As you receive this Words of Grace in your inbox, I am in another country. I am visiting some friends of Grace, pastors who are planting and leading churches. I’ve been asked to share my thoughts on church planting, discipleship, and leadership. And, I’ll preach in two churches on Sunday. Please pray for me.
You might be asking why I am in another country during a giving campaign at Grace? When I shared with the elder team months ago the dates that I was invited to speak to these pastors, and that we might be in a giving campaign at that time, they all agreed that I should go. We participated in the global gospel mission before we had a building. We will continue to do so in the future. So why would we not do so while raising money for a new building?
What the elders where saying is that our purpose must always be our priority. Our purpose as a local congregation is the glory of God, through a growing church, in a growing and spiritually needy city. This is the purpose of my travel this week (though the churches are in another city and another country). And, this is the purpose of the Future Grace Giving Campaign.
This week we are praying through Ephesians 4:1-16 (find the Future Grace Prayer Guide here). This passage is all about God’s glory and the growth of the church. The growth mentioned in this passage should be seen as spiritual maturity in truth, faith, and love. It should also be seen as growth in size as the gospel reaches more people who repent, believe, follow Jesus, and become members of his church. God alone gets the glory for this growth.
We believe that God uses material things for this purpose. A church building is one of those things. Everywhere I have traveled, from South Asia to South America to Eastern Europe and right here in America, congregations are gathered in buildings that fit within their cultures. These congregations share a common purpose, the glory of God in their city through the gospel reaching more people, and the growth of the church. They have come to see that the building is a useful tool for that greater end.
This week, pray with me that our purpose will always be clear in our minds. Pray that we will prioritize around that purpose. Pray that our doctrine, messaging, ministry programs, relationships, culture and buildings will all be for the glory of God through a healthy and growing congregation in our city.
Michael Kelley will preach this Sunday from 1 Peter 2 on how God has made the church for his glory in the world. Please pray for him. I look forward to seeing you next Sunday.