GFOT: Conclusion and Q & A: How is the church doing? What are some changes with Brad and Michael going to plant?
The question blends with the opportunity to finish up the Hebrews 12:1-4 passage that caps off our study of Gospel Faith in the Old Testament.
So, we want to answer and be encouraged to run the race toward Jesus and his Kingdom.
With Brad and Michael going to plant we began transitioning responsibilities from Brad to myself and Emmett in January / February 2012 in order to free Brad up to be ready to plant and move and get accustomed to doing all that Brad was doing.
With that change the elders agreed that it was time to consider one of us cutting our work hours back in order to work more for TRCC.
My job looked like the one most possible to attempt this with.
First, I don’t anticipate us needing full-time elders. Particularly not me. I really love my job and love teaching. I was made to teach and not teaching is disobedience. Therefore, I don’t want to give up any more of my job.
However, I proposed to UCS me allowing to keep my director position, removing 3/4 of my pay in order to propose the hiring of faculty to replace most of my classroom work and allow me to keep an office and have the flexibility in the day to do TRCC work.
By God’s grace, UCS agreed, and that opened the door for me to take on a 3/4 time role with TRCC as a 3/4 time employee. By God’s grace TRCC made it almost 10 full years before this milestone was reached and it came at a lot of work.
The Big 3:
We have also asked three men in the congregation to serve as financial accountability since Brad would be planting in Portland and it would just be Emmett and myself along with our accountant. Therefore, we asked Jonathan Purser, Jeff Mauer and Patrick Bowers to serve in that role. They are not elders. They are advisors and we take their counsel on making decisions.
These men look over our books (along with an outside accountant who handles our books) and approve budgetary things for accountability and wisdom in decision-making.
Tanya does an awesome job at running RK.
There are over 70 volunteers. There are over 70 children and more on the way.
This is a daunting task and it began to require so much time that it was prohibitive. Life circumstances dictated some changes or we would have to find a new RK director.
So, we spoke with Jonathan, Jeff and Patrick and proposed paying Tanya a stipend each month so that she could afford to spend that amount of time needed grow the ministry. These men kicked around this idea and added some to it and approved this so that Tanya could continue her great work.
Brad and Michael and their families have answered the call of the Lord for the Gospel in the great NW!
It’s an honor to be sending out such quality to the unreached portions of the NW.
We want to bless that.
By God’s grace we will pay for them to move and support the starting of the church financially.
Managing Growth Here:
Finances – currently we have given 50K more than we have spent, which has been our MO for years. Father has always graced with abundance and we are trying to be abundant in doing good work. Your elders have always set the pace in giving financially and with our time. Many of you are doing this. Some do not. There are some who covenanted to give that don’t. In spite of that, the Father has graced us with abundance.
Ministry – RK, YM, BB, CG and an opportunity arising to serve at Murphy-Harpst in Cedartown, in the future an Adoption Agency will grow out of TRCC people starting it
Deacons – in order to care for the growing needs of TRCC people, we need to grow our number of deacons and organize the Lord’s people to care for one another.
We need more deacons.
Nathan Hicks is serving as the “go to” deacon for me to coordinate deacons in ministry as a preparation for the growth in number of deacons so that we can fan out and not be overwhelmed in number of people to direct.
Deacons will no longer organize their people to set up, great and tear down. Deacons will focus on ministry to the body.
Scott Abston and Scott Wood will be organizing you to set up, greet and tear down.
Church Planting – how do we allow for TRCC to grow? So many methods for managing growth either create more need for paid employees and/or bigger buildings that rob a budget of its teeth in doing the work of the Great Commission, or they create encumbrances that begin causing people to lose sight of the mission. This could be because the church is made to be organic and not an organization with a CEO running it.
There are no CEO’s here and the church is not an organization. The church is the bride of Jesus Christ that he died to redeem.
Our greatest challenge is not building a building or adding a service or finding slick employees. Our challenge is building real fellowship in, over and through the word and Spirit and planting churches.
What if we grow in fellowship together? What if we really become an inter-dependent fellowship?
What if we plant churches to manage growth rather than knocking down walls (figuratively)?
What if 10 churches of 100 networked together by being planted from the same “Father” church are more effective than 1 church of 1,000?
Father is giving us the resources to do this and we have to equip and be intentional. We have to plant that first church here….
This is a good sampling of the challenges, good challenges, that lay in front of us in the work here.
