Faith Sharing Starts with Pastors | Ignite America
Episode 8

Faith Sharing Starts with Pastors

How are we going to go unless someone sends us? Steve Wilborn is a Pastor who understands his role to equip the Saints for ministry, by being their role model – sharing his faith at every opportunity.

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Show Notes

According to Barry: “Steve is the most un-standard, off-the-wall pastor that I know.” Find out why — and more about what a pastor’s faith sharing looks like — in this in-depth conversation with Steve Wilburn, Senior Pastor of Core Church Los Angeles.

Host Barry Meguiar is a car guy and businessman who hosted the popular TV show, Car Crazy, on Discovery Networks for 18 years. He loves cars, but he loves Jesus even more!

Hear from guest Steve Wilburn:

Steve Wilburn is the Senior Pastor of Core Church Los Angeles, a church he and his wife Laurie planted on the Westside of LA in 2010. Core has continued growing at an incredible pace. Prior to planting Core, Steve was an associate Pastor at Harvest Christian Fellowship under Pastor Greg Laurie for fifteen years. His commitment to God’s Word and passion for the Gospel are evident in his enthusiastic, relevant style of teaching. He is heard on multiple radio stations 5 to 7 days a week.

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Find resources to help ignite your faith and move everyone, every day closer to Jesus at  IgniteAmerica.com — including the Ignite ePrayer app (available on the App Store and Google Play), Faith Sharing Stories, One Minute Inspirations, SeekingGod.org, and more. Sign up to receive emails that will deliver practical faith-sharing tips and powerful inspiration.

Episode Transcript

Barry Meguiar 

Hi, everybody, welcome back to ignite, you know, we talked so much about how most of us are not sharing our faith. And, you know, it’s this whole thing. People rarely rise above the level of expectation. So nobody’s expecting you to share your faith, you’ve probably not sharing your faith and, and pastors aren’t expecting their flock their, their their followers to share their faith. They’re just not. I mean, we asked this question often when’s the last time you heard your pastor even mentioned, sharing your faith. Let alone, that it’s the highest priority is the Great Commission, you know? Why are they not sending us? Even pastors that mentioned that tend to mention kind of at the at the end of the list of things we’re supposed to do as Christians, but it’s not the end of the list type of thing. It is the Great Commission. It is his highest priority and when we do that, then everything else works. And so we talked about that a lot. I want to talk about pastors today, okay. I have a lot of Pastor friends, I love pastors, and I’m a church guy. So but when you were part of that we could kind of do a self analysis. And, and it’s, it’s not a stretch to say that most pastors are not focused on sharing faith. Most of our sermons over the last several decades have been edifying. They’ve taught us how to be better people. They’ve entertained us. But being better people doesn’t get us to heaven and doesn’t get anybody else to heaven. And yet, you know, the majority Christians today think sharing their faith is being a good person. Being hurt, being a good person, does it get you it doesn’t get anybody else to heaven. It’s got to be the proclamation of who God is. Being a good person, do all the right things, but give God the glory. If you don’t give God the glory, you get the glory, and people will like you and probably respect you. But God’s not real happy with sharing his glory with you. It’s when you do good things. It’s the cup of cold water, right? If the cup of water is not what it’s about, it’s a cup of water in Jesus name. So as I talk to pastors, and I have lots of Pastor friends, I find that very few of them personally share their faith. So it’s hard to have excitement for doing something unless you’re doing it yourself. So I thought it’d be good for us have a pastor, most of you, we talked to your lay people like us who we can, we can understand and communicate with and replicate whatever but a pastor’s in a different world except that, you know what, pastors go to restaurants. They go to doctors offices. They, they go to Arby’s, or McDonald’s, they they’re in real life just like us. So when they’re off the clock, what are they doing? And so that’s the question. So Steve Wilburn is the most unstandard off the wall pastor. I know. I love his heart. And he’s a great inspiration to me. It has been a great inspiration to me for a long time, because we’ll talk about it I bring him on, right. But we’re joined by Steve, come on and join us. I mean, I remember you saying one time you speak to people, but you you have almost more fun talking to one person than you do 1000s of people. Did I get that right?

