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Saving Souls Is Not Your Only Job As A Christian

I’d never been in a riot before. And to be honest, it wasn’t as bad as I would have thought.

I was in Rome filming my newest movie, Holy Ghost Reborn, and I was with one of my good friends, an evangelist named Todd White, who is one of the most fearless and exuberant people I know. He lives to pray for people, and literally nothing will stand in his way to do that.

We arrived a day earlier without any real plan of action. I was trying to make the first movie series ever that was, as much as possible, completely led by the Holy Spirit, and in the course of praying and deciding where to go, Rome was one place I felt was highlighted to me by the Lord.

So Todd, myself, and my crew got off the plane and wondered what we were supposed to do here. I honestly had no clue other than a vague notion to go to the Vatican at some point.

Since we couldn’t think of anything else to do, I thought we should go see a couple sights—why not start with the Coliseum? That sounded cool.

We hopped on the subway the next morning without thinking much about how the day was going to turn out. We came up out of the subway and tried to get our bearings. The Coliseum was looming just before us.

Then I noticed a bunch of people looking at something and pointing.

When I looked, I saw a mass of people marching down the street holding signs and chanting. Smoke was looming up from somewhere in the middle, and police were beginning to pour in. Some kind of protest or riot was happening on the streets of Rome, and it just happened to be passing by us at the very moment we got off the subway to go sightseeing.

Hmm…

My first instinct was to stand on the sidewalk and just let everyone pass. Hopefully it would remain peaceful. But then Todd turned to me, his eyes ablaze, and he handed me his passport.

“Bro, here’s my passport, and you have my wife’s number. If I get arrested, let her know I’m okay. I’m going in.”

Now, in moments like this there are two sides to my personality. The first, normal side of me reacts with an “Are you joking?” response. But the other, director side of me says, “This could be interesting.” Since I had a camera in my hands, the director won out. And into the riot we all went.

Catch a sneak peek of this story in the trailer below

For two hours we walked through the streets of Rome as Todd moved through the crowd, engaging with and praying for as many people as he could.
We met all kinds of people that day: angry people, frustrated people, hurt people, and violent people, and I kept asking myself what we were doing here?

The timing seemed like such a setup from God, but to what end?

At one point early on we met a kid named Enrique who was actually one of the main people involved in setting up this protest. Todd, who has dreadlocks, honed in on him because this kid had dreadlocks as well, and he was able to pray briefly with the kid, then we moved on. The rest of our time was just a blur of activity, reactions, and wild moments.

I remember thinking at one point, “Man, I feel like I’m in a movie!” Then I caught myself…

The next day we set out to find the catacombs on the outskirts of the city. My decision to go there was a result of a series of dreams that all pointed to us going somewhere that was underground, and that’s the only place I could think of that would have any meaning for my film.

Once again we hopped on the subway, then went to a bus station to catch a bus to our destination. When we turned the corner for what we thought was our bus, we all stopped short.

Standing right in front of us was Enrique, the kid with dreadlocks.

I knew this was God. I mean, even I could figure that out!

I was so certain this kid was going to get saved, and it was going to be another awesome story for my movie. But as we talked to the kid, and Todd offered him a relationship with Jesus, the kid was hesitant. He had only ever had bad experiences with the church, and he wasn’t about to jump into what he viewed as a religion again, even if he could tell that these events were abnormal.

We prayed for him and continued on to our catacombs, and I wrestled with what I had just experienced.

Did God lose this one?

I mean, He was obviously chasing after this kid, but then the kid didn’t want Him. Todd and I talked about it a lot, and what we both finally realized has since changed my outlook on what our job actually is as Christians.

In Todd’s words, he was “planting seeds”.

With everyone we encounter, we are either planting a seed, watering a seed, or harvesting a seed for God’s kingdom. Unfortunately, sometimes we are stomping on a seed or poisoning a seed by our bad behavior as representatives of Christ. But in moments like this one, we did what we did out of love.

The church really likes the harvesting of seeds, “saving souls” is what we say we’re about. But Jesus told us that the kingdom of God was like a farmer who scatters seeds. Our job is to farm for the kingdom, in a sense, and we get into trouble when we think our only job is to harvest.

Our job as Christians is to present the undiluted truth of Jesus Christ to people as we love them and strive to follow Christ, allowing ourselves to be molded into His image.

A person’s journey is a fragile thing, and the frightening thought to me is wondering how many times I may have damaged the growing process of someone in my impatience to reap what hasn’t yet been fully sown.

And to think, it only took me jumping into a riot in Rome to figure that out.

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8 Comments

  • Jake

    Great article Darren - did you or Todd ever hear from the young man again?

  • ROCKSON

    May God continually help us to be planters of the word, pruners and harvesters of the lost!

  • Gill Maher

    Have you not heard? Our God is a God of SURPRISES?!!

  • Gary Seeney

    Amen! Saw this scripture yester morning, 22/06 Ephesians 4:15 KJV But speaking the truth in LOVE, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: Sow a little in the morning and a little in the afternoon and let the Holy Spirit flow

  • CeCelia Robinson

    Beautiful and Thank you for the reminder

  • Eben-Haezer Mabuza Nkosana

    Thank you Darren. It's a revelation to me. Really is.

  • Thokozani Rashama

    Thanks Darren. I was just reading 1Cor 3:8-9 (NIV) The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labour. For we are Gods fellow-workers; you are God's field, God's building. Amen may your efforts be multiplied!

  • Juliette Rey

    This was an awesome scene in the movie. Love it. Been in many marches, riots, demos, sit downs, etc. in my life so I know what they are like. Love how ya'll went right into it and then god leads you to Enrique, the subway, the catacombs, singing there. Wow. I can now see how God has been working in my life. It's not just one moment or event. For example I get the desire to take a friend to Panera for coffee after church. While there we chat a little then find ourselves talking to some people, missionaries, and they get a word of encouragement from us in the Spirit, then they speak over us. The words we spoke over each other were right on. Then again, on another day, we are about to leave, and my friend is inspired to give a word to a man. She begins and he tells her I'm already saved. She tries to tell him she's not trying to save him just give him a word and he repeats himself and starts getting angry. Kinda like the tall guy in the Roman crowd that Todd spoke with. Sometimes you just gotta step back. Yes, we sew, we water, we save, and we encourage. The church needs to experience that God is alive and working, right now, and we need to respond in kind, listen to what He has to say, and step forward. I get so excited when God works. This morning I found myself singing a worship song: When I move my body, When I move my feet, When I open my mouth, Then the darkness flees. Grace and blessings to ya'll.

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