THE OFFICIAL LOCATION OF CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS SETTING SAIL FOR THE NEW WORLD
Dear Visionary Leader:
Christopher Columbus Discovered America, October 12, 1492. Columbus led his three ships – the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria – out of the Spanish port of Palos on August 3, 1492. His objective was to sail west until he reached Asia (the Indies) where the riches of gold, pearls and spice awaited.
Columbus inspired a new era of exploration of the American continents by Europeans. Perhaps one of his greatest contributions was that his voyages opened an exchange of goods between Europe and the Americas both during and long after his journeys. Despite modern criticism of his treatment of the native peoples there is no denying that his expeditions changed both Europe, America and the world.
EXPEDITIONS TO A NEW UNKNOWN WORLD
In 2006, I made a trip to Lisbon, Portugal. While there, I arranged for a driver to take me to Palos, Spain. In order to get to Palos, you have to really want to go there; there is no direct route. It is a trip well worth the effort. In fact, I believe it’s one of the greatest journeys a visionary leader could ever take.
For many years I had wanted to go to Palos, though I had never met anyone who had been there. Since I was in nearby Portugal, this seemed to be the perfect opportunity.
I got up early and left Lisbon at 5 a.m. so I could arrive at a specific monastery in Palos by 9 a.m. It was a beautiful summer day, and I enjoyed roaming around the ancient grounds looking at all the artifacts. After a while I walked into a small room that was about six by eight feet. Above the doorpost was a plaque with these words: “The Birthplace of America.”
Like most people, I had always thought of Plymouth, Massachusetts, where the Pilgrims landed in the 1600s, as America’s birthplace. Yet, this plaque said that America was actually born in this tiny room!
Stepping inside, it was as if I was trekking back more than five hundred years. The room was just as it had been in 1491. There were two chairs opposite one another with a table between them. Above the chair on the right was a portrait of Christopher Columbus. I looked closely at the painting for a few moments and then sat down in the same chair Columbus would have sat in back in 1491. I looked across the table at the chair where a Franciscan monk would have sat as he listened to Columbus sharing his vision of a New World.
Columbus believed he could find a new trade route to India across the Atlantic Ocean. If he was right, European ships would no longer have to make the long and torturous trip around the tip of Africa to get to the East Indies. Columbus was convinced this new trade route would be faster and safer.
The Franciscan monk caught Columbus’ vision and took it to the King and Queen of Spain, who decided to fund it. Christopher Columbus got his boats and crew together, and the rest is history.
What is ironic is that Christopher Columbus was not Spanish. He was born in Italy and raised in Portugal. He had already taken the same vision to the Portuguese leaders, but they had laughed at him. They did not believe in the vision, much less the visionary. So Columbus went next door to Spain, where he found leaders who were willing to buy into the vision. As we all know, the vision of Christopher Columbus, funded by Spain, ultimately changed the course of human history.
I’ve often wondered, “What if the Portuguese leaders had changed their minds? What if they had not laughed but had decided to fund the vision and the mission of Christopher Columbus? What would our world be like today? Would Americans be speaking Portuguese instead of English? We will never know.
When I left the monastery, my driver took me to a very old Catholic churchthat sat on the edge of a rock wall that, centuries ago, had backed up to the Atlantic Ocean. I knocked on the church door, and a lady who spoke no English answered. My Spanish driver became our interpreter.
“May I go inside?” I asked politely.
“Sorry, no guests today,” she replied. “The priest is not here.” “Please, let me go inside,” I asked again. “I have come a very long way.”
“Sorry, the priest is not here,” she repeated.
What she did not know is that sometimes I make coffee nervous! I can be quite tenacious.
“Please, call the priest and tell him that an American church leader has come a very long way. Tell him I would love to have just five minutes inside your church.”
Finally, she agreed to call the priest. A few minutes later, she welcomed me in.
Grateful for the opportunity to visit this ancient and beautiful church building, I immediately walked to the front of the sanctuary. I stood there in silence, realizing that I was standing at the very altar where Christopher Columbus had dedicated his men and his mission to God. This was the very spot where he had dedicated his cause to Jesus Christ! This was also the spot where, following his first expedition to the New World, Columbus returned to give praise and glory to God for all he’d been able to accomplish. I pondered the historic reality of this one man who, more than 500 years earlier, had been able to articulate a clear vision, establish and champion a cause, mobilize men and resources-and, in the process, change the world forever.