 

Steve Wilburn 

Yes, absolutely. You know, Barry, it’s always been part of my life. I was 18 years old, coming out of a situation where I was 16 my parents got divorced, and got into drugs and drinking got a girl pregnant when I was 17 years old. By the time I hit 18 years old, I felt like I had to reach out to touch the bottom. And someone shared Jesus Christ with me. I didn’t give my life to Christ in a church. I gave it at a kitchen counter in Upland California. So every since then, because I realized who I was and how far away I was from God. I realized if God could save me, Barry, he could save anybody. And so I share my faith on a daily basis. I’d say at a seven days out of a week on maybe sharing my faith at least four or five days out of that week, and it can happen anywhere you go. It’s like I took my son he is one of the pastors here are church pastors for our high school ministry. I took him to In and Out Burger. Why? Because I wanted a three by three animal style with chopped chilis on it. But anyway, we walk up to the In and Out Burger. You know, this isn’t that long ago. And there’s a guy there and he’s trying to get donations for his father’s funeral. He didn’t have any money to bury his dad. So what happens? I walked by, you know, I asked him he goes, You know, my dad, he was a drug addict, and he wasn’t really there for me, but he deserves a funeral, and I said, oh my goodness, I’m so sorry for your great loss. I go, hey, let me tell you when’s the last time someone told you that there’s a God in heaven that loves you, that cares about you? Because it doesn’t sound like your father, your natural father was ever there for you. He goes, no, he was never really there for me. I said, Well, there’s a God in heaven, who loves you that knows every ounce of pain that you’re going through right now. So here we are five feet from the front door of the in and out, people are walking in and out. And I start staring, I share the gospel with him in such a way that he starts tracking with me. And I told him how much God loves him. And he’s knocking on the door of his heart. And if that he would open his heart that Jesus Christ would literally come inside and live inside of him. And I told him, I said, look, three radical things happen. As soon as you ask Christ to come in. He goes, Well, what’s that? I said, Well, number one, it comes in. I mean, imagine that the creator of the universe comes and lives inside of you. I go second, the Bible says, if any man or woman be in Christ, they become a new creature. Old things are passed away, everything becomes new. And the third thing that happens is he writes your name and a Lamb’s book of life. And when you die in the Bible says everyone’s going to die, listen, listen, you’re trying to get money for your own dad’s funeral. We’re all  going to die one day, the Bible says it’s appointed for every man and woman to die once. And after this comes judgment, imagine that you’re going to stand before God and everything you’ve ever done you’re gonna have to give him an account for. How do you think it’s gonna work for you? And he looked at me and he says, I don’t think it’s going to work too good for me. I said, that’s why Jesus came, He carried your sin on his body. And right there Barry, as crazy as it sounds. In front of in and out with people walking in and out the door. He bowed his head and prayed right there on the curb in front of in and out. It was crazy. So people have asked me, how do you know these these conversions are real when they just pray so quickly, like after 20 minutes of sharing? I go, Well, let me tell you, somebody is not going to sit there in public with tons of people walking by them bow their head and pray out loud and ask Christ in their heart. If they’re not serious.

 

Barry Meguiar 

Absolutely. Absolutely. It’s, it’s, it’s interesting, because you also know that it’s like a team sport. There have been other Christians, other team members, if you will, that have shared with that person that kind of set them up because most people don’t come to Christ in one setting, but God nudged you to talk to this guy, but he was ready.

 

Steve Wilburn 

His brother was praying for him for you know, 20 years, you know.

 

Barry Meguiar 

There you go. Isn’t that amazing. Now, mind you folks, we don’t all have Steve’s personality. Okay. We come faith sharers come in all flavors. And I was I was an introvert. When I first started sharing my faith back in the 70s. People can’t hardly believe that. I’m not an introvert anymore. But it was faith sharing that got me out of being an introvert. I was I would, I would hide behind my wife going into in conferences and meetings and stuff, because she just loves everybody, you know. But I mean, there are a lot of timid there’s a lot of quiet, there’s, there’s elderly, there’s there’s kids, there’s we’re all coming all flavors. I love your patient, but we just need to make sure we don’t have to have, people do the same thing you’re doing quietly outside of in and out burgers, in parks, places. But it is that same story. That’s the message. And

 

Steve Wilburn 

yeah, and your here’s another example

 

Barry Meguiar 

I wish I could, I wish I could get the love of God as with, with as much energy as you do. I love your heart, man.

