Looking Back, Looking Ahead

By Ron Lutz

Some of us had the privilege of participating in the New Life Glenside 40th Anniversary celebration on October 26. It was a wonderful time of worship, fellowship and celebration — praising the Lord for his work over the past 40 years. The celebration helped me to reflect on what I learned from Jack Miller (the founding pastor of the first New Life Church) during the early days of our ministry. Here are a few things that stand out for me:

  1. The gospel can change anyone. This was one of Jack’s mantras. He had a big faith in a big Savior to do big things in the lives of broken people. Whether drug addicts, self-righteous seminary students, rebellious prodigals, or materialistic suburbanites, Jack had confidence that Jesus changes lives. And we saw the Lord perform miracles again and again.
  2. God has a big plan for the world. Jack had a big vision for our church and our area, but also a big vision for the world. He was a great pastor, but he was also a visionary leader with a heart for the nations. His faith and courage in leading mission trips and teams to different parts of the world were contagious. We had the privilege of sending out many pastors, church planters and missionaries — and that legacy has continued at Dresher.
  3. The Kingdom advances through prayer. Jack was a man of prayer, and he invited everyone in sight to join him in prayer. The central meeting in the early days of the church was the prayer meeting. We had half-day and full-day prayer meetings. Jack constantly reminded us that our battle is not with flesh and blood — and that the kingdom moves forward as we claim the promises of God in persistent, kingdom-centered prayer.

I wish I could say that my life is totally consistent with what I saw in Jack Miller. I am still in process: I wrestle with unbelief, self-protection and self-reliance. But I want the three things listed above for myself — and for our church in the years to come. We stand on the shoulders of those who went before us. May we continue to be a people who live out these convictions.