Atlanta, Georgia - When the Reverend William Constantine Lester began his ministry three years ago he started it with one goal in mind; to be "as broke as possible." After 25 years of running a successful business in which he had amassed a tidy portfolio, purchased two houses and enjoyed regular vacations abroad, Lester came under the intense conviction that to have any wealth whatsoever was sin.
"I just kept reading in the Bible where Christians were poor" said Lester. "Jesus was poor, the disciples were poor, Paul was poor, so if I really wanted to be a true Christian I needed to give it all up."
And that is exactly what he did. In a period of one week, Lester sold off all his worldly possessions, emptied his bank account and gave away his life savings keeping only enough to buy an old 1987 Yugo to live out of with his wife. Lester then started his ministry called Today Ain't Your Day (And Tomorrow Ain't Looking So Good Either) which takes the approach that the Bible teaches that true Christians will suffer sickness, poverty and hardship constantly.
"The righteous will suffer and be miserable and will do so constantly" stated Lester from the back of his Yugo. "Many of these modern Christians out there thinking that they can get away with their riches with the excuse that God has 'blessed them.' And some, though they aren't rich by the world's standards, still think it's okay to have a little bit, and to live in a house. That's just plain foolishness. If Jesus didn't have a place to lay his head, then neither should Christians."
But despite Lester's passion his ministry has failed to catch on over the last three years. The "church" currently meets in a park on Sunday afternoons, with about 6 or 7 people in attendance.
"We function just like every other church out there, just without all that fancy stuff like roofs and electricity and books" stated Lester. "We sit on the ground, we sing and I preach."
During a sermon Lester passionately poors out his heart to his humble congregation.
"The Lord wants you to be miserable and poor. If you haven't received your poverty today then you just don't yet have the faith you need, you haven't truly trusted in God to take away everything you have and leave you with nothing."
As the service winds down a man from the congregation, visibly moved, takes a moment to confess his "sins" openly.
"I don't know what to do" said the man, later identified as simply as Alex. "I'm the spitting image of health. I've got low cholesterol, I'm thin, blood pressure is fine, If I could get have a heart attack or come down with some kind of disease or something I'd feel so much more accomplished."
Despite the low turnout from week to week and the lack of overall interest in his ministry, Lester has pledged to continue his work.
"So many people out there are living the good life when they ought to be in a constant state of misery" said Lester. "That's my message. That's what I'm all about. How I would loved to just see this park filled next week with hundreds of people dying from cancer, starving, dirty and depressed. Then I would know that I'm really accomplishing something."