Living “before the face of God” in America

When running a relay race, there’s no time to stop. Just as soon as a runner receives the baton, he is off and running and doesn’t look back.

So it was with Michael Boyer in 2012 when his pastor, Paul Dean, directed him to DNA co-founder Darrow Miller’s personal blog. Michael, from South Carolina, USA, was preparing for a missions trip to Peru at the time, and he read Discipling Nations and When Helping Hurts in preparation. Upon returning from Peru, Michael dove into DNA materials including LifeWorkServanthood and the Vision Conference DVD set.

Now, Michael is working through Coram Deo: A School for Discipling Nations with his wife, Natalie, and their three younger sons, learning what it means to live Coram Deo: “before the face of God.”

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“I’m not being any more faithful when I preach than when I play with my children,” Michael says. “It’s all inclusive.”

  
“We’re realizing how wrong we’ve been in so many things … how we haven’t been loving people like Jesus desires when we thought we were,” Michael says.  

“It does feel like I’ve been born again again,” Michael says of his experience as a Coram Deo student. “It’s given me a lot of hope that there is power, transforming power, for individuals, families, and for whole nations, in and through the gospel.”

With no time to waste, he began to apply the things he was learning to his life and work.

Living an undivided life

Knowing that Jesus is Lord over every aspect of life, Michael brought the gospel to bear on his daily work at a thrift store.

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Knowing God’s love for excellence and beauty, Michael challenged his colleagues to beautify the store, and they did.

“I’ve always loved working but, in many ways, have always seen things in terms of ‘secular and sacred,'” he says. When he began to see his work through the lenses of the biblical worldview, Michael noticed that his Christian-run thrift store was, at least aesthetically, not “putting the glory of Christ on display for all eyes to behold,” so he helped make some changes.

As a team,  the staff at the thrift store express God’s love for all people by intentionally serving everyone who walks in the door as ones created in the image of God who thus have great worth.

This change in focus (both in creative design and an intentional focus on loving others as people and not just “profits”) brought a new excitement to the staff as they all saw themselves on mission, daily, with and for the great God of the gospel.

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Since these improvements, they have seen many customers’ lives touched and actually have seen their sales surpassing those of other stores.

  
Michael and his colleagues pray together each morning, often praying for the specific needs of their customers, and they seek to build real relationships whenever the opportunity arises.

Michael recalls a time when a male customer was verbally abusing his wife inside the store. He approached the man, suggested he read Nurturing the Nations, and invited the couple over for dinner. Now, says Michael, the formerly unemployed husband has a job and no longer lashes out at his wife inside the store.

The lessons learned from the DNA have changed how Michael and his family speak the truth and serve the strangers around them. An understanding that we are to “take the whole gospel to the whole person” made all the difference, he says.

  
Defending women and children in Greenville, South Carolina

Inspired by Nurturing the Nations, Michael also has begun forming a local group to “challenge evangelical men to stand up and fight against the crushing of women and children, locally and internationally.” He says he has learned that “apart from Christianity, every other worldview completely crushes women and children, but Christ makes all the difference.” Michael’s own father left when Michael was just 7 years old, and he feels a deep calling to “challenge men to be the men God has made them to be.”

Describing a city in South Carolina where churches rallied together to prohibit strip clubs, Michael explained his desire for church unity in his town of Greenville. He is laboring alongside groups called “Switch 42:16” and “Spillover” to educate the community by speaking at churches and missions conferences, challenging men to treat women properly for the flourishing of the whole society. Michael envisions local churches pulling women out of strip clubs, providing school scholarships and walking with them toward a life of prosperity and godliness.

“Everything is sacred–we’re sons and daughters of God all the time,” Michael says. “There’s never a moment that we hang up our sonship.”
   

Looking ahead: Latin America

Michael and Natalie feel deeply called to serve the Lord in Latin America; they have been training for more than a decade and now are raising support.

Natalie and Michael have been married 12 years.
Natalie and Michael have been married 12 years.

Both attended the Master’s Mission School in Robinsville, NC and, in August, they will leave for a year of language school in Costa Rica before hopefully settling in Cusco, Peru.

Michael and Natalie can be reached at michael.natalie@live.com.

 

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