 

Steve Wilburn 

Well, here’s another example, Barry, that just happened. I mean, this is literally just a week and a half ago. I was on the phone. I had a problem with Verizon, I was trying to, you know, work out this situation with a phone. You know, we have multiple phone lines here at core church, Los Angeles. And so I was on the phone and you know, they have call centers all over United States, right? So I asked the guy, Hey, where are you? And he goes on the Texas. What’s the weather like in Texas today? You know, so just we’re just having a conversation. So he’s helping me out with my issue, my problem, and he actually was very helpful. So I was thanking him. I said, man, thank you so much for taking the extra time and helping me with this problem. But I said, Now I want to help you with a problem. And he goes, Excuse me. I said, I want to help you with a problem. And he goes, Well, what’s my problem? I said, Well, the problem is mankind, humanity is separate from God because of our own sin. He goes, Well, what are you saying? I’m saying, there’s a God in heaven that loves you and He cares about you. That’s why Jesus Christ came to the earth. He died on the Cross, He was buried in a grave, and he rose again from the dead so that people like you and me can have our sin forgiven and go to heaven one day. Now, I wasn’t being the total spass in from it. I’m just talking to the guy on the phone. I’m in California, Southern California. He’s in Texas. And we’re just talking. And so I started sharing with him more and more. And he started asking questions. And then he told me, he goes, Man, my mother would be so glad that you’re talking to me right now. Because my mom has been praying for me. I’m living with my girlfriend. I’ve got a lot of things that are messed up in my life right now. And I need to get right with God. And I said, Yes, you do. And so the conversation went off for about another 20 minutes. And he prayed on the telephone and gave his life to Christ. And as soon as he got done, he told me, he goes, I’m going to call my mom right now, she is not going to believe what just happened. So here’s the situation, Barry, I’m just calling up about a problem I’m having with my phone to a guy that works for Verizon at a call center in Texas. And I just, I just asked him afterwards, look, you know, people, you know, not everyone’s going to want to listen, but we as believers, we need to at least encroach on that conversation. And then like, if the guy had told me, Hey, look, I’m at work right now and I don’t really want to talk about this, okay fine. You know, whatever it’s over. But at least I told him that there was a God in heaven that loves him, I planted a seed. And as you would say, Barry, I nudged him a little bit. But this particular guy, he was ready again. And how do we know that not everyone we talked to is already had these little nudges in their life, we might be that final nudge, or maybe the next to the final nudge in that person’s life.

 

Barry Meguiar 

It’s, it’s, it’s unbelievable, the people that are around us that are hurting, they’re right there. And we walk right by them. We talked to you in the phone, whatever. And those opportunities are, are right there. And and we can search blindly just walk by them. An interesting statistic, I think I told you this before, but and this comes from three major studies agreed together. So these are hard numbers over 80% of the unchurched, which is most of the people in America, over 80% of the unchurched. It doesn’t matter if they call themselves atheist does it whatever label you want to put on them, over 80% of the unchurched in United States of the unchurched, in the United States. Know, the world is out of control, like they know it’s out of control, have now come to the point of wishing, hoping there is a God. To make sense of it all. They’re looking for somebody, they’re looking for somebody to tell them. That’s opportunity all around us.

