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Hauser: I was hoping it would get out of hand

On Sunday, April 30, 2000, my wife, Teri, and I excitedly gathered with every launch team member of Prairie Heights Community Church, all eleven of us, for an all-day planning session. Teri and I had quit our jobs and moved from Minneapolis to Fargo-Moorhead one month earlier. Our goal was to gather forty launch team members and start the new church in April of 2001. It was a longshot at best but we knew God was in it.

Teri left to get lunch from a Subway only five minutes away. She did not return for over an hour. We were starving but upon her return she reported there was a large fire in downtown Fargo. She had to park blocks away from the Subway and carry the three-foot sub back to her car.

A few days later, we learned that the large fire that raged through three downtown Fargo buildings, gutting nearly half a block of Broadway, was caused by an act of arson.

The Forum reported that the owner of the Tropics Nightclub, one of the businesses destroyed, admitted to setting the blaze. In a two-page, handwritten statement, he said that a friend dropped him off at the nightclub before dawn on Sunday after they had been drinking.

He wrote, ''I sat upstairs for about an hour and then sprayed butane on the records. I believed I was in danger of losing the nightclub. I cannot deal with the loss or disappointment of losing my dream. My intent was only to set fire to the records...I did not think it would get out of hand."

It is ironic that while this young man was thinking "this fire will not get out of hand" eleven of us Prairie Heighters were blocks away praying, planning and hoping for this new church "to get out of hand" and spread throughout our region. We were hoping that our acts of sacrifice, obedience and ministry would snowball down through the centuries through the ministry of this local church called Prairie Heights and positively impact tens of thousands of people.

Small acts of arson, theft, crime and sin can snowball and negatively affect hundreds, thousands, of people. While we often think "this won't get out of hand," it easily can and often does. And acts of obedience and ministry done in the name of Jesus Christ, for him, through his local church, can snowball and impact tens of thousands of people in a positive direction.

I am so thankful for every person who volunteers in their local church. Way to go! Christianity is not a spectator sport.

Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:58 "Stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain."

Last Wednesday we had an all-Prairie Height's volunteer party with 667 volunteers invited. The passion, joy, energy and relationships were incredible! My mind went back to April 30, 2000. Thank you God for the positive snowball that is alive and well!

Hauser is founding and senior pastor, Prairie Heights of Fargo Moorhead. Email