brought on a faith-filled surprise to take the gathering to another level.
 
Gabrielle Beam and Christopher Leighton, a team of “at large” ministers who had previously helped bring Luis Palau to Bridgeport, arranged at the very last minute to set-up a large tent in a prominent, public space.  They had incredible stories of God’s for the tent and vision to invite every person in the city to come.  I was amazed by the level of faith on display with less than two weeks to plan these massive elements! The stories of God moving that Gabrielle shared brought an undeniable sense of God’s favor on this gathering. The city-wide body of Christ was able to turn on a dime to make this adjustment to an outdoor tent.
 
The move from a church location to a public location was a game-changer, as was the call to invite the whole city. Through radio, flyers, and even a billboard on I-95, the message got out to the city that the church was coming together to pray and they were invited!  The vision that God had given Luis ended up being powerfully amplified by the vision that Gabrielle and Christopher brought to the table.  God brought this powerful element to the forefront at literally the last possible moment and gave all parties the grace to say “yes”!
 
The God-Factor is key: Leaders need to be open to faith-filled input that may expand and enhance what is already planned.

Highlights of 10 Days of Prayer in Bridgeport, CT.

 

Conclusion: Learning the Lessons of Bridgeport
 
Many of us want to see city-wide change and transformation.  10 Days is a spiritual tool, a divine strategy that’s designed to do that very thing.  However, if a tool remains in the shed or a strategy is only partly implemented, the value that comes from it will remain limited.  To maximize the impact of 10 Days in your community, remember these three keys:
 

  • Take Vacation Time to seek God—this moves 10 Days from a series of meetings throughout your city to an invitation for Holy Spirit to “set-up shop” in your city
  • Gather city-leaders to fellowship and hear the vision together.To move as one, you have to be united in heart and in vision.
  • Be prepared to respond in faith when God brings unexpected opportunities and expands your vision…remember, he’s in control!