One of the lines we like to use at GracePoint is that we want the Gospel to go to the nations and generations. By nations, we mean the ends of the earth. That’s Matthew 28 language. By generations, we mean to our childrens children. That’s Deuteronomy 6 and Proverbs 22 language. We want the Gospel to go wide (nations) and deep (generations).
It’s a tension that we constantly fight to uphold. Because if we only think about the nations, then there is a risk that we will neglect the people at GracePoint – because we’re constantly looking out. If we only think about the generations, then there is the risk that we will neglect the Great Commission – because we’re constantly looking in.
This is our vision as leaders of GracePoint. And there are seasons when we do one better than the other. But we value and treasure both.
How do we do that though? Well simply, it is by equipping the saints for the work of ministry. That’s Ephesians 4 language. It is to encourage and equip fellow Christians like you and I to be so confident about the truth, beauty, and the Gospel that it becomes second nature to speak of Christ as the treasure. But all of this is like learning a new language. If you’ve had to go to Saturday school to learn Chinese, Italian, Greek, Korean, or anything like that then you’ll know what a slog that is.
You need to learn how the language works, how to read, and how to pronounce. But even that is no guarantee that you understand. I can read Korean fluently. But I have no idea what I’m reading. Understanding is a whole new level. But then there is articulation. You can listen and understand. But to speak and make sense is a different deal. Then beyond articulation, there is fluency! You and I know that there is bogan English, proper English, and Shakespeare English. And they are all not the same.
A little challenging, isn’t it? But that’s what we as pastors are called to do. To keep coming back to the basics to equip and encourage our church to gain Gospel fluency. Don’t be discouraged that you don’t have it right away. Learning a language takes time. Learning how to speak the Gospel with fluency can also take time. But also, don’t feel like you have to wait till you’re fully fluent. Any language learner knows that part of learning is to speak – even if you sound funny. Gospel fluency acquisition comes from frequent use which produces familiarity.
But there is more, isn’t there? Because the Gospel will go to the nations and generations through Christian leaders. Is there any surprise that 2 Timothy 2:2 calls Christians today to entrust to faithful men who are competent to teach others?
We at GracePoint take this call very seriously. Human speaking, the church will not outgrow the health of her leaders. Of course, God is not limited by that. And he can work in spite of unhealthy leaders. Yet the ordinary means appears to be through godly and gifted leaders.
We take this seriously through the apprentices and interns we train. Come along to Gospel Lab Annual Celebration on November 11 to witness Tom and Jason graduating. But we also take this seriously through the training of lay leaders.
Lay leaders are you CG leaders (through our intense 3-year CGLT program), our elders (through our Eldership Equipping program), and our preachers (through our Preachers Academy program).
Over the past 4 months, Jason Yu (2nd year ministry apprentice) has been working with a close group of young men to help them become handlers and preachers of God’s word. Jason has taken everything that I’ve taught him, everything he’s learned at Cornhill, and all the mistakes and successes that he’s acquired through his own experiences and formed Stephen Yau, Darren Zheng, and Zachary Chong. And together with Jason, three young men will be standing on our pulpit at Lidcombe over the month of November.
These men have worked hard. Their sermons have come under close scrutiny of the apprentices, interns, and pastors. They have written and re-written their sermons. And they continue to prayerfully sharpen, polish, and prepare for the Sundays that they will be preaching.
So church, I am excited about this. I am excited not only because we get to hear different voices and different perspectives. I am excited not only because we get to see tangibly how it is the Word of God that works – often in spite of the preacher. I am also excited because this is a small step towards forming the next generation of Christian preachers who will boldly proclaim the Gospel to the nations and generations.
Will you join me in praying for them? Stephen Yau is up this Sunday. Pray for him, encourage him, and give him feedback. He is also developing his Gospel fluency. While he’s not quite Shakespearean in his preaching yet, he’s also not bogan. May the Lord be glorified through the preaching of His Word!
*Posts under this Category (“Pastoral Letters”) are a selection of reflections that I send out through our church’s weekly newsletter. They are written with the members of GracePoint-Lidcombe in mind.
Leave a Reply