Continuing the talk from the FIEC conference:
We are the community of disciples for making mature disciples who follow Jesus more and more closely and participate actively in the Matt 28 purpose of the church. Disciples are people who are growing closer to Jesus, grasping his grace for each day of their lives, experiencing God’s love, loving his word, enjoying his people, being worshippers. And being proclaimers of his excellencies with us.
Therefore that is what all our activities are devoted to. Its what small groups are for. Its what our outreach ministries locally and around the world are for. It is what our compassion ministries are for. Gal 6:10 says do good to all people, and that by doing good you will reap a gospel harvest of disciples in its own time. Who will follow Jesus more and more closely and participate actively in the Matt 28 purpose of the church.
And therefore that is what you young leaders are for. Building disciples, shaping the community of disciples, training and releasing other leaders and all the disciples so that people grow more and more like Jesus and actively participate in the Matt 28 purpose of the church. That is our work. I love Paul’s definition of his job in Phil 1:25:
Convinced of this I know I will remain and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me
He says something very similar in 2 Cor 1:24:
Not that we lord it over your faith but we work with you for your joy, because it is by faith you stand firm
I propose that Matt 28 and Phil 1:25 and 2 Cor 1:24 belong together. Paul is making Matt 28 communities and he says what those communities look like is the people of God making progress in God, enjoying God, overflowing with joy in Christ Jesus, full of faith. You don’t have to think very hard to see why God is going to be glorified, why the church is going to go to all the world making disciples if they are full of faith, making progress and exploding with irrepressible joy. It doesn’t take much to see how churches stand up under trials and resist temptation if they are exhibit inexpressible and glorious joy as they receive the goal of their faith, the salvation of their souls.
It may be that I didn’t need to say all that. But I don’t want to assume that your training has necessarily trained you to think of yourselves in that grid every day. Its not easy to keep focus when you are in those Hebrew classes or working on your dissertation. Or trying to keep your head above water when you are drowning in essays.