Dear brothers and sisters in Christ:
Followers of Jesus (the Bible calls them disciples) are called to participate in what our Lord Jesus is doing through the Holy Spirit to fulfill the Father’s mission to the world. Jesus summarized this calling in what often is referred to as The Great Commission (Mat 28:16-20). Rather than understanding this as a call to work for Jesus, we should understand it for what it truly is, a call to share with Jesus as he shares God’s love and life with all people. Our denomination’s work has many aspects, but its overall thrust is to help people become and then mature as disciples of Jesus who are able to share actively with him in his work in the world.
That work, and thus our sharing, has several aspects. We share in what Jesus is doing to help people discover and embrace God’s love and life. We then share in what he is doing to nurture those who believe and respond, and begin to follow him. And then we share with Jesus in what he is doing to equip these followers for active participation with him in ministry. In our denominational training, we summarize these aspects of our sharing as seeking the lost, nurturing the believers and equipping the workers. By the power of the Spirit, this journey with Jesus leads to the multiplication of disciple making leaders, ministries and congregations within the body of Christ.
I was pleased to see active participation with Jesus in his disciple making work occurring at our recent Gathering in the Harvest for Jesus conference held in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. I attended along with 250 of our brothers and sisters in Christ. It was led by GCI Pastor Howard Blakeney, with GCI pastors Paul David Kurts Sr., Paul David Kurts Jr., Charles Young, Tommy Grant and myself as speakers. The conference provided activities for all ages, including a dance with an extremely entertaining band and DJ. A conference highlight came on Sunday morning when some of our members participated in an outreach event at a local homeless shelter (Street Reach Missions). During the outreach, 35 people made a commitment to follow Christ. They were then referred to local churches where they will find friends, fellowship and further instruction in their new life. At the conference worship service later that day, two more people made this first-time commitment. Howard tells me that the next Myrtle Beach Conference will be held on October 10-14, 2012.
In the United States and Canada, October is clergy appreciation month. Though I am always thankful for the men and women who pastor our churches, I want to take this opportunity to send out my thanks. I and the team that works with me in the GCI home office love and appreciate you all very much. We are constantly praying for you, and this month send our special ‘thank you’! I hope all our congregations will this month take the opportunity to show their appreciation as well. For some helpful ideas, go to http://www.pastor-appreciation.net/.
Let us uphold one another in prayer – praying for God’s guidance and the Spirit’s power to share with Jesus in the work that he is doing in our world.
With love from my family to yours,