January 20, 1984, was the conclusion of a five-day Church Leaders Clinic in Columbus, Ohio. A total of 242 United Brethren spent five days under the teaching of John Maxwell, now a best-selling author. Of those, 146 were current United Brethren pastors, making it the largest-ever assembly of UB pastors to that point. Another 75 were pastors’ wives, and a smaller contingent consisted of headquarters officials and spouses.
Maxwell’s sessions–18 of them, each 90 minutes long–resembled a stream of consciousness marathon, with numerous excursions down unplanned rabbit trails. But his humor, captivating stories, energy, and charisma kept people glued to him. He communicated a deep passion for everything pertaining to the local church, and particularly for winning people to Christ. He filled every session with boundless laughter, bantering freely with people, but he could also turn serious, leaving people in tears.
It was an amazing week with a revival atmosphere. Scores of broken, humbled, but thoroughly renewed pastors went back to their congregations, and the Holy Spirit used them.
Reports poured in about crowded altars, new converts, and of pastors standing before congregations and transparently confessing their failings. Pastors were boldly confronting people about their relationship with Christ, and new souls were being added to the Kingdom. There were many, many such stories.