So far as I can recall, since GET REAL was published in 2007, I've worked with the following church denominations: Methodist, Baptist, Lutheran, Disciples of Christ, Presbyterian, Episcopalian, Assemblies of God, and the Church of Christ. I've been invited to Florida, Georgia, Texas, Colorado, California, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee and Indiana.
On-line teaching has added at least a dozen more states, several more denominations, and people from three continents.
"So What?" you may ask. Well, the so-what of all of this is JESUS - the redemptive truth we all hold in common. That fact is a blessing that resonates even more so when I fold in what I like to call my "faith heritage."
- I was raised Baptist in the south of England.
- One uncle was a Baptist preacher; one uncle was a Methodist preacher; one uncle served a Congregational church that later became United Reformed.
- A cousin worked as a Church of England clergyman; another cousin became a Baptist preacher. Still another cousin is a United Reformed minister. One cousin runs a denominationally nonspecific house-church in France. Two other cousins married preachers.
- My mother was raised in an esoteric Brethren group known as The Peculiar People.
- I made my public profession of faith at a Billy Graham Crusade.
- When I left home I spent a couple of years hanging out with fundamentalist charismatics.
- Later I did mission work with the Assemblies of God.
- I attended a Southern Baptist Church during college.
- Finally, I married a Presbyterian preacher.
Or, as I said to my new friends at First Baptist of Decatur, Georgia, last fall. "Hi, my name is Derek Maul. I may be Presbyterian but I'm also fluent in Baptist."
I've also been known to say, "I may be Presbyterian, but I also speak Jesus."
Which is funny, when I remember a story Rebekah ("The Preacher") told me one day when she returned from a preaching trip to up-state New York.
"I was cautioned after the first service," she said incredulously, "by a woman who told me, 'I don't know if maybe it's a Southern thing; but you need to know we're not that comfortable with so much Jesus talk around here.'"
I have only one thing to say to that, and it's not even a complete sentence: "OMG!"
Always learning, nearly always laughing out loud - DEREK