Amid the succession process, I sat down with Dick Eastman to talk about leadership, the DNA of Every Home, and Dick and Dee’s continued involvement with the ministry.
A Legacy of Obedience
new Every Home national works
Christ Groups planted
Emily Stroble (Interviewer):
In your years of leadership, what has been most precious to you about Every Home for Christ and the many people who serve with and support this ministry?
Dick Eastman (DE):
I first met Every Home’s founder, Jack McAlister, in 1975. He had heard about the prayer center we had established in Sacramento. It challenged me when Jack asked me to join Every Home. I had felt so strongly called to establish houses of prayer for young people. I thought I would always be mobilizing prayer.
Dee and I had numerous conversations and prayed about it, and finally, we attended a gathering of [Every Home’s] international leadership. We’d never heard anything like that before. The stories that were happening around the world — it was like reading the Book of Acts.
That introduction to Every Home called to mind Nehemiah 8:10: “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” I’ve often wondered what the joy of the Lord is. And one day, I was reading Luke 15, where Jesus tells the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the prodigal. In these parables, Jesus says there is joy in the heavens when even one soul repents. And it suddenly dawned on me that the joy of the Lord is the harvest.
Whether you pray, give, or go, you are a part of the harvest. What greater joy could we experience than to see someone who would be eternally lost completely changed? In my years of leadership, over 250 million people have responded to the gospel. That’s a lot of joy. That’s what Dee and I experienced when we attended that leadership meeting. That’s what we felt called to join. That’s what I love about Every Home — we live in a spirit of joy because of the harvest.
What do you hope defines your legacy here at Every Home for Christ?
Many people familiar with our ministry would reference our ministry’s prayer foundation. Globally, our 400-page Change the World School of Prayer resource has touched approximately 3 million people. I came to Every Home as the director of prayer mobilization. I never thought that one day I would be leading the ministry. Of course, when I did become president, we didn’t stop mobilizing prayer.
The Jericho Center [the ministry’s headquarters] was literally built around worship and intercession or, as I call it, worship-saturated prayer. In Revelation 5, the elders and the living creatures come before the throne, holding a harp in one hand and golden bowls in the other. The harp is a symbol of worship. The bowls are a symbol of intercession. Revelation 5 immediately leads into a new song, a song of the harvest about the blood of the Lamb redeeming humankind “out of every tongue, tribe, people and nation.”
When we began to build The Jericho Center, we got the sense that the Lord wanted us to build a place to mobilize people to pray and give for the harvest. The Lord began to show me a building with a harp and bowl culture, a culture of worship-saturated prayer for the harvest.
Years ago, a particular passage of Scripture so touched me that I wrote it down and put it in my wallet. I still carry it to this day.
I was reading about the good and bad kings when I came to 2 Chronicles 27:6, where it says, “Jotham’s strength was rooted in his steady and determined obedience to the Lord.” Looking back, I see so much has happened just by hearing, listening, and obeying. So, obedience in creating a harp and bowl culture of worship-saturated prayer that is tangibly manifested in our building, our staff, and the priorities of our ministry is part of our legacy.
And you’re not leaving Every Home. You’re moving into a new role as chief prayer officer. Can you explain what you will do in this new role?
Well, in recognizing that this was a season of bringing the younger generation into the leadership, Dee and I… began to ask, [Do we] still have a unique role in these later years? And I’ve often said, “I am closest to the sense of God’s will and my calling when I’m in prayer.” The same goes for when I’m mobilizing others, creating a hunger for God, his presence, and a zeal for the lost. And I’ve always wanted to have whole days in prayer every week. As chief prayer officer, I will get to do that.
Would you say this new role is a deeper engagement with your calling rather than retirement?
Definitely. I’m like a man who just loves to go fish and can only do it a few times a year. Then he quits his job because he is offered another one where he can fish every day.
The board of directors designated the chief prayer officer as an officer of the corporation with a place on the board, focusing on that part of an essential aspect of the ministry. Of course, our third unalterable conviction is “Prayer, alone, will remove every obstacle that stands in the way.” It is part of our values and of our vision.
So, this new position is true to the very fabric of who we are, another expression of our culture that prioritizes prayer.
Yes. At Every Home for Christ, we have a culture of prayer in everything we do. Another thing the board has determined is that the chief prayer officer position will not end when my time ends. It will be a continuing focus, and that gives me tremendous joy. In the days to come, I’ll be leading days of prayer every week. I’ll have an open-door policy in one of [our] prayer grottos.
What characteristics, skills, or giftings do you believe God has given to Tanner Peake that uniquely equip him to succeed you?
Tanner is a unique individual. And I’m so grateful that he’s stepping into the title of [international] president.
Tanner is full of joy. He must have the harvest saturating his being because of the joy he has. And he has a unique passion for strategically finding a way to get the gospel to everybody. When you have someone with a strong spiritual dimension to their lives and natural gifts that they have surrendered to God, he can really use them. Tanner is that way.
I joined Every Home for Christ as director of prayer. And 12 years later, I became international president. Interestingly, when Tanner Peake joined us, we appointed him as director of prayer. And that was 12 years ago. So, we have this similarity in our stories of 12 years of preparation in a prayer-based atmosphere and prayer-based calling. And in addition to that preparation, Tanner has the zeal and energy of a young leader, and he understands the importance of strategic planning and prayer-saturated evangelism.
Your relationship with Tanner has been one of mentorship and preparation. After the succession, how will your relationship change?
That’s an interesting question because I don’t see much changing. Dee and I have had a warm relationship with Tanner and Bethany. They are a team like Dee and I are a team.
If I can use the example of fatherhood: In a healthy relationship, the son, when facing a challenge, will seek out his father first. The respect increases when the child grows up. As chief prayer officer, I will attend the directors’ meetings to pray more effectively for the ministry. My goal will be to do everything that I can possibly do to help Tanner succeed and sustain his leadership and longevity. My goal as chief prayer officer will always be to serve both Tanner and Bethany and become their chief intercessor and chief encourager!
I think it was George Eliot who said, “It is never too late to be what you might have been.” If you get into your 70s, don’t think there isn’t room to grow. Don’t ever think you’re finished doing great things in the Kingdom. The Lord can use a moment in your later life to impact more people than you did in your entire life up to that point.
This conversation has been edited and is an excerpt of a longer dialogue.