Tag: Jim Blough

LA Story – Braveheart

Freedom fighters capture our attention and spark our imagination. Braveheart, the theme for this issue of LA Story, was the title of an Academy-Award-winning movie about a 13th century Scottish rebel warrior who fought to overthrow a tyrant English king. Jesus Christ is the ultimate freedom fighter. He issued his declaration of independence at the beginning of his ministry in Luke 4. Freedom fighters come and go, but Jesus, through his Holy Spirit, has been leading the fight for freedom against Satan for 2,000 years. Through the centuries many have fought
valiantly and died under the spiritual banner of Lord Jesus. We, his modern-day disciples, have also answered his call to battle (Matthew 28:18-20). Because the present chapter of this fight is only a few years old, starting in Boston in June 1979, our honor role of men and women who have died in battle as heroes is still small. Today, I want to add a name to that distinctive list, the name of Bob Ricker. 

Bob Ricker was a bravehearted, freedom fighter from the day I first met him in Boston in the early part of the 1980’s. He was a college student with a single-minded purpose: make disciples. He really believed that the whole world could be evangelized in just one generation. He wanted to do his part and he did. For instance, Bob met a young nurse, Carol Best, and invited her to church. She came and brought her boy friend, John McGuirk. Both Carol and John became disciples, married, and became missionaries in Paris and Brussels. John converted his sister, Sue. Sue married Steve Shoff, and they went into the full-time ministry. At UCLA, Sue met and converted Candice Figueras. Candice now leads the women of the church in Istanbul, Turkey.

LA Story – Contact ~ August 1997

Nearly all the reporters who talk to me about the International Churches of Christ assume that we are primarily a campus movement, made up largely of students. I inform them that the facts show a very different picture. For instance, college students made up only 18 percent of the church in Los Angeles at the end of 1996. While these reporters would like to present us as a student organization so that they can dismiss us as some odd religious group that is not making inroads into all segments of society, it is time to look at where our campus ministries are headed.

In recent years there has been less and less emphasis given to campus evangelism in our churches. This trend has not been from a conscious decision to neglect the campus works. However, the way that we now build churches has produced this result. We have used our most talented ministry people to lead sectors and have included campus ministries within larger sectors of marrieds and singles. The result has been that the trained and talented leadership needed to convert college students has not been available, and disciples who are students have not had opportunities to be trained in public speaking, teaching and leadership skills.

Disciples converted on campus have profoundly affected God’s modern-day movement. Of the ten World Sector Leaders, five of them were converted as students! Even Kip and Elena McKean were reached while on campus. The book of Proverbs was written by Solomon to his son. From the above quotation, he says, “I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths.” Disciples reached as students can be helped to avoid many of the mistakes and sins that have permanently scarred and crippled so many older people.