It is hard to believe that more than 20 years have transpired since the launching of the Billion Soul Network.
On a snowy February 18, 2001, at 2:30 in the afternoon, the Holy Spirit whispered to me to call the late Dr. Bill Bright. I immediately called while driving my car home in Springfield, Missouri. “This is James Davis,” I told Charlton, his assistant, “And this call is 8.7 out of 10 on the Richter scale.” Within an hour this distinguished leader called and asked, “James, what is in your heart?” I told him my burden for pastors worldwide. Through my evangelistic travels and ministry, I learned that more than ninety percent of all ministers worldwide have no formal education. Tens of thousands drop out of ministry each year, and nearly every week I was with another great pastor, listening to the challenges he face.
One month with many days of fasting passed. In March of 2001 in San Bernardino, California, Dr. Bright and I met, and a vision was born. In August, we announced publicly for the first time before the Assemblies of God Presbytery that we were in partnership to help plant five million new churches for a Billion Soul harvest. That year we worked hard, building a network inspiring others to have eyes to the ends of the earth. We hosted a Beyond All Limits Pastors’ Conference (now called the Synergize Conference) in January 2002, with more than five thousand pastors attending from around the world. This conference convened just four months after the infamous World Trade Center disaster took place on September 11, 2001. We were told that no one would come. We were told that we should quit and turn around and go back. We were told that if we were to have this conference, in the context of what was going on in the world, we were sure to fail. I have met more people than I can remember, who have told me that they attended the Beyond All Limits Pastors Conference, and have said that it is one of the best pastors conferences of their life. Don’t let the doubters rob you of the dream that God has put in your heart!
On July 11, 2003, my wife Sheri, daughter Olivia, and I saw Dr. Bright for the last time in his Orlando condo. His body was weak, but his eyes were bright, and through gasps he admonished me to be faithful to the Lord and the vision. After we’d prayed together, I looked into his eyes for the last time and told this visionary leader that when I saw him next in heaven, I would testify that I was faithful to the vision and more than one billion people were saved during our generation. In November, 2019, the Global Church Network passed the goal of “five million new churches and a billion soul harvest. GCN has been moving forward for 4 more years toward another billion soul harvest. As of today, the total is:
The Billion Soul Harvest is alive and well. Billion Soul is a registered trademark with the United States Trademark Office. Just as, Global Church Network is a registered trademark. Every week local churches choose to become a Billion Soul Church.
The Global Church Network is all about the Billion Soul Harvest and Finishing the Great Commission. On the homepage of Global Church Network (www.GCNW.tv), one can find the latest stats updated in real-time. This information is only shared so the history of the Billion Soul Harvest is not misconstrued or misrepresented.
When Dr. Bright and I took the first step of faith together to launch an online training school in 2001, leaders told us that this would never work. I remember on one occasion, a person adamantly saying, “Dr. Bright, I am not for the launch of the online training school. This will never work, and it is a waste of money.” I watched Dr. Bright, slam his fist on a board table and say, “We have always taken pride in being first. In the future, more ministers will be trained online than all of the seminaries, Bible colleges and universities combined.
On another occasion, Dr. Bright and I were hosting breakfast meetings in his condo, downtown in Orlando. At one of the breakfast meetings a person looked at me, hoping to cause doubt in the others, and said, “As long as we live, people in Oceania will not have Internet.” My response to this person was, “When NASA launched its rocket to the moon, the leaders did not ask where the moon was, but where the moon would be when the rocket got there. We have just launched our online training rocket, but in time, everyone will have access to it.”
Today, the Global Church Divinity School (GCDS.tv) has helped to train tens of thousands from around the world, including Oceania
In the final year of Dr. Bright’s life on earth, there were times, we spent up to 30 to 40 hours per week, videotaping his books. He used to say to me, “The greatest treasure in the world is found in the cemeteries. People died with the wisdom and knowledge in them. I want to die empty.” Even though he had pulmonary fibrosis, he would gain enough strength to videotape. He had a vision to help the upcoming generation to go further than he ever did.