 

Steve Wilburn 

I think what they’re looking for very, is they’re looking for someone with a voice of reason. Every time you turn the news on, it’s chaos. It’s chaos. Here, it’s chaotic. Everything is out of control. Crime is spiking, defund the police, whoever came up with that idiot idea. Like, you’re thinking you’re going to defund the police take police away, and people are going to do better. No, we’re all sinners, we all have a potential to do wrong, not just to do good, we will naturally do wrong. So everything’s out of control. It’s slipping out of control. And people are looking for a voice of reason. So I was on another phone call last week with USAA. So that’s my, I have my car insurance with them.  And so I’m calling about a situation and I get a guy, he’s not at a call center. He’s in his bedroom, in Colorado, and and so we’re talking to go see, I just worked from my house, you know, because of COVID and what have you. And so we got done with the whole situation that I was calling concerning my insurance policies. And when we got done, I said, Hey, I’d like to share something with you. And he says, Well, what’s that? I said, when’s the last time someone told you that there’s a God in heaven that loves you? And he just hasn’t he stopped and there’s like nothing. I said, Hello. Are you still there? And he goes, Yeah. And I said, What when’s the last time he goes, No one has ever told me that before. And I shared with him for probably 25 minutes. Now, he didn’t give his life to Christ, but he listened. He goes, I need to talk to my wife about this. He goes, Man, thank you so much for sharing with me, but he listened. But again, here’s someone that you could tell they’re not a Christian. They’re one of those people that you just said buried there the 80% that are looking in the world because look, ask any Christian what about the all your listeners and people that are following you right now that are watching this program? Aren’t you a little freaked out about everything that’s happening in the world? Aren’t you a little freaked out about this whole socialist agenda that’s being crammed down our throat about men and women’s bathrooms, men and women’s sports? I mean, all this craziness that we would have never guessed would ever have happened even 10 years ago. But yet it’s happening right now to each and every one of us. Don’t you think if it’s freaking you out a little bit, then it’s not freaking out the 90% of people in America today. So people are looking for a voice of reason. And you don’t have to be a spass like me. You can talk normal. People will listen to you.

 

Barry Meguiar 

Okay.  People are freaking out. You said they’re they’re freaking out and they want truth.

 

Steve Wilburn 

Yeah,

 

Barry Meguiar 

They hear all the hype and all the facts and they get we get all these figures and then they contradict each other to saying something different of our. Where is truth?

 

Steve Wilburn 

Exactly, and exactly

 

Barry Meguiar 

That is truth. There’s one thing in the world that’s not, everything’s moving except God.

 

Steve Wilburn 

Yeah,

 

Barry Meguiar 

And we bring constant stability and truth and, and logic.

 

Steve Wilburn 

Well, Jesus said,

 

Barry Meguiar 

The Holy Spirit,

 

Steve Wilburn 

Right, Jesus had to sanctify them in the truth thy Word is true. So here I was, you know, Barry, you know, we went to Israel last year. And so there I am. I’m standing right next to the upper room. So here, I’m going into the upper room there in Jerusalem. And my youngest son, he just had our, you know, youngest granddaughter here, we have 10 grandchildren, you know, four kids and 10 grandkids, you know, but it’s like, so he had, my youngest granddaughter, she was just born. And so I see this young couple there in Jerusalem right there at the upper room, and they have a new little baby girl, and I stopped, you know, she was like, about three weeks old, and I started talking to them. Hey, what a cute little girl and I just said, My son just had a little girl. And so we just, again, small talk. And then I said, Hey, isn’t it cool that we’re standing right here outside of the upper room, and they both said to me, they were Jews, and they live there in Jerusalem. So you know, they’re they don’t know Jesus, the Messiah. And I said, this is where Jesus Messiah spent his last night before he was taken and crucified for the sin of all humanity. And they said, huh, and he just looked at me with a blank stare. I said, has anyone ever told you about the Messiah, Savior Jesus, the one of Isaiah, Isaiah 43, the one that is the Savior, God says, I am the only Savior. Savior in the Hebrew means a deliverer who is God. And so I started sharing with him with all the Hebrew texts of the Old Testament, this young Jewish couple, and they’re just like, wow, we’ve never heard this before. And then of course, I pull up my phone and I’d say, Hey, you got a phone, they pull out a brand new iPhone, I said, here download our app at Core Church Los Angeles, and they did right in front of me. And I had just a week earlier, a message really looking at who Jesus Christ was as a savior. And it’s like, Oh, my goodness, I’m like, going, here you gotta watch this message. So they download the Core Church, L.A. app right in front of me, when they say we’re gonna watch this message. What is the chance of that happening? It is just insane. What is the chance of that happen?