While I was on the premises of this historic site, I walked outside to a nearby grassy lawn and looked out over the Atlantic Ocean. This was where Columbus had assembled his men, boarded three simple boats, and left port. This is where he had begun his journey to cross the Atlantic for the very first time, opening the doors to a New World.
I knelt beside a fountain on the lawn and prayed. I asked God for big things. I asked Him to help us, His Church, to fulfill our vision. I asked Him to make our future expeditions successful as we sought to complete the Great Commission. I asked Him to double the size of His Church so it would be harder for someone to live and die on this planet without hearing the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ.
EXPEDITIONS WITH THE GLORIOUS GOSPEL OF CHRIST
Just as Christopher Columbus and others after him, pushed forward into the unknown world before them, we must be willing to launch out into the deep, believing for a bountiful harvest of new churches and souls saved. Over the years, I have discovered that a lot of the greatest and finest visionary Christian leaders live throughout the European nations. Even though I have not been yet to every European nation, I have concluded that: 1) Europe is not as “lost” and many people say; and 2) the Lord is raising up leaders for the next Spiritual Awaken across this world region.
The Lord is opening new Global Church Networkministry doors in Europe. We believe that many of the grandest expeditions are head of us. In the last several months, we have been fortunate to synergize and network with a number of leading European Pastors and leaders. In addition to networking both in Northern Ireland and Ireland, we have tying relational knots across Scandinavia including Denmark and Finland. I call this “outer rim” of Western Christianity.
In June, 2019, the Global Dublin Hub was launched and the Hub Training begins in February, 2020. Pastors Nick Parks, Tunde Oke and Sean Malarkey are providing dynamic leadership. We expect between 150 to 200 pastors and leaders to fill this powerful hub. While I was in Dublin last week, Pastor Parks and I taped a podcast to be released this fall to create awareness of the Dublin Hub launch.
In September, 2019, Brian Ashworth and I partnered together in Belfast, Northern Ireland, for a pastors networking summit to discuss the launch of a Belfast Global Hub. Approximately 40 leading pastors attended from all over Belfast. There is a high level of expectation building, as we create opportunities of renewal for the hundreds of churches in this area. Please be in prayer for Northern Ireland! We expect to launch this phenomenal Hub in 2020.
Also, in June, 2019, I traveled to Copenhagen, Denmark to meet with Martin Lorenzen and Dan Jacobi about a future Global Church Networksummit for the Danish pastors. In September, 2019, Arto Hamalainen, a spiritual Father for Finland, Esko Matikainen and I met in Helsinki to discuss the future opportunity of cohosting a pastors summit in the future. During this meeting, I learned that there is a Spirit-filled church in every city and town in Finland!
Dr. Gaetano (Guy) Sottile, was born in Messina Sicily and graduated in theology and social studies from Columbia International University in 1979. In 1983 he founded Italy for Christ, of which he is the President, with offices in Atlanta (GA/USA) and Rome (Italy). He is also the General Secretary of the Italian Coalition of Evangelical Churches (ACCEI), with more than 200 churches throughout Italy, working for the recognition of these churches by the Italian State.
Since 1999, Dr. Sottile organizes the Spiritual Convivium in the Italian Parliament, with the purpose of promoting Christian values among the political leaders of Italy. The Convivium organizes every year the Dies Memoriae, with the High Patronage of the President of the Italian Republic, with the participation of the President of the Chamber and many Italian ministers and ambassadors.
Dr. Sottile has taught in Switzerland, France, Spain, Holland, United Kingdom, Austria, Poland, Check Republic, Germany, Malta, South Africa, Singapore, Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, Jamaica, Bahamas, Libya, Canada and 42 States of the United States of America.
In June, Guy and I met extensively in Rome for the launch of GlobalRome Hub in late, 2020. In February, we will host a leadership luncheon for key pastors and leaders from across Italy. We strongly believe that Rome, the place where Paul and Peter are buried, must have one of the greatest Christian leadership Hubs in the world. When Dr. Scottile reviewed the Global Church Learning Center (www.GCLC.tv
), he said, “The Global Church Learning Center is one the finest, if not the finest training center for pastors worldwide.” We are striving to translate GCLC courses now to get ready for the Global Hub launch next year.
I am grateful for our European friends and colleagues across the majestic landscape of Europe. If you want to know what the Lord is up to, then you need to see who He has lifted up. He is lifting up key Christian leaders across this continent and tying the relational knots necessary to catch the largest harvest ever. I believe the best is yet to come!
Until The Last Person Has Heard,
Dr. James. O. Davis
Global Church Network
Cochair / Global Networking