Viewing a complex problem from a different angle often enables us to see what we’ve been missing. It helps us to identify what’s really at the heart of the issue and reveals a better course of action.
You might say this describes what happened in Acts 10 when the apostle Peter climbed onto a housetop in Joppa to pray. He had a vision and later was visited by three gentiles, who asked the Jewish disciple to come share the gospel with their master. Peter realized that “God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean. So when I was sent for, I came without objection.”
Peter’s story was the inspiration for The Rooftop International, an evangelistic ministry whose podcasts recently premiered on TWR360. Living out its name, Rooftop leads church groups to high vantage points – from hotels to parking decks to mountaintops – and urges them to think about the familiar city below in a new way.
“Rather than ask the question, ‘How do we get people into church?’ which is often the question churches are asking, the question is, ‘What do we see Jesus doing in the community, and how do we join in what he is doing?’” founder Dennis Pethers said. “… We should be going to people where they are and telling them the message of Jesus in way they understand.”
Encouraging a Paradigm Shift
Pethers grew up in a London suburb where the church played little or no role in most people’s lives. After his boss gave the 19-year-old atheist a copy of C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity, Pethers eventually accepted Christ and immediately felt a passion to share the faith.
In many years of ministry since then, he has often pondered why most believers don’t share that passion. It was the story of Peter’s rooftop vision that spurred him to begin guiding church groups to lofty locations where they can contemplate their cities from a new angle and experience what pastors have called a “paradigm shift” in how to reach out to their communities.
Pethers recounted an American pastor’s experience during one of these rooftop sessions.
“His first thought was, ‘Why am I looking across the city and praying for it? Anybody who comes to our church, the minute they cross the door of our church, we welcome them.’ And he shared with the group on the rooftop that God told him, ‘How dare you think that my welcome begins at the door of your church? My welcome begins right where those people are. So don’t wait for them to come to you – you go to them.’”
When the pastor told fellow clergymen about the experience, 40 of them joined arms in an outward-facing circle and prayed for two hours that God would create the “same heart” in each of them, Pethers said.
The Rooftop Moment Premieres
The recently launched Rooftop Moment podcasts on TWR360 last about five to eight minutes each and are presented by pioneers, the title applied to national ministry leaders in countries where Rooftop operates. U.S. pioneer John Whaley said the programs teach Rooftop’s guiding principles, addressing questions such as: How do we encounter God’s heart for the lost? How do we engage those among us with the gospel? How do we expand the kingdom of God by making disciples?
Having the podcasts on TWR360 is a “great tool” for connecting with pastors around the world as the ministry advances its plan for “2020 Vision.” That’s an event slated for Oct. 10, 2020, during which churches will gather on rooftops in as many as 100 countries for prayer and contemplation of how they can join Jesus Christ in his mission.
Pethers added, “We are increasingly becoming a global movement – we are beginning to open some key doors in Latin America – and so to be partnering with a global broadcasting network is a win-win. … Being able to work with TWR in all those countries where it already works, we’re very excited.”