 

Barry Meguiar 

Only God? Okay, um, we’re kind of out of time. I got to ask you some rapid fire questions. Okay.

 

Steve Wilburn 

Okay.

 

Barry Meguiar 

Okay. First off. Why aren’t pastors sharing their faith? I talked to him today. Well, you know, that’s for you to do. And you know, I’m but I’m in the church. My job is to minister to the flock. What do you say to pastors like that?

 

Steve Wilburn 

Well, I say they should read, Ezekiel Chapter 34. Because God was getting after the leaders of the church back in Ezekiel. And he says, Where are the shepherds of my people, they’re now out reaching for those who are hurting those who are lost, he got so mad at them, he said that I will reach out to the hurting, and I will reach out to the loss. I love this one versus one of my life versus Barry, and it’s in Ezekiel 2:7, and it says, But you shall speak my words to them, who’s them? It’s like it’s everyone in the world, he says, but use those speak my words to them, whether they listen or not for their rebellious people. We are called to not only reach out to the loss, but we are called as leaders to be an example to the body of Christ. If we cannot take this message and reach out to the lost then how in the world do we expect our congregation to reach out to the lost? It was Penn and Teller? It was Penn that said, How much do you have to hate someone not to share the love of Christ with them? It’s like that’s a that’s a good thing. So it’s like we as leaders, we need to lead by example.

 

Barry Meguiar 

So you have Christians not, who have not, two categories: non-faith sharing Christian, faith sharing Christian. How would you? How would you recognize the difference between the two? You know, the different type that’s bigger than that but the non the typical life of a non faith sharing and the life of a faith sharing Christian, the difference help people understand why should I share my faith? What? What’s in it for me?

 

Steve Wilburn 

Well, it’s not about us, you know, this is a commandment. God has commanded us to share our faith. But again, it goes back to what I just said. I mean, how much you have to hate someone like if we really believe this message. If we’re like, yes, we believe the Bible. Yes, that’s me. Yes. I believe the Bible I believe what God’s word says in the Bible. Well do you recognize that God talks more about judgment in the Bible than he does about salvation in life. And the reason he talks more about judgment in the Bible is he’s born in us so that we will not be judged. And so again, it’s like when you think about every single person that you work with, you think about your next door neighbor, you know, you say hi to him, you smile, you know, you’re nice, you’re nice with your neighbor, your nice with your coworker at work. It’s like, think about it, that person, if they don’t come into a real relationship with Jesus Christ, they’re going to die one day, like everyone’s going to die. And I think that what has to rattle us is when someone that’s close to us dies, and then all of a sudden, we realized, I never shared with that person. I never did. You know, I have this one story, Barry that I was witnessing to prostitutes in Washington, DC, when we used to live in Virginia. We would go in on Friday nights, and we would witness to prostitutes. There’s a big red light district right up from the White House on 14th Street. And we were coming through town at about one o’clock in the morning, like what is going on here. It’s like Fourth of July here or something. And it was all these prostitutes. So me and a friend of mine, and my wife would go there every Friday night and shared the gospel. This one prostitute was always really nice to us always want to hear but you never made a commitment to Christ. One night, Barry, she came to me. And she was really just kind of beside herself. She was distraught. But I had shared with her so many times, I really didn’t spend any time with her that night. I just kind of like well, I’ve shared with you before, and I didn’t spend any time with her. That night. Later on. I found out the next week, she was picked up by a John and she was killed and that her life was over. And when I heard that I it just broke me inside. I’m like, oh my goodness, why didn’t I stop and share with her that one more time? And I didn’t. And I’m just thinking, oh my goodness, could your, people that are watching right now. It’s like, what if you came into work, you know, on a Monday, and you know, when your best friends from work, they were killed in an accident over the weekend. And it’s like, and you never shared with them. It we have to be moved as believers, if we believe the message of salvation, we have to take ourselves and just force ourselves to open our mouth. And just open say something. Say I want to share this message with you. And look, you built relationship with him. You’ve earned the right to share with him. Why? Because you care about them. It’s not about yelling at someone. You’re not popping veins on your neck. You’re sharing the greatest love story that humanity has ever known. You’re just sharing with them how much God loves them. If they say no, that’s fine. But understand the word of God goes out and doesn’t come back void. Even if they look at you and they’re saying like, yeah, I don’t know about this and whatever. That doesn’t mean that the Holy Spirit won’t later bring those things back up to them and maybe a week or two later they come back and want to talk to you a little bit more

 

Barry Meguiar 

Even when they, even when they say no you moved to closer Jesus.

