Reprinted with permission of Charisma News Service
A different kind of "dream team" is being assembled for the Winter Olympics, which open in Utah this weekend. The members have been recruited not for their sporting skills, but for their abilities like those of the Old Testament figure Joseph.
Among the several hundred Christians traveling to Salt Lake City to share their faith with visitors during the Games is a group who will offer to explain people's dreams as a way of telling them about God's love.
While other evangelists will be passing out tracts and preaching, the "dream team" volunteers will take part in "spiritual readings" to be offered around the city, including at two secular bookstores.
The events have been organized by Cindy McGill, who with her husband, Tim, pastors Salt Lake City's Foursquare Church, are part of a movement of similar outreaches across the country. McGill said the ministry is a way of reaching out to spiritual seekers who may be wary of the traditional church.
"God is pouring out dreams just like He said He would in the book of Joel, and people are getting information, and they don't know what to make of it," McGill said. People she has ministered to through interpreting their dreams have been "floored. They begin to weep. They just break down and cry."
Those taking part in the Olympics outreach are graduates of training courses by prophetic ministry leader John Paul Jackson, who teaches about dream interpretation through his Streams Ministries International. Around 2,000 people have completed the programs in the United States and overseas.
Jackson said the growing interest in alternative religions and spirituality mean biblically based dream interpretation is "a hook to put in the jaw of any unbeliever, reaching out to them in language they understand and are comfortable with."
Not all dreams are from God; they can also come from a person's own soul or the devil, Jackson said. But a third of the Bible is dream-related, Jackson said, with many key figures, including Jacob, Mary, and both Old and New Testament Josephs, receiving messages from God through their dreams.
Dream interpreters were taught not to be directive, he said. "We are very low key. We say, 'This is what we believe the dream means,' and, 'We believe this is what God wants to communicate to you.'" Many dreams spoke of God's love and concern for the individual, he said.
Members of Vineyard Christian Fellowship of Phoenix in nearby Glendale, Ariz., have been holding regular "free dream interpretation" sessions at two local bookstores for more than a year. "We do about 20 people in a three-hour session, and we usually have people waiting in line," said Kathy Beal, prophetic ministry team leader.
The outreach has been warmly received, she said. "We have had people that are heavily involved in high places in witchcraft and the occult who have openly begun to weep and say, 'This is what I have been looking for.'"
Vineyard pastor Dennis Bourns said everyone he knew of who received a "spiritual reading" appreciated the ministry. "They all seem to find it helpful and credible," he said.