After one of these videotaping sessions, while we were boxing up all of the video equipment, Dr. Bright rolled his wheelchair toward an unsaved videographer and began sharing Christ with him. I saw him gradually back this young man into a corner, where he could share the Four Spiritual Laws!
I remember calling him one morning. He said, “The most important meeting of the day is at 11:00am.” I said, “What is happening at 11:00am? He said, “There is a person coming to my home to cut my hair. I will have 30 minutes to share Christ with the person cutting my hair!
It was Dr. Bright’s common practice to call people, who could not do anything for him, to pray for them and ask the Lord to touch them. I heard him share testimonies of people who had been healed by God.
Dr. Bright was determined to share the values of the Kingdom of God with as many people as possible. On his 80th birthday, October 19, 2002, we hosted an incredible event at the Orlando Airport Hyatt Hotel. More than 800 distinguished leaders joined us in the ballroom. In addition to the on-ground audience, we had thousands to join us online. After we launched the network in January 2002, by the time we got to his 80th birthday, we were streaming to 114 nations. We were fortunate to have Christian leaders to join us in Macau, China. This is the first time I have ever shared this picture. Notice it carefully. Dr. Bright is speaking on the Four Spiritual Laws and leaders were showing via Internet on the wall, in an undisclosed location! Since the beginning of this network, we have been training online and producing WorldCasts for Christian leaders to be trained to help fulfill the Great Commission.
I am humbled to share that over the last twenty plus years, the Global Church Network has grown from two people to more than 2700 different denominations and organizations and more than 700,000 local churches. We are currently growing so fast; our team is finding it hard to keep up.
More Than Two Decades Of Global Growth
I can truly write that Dr. Bright lived the victorious Christian life. When we would be sitting in his home, in the middle of terrible thunderstorm, Dr. Bright would say, “Listen to that thunder. It signifies the power of God.” He truly believe that nothing is too big for God. If you have not read his autobiography, “Amazing Faith,” I encourage you to do so.
In the summer of 2002, on a Saturday, I was driving a car from Indianapolis to Terre Haute, Indiana. While I was driving, Dr. Bright gave a me call. Every time I answered his call, he would say, “You got a few minutes? I would say, “I always have minutes for you.” While driving that afternoon, he shared a powerful personal story. He began by saying, “James, please always remember, you cannot out give God.” Then, he followed that statement with this story:
When I was 65 years old, one morning during my prayer time in Birmingham, Alabama, the Lord impressed upon my heart to give my entire pension to help start a training center in Ukraine. As a ministry, we had invested millions of dollars into Russia, but the Lord wanted me to decide what I was to give. Upon further prayer, I decided to give my entire pension. My entire pension was not very large, but it was my ‘widow’s mite.’ It represented my best gift.
Then, when you came to see me at Arrowhead Springs, in Southern California, you did not know how sick I really was. After our initial meeting that day, I arranged for a businessman to fly us home on his private plane. I was concerned that I might have to be flown home in a box on a commercial aircraft.
Once I arrived home, another business friend was there to meet me. He said, “I know Dr. Bright you have gone all of the high priests of medicine, trying to find healing for pulmonary fibrosis. Yet, I have met a doctor, who specializes in pulmonary diseases. I believe you should meet her.”
So, I agreed to meet her. She has become a personal physician for me. Today, James, I am sitting in a specialized oxygen tent designed by this doctor. She has me breathing this incredible, healing air filled with special ointments she has patented. The reason I wanted to call you is because she is from the Ukraine. After the nuclear explosion in Chernobyl took place, she treated patients with her patented remedies and saw huge healing take place.
Then, it dawned on me that more than 15 years ago, I sowed my entire pension into the area where she is from. The Lord took my widow’s mite and has brought to me a specialized doctor to help me with exactly what I need at this time. She has just moved from the Ukraine to Orlando. She now lives with us. She only has one patient and it is me. When you and I decided to launch a network for pastors, the Lord knew I would need the time and strength to get it off the ground. What I want you to always remember is that you cannot out give God. He will never fail you!