We want to run the race by being race ready and keeping TRCC in race shape.
Let’s turn our attention to the text of Hebrews 12:1-4 to see the mandate to stay in race shape.
1. We must prepare to run the race by being race ready
The phrase “lay aside” here means “Rend in the sense of get rid of. “Weight” is the idea of “encumbrance,” according to the figure of the racer (thus the analogy of “run”) who puts away everything which may hinder his running.
This obviously is not referring to outright sin. The reason is because the next phrase begins with “sin which clings so closely”.
The idea, by way of the analogy of running a race, is to prepare to do the work of the Gospel.
By analogy, when our cross-country runners run they usually don’t run in sweatshirts and hunting boots. It would not be wrong to do so but it would make sure they don’t place or even compete well.
Our race is the completion of the Great Commission (running to Jesus and his mission: Jesus is glorified in the nations and representatives from the nations are doing the glorifying).
The GC is the Gospel proclaimed in and believed by representatives in all nations. The Lord has saved a church and gave his church this mission to preach the Gospel to all nations.
We state this mission by saying:
For the glory of God we will build the church (Matt 16:18) both local and global (Romans 15; Gen 12:1-3) by being and producing radical followers of Jesus Christ (John 15).
1. We must jettison hindrances
a. Processes that don’t work
b. Ideas that don’t work
d. Failure to give in finances and time
2. We must add helps
a. Processes that do work
b. Ideas that may work and do work
d. Giving in finances and time
2. We must avoid sin
“…lay aside…sin which clings so closely…”
Hence, of a sin which readily or easily encircles and entangles the Christian runner, like a long, loose robe clinging to his limbs. Beset is a good rendering, meaning to surround.
The idea here is not borderline hindrances but out-rite run stoppers.
Probably in view, due to the nature of chapter 11 and faith leading to actions and chapter 12 and the Lord’s disciplining of his children in order to give them the peaceful fruit of righteousness, is the sin of unbelief.
In some regard, all rebellion has unbelief running around in it somewhere. If I sin it’s because I don’t believe that the fruit of righteousness tastes better than the fruit of rebellion.
1. Not believing the Gospel is enough to save, so I need to add
works to the mix to make me feel better about your atonement?
2. Habitual sin? Outright rebellion against clear instructions? Rebellion against
promised actions in the church covenant?
3. Sin hidden from community?
4. Separation from community because of sin?
a. Confess the Father
b. Confess to a brother / sister in the community
c. Engage in
3. Run with endurance to Jesus’ mission
A. Run with endurance
Believing and working belief out into action is likened to a race. And the author instructs the readers to run it with endurance.
The point is that races are to be finished not simply begun and quit. Races are to be ran and finished. This requires endurance. Endurance is gained by practice.
We don’t want to carry the analogy too far because it will break down.
The point is that we are to follow Jesus with endurance not turning back in unbelief because it is easier. Rather, we are to hold on to faith and a good conscience with white knuckled intensity.
1. We don’t leave Jesus because it’s hard
a. Maintain faith and a clean conscience
“This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare,
holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.” 1 Timothy 1:18-20
2. We obey the Manual and do what it says
a. I continue to reference, almost weekly, “bible reading” in some way
or another. I’m becoming more convinced that your spiritual vitality
comes from communion with Father, Son and Spirit through time in his
word to you. This activity feeds the soul as physical food feeds the body.
Don’t neglect this!
3. We seek repentance daily
B. Run to Jesus
I’ve noticed that in athletic competition I’ve always been told to keep my eyes up and looking ahead whether it’s football or cross-fit keeping my head up and looking forward is key to good performance.
That is because if I can’t see the play I can’t make a play. If I look down I can lose balance and hurt other muscles.
Again, the athletic analogies can break down. The point is that performance in tasks requires looking toward their right completion.
If we are going to follow Jesus, then we are going to have to look to him on how to be like him and do as he does.
1. Know Jesus’ word and obey it
2. Do what you are called to and compelled to do to advance the Kingdom
3. Don’t forget ministry is a long-haul proposition
a. Barring a move of the Spirit, work will take time
b. People will not be mobilized to the task instantly
1. “…Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the
laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Matthew 9:37-38
c. Continue to ask the Lord to send workers and keep working
4. Keep eyes fixed on Jesus and do as he does
“So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.”
If the Son of God looked to Father in order to know what to do, we must follow that example and look to Jesus for how to respond and live by faith as we advance the Gospel.