 

Steve Wilburn 

That’s right. Absolutely. Absolutely

 

Barry Meguiar 

You’re gonna move them closer to Jesus no matter what. So So you you see an instant slice of society, your church if everybody if you know LA at all, you have La Cienega, famous La Cienega and it comes right down to the 10 freeway that is about as bedrock hardcore LA as you can get.

 

Steve Wilburn 

This is hardcore here. We’re not in some little fluff Bible Belt city here. We are in probably one of the most antagonistic anti-Christ cities on the planet but God put me here for a reason .

 

Barry Meguiar 

Big church with a great big Jesus Saves on the roof. You’re preaching and you and you look at your congregation. They all the lost if there was a somebody that welcomed them in and then you just, you just bring them in and your personal enthusiasm was so magnetic. The Holy Spirit just touches feely, it’s amazing to go to your church. It’s an experience.

 

Steve Wilburn 

Barry you been here? You and Karen have been here. You’ve seen it yourself.

 

Barry Meguiar 

Very great. I love your heart. Steve. Love your heart, man. I tell you what, just keep keep preaching, don’t ever change. You are just

 

Steve Wilburn 

Thank you so much Barry.

 

Barry Meguiar 

Folks, I would just point out the obvious, maybe not so obvious. The harder people to reach for me is people that look like me. And they’re, they’re good people. There are millions of people around us that are good people. I often say they’re in my car guy world here. If you could earn your way to heaven, you’d be in first in line. I mean, they’re really good people. And they’re, they’re proud of being good people. And they’re generous. They’re caring. Oftentimes more than my, my Christian friends, but because they see themselves a good people they’re very hard to reach. But people don’t don’t look like us. I oftrn have to say scoundrels are easier to reach. They know they’re lost. They absolutely know it. And so when you go out, don’t just focus on a certain time. Just open it up. And you’ll be surprised you have no idea in a group of people which ones are respond. Our job is to the cast the bread upon the water. I call it, I call it chumming. And it’s, and if we just picked one. I mean, there are a lot of evangelism programs to say pick one person today, or pick one person this week. Out of all of them people are going to be with today or this week, that are on their way to hell, how am I supposed to pick one? And who do I know is the right one? And what about all the other people with that I didn’t talk to. I mean, it just doesn’t even make make sense. So if you focus on moving everyone, everyday closer to Jesus, the surprises and I think Steve was pointing that out, but the surprises who’s who comes back? So you follow the nudge? You can’t you can’t save everybody, but God gives you that nudge and to speak to that person. And every time you follow that nudge you always always always walk away from that say thank you God that I heard your voice and you used me and it took a little extra time but but then he always gives you back the time. It’s the craziest like I know how that works. I’m in a hurry, but then I have this but I just take the time I have to do that. And then I find out that appointment was cancelled anyway I didn’t have to be there. God has it all in mind, He’s orchestrating it all. The point is we’ve our he’s our first love and we do our first work and when we do that we all have joy like we can’t believe it we’re not, as orchestrated as as Steve I mean we can all be a Steve Wilburn but we get we can be ourselves that’s the wonderful thing. Just be ourselves our own personality and allow God to use us, use you just the way you are to share your faith that he guarantee will fill your life with joy and and and and bring you into intimacy with God you couldn’t have any other way. Sharing your faith is the only way to have that opportunity for God flows through you and it’s just an amazing experience. If you ever go to LA you got to go to Core Church in LA. And the meantime, we love doing these podcasts for there about one thing igniting you to ignite America’s revival. We could do this folks. See you next time.

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