I’m laying out my vision for our church across several posts. There are eight pieces to it. Numbers two and three work together.
I envision men and women becoming godly church leaders without having to be sent away to a professional institution (such as a seminary).
“And entrust what you heard me say in the presence of many others as witnesses to faithful people who will be competent to teach others as well.” 2 Timothy 2:2
I envision older professionals mentoring younger professionals in how to live godly in the world.
After this Paul departed from Athens and went to Corinth. There he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all the Jews to depart from Rome. Paul approached them, and because he worked at the same trade, he stayed with them and worked with them (for they were tentmakers by trade).
Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, arrived in Ephesus. He was an eloquent speaker, well-versed in the scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and with great enthusiasm he spoke and taught accurately the facts about Jesus, although he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak out fearlessly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained the way of God to him more accurately. Acts 18:1-3, 24-26
The first passage you recognize as the theme for my blog. I have also taken it as my life verse. It is this concept of intentionally planning and preparing for coming generations that has grown to be my passion.
I like the second passage (Acts 18), because it shows this concept in action – it really works. Paul brought along Aquila and Priscilla who later took Apollos under their wings and trained him into a godly leader. Paul did the same with Timothy and Titus. So did Jesus with the apostles.
I could get into a little bit of trouble here, but I really believe this: If the church (at large) were doing her job correctly, there were be no need for long-term Bible college and seminary programs. Now, it is true that certain areas of ministry need additional specialized training, just like in any other occupation. I am working on my Master’s degree, and even wrote recently about why I like graduate school. BUT… I shouldn’t have to send people away from our church to learn theology, how to give biblical counsel, or how to preach or teach! That should be done here. Even specialized areas can be started by church leaders. My former pastors started teaching me biblical Greek and Hebrew in high school.
God’s plan is for the elders of the local church to equip God’s people to do ministry – God’s work. Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:11-12,
It was [Jesus] who gave some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, that is, to build up the body of Christ…
It’s the same for those who God has designed to work in the everyday workforce. There should be godly men and women in the church who are constantly bringing along younger men and women, training them like Paul did with Aquila and Priscilla, working alongside them in their everyday jobs.
Part of being a disciple or Christ-follower is making other disciples. That’s part of Christ’s final commission to us: “Go and make disciples” (Matthew 28:19). If you are not helping someone else along their spiritual journey, you are missing out on not only part of your purpose for being here, but also one of the greatest joys of following Christ.
My vision is a self-perpetuating church. Leaders growing leaders. Servants growing servants. Always growing larger and stronger. All for the glory of God.